I've thought a lot about this, because it seems to me many facilities are not run in an optimal way from a business perspective. Not that I have the resources to open a rink.
1. Lots of classes. Classes create customers and keep them happy. Good coaches to teach them.
2. Classes just for teens, and just for teens and adults. Learning styles are so different.
3. Lots of interesting classes and clinics outside the usual syllabuses.
4. Lots of sessions - not just in the busy part of the day. Or maybe this is more what I like, rather than what makes economic sense. But coaches sure love rinks where they can coach at all day, and students love rinks where they can skate continuously.
5. A social ice dance program.
6. Hockey classes, sessions and lessons - if I own it, I want it to make money!
7. Speed skating classes and sessions.
8. Encouragement for clubs to form for figure skating (ISI and USFSA), synchro, production, ice dance, hockey, speed, off-ice dance, in-line skating.
9. Classes on falling and refitting boots - which I would teach. A strong recommendation posted that skaters learn to do these things.
10. An "Open Pro" policy (anyone with insurance and certification can coach). I've noticed coaches LOVE those rinks.
11. A volunteer coach assistant program, with training for assistants. The assistants get a lot out of this. Teaching is fun! In the first few classes, the students get a lot out of this. And it attracts potential coaches to the rink. But in my opinion, the lead teacher for every class should be an experienced pro. The volunteers and coaches, as well as other employees, should all have to pass a background check, and this should be advertised.
12. Some evening adult skating sessions. I don't think these are needed if you learn to fall, but a lot of skaters disagree, and customers get what they want.
13. Showers for normal customers. People need to be acceptable socially and in business environments after skating. Even paid showers might be worth it.
14. Signs in the lobby next to the rental counter showing people how to figure out what boots fit and are balanced to their bodies. Signs talking about how to lace boots right.
15. Effective advertising. I would go to other athletic venues (e.g., ballroom dance facilities) and place fliers there. Virtually none of the rinks in my area understand or budget much for advertising. I don't think they are very well run from a business perspective. Should not be confined to the immediate vicinity. Classes should be advertised through ISI and USFSA skating magazines. (Maybe impractical - not sure what that costs.) I should buy out something like skatingforums.com, and put advertisements for my rink, facilities, and classes next to posts! Should help skaters create free blogs with similar ads hosted by me. Rink clubs get freely hosted blogs and websites, with similar ads, along with bulletin boards.
16. Good facility maintenance.
17. Well trained ice surfacing people, given adequate time to do a good job.
18. A restaurant that serves reasonably priced, HEALTHY food, and prepares it quickly, or has it ready.
19. A microwave oven, and tables for eating.
20. Lockers in the lobby, where students can keep their stuff and use their own locks (also sold at the pro shop). But they have to pay to leave a lock on overnight.
21. A convenience store that sells basic groceries and other stuff that people often shop for.
22. Other recreational facilities for parents, none-skating kids and tired skaters - off-ice exercise rooms and warm-up rooms, an outdoor track, stretch barres, video games (remember - rink owners like to make money!), reading materials. I have mixed feelings about a dance studio, since other dance studios wouldn't let me post fliers if I compete with them, but I think a lot of dancers would be interested in skating, and vice versa. It should have a wide range of dance styles available.
23. Free WIFI. Paid computer use and paid assistance and lessons.
24. A quiet study room, and somewhat less quiet room where kids can be tutored. I'd like to start up a center where home school and other kids can be taught classes too.
25. Meeting rooms for many purposes - parties, business.
26. An office where a nurse, EMT or equivalent can open a practice to treat injuries, and where a podiatrist can practice, and a baby-sitting or child care facility [both short-term, while skating, and all-day, to attract customers). (All of these can be concessions.)
27. Pro shop with stuff people discover they need when they get to the rink. Gloves. Thin socks. Warm clothing. Chemical hand and foot warmers. Various types of padding and helmets. Durable skate covers, Painkillers, etc. Colorful skate covers, laces, boot covers, nice looking tee shirts and jackets with the rink logo (better than free advertising). And, yes, hockey stuff, cuz it makes money. It doesn't make economic sense, but I might sell hand-sharpening equipment.
28. If the pro shop doesn't sell figure skating clothing, I would have a list of dress-makers, etc.
29. A sharpener/boot fitter who knows what he or she is doing, on all types of skates - hockey, figure, speed.
30. A bulletin board where people can advertise used goods and various services. I want this rink to become a community center, where everyone in the community comes.