According to management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, more than $620 billion is spent every year on sport, and that’s without taking into account the billions spent on sponsorship or the wellness industry, now worth an eye-watering $4.2 trillion alone as consumers become increasingly conscious about their health and appearance. Whether you’re the owner of a local sports club or the CEO of a nationwide gym chain, managing a sports facility can be hard, especially if you’re struggling to get people through the door or you’ve got competition.

The key to a successful sports facility is excellent management and building a team who can handle the operations involved, meet the demands of your customers, and overcome the everyday challenges that you’re likely to face. Success is also about being forward-thinking and considering what the future might hold for your facility and, of course, the wider industry.

Below, we’ve rounded up five key trends in the sports facility management world, and how the age of technology and software is transforming the way many facilities do business…

Collaboration and optimal scheduling have never been so important

Perhaps one of the biggest trends in sports facility management is collaboration and relying on a team of people rather than a single manager to handle the smooth running of your site. In today’s competitive times where consumers have more choice than ever, collaboration gives a competitive advantage, allowing companies to pool together their resources and skills for the greater good of their business. Clubs and facilities are modelling their new management structures on startup businesses - those who have to be nimble to ensure their success, and those who have a collaborative, flexible work culture that values every opinion.

More and more organisations are embracing agile workspaces which not only results in a more motivated staff but allows you to connect with your customers on a deeper level and provide a better service to them, too. Local sports club? Allowing patrons to collaborate on your annual events schedule will increase attendance. Gym? Empowering personal trainers to manage their own workloads and schedules increases job satisfaction and client retention.

And relying on professional software like PARiM to manage schedules and share ideas helps to build rapport amongst staff with Open Shifts enabling shift applications and requests and to drive growth and profits by optimising operations, attendance and payroll as PARiM offers lightning fast 1-click scheduling with Select Mode as well as statistics and labor monitoring right in its Scheduling Calendar.

Whilst PARiM's client portal can be used to connect with corporate customers on a deeper level and make them part of your brand’s conversation.

PARiM's client portal

Personalisation and efficient communication are key

Technology and software have transformed the way we interact with brands and changed the way we shop. Nowadays, we expect brands to offer personalised services and experiences based on our previous spending or browsing habits, and the same should be true in the world of sports facilities. Of course, you won’t be able to personalise your facility, but you can use software to personalise the marketing messages you send to patrons - a gym might send out a generic bulk email to 10,000 customers, but get a much better response when they segment their audiences into categories and types, sending out personalised or tailored marketing messages based on their interests (i.e. weight-loss classes, cardio clubs, or weight-lifting workshops). By tuning both your marketing messages and tone of voice to your audience, both online, over the phone and inside of an app, you’ll be able to increase brand engagement and customer loyalty. Customer data is everything: learn how to best interpret it both as a company and in management - tailoring services will significantly increase footfall.

However, the benefits of technology go beyond external messaging – solutions like PARiM can help you communicate, and more importantly, to avoid over-communicating with your staff.

Take advantage of IoT technology for better management processes

In today’s Internet of Things (IoT) world, you can go one step further with personalisation to build on customer experiences. According to Gartner, 25 billion connected things will be in use by 2020, so integrate lights, sensors, windows, CCTV and air conditioning based on customer numbers and personal preferences, and you’ll stand out from the crowd and generate sales.

PARiM offers innovative iBeacon and NFC time clock with our Checkpoints module that comes for free with our free and professional. We combine that with GPS geofencing to guarantee accurate clock-ins and clock-outs for your facility staff - assuring accurate attendance levels across your portfolio of facilities and different departments. Ultimately saving you the large percentage of your margins that companies usually lose due to no-shows, early clock-outs and other problematic behaviours.

In our workforce software you can combine iBeacons and NFC tags into routes that you can then use to monitor your staff live in real-time:

The rise of wellness programs and more varied types of leave

Wellness is on the up, and sports facilities should take advantage, even if they haven’t offered programs or classes in the past. If you have a field or a hall, you can offer classes to both the general public and to your staffers, which will not only attract and keep talent but help reduce the cost of absenteeism - and increase productivity by up to ten per cent in the process. You can invest in corporate wellness software to track employees and manage their progress and integrate with B2C apps and programs like MyFitnessPal to collect data on attendees which can be used to improve experiences, track progress, and tailor classes.

Another way to boost wellness and productivity is to offer more varied types of leave and holidays to your workers – with periods, amounts and type of holiday pay customisable per worker or per group of workers. PARiM makes it super easy to create and to manage an almost infinite variety of absences across all parts of your business with our absence calendar.

Using data for tracking and reporting improves facilities' ROI and ROE

Finally, get smart with your facility and understand what is and isn’t working. Use software, and technology to receive reports on your facility, understand how to better manage your space and forecast on the future. Careful management of your facility will allow you to increase sales and profitability, as well as save energy and understand the lifecycle of your current programs, matches, or products. The chances are that you’re already collecting some data on your customers or clients, whether you realise it or not - according to IBM, we now create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per year - and the most interesting thing is that 90 per cent of the world’s data has been created in just the last two years. The key to success is knowing how to use that data to make better business decisions that will result in increased sales, performance, productivity, and job satisfaction. Software such as can be used to fill the gaps.

There are easy ways such as using PARiM's assets module to track your facilities' assets. Knowing what is where and who has checked out what and when it supposed to be returned is a small thing that can add a lot to your fast-paced operations.

Or you can also go more in depth with PARiM's reporting tools – offering reports such as Position Coverage/Occupancy reports to monitor the performance and profitability of your business.

Running a sports facility can be incredibly rewarding both personally and professionally, but it is important to tap into trends and use software to improve the management of your site. If you don’t take advantage of the tools and technology available to you, you’ll likely fall behind the competition and struggle to make your mark. Be bold, be brave, and exploit trends to the best of your advantage, and you’ll soon be on to a winner. We wish you the very best of luck.