09 Sep Managing access to different parts of your leisure centre
When it comes to controlling access to a leisure facility, there are a lot of choices. And, while that’s a good thing, it can also be overwhelming.
How does access to a fitness or leisure facility differ from a corporate environment? What are the key considerations?
While the best solution for a particular facility will depend on factors such as space, budget, aesthetics, throughput and level of security required, there are some other key considerations.
Managing access in a multi-use facility
Many leisure facilities offer multiple services or membership and access types. Centaman Entrance Control General Manager Michael Bystram says can be challenging to manage from an access control point of view.
“If your facility is home to a pool, a gym, fitness rooms and sports courts, what’s the best way to stop someone who has paid to use one part from accessing another once they’re inside?”
Lords Recreation Centre, Armadale Fitness and Aquatic Centre and HBF Stadium in Western Australia all offer a range of different services to their communities. And all needed a way to securely manage access to different areas of their facilities.
Lords Recreation Centre in Subiaco, Perth, is a 9,500 square metre leisure facility, featuring a pool, gym, group fitness area, indoor tennis, squash and sports courts, a café and creche.
“We installed two EasyGate SG lanes to control access to the gym and two controlled doors to the pool area. This means that people accessing the facility to use the courts or for a particular class, can’t then access the gym or pool without paying. This helps to protect Lords Recreation Centre’s bottom line,” Mr Bystram says
For the recreation centre’s members, the new access control solution ensures they can quickly access the gym and pool without the need to report to reception or wait in line during busy periods.
Lords Recreation Centre Coordinator Centre Services Julie Rechichi says they’ve already noticed an improvement.
“It helps provide faster entry by allowing members to gain entry through express lanes, limiting their waiting period or reliance on reception to validate their membership.”
The EasyGate SG was also used at Perth’s Armadale Fitness and Aquatic Centre. It boasts the lowest price point of Centaman Entrance Control’s speedgates, without compromising on safety and security, making it an ideal solution for fitness and leisure centres.
Both Lords Recreation Centre and Armadale Fitness and Aquatic Centre were able to integrate their access control solutions with Envibe – leisure facility management software by Centaman Entrance Control’s parent company Jonas Leisure.
This integration has helped Armadale Fitness and Aquatic Centre manage a considerable increase in expected membership – 5,500 members as at June 2019, which is 3,200 more than initial projections.
Integration between access control solutions and leisure management software provides invaluable membership data. Facility managers can use information about how often people are attending, when, how long for and what facilities or services they’re using to better engage with individual members based on their habits, as well as to better manage their facility.
“Having people scan in to enter a particular area makes it easy to see how different areas of the facility or different services, such as particular fitness classes, are being used.
“If you can see that the gym is particularly popular on Thursdays at 6.00am, you can roster on more staff to assist. Likewise, if a fitness class consistently has low participation at certain times, you can look at cancelling the class or moving it to another time.”
Mr Bystram says an understanding of where people are in your facility at any given time, and confidence that they’re not anywhere they’re not supposed to be, also helps with safety.
Ms Rechichi agrees.
“It ensures all people entering areas are authorised to do so, therefore providing better security for members and staff.”
While safety is an important consideration for all access control solutions, Mr Bystram says it’s particularly important in a leisure facility context, where there are often children around.
“Children, especially small children, have a habit of getting away from their parents. A good access control solution ensures children can’t access areas that may not be safe for them, such as a pool, without adequate supervision.
“But the solution itself also needs to be safe. No one wants to see a child get caught in a gate or door.”
Centaman Entrance Control’s EasyGate range includes infrared safety beams and torque sensors that monitor the area near the barriers and stops them from closing or opening on an obstruction. The beams and sensors also help detect tailgating and unauthorised entry. They can also be linked with a facility’s fire alarm system to automatically open in an emergency.
Mr Bystram says it’s also worth considering that most people won’t access your facility every day, like in a corporate environment, so they won’t be as familiar with your access control solution. Therefore, it needs to be easy to use.
“Leisure facilities tend to prefer solutions that function more like an automatic door than a turnstile.”
He says leisure facilities also tend to prefer waist height barriers as they’re more welcoming, while most corporate environments opt for a 1.2 or 1.8-metre-high barrier to deter jump over attempts. However, fitness and leisure facilities in need of a greater level of security can still opt for higher barriers, something HBF Stadium has found useful, particularly for their unmanned gym entrance.
Providing 24-hour access
Many leisure facilities are looking to provide 24-hour access, particularly to their on-site gyms, as customers demand more flexibility around their workout times, Mr Bystram says.
“It’s not always practical for a leisure centre to have someone rostered on reception for 24 hours a day. It adds to costs and it can be hard to find staff for some of those shifts outside standard operating hours.
“With the right access control solution, that’s not a problem. You don’t need to have anyone on-site.”
While 24-hour access can be managed using alternative access control solutions, Mr Bystram recommends 24-hour leisure facilities consider the benefits of security portals.
“Security portals are widely used in 24-hour gyms across Europe. They ensure the safety of your staff users and facilities by making it virtually impossible for someone to access a gym without the proper credentials.”
Centaman Entrance Control’s SecureDoor portals are backed by impressive technology and security features, and they’re simple to use.
On presenting the right credentials, the portal’s first door opens and the authorised person proceeds into the portal. The first door closes, and the anti-tailgating system checks only one person is in the portal. Any additional security checks that may be required can also be undertaken at this point. Once all checks have been passed, the second door opens to let the authorised person into the facility.
Centaman Entrance Control offers five different security portals. Mr Bystram says the Classic and Chimera are popular with gyms and leisure facilities due to their competitive price.
Get the right advice
Being spoilt for choice isn’t a bad thing. It means the perfect access control solution is almost certainly out there.
Mr Bystram encourages anyone considering access control for their fitness or leisure centre to talk to experts.
“There is a wealth of information available to help people navigate access control options for their facilities. Make the most of it to make sure you end up with the solution that’s right for you, your staff, your facility and your customers.”
For more information about Centaman Entrance Control, the EasyGate SUPERB, or other popular entrance control solutions, visit www.entrancecontrol.com.au or phone +61 (02) 9906 7522.