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Technologies shaping management of New Zealand aquatic and recreation facilities
A parent books her daughter in for swimming lessons on her mobile phone during her lunch break at work; a team leader at the local recreation centre sees new fitness club bookings in real-time and organises additional sessions; and acouncil manager plans an aquatic facility based on community demand.
The above examples demonstrate how information technology is changing the management of council-owned recreation facilities in New Zealand, with councils and local communities benefitting.
Among councils making use of these innovations, Invercargill City Council is using the latest technology to make it easier for locals and visitors to make the most of its recreation centres and aquatic facilities.
Council Aquatic Services Manager Peter Thompson says now the technology to analyse historic data across council business units is available, it is possible to review years and months at a glance, forecasting impact on council rates immediately when planning.
At Invercargill’s Splash Palace, Centaman facility management software helps collate information about busy times of year and customer preferences.
Thompson says this leads to greater understanding of how to improve the services the aquatic centre offers the community, explaining “it’s what you do with the information you have that counts. A good facility management system helps to identify the issues.
“From a level-of-service perspective, this shows us if attendance and membership is increasing or declining, and how different groups participate. If you can get that level of data, you can analyse it and make use of the results.”
New web- and mobile-based technology also plays a large role, enabling Splash Palace to connect with customers and staff members.
Splash Palace uses several tools on mobile platforms, including a mobile app designed by Thompson and New Zealand-based online rostering and timesheeting software Rosterit, which allows staff to create and check rosters online and from their mobile phones.
Web-based applications are also effective, allowing signup for swim school classes from anywhere customers have internet access. These same applications provide tools for swim teachers to deliver detailed progress reports to parents.
Thompson says the ideal situation is when all facets of a facility’s IT infrastructure can come together to complement and support each other.
Geoff Barton, General Manager of Programmes for Auckland-based Community Leisure Management agrees that good use of data and analytics in aquatic and recreation facilities improves business efficiency as well as the experience for staff and customers.
Barton recently led the implementation of a ‘live data’ project across CLM terminals to enable greater transparency of membership data, participation numbers and financial information across its 15 managed facilities.
Barton advises “when we started on the project, I knew it had to be something special. With good information technology, we can establish a culture of awareness amongst our staff.
“We’ve linked through using Centaman software as our database, along with OBDC (open database connectivity) and SQL (a special-purpose programming language designed for managing data). From front-line staff to the board members, we can see what’s happening to the minute.”
While it is early in the project, there have been immediate qualitative results.
Barton says live data has improved staff knowledge of what is required to achieve KPIs, increased staff feedback and engagement and streamlined reporting for councils.
In addition, the need for staff to request data from management has been “virtually eliminated”, saving time and giving staff the tools they need to effect positive change.
Barton adds “I deal directly with fitness, and can see the difference already.
“We have seen a gradual increase in membership numbers in fitness programmes, and they are now at the highest (level) they have ever been.
“The great thing is that once staff know how to use the system, they don’t have to ask. They can find the information themselves. It has cut down on a lot of administration time.”
Images: Invervcargill's Splash Palace (top) and access with the Centaman EasyGate (below).
2nd December 2016 - CLM’S MARKETING MANAGER ACKNOWLEDGED AS EMERGING RECREATION LEADER
22nd November 2016 - COMMUNITY LEISURE MANAGEMENT FACILITIES ACKNOWLEDGED AT NZRA AWARDS
8th November 2016 - JONAS LEISURE OFFERS MASTERCLASSES IN HEALTH AND FITNESS SOFTWARE
30th December 2015 - WHY GOOD SOFTWARE MATTERS TO GYM MANAGEMENT
7th October 2015 - FIVE NEAR DROWNINGS AT INVERCARGILL SWIMMING POOL LEAD TO RULE CHANGES
25th August 2015 - CENTAMAN CONFERENCES ADDRESS COMMON LEISURE INDUSTRY CHALLENGES
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