Rockford Park District finds Golden Ticket with WebTrac App 

Devin Meister

June 6, 2024

Rockford Park District launches mobile app to connect with patrons.

“We’re Pumped” says Mike Costello, Interactive Media Administrator

Patron Engagement Challenges

Rockford, Illinois has a vibrant and diverse population of 140,000 plus. When you add in the entire neighboring DMA, that count more than doubles to in excess of 350,000. The Rockford Park District has to continually look ahead to serve that ever-changing population. Mike Costello, Interactive Media Administrator for the district, helps lead that charge.
“We’re diverse culturally and also in our athletic tastes and activities,” he says. With a Chicago Blackhawks minor league hockey team based locally, they’re a hockey town, “but we’re committed to doing programs and community events that are inclusive and offer something for everyone.” That presents numerous challenges when you’re striving to connect with patrons at scale and get the word out about what’s available.

Be Where they’re going: Mobile

To paraphrase hockey great Wayne Gretzky, Rockford is skating to where the audience is going, not where most of them might be now. How people receive information is changing dramatically and the trends are unlikely to reverse.

Mike offers this opinion on where the Rockford community gets their information based on his observations, something districts everywhere are experiencing. “I think our young parents are starting at social media. The district website is now probably the third-place people go for information, after they’ve Googled it or after they’ve tried social media.” He continues, “I would say our customers are certainly 60 to 70% mobile right now” That’s why he believes their new WebTrac Mobile App will provide a great new option and be “right in their wheelhouse.”

The Right Time with the Right App

Mike and the team at the Rockford Park District had wanted a mobile app for some time, but there was always something that made previously available options come up short. One of those was being able to complete registration on the app. “We wanted it to work with our registration systems,” said Mike. “In the past we looked into other providers. They were going to need to try to connect an API and do a lot of work to try to make the registration work smoothly.” Naturally, there was a concern that it would not go well, and when it comes to registration, everyone wants it to go smoothly. “When Vermont Systems WebTrac App appeared, that was like the golden ticket for us to finally do it.” As Mike says, “if you couldn’t get signed up for programs from the app, what’s the point?”

Skating Ahead

With the awareness that their community is increasingly leaning on mobile, the Rockford Park District is excited to be leading the way for their patrons. According to Mike, “There’s a good energy to us having the app. I’ve heard several people say, ‘oh thank God we finally got something like this.’” The WebTrac App will serve as a central hub for district information and an integrated platform to engage with the department. “I would say the most exciting part is being able to promote one app that will do 98% of the things people want to do when they open their phones.”

The Rockford Park District app will app will do 98% of the things people want to do when they open their phones.

Right away Rockford is taking advantage of the ability to inform patrons about league schedules, signups, tickets, events, and everything else they offer. “We’re pumped,” says Mike. “We’re excited and appreciative that this happened and that we were able to get to the front of the line to when it came to launching the app.”

Is the WebTrac App Right for you and your department?

Learn More – watch a video and get the fact sheet.