As we slowly ease into post-pandemic life, we know things are never going back to how they used to be. Our habits, priorities, and how we use our leisure time changed forever.
Just look at what’s been happening in the past couple of years. Exercise and fitness became a new pursuit for many. More people use parks to help relieve anxiety and connect with nature. We’ve discovered--with some creativity--how to make virtual recreation programming work.
It’s essential to stay aware (and ahead) of trends in society’s behavior and parks & recreation innovations. Rolling with the changes to provide the programming and spaces the public wants (and needs) is a crucial element of what we do.
Here are some interesting trends we found worth sharing:
It’s hard to ignore…The prices of just about everything are on the rise. Individuals and families have to be more conscious of their spending. Unfortunately, when budgets get tight, one of the first things to get dropped is recreation-related expenses.
Flexible pricing provides a means to attract and retain budget-conscious patrons. Customer-centric packages like annual memberships, all-access to fitness centers, and bundling programming experiences are ways patrons feel like they’re getting a better value for their recreation budget.
Video games surged in popularity during the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, gaming and esports had annual global revenues of over $1 billion.
Parks & recreation agencies are adding esports (electronic sports) to their programming to reach a different audience.
Esports are more than just playing video games together. They are organized, multiplayer events. Audiences even view the competitions on online channels like Twitch and YouTube.
Esports game categories can include:
- Multiplayer online battles
- Real-time strategy
- Whatever games are trending!
Park & recreation centers are repurposing some of their underutilized space (or developing new areas) to entice gaming enthusiasts to play esports in an inclusive atmosphere where they can connect and socialize. Some agencies are taking it further by adding more physical esports platforms like virtual-reality experiences.
Making Parks & Space Insta-Worthy
Like it, love it, or hate it, social media isn’t going anywhere soon. For example, Instagram has over 500 million daily users posting 95 million pictures or videos each day. Furthermore, sharing on social media is something just about every demographic does.
Social media is an opportunity to get people talking and engaged with our parks, activities, and facilities. Beautifying and maintaining our parks to provide photo-worthy spots in an invitation for free advertising. Setting up selfie stations at programs and events helps creatively reach people in ways typical advertising simply can’t do.
The Glue Holding It All Together…Technology
Parks & recreation departments adapt better when they have the technology to support these new trends. Online registration, self-check-ins, available public WiFi, and software that integrates maintenance scheduling and programming are all ways parks are getting more efficient at meeting the evolving needs of their patrons.