Evolving Park Patron Experience and Expectations

Vermont Systems

September 29, 2022

Meeting the expectations of your patrons is critical – this is the experience business! Job one is to make every customer interaction remarkable.

The reality is that the user experience encompasses every patron interaction and touch-point. The best camp in the world means nothing if a family can’t register or afford it. Your outstanding facilities will be under-utilized if reservations or access is a hassle. On top of that, the definitions of a great experience are rapidly changing, impacted by technology everywhere. What used to be acceptable as “the way it is” isn’t acceptable today. The public knows better. We know better.

We looked around the Parks and Rec space to determine what type of experience you and your peers are delivering beyond programing and activities. Where are the friction points? What processes can be optimized? The upside is that what creates an exceptional experience for patrons does the same for everyone in your department from the front line to the main office.

We created a survey featuring 10 of these most critical patron experience points in conjunction with Parks and Recreation Business Magazine to gather data on what you and your peers are doing. We received input from across North America, from departments big and small.

What follows are the results, highlighting some areas where parks and recreation departments can dramatically improve the patron experience, others where systems are fairly advanced, and painted a picture of how well we’re making the transition to great experiences.

Patrick Hayden
Vermont Systems

About the Results

Vermont Systems and Parks and Recreation Business (PRB) conducted a survey available to PRB readers and online audiences through June and July of 2022. Participants were not paid to complete the survey. More than 130 individuals completed the survey, representing 44 states and provinces across the USA and Canada.