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Q&A: Why All Community Rec Centers Need an Engaging Mobile App

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We are living in a digital age. According to a 2017 study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, when 80 percent of Internet users in America (93 million people) want information on health-related topics, they first search for a relevant website or mobile app.

While it’s not as common in such a crowded market, your rec center’s online presence is more important than ever. The best way to stand out to potential prospects and stay connected with current members is through a well-designed and engaging mobile app.

The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities has used a well-designed app — boasting a rating of 4.5 in the iTunes App Store — to its advantage, enhancing the member experience with several features like mobile check-in, wellness challenges, goal-setting and many more.

Here, Courtney Harrness, a multi-site executive director for the Greater Twin Cities Y, shares why his association launched its app and how that has proven to be a great addition to each facility’s offerings:

Should any community rec center consider launching a mobile app?

CH: Absolutely. Any community-serving centers that provide programs and services to a broad range of participants should be, at least, offering the option for their members to use a mobile app.

What are the pros and cons involved?

CH: Members at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities have the option to use our mobile app to check in at all of our locations, access group exercise schedules for all locations, register for programs, classes and services, and even participate in challenges created for the app that encourage members to come to the Y more frequently.

What challenges did you have to overcome when launching your mobile app?

CH: Like with most digital technology, buy-in and use from members builds slowly. We have found as we offer more opportunities, programs, services and engagement, our members are seeing our YMCA app as a tool to make their experience more meaningful.

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Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the editor of Community Rec Magazine. He can be reached at bobby@peakemedia.com.

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