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A new software platform that makes it easy for leisure customers to book and pay online has led to a surge in online bookings for swimming lesson and group fitness classes at YMCA sites across Auckland and Waikato.

The Y launched the Envibe leisure management system across 14 of its gym, aquatic, leisure and recreation facilities in July. Developed by Jonas Leisure, the system helps leisure managers to handle all aspects of their business, from memberships and organisation of group fitness classes and swimming lessons, payments, stock management and customer communications.

YMCA North Chief Executive Julian Baldey says the customer portal provided by the new system had proven particularly popular, with more than 5,000 YMCA members signing up to use it in its opening weeks.

The convenience added by the portal has led to an increase in online group fitness and swimming lesson bookings and made it easy for customers to update their contact, payment and other important details online, reducing administration for staff, he says.

“It’s been one of the most seamless IT launches I’ve ever experienced, touch wood. We introduced it at 14 of our sites simultaneously and our members, visitors and staff have really embraced it.”

Julian says the introduction of Envibe and the new customer portal is part of a wider digital transformation that aims to improve the accessibility of health and fitness programmes and make life easier for YMCA members, visitors and staff.

It’s a push that’s even touching leisure delivery, with more fitness plans provided online and the introduction of innovative new leisure options, such as the ‘digital multiwall’ at The Y Lagoon, in the Auckland suburb of Panmure.

The multiwall offers interactive games that are projected onto a wall to provide opportunities for people to play in a new way, building cardio fitness and hand-eye co-ordination while they are at it.

“Technology like this can open fitness up to new groups of people or inspire people to get back into it,” Julian says.

“We’re really excited about what new systems can offer for our communities, whether that be improved access to classes, exciting new leisure options, or systems that save time for our staff and allow them to have more face time with customers.”

Jonas Leisure General Manager Alissa Lim says YMCA North’s embrace of new technology is setting a benchmark for the industry.

“They are leading the way and it’s having a tangible and positive impact on the communities they serve,” she said.

“The strong uptake of their customer portal demonstrates the value of putting more power into members’ hands. We’re really looking forward to supporting YMCA on their ongoing digital journey.”

YMCA North is New Zealand’s largest YMCA association, covering Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty. It is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to empower youth, improve health and strengthen communities. In addition to providing leisure, fitness and recreation facilities, it is a significant provider of Out of School care, outdoor and early learning education, tourist accommodation and youth development.

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