#NIRSA2017 Recap

By | Events & Happenings, Fitness, Industry, Trends Reports & Surveys | No Comments

NIRSA is the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association. The NIRSA annual conference was held in Washington DC this year. I had the opportunity to participate in the conference and wanted to share some of what I learned.

After several days of sessions and talking to customers, my top 3 takeaways are below:

  1. Our gray polo shirts fit in! I’ve never seen so many collegiate polo shirts and khaki pants all in one place
  2. If you attend NIRSA be ready to have old college memories come to mind
  3. If the conference is in Washington DC, be prepared for the taxi driver to ask you your party affiliation as an ice breaker

These takeaways are all true of course, but here are some overall themes that will help me in my role as Product Manager for SpectrumNG.

Campus Recreation Staff
Like many organizations, there is a staff structure that we need to understand so we can serve and market our products accordingly. There are three main levels of staff we work with at Campus Recreation Centers:

  • Students – Students can hold all sorts of positions at a campus recreation center including welcome desk, fitness staff, fitness attendants, and more. Rec centers, as a general rule, employ the majority of students on campus
  • Graduate Assistants – If a person is dedicated to a future in the recreation industry, they must have a master’s degree and they must complete a graduate assistantship that is equivalent to an apprenticeship. The grad assistantship is one step to a future career in recreation
  • Pro staff – These are the professional staff at the rec center that have a dedicated career. Typical roles includes Marketing, Camp, Fitness, Director, and others

Student Staff
Think back to the different levels of staff for a minute. Since a large majority of the staff at a rec center are students guess what is very normal! Staff turnover – by default every staff person will turn over in 2 – 4 years. We can help our Campus Recreation customers by providing training materials that can be used over and over again by the rec center as they train new staff. We also put a focus on ease of use for our student staff that may be new to this type of software.

Inclusion
Inclusion is a hot topic in the health and wellness industry as a whole and it’s even more important to campus recreation centers. At NIRSA there was a focus on welcoming LGBTQ and creating gender neutral spaces such as restrooms and locker rooms. For members with disabilities, recreation center are adding multiple options such as wider benches for weight lifting to allow for easier transfer from chair to bench, dedicated dog hooks/areas for service dogs, and more. Finally, campus recreation centers are moving away from the term “freshman” to the term “first-year” since not all students/staff relate to the term “man.”

Engagement
They are all about engaging staff, students, alumni, etc. One welcome desk process was to welcome the member at 10 ft. and 5 ft. If they are 10 ft. away from you just walking in the door you wave or nod to acknowledge them. Then when they are close enough to see their face you actually speak to them and engage them in a conversation.

Retention
Recreation centers are looking towards improving retention numbers more and more. If campus recreation centers can keep their student members as engaged as possible during their time in the rec center, they may convert to an alumni membership or alumni donor later in their life.

Increased Competition
Just like many other clubs the onslaught of boutique gyms has changed their business. Over the past several years campus rec centers have altered their programming to compete with these gyms or altered their membership plans to generate new revenue streams. While many campus rec centers may compete with local YMCAs they have also created partnerships with them. For example, allowing the Y to operate an after school site or day camp within the rec center.

I’ve enjoyed sharing my experience from NIRSA! NIRSA was filled with many great conversations with customers, future customers, partners and potential partners. Were you there? Feel free to comment below.

Sloss Tech: The Southeast’s Preeminent Tech Festival

By | Community, Culture, Events & Happenings, Industry, Technology | No Comments

Who’s excited about Sloss Music & Arts Festival? It’s less than a month away now, and the lineup is phenomenal. New to Birmingham or don’t know what Sloss Fest is? It’s a two-day music and lifestyle event that takes place at Birmingham’s Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, and it has truly put Birmingham on the radar in the music festival world. This year, Sloss Fest will also feature a new tech conference aptly named Sloss Tech. It will be a day of thought-provoking presentations and workshops covering the latest in creative thinking and emerging technologies. Sloss Tech will also feature three influential speakers: Gary Vaynerchuk, Robert Scoble, and Andy Grignon. This is a great opportunity for the tech community to network and share ideas, and Daxko is proud to be a sponsor. We’re excited about the growing tech community here in Birmingham, and we truly believe Sloss Tech will add great value to this community. Want to be a part of it? Check out sloss.tech for more information, buy tickets here, and network with us and the Birmingham tech community on July 15th!

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2016 YMCA Membership Summit

By | Engagement, Events & Happenings, Industry, Leadership, Membership, Mission Delivery, Mobile | No Comments

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the YMCA Membership Summit in Dallas. With over 600 executives in attendance and the energy at the event, it is clear that the future of membership is a critical and compelling topic for Ys. After attending sessions, listening to speakers, and engaging in conversation with many YMCA executives, I noticed a recurring theme: change is inevitable; and with change, comes opportunity.

So how will Daxko support our customers through these changes?

  1. MOBILE The newest generation of members and program participants are digital natives. Mobile solutions are simply an expectation. That’s why we’ve been working closely with our customers build out the latest version of Daxko Mobile from the ground up, using the latest in Mobile development tools. Our pilot Ys love the usability and the member experience of the new solution. This project is just the beginning of Daxko’s new member experience priorities that will poise our customers as progressive, member-minded organizations in their communities.
  2. NON-TRADITIONAL MEMBERSHIPS (You may think of this as a virtual membership.) Creating a virtual health and wellness community represents an opportunity to reach the 82% of the US population who don’t belong to any gym. This is particularly true with the millennial demographic who want to work out where they want, when they want, and are accustomed to having a social network integrated into everything they do. With that in mind, we’ve excited by the launch of Daxko Well, which is being piloted by the First Coast YMCA in Jacksonville  and the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region in Colorado Springs. 
  3. DATA As a result of having 600+ YMCA customers, Daxko has more data, over a longer period of time, than any other provider. And we want that to mean something. We are actively working with Y-USA to make that data available and meaningful across the Y Movement.
  4. DAXKO ENGAGE Engaging your members is more than just sending out well-designed emails and short text messages. You can’t impact your members and consistently build relationships without a systematic and intentional approach. That’s why we developed Daxko Engage, the only engagement solution that is powered by data that accurately shows which members are engaged and who’s at risk of terminating their membership. 

I’d like to hear your your thoughts and comments. We can have a much greater impact when we all work together. 

-Dave

Daxko CEO Dave Gray Will Serve on the Board of the YMCA of Greater Birmingham

By | Board, Events & Happenings, Industry, Leadership, Mission Delivery | No Comments

Daxko CEO David Gray recently joined the board of directors of the YMCA of Greater Birmingham. Gray has long been a supporter of the Y movement and Daxko software runs behind the scenes at many YMCAs across the country. He joins YMCA of Greater Birmingham CEO Stan Law on the board and Gray already serves on the board of the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in North Carolina.

“I am honored to serve on the board of directors of the YMCA of Greater Birmingham,” states Gray. “I am passionate about the work of the YMCA in our community, and I look forward to collaborating with Stan and his team, as well as other board members, to promote the Y values of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility across the Birmingham area.”

The YMCA of Greater Birmingham is the Daxko “Hometown Y” and serves Jefferson and Shelby Counties in Alabama. Currently made up of 14 local branches that engage more than 60,000 men, women, and children in the Birmingham area.

The YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly is a 1,200 acre retreat and conference center located in the Black Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. Blue Ridge Assembly has a long history of impacting lives through meetings, groups, and school programs.