Spain is the second country in the world with the highest Smartphone penetration rate, 88%. Taking this data into account, it makes no sense that we do not take advantage of the possibilities that new technologies give us in our sports centers to achieve our goals.

Years ago we could wait sitting in our club’s reception chair to receive calls for court rentals or new registrations. Today, with the number of clubs open, the customer can choose from several possibilities when it comes to renting a court or signing up for a class.

As we are clear that waiting is not enough, and we have to be pro-active and not reactive, we must rely on tools that make us reach more people in a simpler way.

Having a management software, a responsive website and an App, are 3 essential things in this information age.

The web must be responsive so that it adapts to all devices (since most of the time the customer will enter through their smartphone) and have a content manager from which we can change the photos and information easily and quickly. Depending on someone outside the club to provide content to our website slows down a lot and makes us lose the agility that this task requires.

The App is also basic, it must be available on IOS and Android, platforms that group almost all users. The App will help us to give a sense of belonging to the club, as an image of course, and must have the possibility that we can send push notifications from the management software. The functionality of the App should be the same as if they access from the web to the customer area. Therefore, the improvements made in the program must also be automatically transferred to the App.

Regarding the management software, it must be modular so that we can hire only the modules we need and not pay for a tool in which we have a lot of menus that we do not use and that also generate an extra cost per month.

Of course, it must have all the modules that a complete sports center needs and not have to use a program for the reservations, another one to pass the remittances, one of surveys and 20 Excel to do the things that our program does not do.

We have to ask the software for a series of basic functionalities:

  • Speed: we must be able to do things instantly, it cannot be that every time we make a query a clock goes around and we have to wait 10 seconds to receive the requested information.
  • Accessibility: we must be able to access the program from any device and anywhere. Desktop programs that force you to be in the center to make any query do not make sense today. It should not force us to install additional plugins for the program to work. An Internet connection and a browser should be enough.
  • Robustness: the program must always be “online”, without crashes or outages that make us lose a sale. A client who is in Brazil can book a track for you because tomorrow he is in Madrid and he can do it at night when the club is closed, but the client area must always be open 24×365. In case of outages, from which no one is safe, there must be a replica so that the data can be accessed and the operation of the club is not stopped.
  • Improvements: the software must incorporate new functionalities and not remain stagnant. The needs of the sports centers must be listened to and if they help to improve the program, develop them in an orderly fashion.
  • Integration: we must have an API to integrate with other hardware or software systems that can make a different functionality.
  • Support: we will always have doubts about how to do things and we will need to rely on product experts who can teach us how to get the most out of the software. This attention can be by phone, support tickets or mail.

As for the modules it must have, we are going to list the ones we consider essential:

  • Customers: having a CRM with which to segment our customer database is essential to be able to communicate with them via email, sms or push notifications. In the customer’s file we must have all the data of the activities performed in the club and have the possibility to expand these fields to the needs of our center.
  • Reservations: from the Internet, through the App or browser, by phone, multiple … essential to have a grid available to our customers.
  • Collections: cash, vouchers, cards, Virtual POS, Paypal, transfers, remittances … The important thing is to collect and provide facilities for customers to make the payment. For example, it is a great advantage that the customer can use his App or the web to pay with his card the receipts.
  • School: whether they are private classes or monthly or quarterly schools, the control of the groups of collective activities is essential. Sports centers with more than 2000 students need an exhaustive control of the classes. Reports of hours given by teachers or comparisons of students between two dates are necessary to control this activity. Tools such as Syltek Solutions’ MyClass help teachers keep track of their classes and attendance on their cell phones.
  • Activities and Tournaments: all centers organize different activities in which we have a list of participants and fees. Controlling it from the program so that it is integrated is very important. For more specific things, such as a ranking or a round robin tournament, it is very interesting to be able to do them from the program.
  • Organization of matches or classes: almost all of us know MeApunto. A tool that organizes matches, classes or any activity that a client can sign up for is essential. Nowadays customers want the club to take care of everything and they only want to go to play their game or enjoy their class.
  • POS: controlling the sales of the store or cafeteria and its stock is also necessary.
  • Surveys: knowing what customers think is basic. A module to create surveys and send them to customers who have passed through the club, or to those who have not done so for a long time, will give us vital information.
  • Reports: having reports in real time allows us to make decisions with reliable data. Then we can be wrong or right but we have the data to be able to make them.
  • News: to transmit news to our customers and to be integrated into the center’s website or social networks.
  • Configuration: to be able to change the configuration of our club, schedules, prices, colors, payment methods … Not depending on anyone to use the tool is necessary.

Once we have the program with all the modules and tools such as the web or the App, what we have to do is to use them and take advantage of them.
There is no point in having a Ferrari if we leave it parked in the garage. A good manager will have to dedicate time to review in the program the reports to see the occupations, the invoicing, the most demanded services and the less demanded ones, to remove some from the grid and offer new ones etc.

We will have to send a newsletter, update the website with new news, upload photos so that customers can see that the club is alive and can perform various activities that suit their tastes or availability.

Use surveys to know what our customers think or evaluations so that they feel cared for and see that there is work behind the classes.
In short: first get the tools, try them out and don’t be fooled by what the sales people tell you, talk to your colleagues in the sector and ask why they use one program or another and how that company responds when they need it.

Once you are clear about the tool, look for a responsible person in the club, if you can’t be yourself, who is the interlocutor with that company, who is trained until he/she is able to get 100% and who can teach the rest of the employees of your center how to use it.

This person should be the channel through which your employees solve their doubts and the only one who deals with the company. In the end, if everyone knows a little bit and calls continuously asking the same questions, it is not productive for the club.

How is a course done in your center? or what filters do I have to make to pass the remittance? is not something that should be asked to the company that has made the program we work with, they are internal doubts of the club that should be solved by the person in charge of the tool.

If we have a clear flow and each person in charge of the area knows how to do things, everything is much easier and we avoid frustrations of your employees for not knowing how to use a tool in which they are not trained. Don’t forget to ask the company for the videos of how it works and the necessary documentation so you don’t depend on them being able to assist you in a particular moment when a doubt arises.

Are you still using Excel or a notebook to write down your reservations?

David Morales