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25 years of CERM PI benchmarking for Australian public aquatic, recreation and sport facilities

25 years of CERM PI benchmarking for Australian public aquatic, recreation and sport facilities
March 22, 2018

Having last year passed 25 years of providing operational management benchmarks for public aquatic, recreation and sport facilities, the team behind the CERM Performance Indicators (CERM PI) Project has looked back on their quarter century of achievements.

Initiated by industry partners in 1990, after three years of development the first CERM PI operational management benchmarks were published in 1992. Accordingly, 2017 marked 25 years of providing benchmarks for public aquatic, recreation and sport centres by CERM PI researchers at the University of South Australia.

The original Performance Indicators (PI) project was housed in the Centre for Environmental and Recreation Management (CERM), which has been replaced by the Centre for Tourism and Leisure Management at UniSA. CERM PI now refers to Customer Experience Research Metrics and Performance Indicators.

Currently, the CERM PI research team works closely with industry collaborators to provide benchmarks for sport and leisure facilities and services such as: aquatic and recreation centres, tennis clubs, rectangular sport stadiums, and university sport and recreation services.

1. Benchmarking for Australian public aquatic and recreation centres 

1.1 CERM PI Operational management benchmarks for Australian public aquatic and recreation centres
Since their introduction in 1992 CERM PI operational management benchmarks have developed to include over 70 performance indicators in such areas as finance, staffing, visitation, services, promotion, memberships, equipment, utilities and sustainability. Benchmarks are the medians or individual middle scores from all centres and are independent of each other. The benchmarks for aquatic centres are published in the CERM PI® Operational Benchmarks for Australian Public Aquatic Centres bulletin for three groups of centres. Group 5 centres are outdoor pools, Group 6 centres have indoor and outdoor pools, and Group 7 centres have indoor pools. Benchmarks can also be derived for selections of centres based on other characteristics such as centre size, location, and catchment population. 

1.2 CERM PI Customer service benchmarks for Australian public aquatic and recreation centres
During the three-year period 2015-17, over 20,000 respondents from 63 Australian aquatic centres provided data for CERM PI customer service benchmarks covering customer satisfaction, service quality, managing customer problems, and customer benefits. Service quality includes 22 key service attributes that may impact on the customer experience, affecting the overall satisfaction of customers. Expectations ratings indicate customer priorities. Facility presentation attributes (e.g. pool water cleanliness and centre cleanliness) recorded the highest expectations overall, while staffing attributes were also rated relatively high (e.g. Instructors experience and knowledge, and staff friendliness). Lower rated expectations included parking safety and security and food and drink facilities.

Compared to customer expectations, which have remained relatively stable over the years, perceptions of service performance have improved. Rated for performance, staff service quality attributes were rated relatively high, with Instructors experience and knowledge rated highest of the 22 attributes. In contrast, even though their performance level has improved, parking safety and security and food and drink facilities were among the lowest rated attributes for performance.

The CERM PI Operational Management (OM) and Customer Service Quality (CSQ) benchmarks provide an external comparison for participating centres to compare themselves against. In turn, centres can compare their own results against their previous years’ performance, use as a guide to improve operational practice, and use in their future planning.

2. Tennis Australia operational management benchmarking
The Tennis Australia Operational Health Check (OHC) program is a national annual survey of tennis facilities throughout Australia, generating about 30 performance benchmarks in such areas as facility and court usage, income, expenditure, and management, providing a detailed analysis of facility operations. Tennis Australia and CERM PI have collaborated since 2007 when the pilot study included 14 clubs; and by 2017, 400 individual clubs contributed data.

The OHC is important for Tennis Australia in their national decision making regarding resourcing for clubs. The OHC has helped Tennis Australia in the development of funding schemes and specialist services to improve the performance and management of tennis clubs throughout the country. Tennis clubs are able to compare their results against their previous years’ performance as well as against benchmarks for other venues of a similar size. Clubs are able to use their results in contract negotiations and funding, and to manage and operate their venues to provide improved service to members and casual users.

3. Australian University Sport operational management benchmarking
Working closely with Australian University Sport (AUS) since 2012, CERM PI contributes to the University Sport Business Analysis (USBA) program through the Australian Universities annual operational management survey. By 2014 the benchmarking attracted data from 30 universities, which were segmented into two main groupings: Universities with over 20,000 EFTSU (n=18) and Universities with under 20,000 EFTSU (n=12). In the 2017 University Sport Business Analysis bulletin 44 performance indicators embraced: finance (income and expenditure), participation (visits), memberships and enrolments, university student athlete support, assets (infrastructure/facilities) and people (staff). 

The University Sport Business Analysis provides economic and participation data to:

• Assist members in advocating for support and funding at campus level;
• Assist AUS to advocate for support and funding at state and national levels.

The USBA survey also provides member universities with data to use in evidence-based business planning. Members can also compare their own results against their previous years’ performance as well as with benchmarks for a similar classification to identify good operational practice.

4. Australian rectangular stadiums’ operational management benchmarking
Working closely with senior managers from Australian rectangular stadiums, CERM PI has conducted the annual Rectangular Stadiums’ Operational Management Benchmarking Survey since 2013/14. The 14 participating stadiums are those that regularly cater for major national-level games for the Australian Rugby Union (Super Rugby games), Football Federation Australia (A-League games) and/or National Rugby League (NRL Premiership games). 

The performance indicators measured in this project cover three broad areas: Stadium operational efficiency and management (82 indicators), Stadium operational and financial impact of hirers (67 indicators), and Events costs - what the hirers pay to use the stadium (57 indicators). 

5. New software platform for CERM PI
CERM PI launched a new software platform early in 2018 to capture data from the customer service quality and operational management surveys to provide a customised experience for their clients. Easy to use, a unique login provides facility managers exclusive access to their individualised reports, where they can tailor the presentation of results to suit management requirements.

For more information on or to subscribe to the CERM PI Project contact Raylene Jones at the University of South Australia on 08 8302 5321; E: raylene.jones@unisa.edu.au or go to www.unisa.edu.au/cermpi

Lower image: Associate Professor Gary Howat  heads the CERM PI Project.

6th December 2017 - CERM PI LAUNCHES NEW ONLINE PLATFORM TO MEASURE FACILITY PERFORMANCE

14th October 2017 - 25 YEARS AFTER FIRST INDUSTRY BENCHMARKS CERM PI OPENS 2017 SURVEY 

10th September 2017 - RECORD GROWTH IN GYMNASTICS PARTICIPATION IN VICTORIA 

22nd September 2016 - CERM PI PROJECT INVITES PARTICIPATION IN LATEST AQUATIC, RECREATION AND SPORT CENTRE SURVEY

15th September 2016 - VICTORIAN AUDITOR-GENERAL’S REPORT REVEALS KEY CHALLENGES FOR RECREATIONAL FACILITIES

1st April 2016 - AQUATICS AND RECREATION VICTORIA RELEASES ENERGY BENCHMARKING STUDY FOR AQUATIC CENTRES

5th March 2015 - CERM PI RELEASE LATEST OPERATIONAL MANAGEMENT BENCHMARKS FOR AQUATIC, RECREATION AND SPORT CENTRES

4th September 2013 - AUSTRALIAN BENCHMARKING SURVEY FOR PUBLIC AQUATIC, RECREATION AND SPORT CENTRES

11th November 2010 - VALE: DR GARY CRILLEY 1954-2010 


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Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

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