About Grapevine Parks & Recreation
Grapevine Parks and Recreation proudly serves 55,000+ residents, offering more programs than any other comparable North Texas city. They aim to empower citizens to learn, discover and build a stronger community through their programming, facilities, and parkland. Their portfolio includes: 2,860 acres of land, 53 parks, 32 playgrounds, and 5 sports complexes (one being a 110, 000 sq. ft recreation center with an indoor aquatic facility). They host fitness classes, martial arts, special interests, outdoor sports, fine arts, dance, and summer camps.
When being online isn’t enough
After using the same solution for 23 years, they had built an excellent relationship with their provider. However, no matter how much time they invested in fixes to their platform, the community wasn’t registering online for the department’s services.
“We were always hanging around the 8- 10% range of all the registrations that we bring in online versus in-person (or on the phone) and we were never able to bump that up”, explains Chris Smith, Deputy Director of Grapevine Parks and Recreation. He had a clear goal in mind: “Get our online registrations up to the 40%- 60% range.”
Grapevine's Marketing Manager, Amanda Rodriguez, knew part of the problem stemmed from the website: “We had our main website that was being marketed and then we also had our registration site, and the two sites weren't very integrated.” She was worried about the complexity of their online platform at the time: “Even for someone who is tech savvy it was very difficult to understand and navigate. I can only imagine what it was like for most of our residents.”
Searching for solutions off-the-beaten-path
Grapevine realized that being online was not enough, they needed to create an enticing online experience for their residents. To be customer-centric, they required an interface that was easy to use, had intuitive functionality and a modern look. They searched the market for alternative solutions and designed their RFP around the customer experience criteria. After interviewing and shortlisting 10, 6 and finally 3 platforms, they ended up picking SmartRec, which at the time was a new solution for the parks and recreation industry.
Amanda was closely involved in the RFP process and her main concern was: “to ensure we could integrate [the registration system into the Grapevine website] in such a way that our users would have a seamless online registration experience.” She achieved this by embedding iFrames directly into the website. “It’s something that brought the ease of our registration to another level!”
See the Grapevine store for yourself here.
Grapevine’s work paid off Within two months of launching with SmartRec, their online registration grew from 10% to 50%, well within the department’s initial goal.
Freeing up staff time through automation
Hunter Hardeman is the Recreation Supervisor who handles the day to day at The REC of Grapevine. The shift from offline to online registration has improved his staff’s ability to adapt to new conditions: “Having SmartRec, our online platform and having people register online has freed up a lot of our part-time staff hours. They’re able to do some of those other things that we need them to do. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, we had a lot of extra cleaning and safety protocols to implement.”
Bringing eCommerce performance to P&R
Luckily today Grapevine’s facilities are once again busy. Their revenues have recovered to pre-pandemic levels. On average Grapevine has collected $250k in revenue in the last 3 months, 77% of which was collected online. Time once dedicated to managing registrations could be spent making a difference elsewhere. These results exceed the original goals and P&R benchmarks but are typical of the SmartRec eCommerce performance.