No matter the rec space you are in or the type of programming you offer, we are all still seeing the lingering effects of the pandemic and adjusting to them. As group activities were on a hiatus for a time, consumers had to safely occupy themselves with what was at their disposal. This presented a shift to online services and individual activities, such as running and home workouts.
While these new realities have emerged, we have seen numerous community centers put in place initiatives to adapt to their changing communities. What hasn't changed though, is the important role community centers play in their area and the worth that their non-profit motivations bring to people. Of course, this isn't news to most of you.
As experts in the registration area, we had a hunch that 2024 would present a big opportunity for community centers to level up their experience by understanding more about, and adapting to, changing consumer priorities. With that in mind, we held a strong belief that this upcoming year offers a great chance for community centers to elevate their offerings and broaden their reach by aligning with evolving consumer preferences.
You’ll find in this article a preview of the research results. To get the complete report, download the eBook below!
Overview: What We Learned
This study confirmed an increase in willingness to participate in community recreational activities year over year. In addition, we discovered factors related to consumer engagement and preferences such as:
1. Community centers are a key part of consumers' health and wellness intentions.
2. Awareness of community centers results in participation.
3. Membership experience is a key factor in consumer decision-making.
Consumers expressed that community centers continue to be perceived as essential to the people in their area, whether they currently they participate in activities, plan to or do not intend to. In addition, though the majority of consumers plan to spend more time at community centers, they hope to keep their spending as the same as last year. Finally, we identified key areas of opportunity in which you can apply these learnings to increase participation and attract more community members to your center.
Key Statistics & Highlights
Opinions & Attitudes
- 90% of respondents want to spend more or the same amount of time at their local community center.
Knowledge & Use of Local Facilities
- 80% of people who were not aware of a community center in their area said they would participate in the programming if there was one.
Preferences for Programming & Experience:
- Factors consistently ranked in respondents’ top 3 most considered when choosing to participate at a community center: Registration Process, Online Portal, Flexible Payment
Implications and Recommendations
The outlook for the community center space appears promising. Our data analysis has revealed ample opportunities to expand your community and enhance engagement among current participants. The question is, how can you achieve this? While marketing plays a crucial role, our findings have highlighted two key insights: firstly, the importance of value, as participants are keen to enjoy themselves more without increasing their spending. Thus, bringing awareness to all your available programs and benefits is imperative. Secondly, focusing on the member's experience is paramount. Ask yourself two questions: 'How is their experience prior to joining our programs, including the sign-up and payment process?' and 'Does their experience meet expectations once they are on-site, regarding program variety and the safety of our facilities?'