5 Innovative Solutions to Simplify Recreation Management

· by Ben Michalak

Campus recreation is a higher ed professional field that is full of innovative new strategies to solve operational issues. With issues like inventory loss, unused spaces, and lack of student engagement, it’s best to err on the side of innovation when choosing ways to optimize your campus rec spaces. Self-access entryways, people-counting software, towel-tracking, reservation software, and automated rental platforms all exist to make your experience as a recreation professional easier and guarantee your operational success. In this blog, we’ll discuss 5 innovative solutions to simplify your recreation management strategies.

1. Self-access doors & turnstiles 

In many ways, equipment management starts when student renters enter the building. Installing self-access doors or turnstiles is a security measure that can help you control who can access your campus rec space. If your campus has an existing keycard system, many self-access systems allow for integration so that students can swipe into your rec center without having to add a card to their wallet. On top of security, doors and turnstiles can free up space in your campus rec center to remove check-in desks and give student staff members newer, more rewarding responsibilities. Automating your entryways is a fantastic way to free up space, increase security, and streamline the entry process. 

2. People-counting software

Security and access are sides of equipment management that are important to consider. However, to truly help optimize your campus rec space, it’s important to understand the key times when people use it. People-counting softwares can help you track and analyze daily traffic through your space so you know exactly when your campus rec space needs the most attention. Do you deal with staffing strain because you feel the need to have staff posted at all times? With a thorough people-counting system, you can pinpoint the best times to schedule your staff based on when students access the rec center. People-counting software can also help you understand how students use your space and where you may need to address needs, such as furniture placement or equipment access points. 

3. Towel-tracking software

Many campus rec centers provide towels to students using their pools or weight facilities. However, it’s not uncommon to lose towels to people unintentionally walking away with them. Towel tracking has emerged as a solution to these problems. These come in a variety of models–some with individual towel lockers and others with a singular towel basin–and help save you money on annual towel expenses (that may arise with inventory loss or damage). Along with these savings, you can expect to lose fewer towels and, like the self-access doors, free up staff to take on other recreation tasks. 

An added bonus is the ability to manage a sustainable campus rec space. Automated resource sharing promotes waste-reduction efforts by ensuring the damage-free return of your inventory. This process decreases the need for students to buy their own towels or inventory, which could end up in the trash by year’s end. 

4. Reservation software

If there’s anything that will discourage students from using a campus recreation space it’s a lack of available equipment. In many cases, students don’t have a way to check and see if certain equipment is available until they get to their desired space–leaving their recreation aspirations to chance. 

Reservation software gives students the opportunity to reserve equipment or spaces for a set amount of time. Without worrying about whether they’ll be able to use a basketball or access a squash court, students can focus more on enjoying recreational amenities. These types of software can also help you get a sense of your recreational center’s most popular items and spaces, which gives you the tools to optimize your offerings based on the needs and interests of students. 

5. Automated inventory rentals

The final innovative solution combines many of the success elements of the past few into a simple, all-in-one platform. Automated inventory rental platforms are a campus recreation must-have. When it comes to managing an inventory of sought after recreational equipment, you may experience loss and damage as a result of accountability issues. It’s not easy to track basketballs that are kept behind a service desk. From a staff perspective, tracking down inventory isn’t the most rewarding task–in fact, it can be downright frustrating. 

Implementing an automated inventory platform, like RecRe, can alleviate the issues facing your campus rec facilities. RecRe’s rental lockers use a simple check out system that keeps track of rented items and ensures their timely return. This doesn’t just take the burden off the staff, but it gives them a more rewarding opportunity to manage RecRe inventory (and, of course, focus on other tasks important to the rec center). 

If you want to learn more about how Boise State University used RecRe to optimize their Student Recreation Center, you can access their campus success story below.