12 Ways Leading Parks and Recreation Organizations are Maximizing Patron Experiences

Devin Meister

May 27, 2022

We looked around the parks and recreation space to see what creates a blue ribbon experience for everyone, what’s reasonable to expect, and what departments and municipalities can do to increase satisfaction for everyone.

We found many great examples. The best-in-class examples ranged in size and geography, proving that leadership and initiative was the prime differentiators. Below are twelve areas where these forward-thinking organizations directed their focus to deliver the most value for their communities. Or take a quiz to see how you compare.

12 Keys to a Great Patron Experience and Sustainable Parks and Rec Operations

1. Program Registration
Program registrations are one of the main community touchpoints for every department. Highly visible and critically important, they can also dominate your staff’s time.

2. Facility Reservations
Keeping track of facility resources is important to ensure that they are appropriately accounted for, scheduled, maintained, and valued.

3. Payments
How you are able to receive payments plays a large role in your customer experience and also impacts your staff.

4. Billing
Offering billing and payment options for programs and services helps make them more budget friendly and affordable, increasing accessibility for your community and patrons.

5. Communicating with patrons
Build it and they will come doesn’t always apply to parks and recreation – people have to know what you have to offer. With the variety of platforms and channels available and preferred by different groups, it can be a challenge to reach everyone.

6. Financial reporting
Securing future funding requires accurately tracking and recording all revenue to the proper municipal accounts and then being able to report on past results with confidence.

7. Operations reporting
Making smart decisions about your future plans necessitates that you accurately understand what happened. It requires the ability to capture operational data from across your operations and deliver insights to decision-makers and stakeholders across the organization.

8. Program Guide Creation
Your program guide is one of the best tools for marketing and communicating with your patrons – and potentially one of the most time-consuming projects your staff performs.

9. Maintenance
Keeping your investments and resources safe and working for their expected service life is important for everyone. It’s also an area that is too often reactionary and creates opportunities for liabilities to arise.

10. Contactless Relations
It’s no secret that there’s a labor shortage and that it’s impacting parks and recreation departments everywhere. That means it’s critical to get the maximum benefit and enable your employees to work where they are most beneficial.

11. Ticketing
Controlling access to venues and events has never been more important. It’s also a great opportunity to drive revenue and improve the customer experience. What types of ticketing purchase options do you provide your community?

12. Member Passes
Controlling access to your facilities is critical for both safety and usage perspectives, as well as reporting. It also says a lot about the value you place on your offerings.

Want to see how you compare to other organizations across the country?

Take this quick quiz created by Parks and Recreation Business to see how your patron experience and operations compare to other parks and recreation organizations across the country.