4 ways technology can transform your recreation facility
Running a recreation facility successfully can be an ongoing challenge, with lots of headaches, admin, and roadblocks that keep you from doing what you truly want to.
To alleviate the stresses that come with running the show, organizations everywhere are embracing recreation technology to market, keep track of bookings, grant access, and so much more.
Technology isn’t a nice-to-have asset anymore; now more than ever, it’s a necessity to keep up with demand. It allows you to do more with less, broaden your reach, and allows your organization to achieve goals you once thought were impossible.
Get to know the cloud
You’ve heard a lot about “The Cloud,” but what is it exactly and how does it play into the digital side of your recreation facility?
The cloud is a hardware or software service that functions through a remote network, offering highly affordable online storage, as well as a number of services that can ultimately help you reduce your overall spending in technology.
Where many organizations used to keep all data storage on-site, their cloud storage can now be housed by third parties, freeing up a large amount of office or facility space.
Recreation management gets high tech
From self-maintained toilets to automated mowing equipment, and robotic cleaning systems to semi-autonomous inspection drones, organizations are using technology to make facility management more efficient.
Here’s how to embrace technology to supercharge your recreation facility.
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You might think of automation as robots taking over, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Automation offers a helping hand to take care of the monotonous, boring tasks that keep you from the work that truly matters. It can free up a lot of time for your staff to work on tasks that need human input and can’t be automated.
There are several ways to automate your admin work, including:
- Sending out emails triggered by bookings, payments, and special emails for birthdays
- Block booking conflicts before they happen
- Manage waitlists and move members over when a space opens up.
- Collect fees for late cancellations, no-shows, and more
- Let registered members scan in automatically without someone at the front desk
But there are also new, innovative ways recreation departments can transform their operations with automation outside of the facility to positively affect their bottom line.
At Sand Mountain Park and Amphitheater in Albertville, Alabama, around 55,000 plants are being watered via a remote system. Sensors detect when sprinklers in each zone should be activated – saving water and money.
Facility Controls & Access
Technology can also transform the ways your recreation facility functions with its hardware; most notably, its door access and lighting schedules. Upgrading your online reservation and payment solutions provides a streamlined, contactless, and cashless experience when paying for programs and activities.
Facial recognition software seems like a foreign, sci-fi concept from a future time, but it’s here and it’s personalizing experiences everywhere. We use it to unlock our phones, and now, we can use it to sign in at a facility hands-free. In Red Deer Polytechnic, Alberta, Canada, facility members can check in for programs and activities without using a membership card.
Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission, South Carolina uses tech to simplify access to booked outdoor facilities—like tennis courts—while making it more secure. Members scan their barcoded ID card or key tag without needing to enter a PIN code.
Finally, light schedule software can help reduce energy use, cut energy bills, and save on maintenance costs. This software will turn the lights on only when they’re needed, and automatically shut them off when they’re not.
Virtual / Augmented Reality
Virtual reality and augmented reality have been mainstays in video games and other tech spaces for years now, but they are making waves in other industries, too.
One strong way recreation can bolster technology is by using it to create engaging learning experiences for kids, leveraging 3D augmented reality gamified learning sessions outdoors. This can be a strong tool for children’s summer camps.
In Mishawaka, Indiana, their local parks department partnered with the school district to create walking paths digitized with augmented reality. To use them, visitors scan stations across the park with an app. Everything from dinosaurs to insects can be viewed in 3D and allow for family-friendly activities that combine fitness and education into one unique outdoor experience.
Also, parks are uniting physical spaces and digital spaces. You can set up check-in locations or Snapchat geo-filters, combined with Wi-Fi connections, to make it easier for people to post perfect photos to Instagram that are tied to your recreation facility.
Finally, digitally transforming your recreation department ends with having a foundational internet connection to make it accessible for all your community members, regardless of their data plans.
The prevalence of the internet in our daily lives has led to more and more public spaces adopting free high-speed Wi-Fi anyone can use. This is particularly something to invest into if you want to have activities, games, and exhibits that live in augmented reality.
Plus, hosting a free Wi-Fi network for recreation users and park visitors is a great way to advertise new services and promote your facilities. Set up an inbound form for those requesting Wi-FI access, then lead them to a thank-you page that also shares what's new in your parks department.
Don't forget your exclusive free download of the
2023 Parks & Recreation Trends and Predictions Report!
Want to get ahead of this trend?
The rest of the scoop on digital transformations is available in our 2023 Parks & Recreation Trends and Predictions Report. This report covers how automation, machine learning, and more will influence the Parks & Recreation space this year.
Download your free report now and get set for success this year with our run down of the top trends you need to know about in 2023.
A cloud-based all-in-one recreation management solution will make running your facilities simple and make life easier for your team on the ground. Xplor Recreation has everything you need to serve your community better. Book your custom demo today!