Sports facilities have to go through shifts and follow trends, just like every other business. The key is to maximize each trend and market shift for growth and revenue opportunities. Potential clients no longer want to be limited to a facility’s schedule. Instead, they expect easy access whenever they can fit it into their busy days. This is why the 24-hour fitness facilities are taking off. If you want your facility to stay at the top of its game, offering 24/7 access to facility equipment and machines will put you ahead of your competitors.
To many, though, this seems like an intimidating thing to offer. Questions like: Who will work those late night/early morning hours? How will I ensure proper care is being taken with equipment and machines? How much more staffing expenses will this rack up?
Don’t stress. Before you fall down the black hole of questions and concerns, know there is a solution – a third-party access control company can handle it all for you… through digital technology.
There are plenty of third-party systems with a variety of capabilities, but here are the basics. The system you choose will allow you to set access restrictions for memberships and rentals. Think of it like those commercialized 24-hour gyms like Anytime Fitness, Planet Fitness, etc. Based on your needs/wants, you can choose a system that utilizes key fobs, barcodes, an app on the client’s phones, or even fingerprint technology to give access to members and renters. Based on membership levels and rental packages, you can design your access system to give different varieties of access and permissions within the facility.
Depending on what your facility offers, this can be as simple or as complex as needed. Some facilities will require reservations to be made, while others allow a first-come, first-serve policy with the machines and equipment. A feature that many facilities like is the time restriction feature of access control software. Facilities can set limits that allow access to begin 10 minutes before the rental/space reservation and will last 10 minutes into the reserved time. If the client doesn’t make it in time for the reservation, it is canceled and will not allow interference with any other reserved spots. This keeps clear guidelines in place and restricts the ability to abuse the freedom that digital access offers.
Not having someone to monitor the access can make some facility owners nervous. However, these third-party systems thought ahead and provide systems within the digital technology to ensure safety and security within the facility. Many systems have a camera connection that will turn on security cameras every time someone enters the facility. The scanning procedure also allows facility managers to know exactly who is entering and exiting the facility at exact times. There will always be the ability for a facility owner to keep an eye on the machines, equipment, and client behavior as necessary.
Many of you are probably wondering – why is it so important to use software like this? Why can’t we just extend our hours and have staff in the facility for more hours during the day? Well… you could, but why add those unnecessary expenses and continue to limit the revenue opportunities. These systems help cut facility staff expenses AND it opens up more time to make money for the facility. An access control system can be used with or without staff in the building. Keep it running 24 hours and and you have more opportunities for rentals and reservations to be booked. This means more money without the expense of hiring a person to open the door.
Overall, 24/7 facility access is where the industry is moving, and if you want an advantage over your competitors, it is time to hop on the trend while it is still early. Lay out a list of what you need, do your research, and extend those hours of operation.
Another added feature that can be considered in this process is the compatibility with facility management software. eSoft Planner, for instance, is teaming with a third-party access control system and implementing it in the upcoming new version. Everything is done in a single app while limiting expenses and maximizing revenue for each facility. Keep that in mind in your search for the perfect fit.
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