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A switch to Envibe has enabled New Zealand’s largest council to find new ways to offer recreation amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Auckland Council runs a wide range of leisure and fitness facilities, including aquatic centres, fitness centres, indoor sports facilities, climbing walls and even a roller-skating rink.

With thousands of visitors walking through the doors of these facilities every week, staff and programme organisers need to be on their game to provide the best possible experience.

It’s a challenging job, but one that has been made a little easier by Envibe leisure management software.

Saving staff time and ratepayer dollars

When council made the change to Envibe in 2017, it centralised information for 19 leisure facilities and provided a single platform that allowed for value-adds such as cross-facility bookings and simple marketing activities, to name a few.

Auckland Council Business Systems Specialist Denise Fordham says there weren’t many platforms available within New Zealand that could serve the council’s  needs, but Envibe and one other came out strongly during the council’s procurement process.

“One of the key things that made Envibe stand out was its easy-to-use interface, and the fact we could have some influence into its future development based on our needs.”

But Envibe is not just smoothing the user experience. The software has also saved the council money by allowing it to automate tasks that used to require three fulltime admin people.

Envibe’s PCI compliant integration with Ezidebit has made managing direct debits easier, benefiting Leisure facility users by enabling a wider range of direct debit payment options for membership fees, paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

Further efficiencies have been gained by using Envibe’s functionality that allows automated reminders to be sent to people who miss membership or learn to swim course payments.

This works well on its own, but Auckland Council has taken things one step further by developing its own ‘Defaulted Payments Bot’. The bot uses data from Envibe to identify people who have missed more than one payment, and performs the action of cancelling their membership, sending them a message to this effect and informing them of the steps required to re-instate their membership.

Making leisure management during the COVID-19 pandemic easier

Ms Fordham says Envibe’s web functionality has allowed the council to offer new options to leisure centre users, including the ability for them to book places in group fitness classes online.

“Envibe has allowed us to provide members with a new myLEISURE online portal, where they can book into a group fitness class online. That will play a big role in our plans for 2022 – we get most of our group fitness class bookings via the online portal now.”

During the Auckland Alert Level 3.1 restrictions, group fitness classes were restricted in capacity and could only be performed outdoors. With the help of Envibe, the council was able to offer existing members and casual users safe physically-distanced outdoor classes – booked in advance and paid via the online portal.

“People’s memberships were suspended while our facilities were closed, so they weren’t paying during a time they couldn’t use their membership privileges, but the outdoor classes were a great way to keep members and others from our community engaged and active.”

Conversations with Jonas Leisure staff and feedback provided within the company’s online Customer Voice portal has been beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic, she says.

When the New Zealand Government announced it was planning to introduce vaccine passports last year, the council and many other Envibe users spoke to Jonas Leisure’s development team about implementing a solution that would allow them to record people who had shown their vaccine passports at a facility so they could swipe in for future visits without showing their vaccine passports each time.

Within weeks a solution was ready, and it will soon be used to streamline the entry process for people holding membership cards at most of the council’s leisure facilities.

The reporting functionality in Envibe has also proven helpful during the pandemic, Ms Fordham says.

“Data explorer enables contact tracing reports to be developed quickly and easily. I was able to use Envibe to find out exactly who visited a specific area of one of our facilities at a particular time of day, so customers potentially at risk could be notified in a timely manner.”

Ms Fordham says she is eagerly awaiting developments Jonas Leisure has planned for Envibe in 2022, especially those that will enhance the holiday programme management functionality and the ‘look and feel’ upgrade for the online portal.

If you are interested in learning more about what Envibe can do for your facility and your customers, contact us at: 

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