Boulder Parks and Recreation manages more than 1860 acres of urban parks and plaza space. With 86 parks, 42 playgrounds, 100 outdoor ball courts plus so much more, hundreds of thousands of booking reservations happen annually with 3,500 programs offered.
Tim Duda, Boulder Parks and Rec’s IT applications senior administrator who has been with the department for 9 years, explains his drive is to help provide quality health and wellness programs and facilities for community members. To do that, his main goal is to help customize the ACTIVENet system to the department’s needs while making all online processes as streamlined and efficient for community members as possible, resulting in a fun environment and a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved!
Boulder Parks and Rec books more than 251,000 reservations each year. “The biggest challenge with the legacy Consumer User Interface (CUI) was when moving more of our processes online for customers, it wasn’t mobile-friendly or screen reactive,” Duda says. Being mobile-friendly allows users to interact and engage with your brand across devices—without being annoyed or inconvenienced. This increased accessibility is key to creating long term loyalty and customer retention, so it’s a necessity for organizations.
Since more and more customers are logging on from a variety of different devices, it’s essential to have the ability to meet customer demands and that the customer journey can be accessed at any point and from any device. With special events like the annual Boulder Creek Festival, which hosts 50 performances and 65 Boulder-based businesses with roughly 250,000 “Boulderites” in attendance, an efficient and streamlined process was a must.
To keep up with their reservation demand, Boulder Parks and Rec turned to ACTIVENet’s new CUI Reservations Module to manage and maintain online reservations. The new CUI allows for customers to perform all available online actions from any device.
“We have received lots of positive feedback on this enhancement, especially for online court reservations and program enrollments,” Duda says. The implementation of the module has allowed Boulder Parks and Rec to create more online reservation options for customers to help streamline the reservation process and remove barriers, such as extra paperwork or online applications forms.
In addition, Duda explains, “This enhancement has helped reduce staff time, as reservations can be handled online by the customer via the online portal.” The quick reserve module only requires the customer to make a handful of selections before completing the transaction, which is a huge plus for Boulder Parks and Rec customers.
The Migration Process
Duda says that overall, the migration process was straightforward. “We turned on one module at a time, making sure all our offerings transferred correctly. The customer module, activities module and gift card module were simple and required very little configuration changes, while the landing page and reservation module required some time to make sure images populated correctly.”
He strongly encourages anyone going through the migration process to review the release notes and user guides that are available through ACTIVENet Answers. “The ACTIVENet Support staff was instrumental when it came to questions regarding online reservation configuration changes. They helped us connect the dots with ideas we wanted to implement within the module,” Duda says.
One of Boulder Parks and Rec’s biggest goals was to remove barriers to participation within the registration process. With a mobile-responsive and user-friendly layout, their online reservations have increased with the new CUI module.
Plus, with more customers using the online enrollment feature, front deck staff have more time and open phone lines to assist customers that are unable to access the online portal. “Overall, migrating to the new CUI has led to more online registrations, an increase in customer satisfaction and a decrease in the need for staff support during high volume registration days,” Duda says.
Another change that Boulder Parks and Rec highlights is the use of multiple weeks of registrations for summer camps. This option allows for customer to easily select the camp weeks they want to enroll their child in without having to enroll one week at a time. This switch streamlined the enrollment process and made it much easier—and less frustrating—for customers.
Duda explains, “Since our first full year with ACTIVENet in 2017, we have had a 68% increase in online registrations over front desk enrollments. For 2022, 75% of our enrollments occurred online, and 2021 was our highest record, just shy of 80% of online enrollments! I have a feeling we will surpass our 2021 percentage this year as our winter registration date takes place in December—it’s our largest season of programs which we offer.” An increase in registrations, revenue and time saved. It’s a win-win for everyone!
The Boulder Reservoir sells boat permits and annual mooring permits. For 2022, Boulder Parks and Rec issued 3,125 boat permits and permitted roughly 300 mooring spots. The unique part of these permit sales is customers who purchased items the year prior receive priority when renewing their permits for the next year. Due to the complexity of this process, Boulder’s staff handled sales on site and in person prior to 2021. This required a lot of extra time spent by both their team and each customer. It took staff roughly a few months to schedule and process all the sales for the upcoming season.
“Two years ago we switched this process to ACTIVENet using the activities module and incorporating the perquisite configuration option along with the customer alternate key option. We now process all these transactions online, saving staff and customers a great amount of time. Last year, our small watercraft permits (2,893 of them) sold out in a few hours. Prior to this change, it would have taken staff multiple weeks to process the sales and permit the crafts for the upcoming season,” Duda says.
As of today, Boulder Parks and Rec has turned on the registration, reservation, membership and gift card modules, and Duda notes they are excited to continue enhancing the number of online facility reservation options for community members. “Activating the online calendar module and customizing more online reservation options is in the near future. I am looking forward to having all our calendars available online and within one system."
Words of Wisdom
Duda encourages all fellow ACTIVENet users thinking about turning on the new CUI modules to migrate now. His advice: Don’t overwhelm yourself by turning on every module all at once. Switch one module over at a time and start with the easiest ones, such as the landing page, registration page and membership page. Test all the options in the trainer site first to make sure all the configuration settings meet your needs, then tackle the other modules that will likely require more time, configuration planning and testing.
In the long run, taking the time now to migrate your system will only improve your customers’ online experience and increase your online transaction percentage. The mobile responsive enhancement alone will make a dramatic improvement, allowing your customers to easily access and view your offerings from any device and from any location.