If you think all recreation management software solutions offer the same features, think again. Most solutions allow local governments to complete standard transactions, like scheduling activities and allowing online registrations. For many software systems, this is where the functionality ends, and where manual interventions and alternate processes and systems take over.
The most advanced parks and rec departments have learned that the most efficient systems enable key integrations and streamlined workflows for optimal efficiency. If your parks and rec department is one of the many running on a lean budget and undersized staff, a robust parks and rec management system can help you do more with less. As you compare software systems, don’t overlook the importance of these ten must-have features.
1. Hardware Agnostic Software. The ideal solution will work with your existing hardware. This includes kiosks, point-of-sale (POS) devices, printers, etc.
2. A Cloud-Based Interface Compatible with Multiple Browsers. If you choose a cloud-based solution, make sure it allows you to work from multiple Internet browsers (e.g., Safari, Internet Explorer, Chrome, etc.) That way, no matter where you and your team members are, if you have an Internet connection, you can manage key aspects of your administrative operations.
3. A Mobile-Optimized User Platform. Your citizens are increasingly using smart phones and tablets to conduct transactions. Click here to learn more about why your recreation software must be mobile optimized.
4. Integrated Point-of-Sale Functionality. You shouldn’t need a separate point-of-sale (POS) software system if you choose parks and rec software with integrated POS capabilities. A single system ensures accurate record-keeping in a single repository and minimizes the need to track various payment types in multiple systems—an accounting nightmare.
5. Integrated Youth League Management Functionality. Your local government youth leagues are a key component of your community activity offerings. They should be managed directly within your parks and rec software—not manually or in a separate system. Make sure any parks and rec management software you choose has built-in youth sports league management capabilities.
6. Built-in Marketing Tools. To increase your activity registrations and engage the most citizens, you’ll need a robust marketing and promotion campaign. Enable the easy sharing of registration information online, and on social media, with a parks and rec software solution with built-in marketing tools.
7. Permit Integration. If your parks and rec software allows citizens to reserve facilities, but you’re still manually sending permit paperwork, you need a solution that eliminates manual follow-ups. Make sure to choose a solution that automates the emailing of branded permits.
8. Map- and Grid-Based Facility Reservations. Choose a software solution that allows citizens to view all available facility reservation options on a map before booking. Map-based reservation systems ensure citizens choose exactly the right location for their event, and improves their comfort level with the reservation process.
9. Customized Reservation Parameters. An inflexible system will only add to your manual documentation and record-keeping. Choose a system that allows you to customize individual facility requirements. For example, you should be able to set waivers, prompts, and forms during checkouts, or set minimum notice reservation parameters at the facility level.
10. Internal Master Calendar. What may seem like a simple feature is too often overlooked. For your internal parks and rec management team, be sure you have access to an internal master calendar that gives staff a quick and easy way to view available facilities, make adjustments, integrate reservations, and prevent double-bookings.