High Ropes Courses Technology and the Visitor Experience
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Global Pool Trends Hot Springs Tourism
Fitness Trends Getting Australians Active
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Issue 136, 2019
COVER: KristallTurm® course at Magic Jungle, Shanghai, China. See page 26.
regulars 6 From the Publisher 10 Two Months in Leisure 60 People 61 Products www.ausleisure.com.au for all the latest industry news, products and events
18 22 26 30 36 42 46 52 56 58
4 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
Change, Growth and Innovation TEG’s future growth plans
Getting Serious about Recycling
Waste management solutions in venues
The arrival of ropes course experts KristallTurm®
Attractions and Technology
Delivering seamless visitor experiences
Healthy New Year
What to expect in fitness in 2020
A Great Victorian Bathing Trail
Establishing a signature tourism experience
Global trends for public pools
Community and Club
Elite training facilities for sport
Learnings for a more Active Australia
Challenges in getting people to be more active
Making Fans VIPs
Improving the fan experience
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From the Publisher Setting Goals Published by Australian Leisure Media Pty Ltd, 102 Taiyul Road, North Narrabeen, NSW 2101 (PO Box 478, Collaroy, NSW 2097) AUSTRALIA ABN 32 092 549 721
Tel: 02 9970 8322 Fax: 02 9970 8355 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.ausleisure.com.au Twitter: @AusLeisure Facebook: www.facebook.com/AusLeisure Editor Karen Sweaney Publisher Nigel Benton Design Australian Leisure Media Pty Ltd Administration Bill Gillies
Advertising Inquiries Nigel Benton Tel: 02 9970 8322 Email: email@example.com
With a new year upon us - or decade according to some reckonings - a number of articles in this issue look at trends, opportunities and challenges for the industry. A thread that runs through many of our features is the setting of goals across areas of the industry and by specific operators, with these objectives seeing overlaps between traditional definitions of sectors. Such goals include sustainability and environmental objectives - brought home through Australia’s ongoing drought - but also including more sustainable activities to benefit not only the planet but also reputation and costs. A range of trends in facility design, business opportunities and sporting participation all seem to be focused on a common goal, to get more people active and thus improve their quality of life while making inroads into the ongoing battle against seemingly ever rising obesity levels. Here there are many opportunities to improve populations wellbeing while also growing businesses and meeting wider governmental health objectives. Surely a win-win for all.
Western Sydney - the place to be!
The views contained in Australasian Leisure Management are not necessarily those of Australian Leisure Media Pty Ltd or the Editor. While every care is taken with advice given, Australian Leisure Media Pty Ltd and the Editor can take no responsibility for effects arising therefrom. Views expressed by contributors may be personal and are not necessarily the views of their employers or professional associations.
It’s not often that we single out one geographical area for comment, and we are all-too-aware that it can be easy to focus on big projects in major cities. However, 2019 has seen a remarkable series of openings of significant industry developments in Western Sydney. April saw the opening of the 30,000 capacity Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta, offering new levels of fan experience in a venue in Australia. The end of the year is seeing the $100 million Sydney Coliseum Theatre at West HQ, the first major theatre development in Sydney in the current millennium, stage its inaugural performances. With 1.7 million people living within a 20 kilometre radius of the venue, the venue looks set to transform entertainment in the west of the city. In addition, the new Sydney Zoo is the first major zoo to open in the city in more than a century.
© Australasian Leisure Management, 2019. ISSN 1446-1374
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James Croll Tel: 0488 090 904 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Printed in Australia by Finsbury Green Pty Ltd 1A South Road, Thebarton, SA 5031 Tel: 08 8234 8000, www.finsburygreen.com.au The annual subscription cost is AUS $90 (inclusive of GST) in Australia, New Zealand and throughout the Rest of the World. Members of AALARA, ALFA, ASSA, EVANZ, Exercise Association of New Zealand, Sports and Play Industry Association and the VMA receive the magazine as a membership benefit.
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Also looking ahead, we have started the countdown to the launch of Asian Leisure Business (www.asianleisure.biz) a purely online sister publication to the Australasian Leisure Management website – that will be Asia’s first dedicated resource for leisure industry news and information, with massive readership potential for an audience from Sinai to Sapporo, Bali to Beijing. In the way that we always welcome comment and input for and about what we publish, all across the industry are invited to contribute whatever news, sources, content and opinions that you have to share.
Nigel Benton, Publisher
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Two Months in Leisure Some of the industry headlines over recent months. Daily industry news can be read at www.ausleisure.com.au
Wellington Regional Stadium Trust reveals naming rights deal with the Sky Network
The Wellington Regional Stadium Trust and New Zealand’s Sky Network Television Ltd have announced a new partnership that will see the broadcaster replace Westpac as the venue’s naming rights holder from 1st January 2020. The six-year agreement will see the Stadium rebranded and renamed Sky Stadium and includes a number of activations aimed at improving the fan experience both at the Stadium and on TV.
Evolution Wellness expands in fast growing south east Asian fitness market
More funding for Western Australia’s national parks and reserves
The Western Australian Government is investing more than $22 million towards the creation and ongoing management of national parks, marine parks and conservation reserves in its 2019/20 state budget. Increasing Western Australia’s conservation estate by over 20%, the ambitious Plan for Our Parks initiative will see five million hectares of new national and marine parks and reserves established over the next five years.
Offering two major brands - Fitness First and Celebrity Fitness - that target key market segments, Evolution Wellness has grown over the past two years to become the largest fitness operator in south east Asia, with over 160 clubs across six countries, more than 375,000 members and over 6,000 staff members. With members in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Thailand, using its clubs over 25 million times a year, the growth has been driven by the merger of Fitness First and Celebrity Fitness to become Evolution Wellness in 2017.
Belgravia Group assumes ownership of additional JUMP! Swim Schools businesses
Byron Bay named among world’s worst locations for overtourism
After months of speculation and a series of legal proceedings involving various entities of the JUMP! Swim Schools business, the Melbourne-based Belgravia Group has assumed ownership of the franchise agreements for another 21 Jump! Swim School trading businesses. Having purchased an initial 40 franchise agreements of the main franchisor company, Swim Loops, in July, Belgravia will now become the franchisor for these businesses and reunite them with the rest of the Jump! group.
The NSW coastal community of Byron Bay has been named among two Australian locations - along with Uluru in the Northern Territory - as places suffering the greatest rates of overtourism. Byron Bay was among 98 identified in a new global map as struggling with the burden of too many visitors by UK tour company Responsible Travel - which drew upon news reports of overtourism from around the world in an effort to shed light on the scale of the issue.
Brisbane City Council
Massive tree planting has potential to tackle climate crisis
Tenders are invited for:
Details Council is seeking industry feedback on how to best secure Riverstage as an iconic music venue and cultural icon for the people of the Brisbane for the next generation. Market Sounding documents are available at: https://supplierportal.brisbane.qld.gov.au/ For assistance to register and download documents telephone the Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263). For further information Ph. (07) 3027 3636 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Colin Jensen, Chief Executive Officer 10 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
Closing 12 noon Qld time, 28 February 2020
Tender Market Sounding for Riverstage Partnership Project (560230)
The planting of billions of trees across the world would be the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientific analysis. New research estimates that a worldwide planting program could remove two-thirds of all the emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere by human activities, a figure the scientists describe as “mind-blowing”.
AEG Facilities and SMG complete merger to become ASM Global
US-based AEG Facilities and Onex-owned SMG have completed their mergerÂ to create a new, standalone global facility management and venue services company, ASM Global. First announced in February, the even-split merger of AEG Facilities, owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group, and SMG, a portfolio company of private equity firm Onex, was previously cleared by both the UKâ€™s Competition and Markets Authority and the US Department of Justice, allowing the completion of the business combination. Headquartered in the USA in Los Angeles, California and with key operational offices near the eastern US city of Philadelphia, as well as in London and Manchester in the UK and the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo, the new entity will be led by former AEG Facilities President Bob Newman, who has been named President and Chief Executive of the new company.
Queensland Tourism Digital Workforce Development and Training Plan gets industry launch
The Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) has launched the first Queensland Tourism Digital Workforce Development and Training Plan. The Plan highlights key technologies in tourism, provides case studies of digital champions and identifies four priority areas and 14 key initiatives that will enable Queensland tourism businesses to upskill, train and develop experiences, processes and services that embrace this new digital era. Griffith University was commissioned by the QTIC to prepare the Plan, with the funding support from the Queensland Department of Employment, Small Business and Training â€˜Training in Emerging and Innovative Industries Fundâ€™.
ExerciseNZ backs relaunch of Yoga New Zealand
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Yoga New Zealand (YogaNZ), the national yoga body for yoga in Aotearoa New Zealand, has been relaunched with its own national yoga council guiding its operations. First established by Yoga Australia three years ago, it is now operationally supported by the Exercise Association of New Zealand (ExerciseNZ). ExerciseNZ Chief Executive Richard Beddie advises that the body is now 100% New Zealand run and operated, explaining â€œwe support all forms of movement and physical activity. We know hundreds of thousands of Kiwis regularly practice yoga and the numbers have more than doubled in the last 10 years.â€?
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019 11
Revitalised business focus for Fitness Show Sydney with new Fitness Show B2B brand
The organisers of the Fitness Show have revealed that business exhibition space of Australia’s largest and most comprehensive fitness industry event is to be revamped as Fitness Show B2B. Taking place on 1st and 2nd May 2020 on Level 4 of the ICC Sydney, Fitness Show B2B will offer enhanced opportunities for exhibitors to meet face-to-face with the largest gathering of fitness professionals in Australia; reach new target audiences and vertical markets, drive consumer action through brand interactions and experiences as well as offering networking opportunities with industry professionals with purchasing power. Fitness Show B2B 2020 has also been refreshed with a targeted marketing plan to drive attendance from vertical markets, attracting buyers from council aquatic and recreation centres, emergency services, schools and universities, hotels and other fitness facilities.
Sea World hits back at TripAdvisor ban
Sea World on the Gold Coast has hit back at TripAdvisor including it in a ban on ticket sales to attractions that feature whales, dolphins or porpoises. The internet travel giant has announced a ban on any theme parks and tourist attractions that breed or import whales, dolphins and porpoises for public viewing. TripAdvisor has advised that it will review experiences for sale on its platform and remove any commercial facilities that breed or import whales, dolphins and porpoises by the end of the year, according to a statement. The new policy, which groups Sea World - widely famed for its marine conservation work - alongside more exploitative international attractions, comes after TripAdvisor stopped ticket sales for elephant rides, selfies with tigers and other tourist entertainment deemed cruel to animals in 2016.
Athletics Australia and Little Athletics agree to unite
After years of previously inconclusive negotiations, Athletics Australia and Little Athletics Australia have announced a “proposed merger” to create OneAthletics, a new national sporting organisation to be responsible for athletics in Australia. If seen through, a successful merger will see athletics transformed into one of the biggest participation sports in the country and deliver a clearer pathway for athletes, coaches and officials throughout their life in sport.
Sport professionals survey shows respondents paid ‘less than expected’
A survey of Australian sport industry professionals has revealed a level of dissatisfaction with industry salaries, with 47% of respondents stating they felt they were paid less than expected in their roles. By contrast, just 1% of respondents said they were paid more than expected. These views, and the findings that 84% of respondents were likely or highly likely to remain in the industry in the next three to five years, perhaps due to 90% believing they were offered flexible working hours/locations, have been revealed in the first industry wide survey conducted by the recently formed Australian Sports Professionals Association.
Australia’s Cultural Ministers agree to new framework for the performing arts
A new National Performing Arts Partnership (NPAP) Framework to support the performing arts sector has been agreed by the Australian Government along with states and territories at the latest annual Meeting of Cultural Ministers. The new agreement will replace the existing Major Performing Arts (MPA) Framework, which currently supports the nation’s major orchestras, opera companies, ballet and theatre companies. In addition to the new framework, the Cultural Minister’s meeting also invited Brisbane company Circa to be recognised as a major performing arts company under the 2011 Major Performing Arts Framework.
Safety concerns see glass bridges closed in China’s Heibei province
Glass-bottomed bridges in the Chinese province of Heibei have been closed due to safety concerns. An increasingly popular form of tourist attraction in the topographically diverse region, more than 32 Glass bottomed bridges have been built in scenic locations over the past decade. However, following a number of reported deaths, officials in the province have been shutting the bridges, citing “a lack of national standard and supervision”, according to Chinese state-owned news service ECNS. 12 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
Aquatic centre study shows school swimming programs not enough to keep children safe
The majority of children who only learn to swim by attending intensive school swimming programs can’t swim a year later according to new research from Deakin University. The world-first study into the learning and retention of swim and safety skills by Mornington Peninsula-based aquatic facilities operator Peninsula Leisure and Deakin University found that undertaking an intensive school swim program alone is not enough to keep Australian children safe, placing them at greater risk of drowning, The year-long study, Swim Lesson Models: Effectiveness and Impact Study, found parents who solely relied on school swim programs overestimated their child’s swimming and water safety abilities.
Ongoing drought impacts aquatic centres
Facing extreme water restrictions, drought affected councils across NSW are committed to keeping their public swimming pools open, seeing that the amenity, social and wellness values of their facilities as being vital to local residents. With the drought causing some of the highest temperatures in 120 years and years of below average rainfall putting an increased strain on water storage, local authorities are increasingly restricting water use for domestic pools and favouring keeping public facilities open. As reported in Dubbo’s Daily Liberal, a Cabonne Council spokesperson advised of the importance of keeping its public swimming pools open, stating “Council needs to balance the responsible use of water with the fact that these swimming pools are an important part of the social fabric of our towns and villages and a sanctuary for many people feeling the effects of this terrible drought.” Cabonne Council drained and refilled its pools for the summer season re-opening, with the drained water to be used for road building works across the local government area. In a report examining councils’ approaches to water use, the Daily Liberal quoted a Dubbo Regional Council spokesperson as stating that despite the drought there would be no changes or restrictions at any of its three pools, explaining “while a critical role of council is to manage the distribution and use of precious water resources, just as critical is providing an inclusive social environment for residents even in hard times such as a drought.” The spokesperson added that pools were “critical for a community’s social, vocational and mental health wellbeing” and it would work to carefully plan and make provisions for the ongoing operations of all Council-owned aquatic centres. With water restrictions in its area at ‘extreme’, Bathurst Regional Council has exempted its Manning Aquatic Centre advising on its website “Council will continue to water parks and sportsgrounds using water wise irrigation technology for as long as possible to protect these significant and high value community assets. “Council has undertaken an audit to prioritise parks and sportsgrounds so that should it need to cease irrigation that the highest value assets may be conserved for as long as practicable.” Indoor and outdoor pools at Orange Aquatic Centre will operate as normal despite the drought. Explaining this, Orange City Council Manager of Corporate and Community Relations, Nick Redmond told the Daily Liberal “we will be using these pools as normal including re-filling to maintain water quality standards, but we’ll continue to monitor their use.” Water restrictions in its area have seen Tamworth Regional Council opt to open only one public pool during the summer. Commenting on this, the Council’s acting Manager Sports and Recreation, Peter Watling, advised of strong co-operation among pool user groups to create a schedule to accommodate all swimmers’ needs at one location. Watling explained “since Councillors decided in August that Scully Pool would open for the new season, we have been talking with all user groups to come up with a plan to ensure they have the pool access they need while also meeting the needs of the general community. “It has been a challenge to program the activities of two Tamworth pools into one but there has been a great willingness to compromise shown by our local aquatic clubs. “By working together to put achievable options to Council they have ensured we could accommodate general community needs at one pool.” In August, Tamworth Regional Councillors decided to temporarily amend its Drought Management Plan to allow the opening of Scully Pool and Kootingal Memorial Swimming Pool at Level 5 Water Restrictions on the condition that pool water is sourced from a non-potable supply. They also agreed to review the temporary arrangement when water levels at Chaffey Dam approaches 15% capacity.
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019 13
Great Barrier Reef island reborn as eco-friendly luxury holiday destination
A formerly abandoned southern Great Barrier Reef island has been resurrected into an exclusive eco-resort having been leased by a hotels group which has redeveloped the destination. Surrounded by blue water and coral reef, Wilson Island, located off the coast of central Queensland, has seen guests visit for the first time in five years. The secluded natural coral cay, 80 kilometres off the coast of Gladstone and 15 kilometres from Heron Island, has been resurrected as an eco-friendly luxury camping resort. Just 5.24 acres in size, the island was left abandoned by a former owner five years ago and in 2017 was bought on a rolling lease by Aldesta Hotels, which has since redeveloped the picturesque island paradise.
Sport Australia advice ignored by former Federal Sports Ministers in award of community sport infrastructure funds
Former Federal Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie rejected 618 applications for community sports infrastructure despite recommendations from Federal Government agency Sport Australia to approve the projects as part of the $100 million Community Sport Infrastructure grants program. The program is being investigated by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), with Senator McKenzie’s home state of Victoria receiving a quarter of the funding.
Brisbane venues thrive as Stadiums Queensland operations deliver more than $300 million in economic benefit
Venues in Brisbane - and the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in particular - were Stadiums Queensland’s star performers during 2018/19, while stadia outside of the Queensland capital saw significant falls in attendance in the last financial year. Stadiums Queensland’s latest annual report shows that the state’s venues opened their gates to 128,854 fewer patrons in 2018/19 than the year before, hosting 4.2 million patrons across its nine venues, down from 4.3 million in 2017/18, but above the 3.9 million in 2016/17. The annual report also showed that the venues contributed more than $300 million in economic benefit to the state.
Love Recruitment launches specialist fitness industry recruitment service to Australian employers
With the ability to deliver the right candidates to fitness industry employers, Love Recruitment have launched their specialist industry recruitment service in Sydney. Launched in the UK in 2015, over the last four and half years Love Recruitment have grown to the largest fitness specialist recruitment company in the country, serving over 30 UK organisations and thousands of UK fitness professionals, their success has been built upon service, delivery, relationships and trust.
Lift Brands introduces mentoring program to help investors achieve Snap Fitness and 9Round franchise ownership
A new Mentoring Program from Lift Brands Australia & New Zealand has been created to help people with the right skills and experience own a fitness franchise by steering them towards the financial backing to take the first step to club ownership. Lift Brands Chief Executive Ty Menzies set out to develop a program targeting the more than 1200 passionate and talented trainers and operators across the group’s Snap Fitness and 9Round franchises.
NSW Government opens tender process for new Sydney Theatre Royal operator
Plans to reopen Sydney’s Theatre Royal have moved closer with the NSW Government announcing that it has reached a commercial agreement with the owners of the venue to commence a tender process to secure a new theatre operator. It has also advised that it has reached an agreement with building owners Dexus to increase the lease from 45 years, as originally planned, to 55 years. 14 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
Parks and recreation professionals make great career choice in delivering ‘joy’
Professionals who work in parks and recreation have made a “great career choice” as they deliver “joy” to children and the wider population with the facilities they provide, according to Parks and Leisure Australia President, Paul Jane speaking at the opening of the association’s 2019 annual conference in Perth.
IN BRIEF Adventure Park Geelong (left), Victoria’s largest water theme park, has opened The Tsunami, a new triple funnel waterslide. The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), in partnership with Volleyball Australia and Sport Australia has launched an Australianfirst all-weather beach volleyball training facility at its Canberra base. The NSW Government has approved funding for the redevelopment of Pier 2/3 at the Walsh Bay precinct (left), ending fears from some of the state’s largest arts companies that the major project would be delayed indefinitely. The New Zealand Government has announced that it will back plans for a new 1300-seat theatre in Hamilton, making a $12 million investment from its Provincial Growth Fund. The historic North Sydney Oval (left) is set to remain as the home of women’s cricket in Sydney after the agreement of a deal between Cricket Australia, Cricket NSW, the Sydney Sixers and North Sydney Council. A four-year $10 million project to expand and improve the Tallebudgera’s Coplick Family Sports Park on the southern Gold Coast’s major sporting hubs has been completed. The City of Launceston has approved $7 million conversion of a heritage-listed gasometer frame that will be infilled with a three-storey art gallery (left).
Viagogo acquires rival ticket reseller StubHub in US$4 billion deal
Secondary ticketing firm Viagogo has announced a US$4 billion deal to buy its rival StubHub, in the biggest ever transaction in the secondary ticketing market. With eBay having been evaluating the future of its ticketing subsidiary over much of the past year, Viagogo said the deal will unite the two businesses which “share the same fundamental principle of providing a secure platform for people to buy and sell tickets to live events”.
YMCA becomes the Y with first logo change in 52 years
As part of a national brand and logo refresh, YMCA NSW has announced that it will now be known as ‘the Y’. Confirmation of the introduction of the new branding, which will be rolled out progressively across Australia in the coming months, follows the governors of the 15 individual YMCAs across the nation came together to endorse the move at the 102nd AGM of the National Council of YMCAs in Melbourne, following a pilot of the rebrand by the Y NSW in November.
Google acquires Fitbit in US$2.1 billion deal
Global technology giant Google has announced that it is to acquire wearable company Fitbit in a US$2.1 billion deal. In a blog announcing the news, Google Senior Vice President of Devices and Services Rick Osterloh said that the Fitbit purchase is “an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS as well as (to) introduce Made by Google wearable devices into the market.” Under the deal, Fitbit will be joining Google, with a separate press release issued by Fitbit, advising that the company will still take privacy for health and fitness data seriously, noting that “Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.”
www.ausleisure.com.au for all the latest industry news
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019 15
SMG & AEG FACILITIES ARE NOW ASM GLOBAL
Imagine what we can do together. ASM Global is the worldâ€™s largest and most trusted venue management and services company. We realize the potential of the worldâ€™s greatest places, spaces and events and create amazing experiences for guests while delivering the highest value for clients, partners and owners. ASM Global celebrates the local culture, individuality and character of each destination. Join us to turn moments into memories, one experience at a time.
TEG’s Geoff Jones and (below) Hugh Jackman. Courtesy of TEG.
Change, Growth and Innovation Geoff Jones, Chief Executive of entertainment and ticketing leader, TEG, explains the business’ future growth plans
mong significant changes in the region’s entertainment industry, the acquisition of leading live entertainment and ticketing platform TEG by multinational technology investment firm Silver Lake Partners has been one of the most significant. With TEG’s former owner, pan-Asian private equity firm Affinity Equity Partners, having long been rumoured to be looking to sell the ticketing and live entertainment business, which includes the Ticketek ticketing agency, the acquisition by Silver Lake Partners - a major name in global private equity with an emphasis on technology having more than $US43 billion in assets under management - gives the US-fund its first presence in Australia and a significant toehold in Asia.
18 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
With over 40 years of experience in ticketing and live entertainment, TEG operates as the exclusive ticketing provider for over 135 venue and promoter clients and delivers 30 million tickets annually for over 30,000 events spanning live sports, concerts, theatre, festivals, and exhibitions across more than 13 countries. Its integrated live entertainment platform combines ticketing and event promotion, venue management, data analytics and marketing services while TEG promotes over 100 diverse events annually. Its TEG Live and TEG Dainty divisions have promoted some of the world’s biggest names in live sports and entertainment including Hugh Jackman, Guns N’ Roses, Eminem, Katy Perry, Cirque du Soleil, Jerry Seinfeld, the Brazil national football team, and the breakthrough Australian debut of Intel Extreme Masters esports. Silver Lake Partners’ interests in sport and entertainment include stakes in China’s Alibaba; Learfield-IMG (the leading US collegiate sports rights marketing group); Fanatics (an online sports team merchandising platform); AMC (the largest global cinema chain); Endeavor (which provides athlete representation); and Oak View Group (the venue operator and North American arena alliance). It also has stakes in New York’s Madison Square Garden and UFC. The announcement of Silver Lake Partners’ acquisition, believed to be for around $1.3 billion, also noted that TEG’s senior management team, led by Chief Executive Geoff Jones, will continue to lead the company and remain meaningful equity partners in the new ownership structure.
Ticketek technology for the Apple Watch allows entry to Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium (above) with the iPhone version being used by former NRL star Matt Gillett (below).
Explaining TEG’s attractiveness to its new owner, Jones advises that it is based on “constant growth and profitability with our continuing to develop an integrated model with great content across every vertical - concerts, sport, exhibitions, family events, musical theatre and circus - and our having made really good strategic acquisitions that have added value to our business while our core businesses continue to develop really well.” Speaking about the acquisition, Jones stated “the team at Affinity have been great partners for us over the last four years and have helped us to continue to scale our business. “We are confident that Silver Lake is the right partner for the next stage of the company’s growth. Silver Lake brings us deep technology expertise as well as important global entertainment content and live events expertise and relationships which will help us to accelerate the growth of our platform globally.” Stephen Evans, Managing Director at Silver Lake, added “high quality live sports and entertainment content is more sought after now than ever and represents a massive global addressable market for the company. “We believe TEG’s innovative and integrated ticketing, content, digital marketing and analytics platform is well positioned to
20 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
continue to benefit from increasing consumer demand worldwide. “We’ve been impressed by TEG’s long-term track record of growth under Geoff Jones, most recently in partnership with the Affinity team, both organically and through strategic acquisitions. We’re excited to partner with Geoff and the entire TEG team and invest further to leverage TEG’s platform and accelerate the company’s growth, both in Asia Pacific and globally.” Further outlining TEG’s plans that will be driven by its new owner’s funding and technology network, Jones has advised that its Ticketek platform will open in the UK in early 2020. He states “Ticketek is currently in Australia and New Zealand (and) we’re now operating in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, where we own the businesses in all those places.” Speaking of the UK, he advised “it’s an interesting market. It’s what we call an allocations market, there are lower barriers to entry. “We will take a careful approach, we’ll go in there cautiously and build a solid base.” This, Jones notes is based on having “already sold a couple of million tickets in the UK from our exhibition and family content.” Having acquired UK-based event promoter and venue operator The MJR Group in August, Jones said TEG’s focus would more likely be away from the stadia and large-scale arena. He noted “we’re open to venue opportunities but not at the stadium or arena scale. We like the size and the mix of the MJR venues (and) we’re also used to working with different types of content - family shows, esports, conferences - not just live music. “The MJR Group is a great fit for TEG. It has strong management talent and a clever live entertainment model to which TEG can add ticketing, analytics and digital capability. The MJR Group also brings significant additions to our venue portfolio.” While Jones sees that the new ownership will make the business more agile in making future acquisitions, he plays down the linking of business activities across Silver Lake Partners’ portfolio, commenting “we will grow our own way … tread our own path.” Beyond entering the UK market he also advises that an expansion into mainland Europe is likely to follow. The group will also look at more acquisitions across Australia and New Zealand as well as in Asia, and Jones notes “maybe, down the track in the USA.”
However, here he advises that growth won’t be dramatic, despite “a wide range of opportunities being presented to us since being acquired by Silver Lake”, noting “but we won’t go in all guns blazing, we’ll grow incrementally.” The global expansion will work around TEG’s “integrated model” which has proven to work well in Australia and New Zealand, pointing to TEG Live’s recent promotion of varied content such as Lego Brickman and Real Madrid touring exhibitions as well as a series of matches by the Brazilian national football team in Singapore and, next in, Abu Dhabi. Looking to Asia, where TEG’s operations are controlled from Singapore, Jones is excited about the potential of the region, commenting “we want to be a good content business company, we think we already are but we can certainly continue to grow that. “We’ve got a very strong, globally well-known ticketing brand in Ticketek, which we want to expand into different territories and we’ll do the same thing. “And we’ve got a strong digital and data analytics capability that we think is also something that we can easily transport into new territories.” Jones emphasises the need to understanding the diversity and differences across Asian markets, while pointing out that promotions even work in reverse. Here he cites how TEG is increasingly working with Asian promoters to bring their Cantopop (Cantonese pop music) and K-pop to new markets across the region as well as bringing these acts into Australia, pointing out that they “work particularly well in Melbourne and Sydney.” Commenting on the challenges in the region, he responds “like all businesses, the challenge is too many things to do and not enough means and time to do it. “We’re pretty proud of the way we’ve been in the Asian market. “Each Asian territory is a distinct market, with distinct culture and what the market likes. We explored the market broadly and we’re really pleased with what we’ve done so far. We definitely want to do more there.” In Australia, it’s ‘business as usual’ for TEG Dainty and TEG Live and even though the company owns Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, further expansion into venue management is not a priority. It is also worth noting that at the time of the acquisition, Jones commented: “Silver Lake brings us deep technology expertise as well as important global entertainment content and live events expertise and relationships which will help us to accelerate the growth of our platform globally.” Looking forward, Jones concludes “we are a growth asset with a strong brand with real growth potential with a good model that is sustainable and transferrable to other territories which we intend to do. “We have a strong team with a lot of consistency and experience and the ability to generate things that will keep our business going strong. “Above all, in this digital and data driven world that we now live in, you can’t replicate the live entertainment experience easily which is why businesses around the world in this sector are doing well.” TEG’s reported sale price of $1.3 billion compares with the company’s $640 million just four years earlier when it was sold to Affinity by Nine Entertainment. The Silver Lake transaction is expected to close imminently, subject to customary closing conditions including approval by the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board. Geoff Jones is the Chief Executive of leading ticketing, live entertainment and data analytics business, TEG. His association with the company began in 2007 when he first joined Ticketek. After a stint as a Partner and Director of sports and entertainment business SEL, he returned in 2011 to create TEG’s integrated business model.
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019 21
Getting Serious about Recycling Greg Campbell outlines how venues are getting increasingly serious about waste management solutions
uayclean Australia’s commitment to sustainability has been at the core of its cleaning and presentation business since its inception 17 years ago and has become a driving factor when working with its clients. Sustainability, global warming and recycling are common words in today’s vocabulary, but too few within industry and government acknowledge what can be done within the workplace to make a difference. Public facilities and workplaces have under desk bins, general waste (red lid) bins and contaminated waste bins that end up in landfill. Then we complain it’s somebody else’s job, the waste collector, the government, or the cleaner. Most offices have paper and cardboard collection bins and believe this is their whole recycling solution when it generally accounts for only 15% of the waste produced. Quayclean clients include major stadia such as Adelaide Oval, Marvel Stadium, the Gabba and the Sydney Cricket Ground, plus major public facilities such as the Sydney Opera House, Fox Studios in Sydney and Perth Zoo. For these locations, the company sees that a simple plan along with effective
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education of clients, stakeholders and the public towards waste and sustainability practices can ease significant pressure on Australia’s growing waste volumes ending in landfill. Following bans placed by south-east Asian countries such as Malaysia, China and India on accepting exported Australian recyclable products, pressure is mounting on how to best manage waste. Advising that the key to the solution is industry and government putting in place simple solutions that encourage and educate all parties working cohesively towards a recycling attitude, Quayclean Chief Executive, Mark Piwkowski explains “we all accept that we are responsible to protect and preserve the environment. That is why we have implemented systems at all client venues to drive up recycling volumes and drastically reduce waste ending up in landfill. “We took the view that just about everything at our venues is recyclable in some form — it just comes down to the quantity.” Seeing that European and Asian venues have led the way when it comes to high recycling and sustainability rates, Piwkowski notes “when we have travelled to Singapore, Dubai and cities in Germany, it has been a real eye opener to see how they were managing waste at major sports venues. These countries have no real available land for landfill sites, so they had to get smarter with how they deal with waste. “Waste is a commodity when it is separated, but it’s not when it is a collective. In most cases, onsite waste is contaminated with organics, mixed building and horticultural waste, plastics, paper and cardboard. “Most waste management companies cannot separate the product so then it ends up in landfill. That’s why we work with our clients to change their approach to waste and sustainability. “We separate food and organic waste and have this collected so it can be
turned into compostible material and energy back to the grid. We can turn most putrescible waste streams to energy, utilising methane generated from decomposing organic matter in the generation of electricity.” Piwkowski says clients are increasingly seeing the benefits of Quayclean’s waste management solutions. Quayclean has been working with the Sydney Opera House for just over 12 months. The Opera House has a recycling target of 85% by 2023 and have an ambition to be carbon positive. Under a new joint strategy developed in partnership with the Opera House, Quayclean has raised recycling rates from 55% to in excess of 80% in 12 months consistently and will be consistently over 85% within a year. He explains “I am super proud of our team at the Opera House. The Opera House is Australia’s most iconic public building and accepts more than 8.2 million visitors every year and we have lifted recycling rates up 80% within a year, and we are well on the way to the 85% recycling target,” said Piwkowski. “We have worked closely with all Opera House stakeholders on how to separate waste into the correct bins and avoid cross contamination. Every bin is measured and weighed before it leaves the Opera House and cross-checked when it arrives at the recycling plant.” Working at the Opera House also revealed a sticky problem for Quayclean’s ‘Waste Warriors’, with Piwkowski advising “one of the Opera House’s biggest issues was chewing gum. Visitors were regularly tossing used gum onto the forecourt areas. It was very unsightly and this area had to be cleaned of gum three times a week. “We have now established the Gum Patrol – a converted golf buggy charged by solar panels, generator and high-pressure steamer. It has instructive photos in a TV screen on the back of the buggy. Visitors are very inquisitive, and the presence of the
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019 23
buggy has seen a 90% drop in gum waste.” Quayclean has been working in partnership with Adelaide Oval and their waste provider for eight months and jointly lifted recycling rates from 11.2% to 87.6% creating waste to energy fuel sources. These recycling practices and waste management solutions also represent significant savings for venues and businesses. At the Sydney Cricket Ground, the SCG Trust is saving around $200,000 per year via recycling practices. With landfill waste costing approximately $360 per tonne in NSW, as opposed to $200 per tonne for recycled product,
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waste weight has been significantly reduced by separating bulky glass products and crushing it on site. Piwkowski says “we’re actually dealing with the problem at source, rather than filling up bins full of glass that we have to move every time.” The Container Deposit Scheme, which operates in all states except Victoria, has also reduced landfill volumes and provides venues with a valuable cash rebate. Dehydrators are also proving effective in the recycling solution. Dehydrators can take up to a tonne of food per day and ‘cook’ this material down to an organic compound, taking it down to about 15% of its volume. This product, which is effectively the consistency of blood and bone, is mixed with grass clippings and used as an organic fertiliser. Adding that stakeholder feedback on the success of recycling measures is also important, Piwkowski concludes “stakeholders within a venue all need to feel part of the sustainability journey. Every employee needs to understand the environmental impact of their actions. They also need to see the results of their work and be encouraged to do more wherever they can. “If this can be achieved at major public venues and sites across the country, the end result will be a cleaner, greener and more sustainable country.” Greg Campbell is Managing Director of PRISM Strategic Communications.
Quayclean’s waste reduction tips
Piwkowski says all businesses, either small or large, can take important measures to reduce waste. His tips include: 1.Remove all under-desk bins and set up a few recycling stations. This eliminates the use of plastic bags every time an under-desk bin is emptied, and the cost of labour involved in decanting and relining bins. 2.Food and organic waste are the greatest contaminator of waste streams causing recyclable material to end up in landfill. If food and organic material in offices is captured correctly, it can be turned into by products including grey water, compostable material and power returned to the grid. 3.Under the Container Deposit Scheme in all states, except Victoria, plastic and glass bottles and aluminium can be captured and returned for cash. The return can be used for a charity, or other great causes. Importantly, the scheme eliminates most of these products ending up in ‘co-mingled’ waste streams which is often contaminated with organic matter rendering both recyclable waste streams in landfill. 4.If you need to use plastic bags, make sure they are clear bags. Clear, clean plastic bags can be bundled together and reused many times over. 5.Single use containers holding spreads such as vegemite, jam, butter and peanut butter are hygienic but are high contaminators in the waste system. 6.Bring your own coffee cup to the office to avoid the recycling of contaminated cups provided by coffee outlets. 7.Understand what waste can go into a co-mingled yellow bin. If you have done all the above, then plastic food containers, paper towels, milk containers, larger plastic and glass bottles, aluminium foil, tissues and clear plastic in small quantities can be placed in the yellow bins. 8.If the above is done correctly, then you can remove red lid bins as they are an excuse for poor recycling habits.
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KristallTurm® high ropes course in Flumserberg Switzerland.
Having installed its first high ropes course in Australia at the Melbourne Cable Park, KristallTurm is looking to expand across Australasia
or years, an activity used for corporate team building, high ropes courses have exploded around the world over the past decade. The adrenalin pumping activity, delivering challenges and fun, offers experiences categorised as being in the adventure leisure, adventure-based education or ‘soft’ adventure space. Linking with the ongoing rise in nature-based tourism and the growth in popularity of recreational climbing - with sport climbing set to make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games - high ropes courses allow people to explore their sense of adventure. KristallTurm® High Ropes Course at the Melbourne Cable Park.
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In use, guests are usually given training advice by guides, then clip themselves into a form of carabiner or belay system (ensuring they are always connected to the course) before undertaking high and/or low elements. Low elements take place close to the ground while high elements - sometimes constructed in trees - see users undertake features such as giant swings, rope ladders, bridges and abseiling. Famous for its forests, mountains and gateau, as well as its ‘b’s’ - beer (and bierfests), BMW and football’s Bayern Munich the southern German state of Bavaria is well known in business for its production of high quality and innovative products as well as a commitment to safety - Germany’s DIN standards program being one of the most respected in the world. Based in the town of Lenggries in the Alpine foothills, KristallTurm® was founded in 2010 by master carpenter and graduate in technical business administration, Heinz Tretter. Inspired by the hexagonal structure of ice crystals, Heinz Tretter developed the idea for KristallTurm’s modern and unique concept for high rope courses, with a multitude of advantages for visitors, operators and investors. With a commitment to precision engineering, maximum safety and highest quality standards - not only applied to the material used, but also to the production process and customer service, KristallTurm’s innovative design, not only of the main high ropes course structures, but also of the small details, such as themed climbing elements, have made it a global leader. Every course is constructed in accordance with the EN 15567
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KristallTurm high ropes course SOAR Adventure, Franklin, Tennessee, USA
standard and certified by Germany’s TÜV SÜD inspection and product certification services prior to operation. KristallTurm high ropes courses are generally made from galvanised steel and waterproofed-larch wood, which makes them robust and weather-resistant. In certain areas, such as those with salt content in the air, an additional special corrosion protection is applied to the steel masts to protect the ropes course from weathering and water. Designs vary from four pole two-level installations through to towering 18-pole four-level structures offering features such as giant swings, tube slides, climbing panels, abseiling station along with decorative elements and features such as rowing boats, beach baskets or life saver rings. With platforms even able to feature event spaces, the courses can be themed to the region and/or the customers’ branding. KristallTurm also prepares site analyses as well as a calculation of profitability for interested parties in advance of orders to determine whether a facility at the desired location is recommended. Explaining this potential, Tretter advises “amusement and theme park operators are always on the search for additional offerings to complement their rides and attractions” highlighting that “in contrast to other attractions, high ropes courses usually require physical exertion” as well as “dexterity, coordination and strength.” He adds “the capacity of a high ropes course can be an attractive factor for many operators as they allow for high guest counts despite a compact footprint.” “A high ropes course from KristallTurm covering 900 metre² allows for approximately 160 people to climb simultaneously (while) low staffing requirements are also a benefit on the operational side.” KristallTurm high ropes course at Cliimber, Flumserberg, Switzerland
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Since its creation, KristallTurm has secured numerous awards and patented its system, while growing to serve a worldwide market. Installed in more than 50 locations across 20 countries and five continents, KristallTurm attractions have been constructed in locations including hotel roofs, shopping centre developments and urban green spaces as well as being incorporated into ski resorts looking for year-round revenue, adventure parks and recreational facilities. High profile installations around the world include attractions in KristallTurm’s native Germany as well as in the Chinese city of Shanghai, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, Israel, Denmark, Spain, USA and the Melbourne Cable Park. Of the more than 50 facilities the company has built worldwide, 10 have been indoor, with indoor facilities especially popular in the Middle East and Arabian Gulf where people prefer climatecontrolled spaces due to the high summer temperatures. In Shanghai, its Magic Jungle installation occupies a highprofile site at the International Cruise Ship Terminal on the banks of the Huangpo River. The attraction, which opened in 2018, consists of 13 hot-dip galvanised and painted steel masts with climbing stations, a 400 metre² covered platform for events, a giant swing, a tube slide that leads from the platform down to the ground, climbing panels attached to the steel poles and an abseiling station. Its sole Australasian installation to date is an 18-pole facility at the Melbourne Cable Park, which first opened at the beginning of 2017 with a wakeboard lift and a large open water aquatic playground. Located in the south eastern suburb of Bangholme, the attraction added the 18-pole facility at the end of that year offering varied climbing elements, such as the Rainbow and the Bird (which sees climbers ‘fly’ from platform to platform), the high ropes course includes a giant swing, abseiling station, kids course, ground platform, observation deck, fast track and a slackline. It was developed thanks to a $600,000 grant from the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments as part of the Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure Program. As KristallTurm expands its sales all over the world, it has established a global network of sales agents, who act as a local contact to serve regional markets. Mindful of the market potential, KristallTurm has established a base in Rotorua to supply the modular system in Australia and New Zealand. Entrepreneur Alex Schmid of 4nature NZ Ltd, who is wellknown to the New Zealand tourism industry due to his role in the development of Rotorua’s popular Redwoods Treewalk, is keen to talk to operators and investors about how the attraction could complement existing product portfolios. He explains “the biggest advantage of the system is that it is highly adaptable so (is) suitable for a wide variety of sites. “It is brilliant for urban areas such as central business district waterfront sites, but can work equally as well at the top of a gondola where it would serve to attract additional customers to an existing product.” Schmid, who is also the New Zealand representative for ecotourism and soft nature adventure attraction Fly-Line®, pointed to business events as another potential market for the product. He adds “one of the options available as part of the system is the inclusion of an events platform at the top of the attraction making it a great option for corporate events or team building.” KristallTurm products are suitable for all ages with climbing experience or a high level of physical fitness not necessary. Alex Schmid can be contacted on +64 21 084 01156, E: email@example.com.
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Disney’s Magic Band.
Attractions and Technology Cheryl Tay highlights how technology is enhancing the delivery of seamless visitor experiences
echnology and attractions go hand in hand these days, with a good number of features at theme parks, amusement parks, museums and even zoos relying on augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and IoT (Internet of things) tools. A growing number of attractions operators in Asia are taking advantage of such technological advances to enhance their visitor experience, and it seems to be working. The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) has surveyed that attendance at the top amusement and theme parks across Asia rose by an average of 5.5% in 2017, with South east Asia a significant contributor to this growth. TEA also estimates that as of 2020, Asia will become the world’s largest theme park market, thanks in part to top global brands like Walt Disney, Marvel, Universal Studios, Legoland and Cartoon Network having established their presence across the region. These major brands recognise that the use of technology in attractions is not limited to in-park features - increasingly, they are using it to provide visitors with a seamless experience throughout, from pre-visit engagement to post-visit follow-ups. Before the fun begins In addition to engaging with past, present and potential customers on their social media platforms, most companies in the attractions and entertainment space have apps to make the entire visitor experience more convenient. Such apps can allow customers to avoid long queues by pre-booking rides and monitor wait times. For instance, Disney launched a smartphone-compatible version of its ride reservation system, named MaxPass, which allows users to make FASTPASS selections from their mobile devices via the 30 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
Shanghai Disney FASTPASS.
Disneyland app. All customers have to do is link their MaxPass tickets to their Disney accounts and make their FASTPASS selections, which they can easily change or cancel if necessary. Such apps can also be used to view schedules and access maps, allowing customers to better plan their visit in advance. More recently, Alibaba became a strategic partner in Universal Beijing Resort’s bid to “create a seamless experience throughout every stage of the guests’ journey with smart technology”, at the resort, which is due to open in 2021. Under this partnership, Universal Beijing will make use of the
Universal Beijing Resort (above) and Augmented Reality at Singapore Zoo (below).
Alibaba Business Operating System to digitise its theme park operations, as well as Fliggy (Alibaba’s online travel platform) to enable visitors to buy tickets and book hotels on their mobile phones. In addition, visitors will be able to view food and beverage recommendations based on their own preferences, and purchase meals online using Koubei, Alibaba’s local service application. New Realities In addition to making the ticket and hotel booking process more convenient for guests, the Universal Beijing Resort will also offer them the option of using Alipay’s facial recognition technology for park entry, storage lockers, express-lane access and payment for meals and merchandise. Similarly, the Singapore Zoo and National Museum use VR for a more vivid, educational experience by allowing visitors to witness more than the naked eye can see. At the same time, newer attractions have made VR their main feature, such as Zero Latency and Sandbox VR. While typically more expensive than VR, AR is gaining popularity in immersive rides and learning journeys. Southeast Asia’s first VR/AR theme park, The Rift in Malaysia, offers 12 VR games and became one of the country’s most visited tourist attractions within a year of opening.
Perhaps - and unsurprisingly - one of the most successful companies at providing a seamless visitor experience in the attractions and entertainment space is Disney. A veteran in the business, the company’s expertise in this area has been at least partially responsible for its continued success: last year, its attendance increased 4.9% to 157 million visits, with Disney Parks and Resorts seeing a 5% year-onyear rise in revenue in Q2 this year. One of the ways in which Disney delivers a seamless visitor experience is by making basic tasks like purchasing tickets and queuing for rides less mundane than they typically are. The Play Disney Parks app that was rolled out last year, for example, keeps visitors occupied while queuing for rides and attractions, using games associated with their rides of choice. For instance, guests can play games featuring Pixar characters while queuing for Toy Story Mania at the Disney California Adventure in the USA, or design their own rocket ship while waiting in line for Space Mountain. Disney also focuses heavily on immersion. The recently Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019 31
Disneyland Parks App.
Access via facial recognition.
opened Star Wars: Galaxy Edge’s experience at Disneyland Park in California relies heavily on AR to allow visitors to interact with movie characters who appear to be walking around the parkland, giving visitors the feeling of being in a Star Wars movie. The Play Disney Parks app also uses data to deepen immersion by syncing with the Star Wars: Datapad, which allows users to collect rewards for completing tasks that are part of the park’s story. Park staff and movie characters can also interact with visitors at designated ‘responsive’ areas throughout the park, such as Oga’s Cantina (Disneyland’s first actual bar). Outside of the Star Wars universe, the app offers an aspect of personalisation by using Bluetooth technology to include special effects in each user’s physical environment - those who have played games on the app while queuing for rides will see their scores on digital screens as they reach the front of the queue. Disney has also invested in IoT tools to improve visitor experience - most notably, it developed MagicBand, an electronic RFID-controlled wristband given to visitors upon arrival. It can be used as an entry pass, hotel room key, and optional payment method, and comes with benefits such as restaurant reservations and advance ride booking. At the same time, the company’s MyMagic+ system heightens the level of personalisation through MagicBand by sending individual users messages on their mobile apps and at specific touchpoints throughout the park and resort. For attractions that include photography on rides, all users have to do is tap their MagicBand as they enter to download their photos on the My Disney Experience app after they exit. Furthermore, guests who make reservations at a restaurant and turn up wearing their MagicBands will have a host ready to greet them by name. Since introducing MagicBand, park logistics have reportedly improved significantly, with a 30% decrease in turnstile transaction times and overall increase in park capacity.
Following Up Attractions and entertainment operators are increasingly aware that post-visit customer follow-up is just as important as previsit engagement and in-park experience. Disney’s insistence on constantly gathering customer feedback is part of what helps it remain at the top of its game it emails guests surveys after their visit, focusing on the kind of technology and chat features each guest prefers, and how they used their smartphones during their visit. In addition, it allows customers to provide feedback using their mobile app, as well as email customer service suggestions. Attractions and entertainment companies often also remarket individual rides and features each guest may have ‘missed’ during their last visit, and encourage visitors to join loyalty programs that offer various perks that will entice them to come back. Emails and in-app notifications leading up to customers’ birthdays or anniversaries are also common, whereby previous guests are urged to visit again and enjoy special discounts or free gifts. To do so, they need to make use of seamless multi-device systems and data-driven personalisation, which requires a unified technology stack. This stack is driven by a park ERP (enterprise resource planning) layer, which manages most of the operations, including marketing, finance and accounting, e-commerce sales, administration and human resources. Other components of the stack include websites, mobile apps and a content management system (CMS), as well as an analytics layer consisting of a big data analytics engine and a business intelligence module. External platforms complete the stack - third-party platforms are linked to system modules using APIs (application programming interfaces), and cover IoT, analytics, customer service, social media and e-commerce functions. With their eyes firmly on technology and innovation, attractions and entertainment businesses are targeting both children and adults with personalised, seamless experiences all the way from initial interest to post-visit follow-up. Based in Singapore, Cheryl Tay is Online Content Manager for IQPC Asia. Innovations in attractions in Asia is one of the key themes of IQPC Asia’s upcoming 2nd Annual Attractions, Amusement & Entertainment Development Asia, being held in Singapore on Wednesday 26th and Thursday 27th February 2020, with pre and post conference workshops on Tuesday 25th February and Friday 28th February. For more information contact +65 6722 9388, www.asiaattractionsdevelopment.iqpc.sg
The Rift Virtual/Augmented Reality Theme Park Kuala Lumpur.
32 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
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Healthy New Year
Nigel Benton looks at trends in the fitness industry for the coming year
he end of the year and the beginning of a new one - or decade according to some reckonings – sees the fitness industry look to predictions of how the upcoming 12 months will unfold and the trends that the industry will follow. Traditionally led by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), which has published its Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends annually for the last 14 years, the final months of 2019 has seen others - including Fitness Australia, technology platform MINDBODY and Shaun Krenz, Event Director for the Fitness Show – give their own analysis of prospects for the market. Largely concurring with the ACSM’s survey (see page 40), but in a somewhat different order, a Fitness Australia survey of its industry business members asking for predictions for next year anticipates that ‘Exercise is Medicine’ will be the hottest trend in the fitness industry for 2020. Commenting on the significance of the results, Fitness Australia Chief Executive, Barrie Elvish advised “having our
36 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
members identify exercise as medicine as the top trend for 2020 reinforces that preventive health should be at the top of the Australian health agenda. “Through the Exercise is Medicine program, doctors are provided resources to assist with recommending exercise to their patients - as obesity levels continue to rise it has never been more important for primary care practitioners to take a proactive approach to exercise prescription as a form of preventive medicine.” Within Australia’s Top 12 Fitness Trends for 2020, the additions for this market were exercise for stress management and inclusive fitness - something that Australia may be more accepting of than the USA. Patented by the ACSM in 2007, the origins of Exercise is Medicine go back to the early 1990s when GP referral and ‘green prescription’ initiatives were pioneered in the United Kingdom. That Australian fitness businesses see linking health care providers with fitness providers is of massive significance with implications that not only see fitness providers reach new sections of the population but also go towards governmental goals to get Australians more active and healthy. Such potential has frequently been boxed as a ‘must do’ for fitness but it is significant that business operators now see it as a key issue. With Fitness Australia reporting that almost four million Australians are members of fitness clubs - around 15% of the population - for these business owners as well as the rest of the industry, reaching a portion of the remaining 85% of the population has to be a goal. With Fitness Australia’s vision of having more people more active more often comes reaching a broader user-base, with Elvish noting “what we also see is a large shift towards
The first health club group to list on the ASX, Viva Leisure is one of the largest club owners in Australia with over 40 facilities within the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, with the majority operating under the Club Lime brand. Viva sites are company owned not franchised.
guaranteeing the accessibility of inclusive fitness services - addressing inequality, offering a supportive and welcoming environment where people share a common goal of improving their fitness and health - they are not judged or discriminated against based on their immutable characteristics. “These characteristics can include race, religion, age, gender, and disability status or body weight.” Linking with Wellness While IBISWorld’s market research, most recently its latest Gyms and Fitness Centres – Australia report suggests the industry is reaching saturation, the potential in reaching new markets, this 85%, is crucial for fitness. A pathway to activity for people from their primary care practitioners through to activity providers creates a significant market opportunity and will also see a true fusing of fitness with wellness. Encapsulating this change opportunity, Silke Frank, Event Director for Germany’s FIBO industry exhibition (which owners Reed Exhibitions also delivers in China, the USA, South Africa and, as of 2020, Singapore as well as operating Australia’s Fitness Shows) explains FIBO consider the notion of wellness to have long since moved beyond being a feelgood program with it now being part of an active and healthy experiential lifestyle. Frank advises “wellness encapsulates how we live, eat and work, the way we play, travel and maintain our vitality, our methods for dealing with stress and our response to illnesses. “Today, wellness is rarely viewed as a separate discipline or simply as a supplement to fitness. It is now recognised as a holistic attitude to life that encompasses fitness, nutrition, relaxation, stress reduction and social connectedness.” The Ageing (and Baby Boomer) Market With even the youngest members of the ‘Baby Boom’ generation - considered as those individuals born in the period from the end of the Second World War (1946) and 1960 or 1964, depending on definitions – reaching the second half of their 50s, industry entrepreneur Tony de Leede, the original Managing Director of Plus Fitness 24/7 opens in Singapore.
38 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
Fitness First in Australia and founder of FitnFast Health Clubs (recently sold to Viva Leisure - see below) sees massive potential in this market, commenting “more people are now turning 55 each year than are turning 25 and this is a massive market that wants to stay active and healthy.” Recent Fitness Australia research shows they are the nation’s most active generation, racking up 364 hours of physical activity each year, beating out their younger counterparts with those under 40 averaging 281 hours of activity each year. The research suggests that, by comparison, younger generations could also learn from their older counterparts when it comes to overcoming internal barriers to being active, with those under 40 more than twice as likely as Baby Boomers to avoid physical activity because they feel they don’t fit in or are too embarrassed. Explaining that while the majority of Baby Boomers (a sector also identified in the ACSM’s trends) are getting physically active to improve their health, confidence is also a huge driver. Here Barrie Elvish explains “our research found that for half of older Australians a key benefit of being active is proving to themselves that they can still do it. As a Baby Boomer myself, it is extremely gratifying to see this generation embracing physical activity, challenging themselves and enjoying the physical, mental and social benefits.” Advising that the desire among Baby Boomers to be healthy, confident and strong has led to an increased demand for experts who understand Baby Boomers’ needs as well as tailored programs, Elvish added “we now have almost 10,000 Fitness Australia registered trainers qualified to specifically work with Baby Boomers and service the increasing number heading to gyms and fitness centres. Boomers are also enjoying a range of other activities including walking, gardening, swimming and playing team sports.” Tapping into this market, the upcoming Healthy Ageing Summit - being held in Brisbane from the 27th to 29th March 2020 will consider healthy lifestyles for the over 45s. Healthy Ageing Institute founder Ken Baldwin explains “over 80% of the world’s wealth is controlled by this age group and they have a growing desire to spend money on fulfilling their wants and needs as they age (but) this market is highly under serviced.” Arrivals and Expansion Growth among club chains is set to continue in 2020, building on ongoing openings and numerous success stories of the past year, with Australian-founded F45 Training evolving into a global phenomena; Plus Fitness opening its first club in Singapore and further expanding in India; Jetts also growing in the region with its 11th club in Thailand; and wellness franchise Studio Pilates opening its first Western Australian location as well as studios in China and the USA. As for overseas brands, Gold’s Gym has announced a new master franchise agreement for brand development in Australia with local investment group Colour Capital, aiming to deliver a minimum of 30 new Gold’s Gym Australia locations and 10 in New Zealand, while Planet Fitness has also launched in Australia with a commitment to open 35 locations. Planet Fitness’ growth is to be driven by a development deal signed with Bravo Fit Holdings - joint venture set up by two existing US franchisees, Bravo Fit and PF Growth Partners – in partnership with Galactic Fitness, a company owned and operated by Dallas Rosekelly, who previously owned, the entirely separate, Planet Fitness Australia based in the NSW Hunter Valley. With its low cost memberships at $5 a week, Planet Fitness’ ‘Judgement Free’ branding is tailored for the first-time gymgoer, opening the potential for a wide scope of prospective clients. In addition, Viva Leisure, the first fitness club group to list on
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Planet Fitness (above) and Viva Leisure’s Club Lime brand (above right).
the Australian Stock Exchange, is going through a significant period of largely acquisition-based growth. Now operating over 40 wholly-owned clubs in the ACT, NSW, Victoria and, most recently Queensland, with the majority operating under the Club Lime brand, the group is looking at ongoing expansion.
Since its ASX floatation on 7th June, Viva Leisure has exceeded its prospectus forecasts. It has also acquired 13 FitnFast clubs (10 clubs in NSW, two in Victoria and one in the ACT), gaining a minimum of 21,500 members and entered the Queensland market with the purchase of 10 Healthworks Fitness Centres in the south east of the state – gaining around 12,500 members. Other Trends 2020 also looks set to see the fitness consumer presented with massive choice: from low cost clubs to luxury facilities; multi-million dollar local council aquatic, fitness and recreation centres to small specialist studios; backed by data-driven tracking, monitoring and booking technologies. To drive the many opportunities, the Australian fitness industry will remain fiercely competitive requiring businesses and professionals to remain innovative and entrepreneurial. Nigel Benton is Publisher of Australasian Leisure Management.
The American College of Sports Medicine Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2020
Wearable technology: Includes fitness trackers, smart health watches, heart rate monitors and GPS tracking devices. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery. Despite concerns expressed by some fitness professionals, these 30-minute or less sessions continue to be a popular form of exercise around the world. Group training: Group exercise instructors teach, lead and motivate individuals through intentionally designed, larger, inperson group movement classes of more than five participants. Group programs are designed to be motivational and effective for people at different fitness levels, with instructors using leadership techniques that help individuals achieve fitness goals. Training with free weights: Instructors focus on teaching proper form for exercises using barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells and/or medicine balls. Resistance progressively increases as correct form is accomplished. Training with free weights is a new entrant to the list, debuting in fourth place in 2020. Personal Training: The popularity of one-on-one training continues to increase as it becomes more accessible online, in clubs, at home and in worksite fitness facilities. Personal 40 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
training includes fitness testing and goal setting with the trainer working one on one with a client to prescribe workouts specific to individual needs and goals. Exercise is Medicine®: This global health initiative by ACSM encourages health care providers to include physical activity assessment and associated referrals to certified fitness professionals in the community for every patient. Bodyweight Training: Bodyweight training uses minimal equipment, making it more affordable. Not limited to just pushups and pull-ups, this trend allows people to get ‘back to the basics’ with fitness. Fitness Programs for Older Adults: As Baby Boomers age into retirement, many health and fitness professionals are taking the time to create age-appropriate fitness programs to keep older adults healthy and active. Health/Wellness Coaching: This growing trend integrates behavioural science into health promotion and lifestyle medicine programs. A one-one-one and small group approach provides support, goal setting and encouragement. Employing Certified Fitness Professionals: Hiring health/ fitness professionals certified through programs accredited by the NCCA is more important than ever. ACSM is one of the largest and most prestigious fitness-certification organisations in the world.
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Peninsula Hot Springs on the Mornington Peninsula.
A Great Victorian Bathing Trail Matt Sykes outlines the opportunity to establish a signature tourism experience to meet Australian 2030 goals
n an age of disruption and uncertainty the ways in which we derive meaning from travel are changing. We prioritise the Instagramability of our experiences and search for authentic local connections through online platforms like AirBnB. The white elephant of climate change means that if you’re not ‘plane shaming’ yourself, while planning your next holiday or business trip, then someone else is likely to, to which you can add global political and economic instability. However, among all of this there’s a rising force which for me is very interesting - wellness tourism, especially nature-based wellness tourism. Asking myself the question as to whether there could be a way of developing tourism trails and destinations which simultaneously improve the wellbeing of ecosystems, communities and economies, I have undertaken research into a hot springs and bathing tourism strategy for the state of Victoria. Before delving into more detail let’s set the scene.
pilgrimage changing. Nonetheless, we still yearn for connection to self, others, nature and the cosmos. During my time working as the Experience Manager at Peninsula Hot Springs I saw many, in fact thousands of people, finding a place of peace and retreat in its tranquil bushland setting. People of diverse ages and cultures use the space in the same way that their ancestors may historically have taken refuge in a temple, mosque or church. It provides a vital counterbalance to their hectic daily lives. A conversation with Uncle Max ‘Dulumunmun’ Harrison, Yuin Nation Elder, comes to mind, where he explained “we drink the same water, we bathe in the same water. All cultures walk the same land and breathe the same air. Water links all cultures.” Consider that during the last 12 months over 500,000 visitors made a pilgrimage to ‘take the waters’ at Peninsula Hot Springs. The question we have to ask is whether our community is searching for more?
Water links all cultures Travel has a timeless allure. For millennia we have made pilgrimages to holy places for religious motivations. However, when contemplating our changing world, including the trend towards more secular beliefs, I see our sacred places of
The opportunity under our feet Here’s the pitch … why not invest in a chain of hot springs and bathing destinations along Victoria’s southern coastline, from Portland to Mallacoota, linked as an epic 1200 kilometre trail to rival the world’s greatest pilgrimages? We have Deep Blue Hotel and Hot Springs, at the western edge of the Great Ocean Road, which has just opened its incredible new bathing Sanctuary. Latrobe City Council is currently constructing the Gippsland Regional Aquatic Centre which will use geothermal energy to heat its buildings and swimming pool. Add four more proposals; from Metung Hot Springs and Nunduk Spa Retreat in East Gippsland to Saltwater Hot Springs at Phillip Island and 12 Apostles Hot Springs in the west. We have the framework for something globally-unique. (All of these projects rely on accessing geothermal groundwater which sits roughly 600 metres below the surface, a renewable natural resource that must and can be managed sustainably). Let’s not forget the proposal for a public swimming facility called ‘Yarra Pools’ in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD as well as the potential for a string of contemporary sea baths and floating
Deep Blue Hot Springs, Warrnambool.
42 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
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without bathing, my gills started to dry out! After a quick visit to Thermae Bath Spa and the ancient roman baths in the UK, I began the journey home via Guangdong province in China. There I saw and experienced the integration of Traditional Chinese Medicine and western balneology (the study of medicinal springs) in facilities such as Bishuwan Hot Springs Resort.
Gudlaug Baths In Iceland
saunas around Port Phillip Bay/Nerm. All of this is clearly articulated in my strategic plan, but none of it was obvious before travelling across the globe to study industry-leading benchmarks. Searching east and west Through the support of the Victorian Tourism Industry Council’s Lynette Bergin Fellowship I had the privilege to study remarkable bathing cultures; from the onsen of Japan to the saunas of Finland. In January 2019 I set off for the island of Kyushu in southern Japan. It only made sense to start my research by immersing in the world’s most rich and avid hot springs culture. I visited Beppu which is striving to be the world’s best hot springs city. How do you measure such a thing, you ask? Well, here’s a small indicator, using a very clever social media campaign, their mayor agreed to transform an amusement park into a ‘Spamusement Park’. Picture people in swimsuits hopping into a roller coaster filled with hot springs water and bubble bath soap. Beppu also hosts an annual onsen marathon where bathers must run between 42 of the cities hot springs, pausing for a minimum six seconds at each onsen. In June I tracked north to the Nordic region, beginning with the hot springs of Iceland. Here, I was amazed to discover over 77 hot springs tour packages, ranging from whale-watching and bathing to hiking and hot springs. It became clear that back in Victoria, investing in the hot springs industry could create extensive flow-on benefits to the broader nature-based tourism industry. I continued bath-hopping from the saunas of Finland to forest baths of Norway, harbour baths of Denmark and beaches of southern Sweden. It came to a point where I started to feel like Kevin Costner’s character in Waterworld, if a day passed Gudou Hot Springs Guangdong China
44 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
Connecting Communities, Conservation and Tourism In among the birth of the Great Victorian Bathing Trail vision was the rise of the Climate Strike movement and now wideranging acknowledgement of the environmental crisis. Ecoanxiety could become paralysing if weren’t for the rapid uptake of initiatives like BCorp (Benefit Corporation) and 1% for the Planet accreditations, led by responsible business pioneers like Patagonia. In the context of tourism trail development, the United Nations declaration of the 2020s as the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration is particularly inspiring. As Peninsula Hot Springs has shown, nature-based wellness tourism development can spark the restoration of degraded environments (20 years ago it was a horse paddock). Importantly, all of the aforementioned Victorian geothermal projects demonstrate a strong commitment to environmentally sustainable design. This shared philosophy is core to the branding and marketing of the bathing trail. Ultimately, it has potential to inspire the restoration of vast terrestrial, aquatic and marine environments between and around the trail. Think of it as Victoria’s equivalent of the Route of Parks which spans 2800 kilometres and links 17 national parks in Chile. In both projects, travellers are invited to journey via road transport but there is also the opportunity for hikers and cyclists to complete the traverse. Looking forward So, if it’s such a great idea why hasn’t someone else done it yet? Well, they have. A similar collective of hot springs in the United States has collaborated to create the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop. The question really is why haven’t we done it yet? Firstly, the industry needed pioneers like Charles Davidson of Peninsula Hot Springs and Gene Seabrook of Deep Blue Hotel & Hot Springs to show us the potential. Now, the rest of the tourism industry including bodies like Tourism Australia and Visit Victoria need to advocate for the emerging developers so that public and private investment can be effectively coordinated. My dream is that in 2030 you, I and thousands like us will be able to bathe, walk and catch electric buses along one of the world’s iconic pilgrimages, right in our own backyard. Matt Sykes is the author of The Great Victorian Bathing Trail: A blueprint for a Victorian hot springs and bathing tourism strategy, a roadmap for Victoria’s hot springs and bathing tourism industry. He has started a consultancy specialising in nature-based tourism trail development which connects the dots between conservation, communities and travel. Peninsula Hot Springs.
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019 45
Warren and Mahoney’s concept for the Christchurch Metro Sports Facility (above) and Myrtha designed relaxation pool (below).
IAKS document charts future global trends for public pools
he Germany-based International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) has explored future trends for the global aquatics industry, explaining the role of public swimming facilities as places of inclusivity, as places for socialising and for sport while also exploring how they can operate as ‘wellness hubs’. Introduced at the International Swimming Pool and Wellness Forum during the FSB convention in the city of Cologne on 7th November, the IAKS Future Trends for Pools initiative is based on issues and trends observed by international experts. Introducing the document, IAKS President Dr Stefan Kannewischer stated “these future trends outline important developments for professionals and non-professionals involved in pools around the world.” Key to the document, is an appreciation that swimming and water-based leisure activities have always been a human need that deliver physical and emotional benefits. It explains “the way people are taking the waters has changed and will continue to change over time, so pool facilities will have to adapt to evolving user behaviour accordingly.” The IAKS pool expert circle has identified the following IAKS future trends for public pools (which does not include hotel pools) detailing future trends for professionals and nonprofessionals (such as politicians and other stakeholders) involved in pools around the world.
46 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
Swimming is regaining importance The individualisation of our society and new ways of working, with blurring boundaries between work and leisure, are leading to stronger on-demand activities like swimming, jogging and cycling. These are often performed in public spaces that are not limited by opening hours. This means that more access to lap swimming for all (not only for competition) is needed and that opening hours should be extended. Immersing in a lifelong healthy lifestyle Water sports and swimming fit in perfectly with the trend of people leading more healthy lifestyles coupled with an ageing society with more active seniors. This is why water-based exercise classes, as a gentle start to an active lifestyle, and swimming lessons for adults are becoming more popular. As many children are not taught to swim any more by their parents, swimming lessons for children (in school or as a leisure activity) are becoming more important. These activities can often be accommodated in learner/ teaching pools and are better supported with an adjustable/ movable floor (multifunctional pools). Pools are turning into ‘wellness hubs’ The increasing importance of ‘preventive health care’ (including mental health/stress reduction) is encouraging holistic life-style activities. The combination of sports with relaxation activities is gaining in importance, so wellness offerings are being added more frequently to classical competition pools, e.g. warm water/spa pools, sauna/steam rooms, treatment areas, lounging zones. German-speaking Europe has a strong wellness-oriented bathing culture with the pool infrastructure designed to support this. However, the added wellness offerings at smaller and more competition-oriented pools should be closely analysed for their economic benefits. The healthy eating trend is boosting demand for healthier food offerings at pools.
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The City of Sydney’s new Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre - designed by Andrew Burges Architects in association with Grimshaw and TCL.
Fun for children and families In addition to the wellness trend, children and families are a core target group for pools. Having fun is important for children and families as an introduction to the water and for leisure. To support this, facilities need to be more attractive and provide amenities focused on fun. Designing for inclusivity The original conception of accessibility focused on the needs of people with visual and mobility impairments. This has expanded significantly in recent years as society becomes more inclusive. This has also been driven by demographic change, migration and increasing cultural diversity. Social sustainability and inclusion have become important goals for public leisure facilities. The political decision-making process is therefore increasingly involving all stakeholders and the public from the beginning. It should start by defining the socio-economic outcomes and political goals of a new project. Inclusivity requirements are resulting in new design strategies for many aspects of pools including stairs, lighting, signage, surfaces and acoustics, as well as for universal changing areas and toilets. Cultural and demographic differences are also driving increasing demand for privacy strategies so that certain groups can be better accommodated. The completed Taiora QEII in Christchurch.
Pools as place for socialising The social function of sports and leisure facilities is growing in importance. Facilities need to be multifunctional and serve as a ‘social hub’ for the community. This is best accomplished if the facility integrates all stakeholders and seeks close relations with users. Sports and leisure facilities also play an important role in supporting and encouraging participation by adolescents, and this has many positive social outcomes in the broader community. Sustainable and healthy pool facilities Climate change places a new focus on ecological sustainability. This necessitates a holistic approach from planning and construction through to the operation of pools with a minimal ecological footprint. Important strategies include water conservation, heat recovery, combined heat and power generation, solar energy, passive house principles, and waste/ plastic reduction. Health consciousness also calls for better air and water quality and includes a desire for reduced concentrations of by-products of chlorine disinfection. Consequently, higher technical standards (together with tighter regulations) are resulting in increased investment costs for pool projects. In some regions, the increasing awareness of climate change is resulting in a call for more protection of facilities from the sun and rain. Air pollution poses new challenges and imposes limitations on outdoor activities. Safe and secure pools The potential for antisocial behaviour calls for measures such as video surveillance and security teams. The increasing responsibility and liability of leisure facilities towards their users raises the need for more surveillance staff, surveillance technology (e.g. underwater surveillance systems), and more complex building construction and makes the use of certified products more important. Competing demands on public finances The competing demands on public finances call for a prioritisation of investments. In competition for public funding, promoters of pool projects have to communicate the significant ‘public value’ of pools (also known as the ‘social return on investment’) to government and other stakeholders. In response to financial pressures, new projects can be
48 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
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Digital transformation The omnipresence of digital technology makes the digital accessibility of sports and leisure facilities indispensable, before, during and after the visit. Furthermore, virtual and augmented reality will make inroads into sports and leisure (facilities), e.g. the first virtual reality water slides are being installed. Another development is an increasing demand for sports tracking/performance measurement. New admission control and (noncash) payment systems will transform service quality for users and reduce staffing requirements. In marketing, mass media communication is declining and individualised marketing is increasing, e.g. social media, Google Adwords. All this collected data raises the VRSlide, which recently opened at Galaxy Erding in Germany, and claims to the title of “first virtual reality water slide.” complexity of data security, privacy expectations and regulatory compliance (such as Europe’s executed in partnership models with not-for-profit or private General Data Protection Regulation). commercial companies. In project design, the use of building information modelling is increasing and may lead to better integration with operational Improving economics systems, but its consequences for the business concept should Long-term business plans (including life-cycle costing and be closely watched. financing) are crucial steps towards achieving a good longterm financial outcome. International harmonisation of demand Financial performance can also be improved in Globalisation, the internet and people’s increasing mobility multicomponent facilities by combining profitable life-style are influencing user expectations. Users’ demands are heavily sports with traditionally unprofitable activities and sports, e.g. influenced by international best-practice pools. Global trends adding leisure elements or a fitness club to a competition pool, should therefore be monitored closely, with the growing or by combining pools with other non-sport municipal functions. harmonisation of international quality standards. Sport England promotes this kind of combination, e.g. combining the pool, sports hall and fitness club with a library. Diverse development of market segments Furthermore, regional pool planning increases effectiveness. Commercial life-style sports are often serviced by privately Especially where seasonal outdoor and indoor pools are in financed and operated sports and leisure facilities such as different locations, it makes sense to manage them jointly at fitness clubs, wellness/sauna facilities and thermal baths. one location. Also, the duplication of similar pools should be This trend can leave municipal and school facilities lagging avoided in the same catchment area. behind with the more unprofitable sports segments (e.g. Revisiting the business case is also very important when old competition pools) and without the opportunity for crosspools need refurbishment. financing with profitable sport segments. This puts additional Finally, pool management usually has the highest economic strain on municipal facilities where the return on investment leverage on revenues, and especially admission fees (rather is more social than purely financial. In these cases, an than costs), and pools should be managed professionally assessment of the public value is necessary. (rather than politically). Myrtha designed Wellness Steam Bath.
Scarcity of space Increasing urbanisation is putting pressure on limited public open space. These spaces therefore need to become more multifunctional and to allow physical activities of many kinds. For example, seasonal outdoor pools can be used outside their normal operating season as park space or in winter for ice skating. Good design The delivery and operation of successful pools are complex tasks. Good design is an essential part of providing an enhanced user experience that fosters long-term loyalty and high participation. The complete quality of the swimming experience is a critical component for long-term success. For more information go to www.iaks.sport
www.ausleisure.com.au for all the latest industry news 50 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019 51
West Coast Eagles new training base at Perth’s Lathlain Park.
A junior AFL clinic with the Fremantle Dockers.
Community and Club
Brad Paatsch looks at the development of modern elite training and administration facilities for sport
odern elite training and administration facilities (ETAF) come in varied shapes, sizes and locations with every facility scoped and planned for the unique requirements of the user club or organisation. These types of facilities focus on many different aspects including elite training, professional administration, community engagement, commercial enterprise, commercial partner integration, education and other further diversified opportunities. There have been several exciting recent developments that have shown what is possible and more, paving the way for the next generation of ETAFs that continue to evolve with an array of opportunities yet to be tested and explored. Opportunities exist for innovation in relation to the community. Clubs are continuously looking at ways that they can integrate into the community in new and innovative ways. Some of them involve establishing in new and growing community locations. For example, the Fremantle Football Club facility within the Cockburn Aquatic and Recreation Centre south of Perth in Western Australia is a landmark development for elite sports and community integration - this case study is examined in detail later in this paper. Other examples include the soon-to-bedeveloped Brisbane Lions facility in Springfield, Queensland; and the proposed future redevelopment of North Melbourne Football Club Arden Street Precinct in Victoria [which already provides a good example of a community integrated facility]. There may be another level of community integration with the Hawthorn Football Club’s new proposed facility at Dingley, Victoria, where the Club will be leading the development of a facility for both the Club and the community. Recent times have also seen clubs develop innovative property development models by partnering with government and government agencies. Claremont Football Club’s recent development at Claremont Oval in Perth, is one such example where the club has worked with the Western Australian Government and the Public Transport Authority of Western Australia (PTA) to create a new sporting and residential precinct incorporating an ETAF and commercial facilities for the Claremont Football Club and residential apartment
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development on the oval. The site is uniquely located on the train line into the city with the club relinquishing its lease rights to land around the oval to government who have, in turn, sold the land to the private sector for residential development and used part proceeds from this to fund the Club’s development. Importantly the Claremont Football Club development includes a PTA basement car park, paid for by the PTA, servicing train users and providing commercial tenancy space for the club to exploit. The club has used this tenancy space to create an annuity stream for the Club by hiring this space for use as commercial tenancy including a gymnasium, sports medicine/physiotherapy practice and function facilities for community use. It must be noted that the prime purpose of many of these developments is for elite training and there have been some very good examples of facilities in which this is the sole or primary purpose. The Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS) facility in the Perth suburb of Mount Claremont is an excellent example of a facility designed solely for elite use. The $30 million plus Western Australian Government-funded WAIS facility is 5000 metre² of purpose-built training, recovery and analysis facilities that provide Western Australian elite athletes with world’s best practice facilities in which to optimise their performance. The new $60 million West Coast Eagles facility is the next level in ETAF and professional sporting facilities - creating a benchmark for these types of developments with state-ofthe-art elite training space, recovery facilities, professional administration and multi-media facilities, commercial and commercial partner spaces, and two ovals. One crucial aspect to the development of many modern ETAF facilities is the relationship with the local community and integration of the facility with community. As the development of the next generation of facilities progress I believe the focus in development will move to a number of key areas: •Further integration into the community, with community facilities providing even greater benefit to both the club and
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The Dockers training and administration base at the Cockburn ARC (above and below).
the community and further incentivising the all important Government investment in the facilities; •Further development of multi-media facilities with growth in size and complexity; •Increasing partnerships between clubs/sporting organisations and other stakeholders for development of these facilities, including but not limited to Government, Universities and the property development sector. •Locating the facilities in key development regions where new and redeveloped facilities are required and where the club/ sporting organisation can benefit from the growing population. •The expanded incorporation of commercial facilities into developments to further improve the sustainability of both the facility and the club/sporting organisation. •Greater expansion and integration of commercial property development and investment into the facilities. I foresee commercial property developers investing in integrated property development with accommodation for retirement living, student accommodation, short stay and hotel accommodation and even residential units incorporated into future facilities. The opportunity for commercial property integration, in particular, is an exciting one that opens up prospects for private
sector funding in an area historically funded by government. As facilities further develop I see the opportunity for the incorporation of elements from modern day stadium design. Inner sanctum premium experience facilities at Stadium’s such as the Field Club and Coach’s Club at Optus stadium will be replicated in a downgraded capacity to provide inner sanctum experiences for members and supporters on non-match days, thereby extending the match day activation with members and supporters beyond match day. Rest assured the development of ETAF facilities will continue with exciting opportunities to be explored as we embark on the next stage of facility development. The industry has undergone some major changes in recent years. There have been several cutting-edge Australian ETAF developments expanding considerations and pushing boundaries beyond purely elite training purposes. Through case studies within this paper, some key and landmark developments in the elite sports arena are demonstrably paving the way for a new generation of ETAFs - forever changing the approach, design and delivery of these facilities. As evidenced by the success of these forward-thinking developments, the strategy driving this close stakeholder and community collaboration coupled with a widened scope to develop multi-purpose, multi-use and integrated facilities derives greater return on investment and offers other commercial benefits. Importantly, it also breaks down borders between government, private sector and community to deliver a premier facility that offers value to all. Brad Paatsch is the Managing Director of Paatsch Group, a leading sport and leisure consulting firm. He led the development of the Cockburn ARC, joint community and Fremantle Football Club elite administration and training facility. He can be contacted on E: email@example.com.
The Cockburn ARC
A world’s best practice example of an integrated elite and community facility is the Cockburn ARC (aquatic, recreation and community) facility located at Cockburn Central West about 20 kilometres south of Perth. Cockburn ARC is a fully integrated ETAF, community aquatic, education and sport facility involving the City of Cockburn, Fremantle Football Club and Curtin University. This facility serves a catchment of more than 207,000 people in Perth’s rapidly growing south west corridor and provides significant reach into the broader region and creates and leverages partnerships between government, elite sport, education and the community. The facility services the needs of the local community, provides a dedicated home to better meet the Dockers’ and its stakeholders needs, provides elite athletes in the community with access to quality facilities and provides Curtin University students from numerous professions with opportunities to engage with the community. 54 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
The $110 million, 24,000 metre² integrated facility with stateof-the-art sporting, community and educational facilities sets a new benchmark, both in Australia and internationally and incorporates the following components into one integrated regional facility: • 50 metre 10 lane outdoor multi-purpose competition and water polo swimming pool. • 25 metre indoor swimming pool. • Program and learn-to-swim pool. • Children’s aquatic play area and splash pad. • Fully accessible hydrotherapy pool and aquatic recovery pools. • Regional multipurpose indoor sporting centre, inclusive of six highball courts. • Multi-purpose community oval/pitch. • Community café. • Administration offices for the Fremantle Football Club. • Professional permanent training facilities for the Fremantle Football Club and other elite athletes in the region. • AFL standard oval. • Sport store inclusive of the Fremantle Football Club retail shop. • Wellness and fitness studios including gymnasium, program rooms and rehabilitation facilities. • Commercial sports medicine practice. • Education facilities including lecture theatre, health and wellness laboratories and multimedia facility. • Community office and meeting spaces.
Key to the success of the facility is the extensive planning undertaken between City of Cockburn and the Fremantle Football Club to identify which facilities could and couldn’t be shared and in particular detailed planning as to exactly how these shared facilities would work. This planning resulted in the facilities being classified in the planning stage by the City of Cockburn and Fremantle Football Club into the following categories: • Community dedicated facilities - Facilities that would be used exclusively by the community and managed by the City. - Creche; - Program and leisure pools; - Health club; and - Sports medicine centre; • Fremantle Football Club dedicated facilities - Facilities that would be used exclusively by the Fremantle Football Club and managed by the Club; - Fremantle Football Club administration facilities; - Fremantle Football Club elite training and medical facilities (gym, medical etc) • Community Facilities Use by Fremantle Football Club and managed by the City
- Hydrotherapy pool; - Aquatic recovery facilities; - 25 metre/50 metre pool; - Highball courts; - Multi-purpose community oval/pitch; and - Café; • Fremantle Football Club Facilities used by the community - Lecture theatre; - Meeting hub including board room; - Multi-media facilities; - Elite standard AFL oval; - Sports store; and - Function Centre. Much of the planning was focused on ‘letting the respective organisation do what it does well’. This resulted in aspects of the facility being managed by the Club, like the integrated Fremantle Football Club merchandise store and sports/leisure store, the café being the responsibility of the City and other aspects being done jointly, like the appointment of single caterer for the facility (even though the café is a council facility and the function centre is a club facility). This level of planning and implementation resulted in significant economies of scale and revenue efficiencies that ultimately benefit both parties. For the City of Cockburn the facility provides significant community benefits with over 1.3 million visitations annually and the brand benefits of the partnership with Fremantle Football Club which further assist in activating the facility. For the Dockers, apart from providing access to facilities that it could never achieve on its own, it also provides exposure to a significantly growing population in the growing South and Peel regions of greater Perth. This growing population will form the basis for growing the clubs’ supporter and member base for the next 50 years and will greatly assist in filling the new Optus Stadium on Fremantle Football Club match days.
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Learnings for a more Active Australia The organisers of the National Sports Convention have provided an assessment of the 2019 event and the challenges that lie ahead in getting Australians to be more active
he 1,000 plus delegates representing community sport, all levels of government, health, education and the commercial sectors that attended the 2019 National Sports Convention (NSC) agreed that the single most important message that came out of the July event was the need for a “whole of industry approach” to develop solutions for sport and physical activity through developing a ‘systems-based roadmap’ for planners, policy makers and providers throughout Australia to increase opportunities for communities to be physically active, play and recreate, and be encouraged to participate in community sport to reduce sedentary behaviour. Held in Melbourne on 24th and 25th July 2019, with over 150 global, national and local speakers and panellists driven to shape conversations on its ‘Reimagining Sport’ theme, the NSC’s commitment to share knowledge and learnings, together with its partners, collaborators and sponsors, has resulted in a newly released the ‘Learnings’ discussion paper to encourage the industry to embrace the global direction to encourage activity. Global speakers together with Australian and New Zealand peak bodies expressed concern on the increasing levels of sedentary lifestyle that are being witnessed globally and locally. This consensus is summarised in the National Heart Foundation’s ‘Blueprint for an Active Australia’ (2019), which presents an irrefutable and urgent case for change to address the community’s wide problem of physical inactivity. The Blueprint states that heart disease remains Australia’s major cause of death, leading to the demise of one person every 28 minutes. As a society we appreciate that sedentary lifestyles contribute to the burden of disease and physical activity can significantly reduce that burden. Many people however are not acting on this knowledge or regularly exercising for health gain.
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The Australian National Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend that adults should accumulate 150-300 minutes of moderate or 75-100 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity per week. For children this should be one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily to meet these guidelines. Unfortunately, according to the Blueprint Australia is not meeting these guidelines, with nearly 80% of children and young people, 60% of adults, and 75% of seniors not active enough for good heart health. Many Australians may be surprised to hear that Australia is not the ‘sporting and active’ nation that it perceives itself as. This is reflected within Federal Government’s Sport 2030 Plan that aspires to change this with the ambitious target to be the world’s most active and healthy nation by 2030. Sport Australia appreciates that this Plan needs to be a collaborative approach with all of the industry sector and key stakeholders to focus priorities and resources. A number of approaches were explored at the NSC, with the common threads showing that, for success, there is a need for: •A collective approach across the whole sector, including health, education, sport and all levels of government in relation to the planning, policy making, resourcing and provision of physical activity and community sport •Clear agreement and priorities for key targeted audiences that can all work together •Understanding environments that people are active in and to make them more conducive for activity •Changing society’s attitudes and practices with clear and aligned messages and communication campaigns. Comparing many of these ‘Systems’ approaches and combining with the Australian Sports Commission 2019-2023 Corporate Plan, and NSC polling suggestions, an integrated systems-based ‘road map’ could consider the following:
Active Environments - Create and maintain environments that promote opportunities with equitable access to safe places and spaces •Urban and transport planning integrated with design for highly connected neighbourhoods •Walking and cycling networks integrated to encourage physical activity and movement as a way of life •Investing in community infrastructure for play, recreation, fitness and community sport •Creating guidelines for public space and amenities to encourage communities to be more active to be developed and embraced by all levels of government •Physical Literacy integrated with the Sporting Schools program to deliver programs for all children in education •Active workplaces to encourage workers to be more active while in the workplace. Active Communities - Create a paradigm shift in our society by enhancing knowledge and understanding of, and appreciation for, the benefits of regular physical activity, according to ability throughout life •Deliver physical activity awareness programs across the nation through #MoveItAUS #FindYour30 campaigns to support Sport 2030 Plan •Mass participation initiatives to be encouraged and funded to activate communities and linked to daily programs • Establish a Research Centre for Sport and Physical Activity to solve industry challenges through shared knowledge and data analytics. Active Australians - Create and promote access to opportunities and programs, across multiple settings, to help people of all ages and abilities to engage in regular physical activity as individuals, families and communities Collaborate to deliver an integrated approach to strengthen physical literacy and play to specific target national programs to activate specific targeted groups. •Develop inclusion and diversity impact statements which guide priority outcome areas •Target priority groups including: disadvantaged populations; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; children and adolescents and older people. Active Industry - Build the capability and capacity of the community sport and physical activity sector to create a robust, connected industry with joint vision •Strengthen policy, frameworks, leadership and governance systems between all levels of government and sport •Create an industry wide data analytics management and insights program for the industry •Sport Australia to transform the sports business model •Escalate advocacy for joint action across health, education, government, fitness and community sport •Financial sustainability of the sector by exploring collective funding models and innovative financial strategies •Support the development of a Sport Industry Growth Plan and Financial Strategy •Market Sport Australia’s Sport and charity raffle, ‘Play for Purpose’ to local clubs to help them grow •Reform the governance and management of the National Sport Disability Sector. A ‘Road Map’ to activity Looking forward, the NSC Discussion Paper expands on the four aspects of the ‘road map’ – issues that were explored at the event and will be developed at NSC in 2020. Among these learnings, key designers, consultants and facility managers shared views on what community environments and facilities will look like in the future. Key points in this area included: •Experience: from customers to schools to health and wellbeing - facilities need to focus on the broader community and not just the ‘lap-swimmers’
•Design: sustainability and impact on the environment is critical as is informal play integrated with traditional offerings. Flexibility around design for whole of life usage (aged 30 years plus) needs to be designed and built in •Technical: embrace data and create immersive experiences, that will excite and encourage participants to return and be more active, include the use of technology to reduce operational costs •Operational: Integration of broad community and recreational opportunities including allied health, arts, library, community service and modified sports, will provide greater community usage and should be more sustainable. Functional and operational focus is recommended throughout the design stage to minimise the operational costs while maximising the functionality to ensure long-term sustainability. In sport and recreation environments, the embracing of technology for sports surfaces has grown to an appreciation of the need to: •Create additional playing hours to meet the intensity of demand •Increase recreational participation with multi-use games courts • Design play spaces to encourage more children to play, recreate, be challenged and learn skills of running, jumping, throwing and catching • Integrate modified sports such as 5-a-side Football, 3 on 3 Basketball, Hockey 5’s, Netball, Tennis and fitness all on one surface. To encourage 15% of the community (approximately three million people) to be more active, the discussion paper highlights the need to create an awareness of the benefits of being active and consequences of being sedentary – a process to be addressed by a whole of government and industry approach. Diversity and inclusion was also strongly reflected at the event with agreement that a cross-industry integrated approach to strengthen physical literacy throughout life and ensure opportunities and access for all, irrespective of age, ability, ethnic background or gender is paramount. 2020 and Beyond Having delivered its assessment of the 2019 event, the NSC is now preparing for its return in 2020, with the learnings document as well as a live poll of delegates from the last event (which attracted 816 responses) to drive its program. The 2019 National Sports Convention was made possible through the support of Sport Australia, the State and Territory Offices of Sport and Recreation (CASRO), Sport New Zealand, the Victoria Government, VicHealth, collaborators, sponsors and program content developers. The National Sports Convention returns in 2020, being staged at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre from Monday 13th to Wednesday 15th July. Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019 57
Premium seating from Ferco Systems at the Australian Open.
Making fans VIPs Keiko Sutton explores ways to improve the fan experience
ny entity that achieves success, whether it be a business or an individual, does so with the ability to adapt. With the world constantly changing as are those that inhabit it - emotions, tastes, likes and dislikes rarely stay the same and the ability to meet new standards requires innovation and adaption. However, with change, one theme has remained constant - the desire to have options. When it comes to sports facility design, improving the fan experience and expanding options are top priorities. Sports, teams and venues, which
thrive due to fan values, have to listen to audience feedback and most fans, whether they are gathering for a sports game or a concert, want to feel like a â€˜VIPâ€™ guest. However, not all fans are alike, and many have varied desires as to what that VIP experience is. Simply attending an event and remaining in a hard, plastic seat is generally no longer enough to entice guests. Whether fans attend a sporting fixture, concert or event, the live performance is no longer the sole spectacle. The arena and the accommodations that reside within it enhance the overall encounter. Based on experience in Japanese sports culture, there are a number of ways stadiums can elevate the fan experience that I believe have worldwide significance. Segment the Audience One way facilities can improve the fan experience through a customised experience is by segmenting the audience by similar interests/needs as different demographics require different kinds of accommodations. For example, families with young children would benefit from child-centric areas like play areas and easily accessible nursing and changing rooms. For individuals looking to meet new friends, bar areas can help facilitate these new connections. Families can finally rejoice through segmented seating with the benefit of sitting near child-friendly amenities
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such as play areas, day cares/spaces with babysitting services, and changing and nursing rooms, where their children can sleep and even engage, under supervision, with other children of like ages. To further enhance a family-friendly environment, parents and their young ones will also have a separate space to avoid the rambunctious aura that may not be suitable for their children. The loud noise and chatter is often too much for young children to tolerate and their presence and comfort is just as important. No longer is the headache of cramming through a packed concourse to get their son or daughter to the bathroom and then back to their seats. The indecisiveness of whether or not to even leave the house vanishes as the needs of parents and/or guardians are made a top priority. In addition to families with children, younger fans showing up with their friends are likely to bring a different energy. While one group may want to attend and experience a relaxed and more tame event, another portion of fans may bring a different energy. This younger generation is often larger than life themselves, exuding excitement when they see their favourite teams live in action. This surge of energy helps lead the team to victory. These fans, the ones who display their admiration in a more charismatic way, also benefit from this as they are seated closer to the sports bar and have easier access to tailgating. Segmented seating truly allows for the best of both worlds. Rethink the VIP experience Younger generations are moving away from the classic velvet-rope box-seat suites and are more interested in intimate experiences. Rather than having the sky-boxes we are accustomed to seeing in stadiums, VIP areas are being moved closer to the field in order to offer direct-player engagement with the fans, allowing for a more special and interactive experience. As times and people change and as younger generations evolve, their interests expand. With this, they are moving toward a more intimate ambiance. It is a common trend that some VIP seats, such as box tickets, are located near the higher level bow. Relocating some of these VIP seats closer to the event not only allows them the opportunity to engage with the players and/or performers, but also gives the fanbase an enhanced viewing of the event. Additional perks that could be offered with the VIP packages include, but are not limited to: meet and greets; autograph and photo opportunities; access to exclusive memorabilia; easier access to arena parking; guaranteed
Chairman’s seating at Perth’s Optus Stadium.
priority for future event purchases and even front row tickets. Moreover, the VIP area may have enhanced seats with refurbished cushioning, larger space for that much desired leg room, and easier access to concession lines. The main idea is for the live crowd to partake in an event that brings them closer to friends and family, because sharing a moment is what makes the experience memorable. Kotobuki Seating includes its Malaysia-based subsidiary Ferco Seating Systems that recently supplied seats for the corporate section of the Melbourne Cricket Ground and recliner seats to the Premiership Lounge at Perth’s Optus Stadium. Seating Options Facilities can also positively affect spectator experiences through offering a variety of seating options. Benches, luxurious chairs, and even communal tables with seating offer completely different experiences for the same event. By offering various seating options at different price points, fans are able to customise their gameday experience, to cater to their preferences. Everybody wants the privilege of choice, and that is demonstrated even further through a variety of seating options. Communal tables are seen most prominently in the box level, which is part of the VIP experience. Communal
tables and box seats often include a range of food and beverage and are designed for large parties. This seating option gives those who want exclusive space with those close to them, the luxury of privacy. The bench area or bleacher seats are commonly seen at US baseball stadiums such as Wrigley Field in Chicago and Yankee Stadium in New York City. These seating options often see a reduced price and are classified as general admission, which means that there are no assigned seats. These seats are desirable for those who are looking to cut back on cost, but who still want the option of attending a live game. These state-of-the-art accommodations are already solidifying themselves in Japan, with sights set on expanding globally. It is understood that in different areas of the world, people are looking for a different experience and the goal is to provide for all. We are continuously working to understand how to change our seats and amenities for the evolving culture. This is not a one-time investment, but a promise to the future. It is our mission to not just meet the standards of this rapidly adapting environment, but to go above and beyond and revolutionise the experience of a live event. World famous arenas such as New York’s Madison Square Garden, London’s The O2, and the Staples Center in Los Angeles have some of the most loyal and faithful fans that would definitely thrive off this fresh perspective. At the end of the day, what facility designers and owners want is simple, and that is for somebody to come to an arena or stadium and leave with the warm feeling of fulfillment and the urge to come back. Again, it is our mission to give the fans what they want, and if they’re happy, then we’re happy. USA-based Keiko Sutton is the Chief Operating Officer of Kotobuki Seating Co., Ltd. and Chief Executive of Kotobuki Seating International Inc. With a background in strategic consulting, operations, performance management and analytics, prior to joining Kotobuki Seating, she worked in strategic operations and analytics and most recently, at Verizon Media (formerly known as AOL), supported the company’s rapid turnaround through use of data and analytics, establishing performance monitoring of its owned and operated assets’ audience and traffic growth. Established in 1914, Japan-based Kotobuki Seating manufactures and installs seating for theatres, schools, universities, arenas, stadiums and cinemas.
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019 59
IN BRIEF The Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board (MHARMB) has appointed Amber Gardner as its new Chief Executive. Sandra Chipchase, Chief Executive of Destination NSW and Executive Producer of Vivid Sydney, has announced she is leaving the tourism and events agency after eight years in the role.
Fitness Australia announce the election of three new members to its Board of Directors
Fitness Australia has revealed the results from the recent Board of Directors election, with three new faces - Chantal Brodrick, Jen Dugard and Ty Menzies - set to serve as Board members. AusREPs Brodrick and Dugard along with business member Ty Menzies, Chief Executive of Lift Brands Asia Pacific, are the newly elected members of the Fitness Australia Board of Directors.
Te Pae Christchurch announces executive team
Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre, managed by AEG Ogden, has announced the appointment of its executive leadership team. The team includes an array of local and international talent with General Manager Ross Steele being joined as part of the convention centre’s senior team by Karine Legeay-Fisher (Event Services), Gillian Officer (Business Development), Ben Buchanan (Business Services), Darren Tait (Culinary Services), Vanessa McBean (Human Resources) and Ken Davidson (Building Services).
Greg O’Neill presented with IAAPA Lifetime Service Award
Cameron Clyne is to stand down as Chairman of Rugby Australia, announcing that he will not stand for re-election at the completion of his term in March 2020, ending a difficult four years in the role during which Australia’s status as a rugby power has declined. Tony Harris has taken on the role of General Manager, Events & Operations at the sport. Luke Daniels has been appointed the new General Manager of the Newcastle Entertainment Centre. Belgravia Leisure has added experience and leadership to its NSW team with the appointment of Katherine Forman in the role of Regional Manager for South-West Sydney. The Fremantle Dockers have appointed former Sydney and Western Bulldogs midfielder Simon Garlick as their new Chief Executive. Craig Goodall has moved from the Auckland Art Gallery to become General Manager – Risk, Safety and Insurance for Regional Facilities Auckland. Amie Higgs has taken on the role of Coordinator, Sport and Recreation Planning at the City of Greater Geelong. Lisa Hopkins has been appointed the new Chief Executive of CINZ - Conventions and Incentives New Zealand. Australia’s pre-eminent performing arts school, the National Institute of Dramatic Art, has announced Liz Hughes will take up the role of Chief Executive from December 2019. Brett Jones has been appointed to the role of Project Development Manager at Life Fitness Australia.
Greg O’Neill, Director of Leisure and Amusement Services Ltd, a Board Director and Past President of the Australian Amusement, Leisure and Recreation Association (AALARA) and longtime supporter of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), has been acknowledged for his outstanding contribution to the global attractions industry with the presentation of the IAAPA Lifetime Service Award.
Ben Mannion has been appointed to the position of General Manager - Venue and Events at Netball Queensland.
UniSport Australia representatives take senior roles at FISU General Assembly
Stephanie O’Brien is the new Director at True Personal Training in the Sydney suburb of Carss Park.
The recent General Assembly of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) saw two Australians elected to pivotal positions in international university sport. Martin Doulton, UniSport Australia’s International Board Appointed representative and former FISU Oceania President has been independently elected to the FISU Executive Committee for the next four years. The election sees Doulton become Australia’s first representative on the FISU Executive since Alf Lazer, who sat on the body from 1983 to 2007. The General Assembly also saw UniSport Australia Chair, David Schmude elected the new FISU Oceania President at the FISU General Assembly, replacing Doulton who has served as President for the past five and a half years. 60 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
Major Events Gold Coast, the Gold Coast’s new event entity has announced the appointment of Jan McCormick as its inaugural Chief Executive. The Victoria Tourism Industry Council has announced that Searoad Ferries Chief Executive Matt McDonald has been appointed as its new Chair. The Belgravia Health & Leisure Group has announced the appointment of Samantha Mueller to the newly created role of Group Manager, Learning & Employee Experience.
Kate Palmer, Chief Executive of Sport Australia since 2017, is to step down from the role, not seeking to renew her contract when it expires on 31st January next year. Belgravia Leisure Area Manager Craig Tobin has been honoured as a Westfield Local Hero in the Brisbane suburb of Carindale for his contribution to swimming for people with an intellectual disability. Sports Hub Pte Ltd, the consortium that manages the Singapore Sports Hub, has announced the appointment of former Singapore Tourism Board Chief Executive Lionel Yeo as its new Chief Executive.
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Basketball court supplier partners with NBL to raise brand awareness
Looking to increase awareness of its brand, Victorian-based DreamCourts has partnered with the National Basketball League (NBL) as its Official Outdoor Basketball Court sponsor. With the ability to create and implement custom-designed basketball courts for backyards, local sports clubs, branded activations and schools, DreamCourts are excited to be involved in the promotion and sustainability of elite basketball in Australia. DreamCourts founder and Chief Executive, Luke Tadich advised “the NBL has gone from strength to strength in recent years and we are excited to partner with the league. “Just like the NBL, DreamCourts is a quality-focused business run by people who are passionate about delivering the best experience to their customers.” Contact 1300 690 991, E: email@example.com, www.dreamcourts.com.au
S.R.Smith acquires solar pool leader Sunbather
Pioneering Australian solar pool heating manufacturer Sunbather Pty Ltd has been bought by US-based aquatic equipment manufacturer S.R.Smith. Along with the purchase of Sunbather, S.R.Smith has also acquired a 50% in Aspire Polymers Australia, a manufacturer of innovative rigid solar panels that had been working with Sunbather. The acquisition will see no immediate staffing changes with Tom Boadle to remain as General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of Sunbather and all staff members expected to remain with the company. Sunbather’s manufacturing and offices will remain in Hastings, Victoria and Sunbather will operate independently from Brisbane-based SRS Australia Pty Ltd led by Keith Hall. The transaction aligns with Sunbather founder Simon Boadle’s desire to retire from the industry after 45 years of contribution, innovation and support. The acquisition was finalised on 31st October 2019 and Sunbather has been contacting clients and suppliers prior to announcing the sale. Contact 07 3812 2283, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.srsmith.com/au
Centaman Entrance Control expands security gate range
A new Centaman Entrance Control speedgate offering the slimmest pedestal on the market is making unattractive and obtrusive security solutions a thing of the past. Centaman Entrance Control General Manager Michael Bystram said the EasyGate SUPERB was designed to be as narrow and discrete as possible to ensure minimal impact on a building’s design. Bystram advised “we find many of our clients are looking for safety, security and reliability, without having to compromise on the aesthetics of their building or lobby area. “The EasyGate SUPERB is available in brushed stainless steel and with a smoked black glass top as standard but can be finished in different coloured stainless steel and supplied with customised tops of different colours and materials such as stone, Corian and coloured glass. “The gates also feature LED illumination, which, in addition to enabling user-friendly navigation cues such as green arrows or red crosses, can be configured with a wide range of colours and lighting effects, for aesthetic purposes.” The gate’s slim design makes it a great option for small, awkward spaces. It can be fitted with barriers up to 1.8 metre high to deter jump over attempts, making it well suited to unmanned applications. Despite its compact nature, the EasyGate SUPERB can still be configured to feature an integrated motorised visitor card collector, with card return function. The swing barrier design ensures the same narrow pedestal can be used for both standard width and Disability Discrimination Act compliant lanes. Contact 02 9906 7522, E: email@example.com, www.entrancecontrol.com.au
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Life Floor surface installed at North Queensland waterpark
AlphaFit share advice on Commercial Gym Flooring
With flooring one of the most important elements to designing a high quality training area - and often something that is overlooked and not noticed until it is too late - premium strength and conditioning equipment supplier AlphaFit has shared its experience on why gym flooring should be ‘front of mind’ when setting up a new, or refurbishing an existing, commercial facility. AlphaFit co-founder and Manager, Jamie Montesalvo explains “the flooring system you choose from the start of your planning, is literally the line item which dictates how your facility will operate from the ground up. “When it comes to commercial gyms, not any ordinary type of flooring material will do. Gym flooring takes a beating from members and equipment alike. Different areas - think stretch/ mobility, walkways, heavy foot traffic, weight dropping and big machines which are heavy in weight - in facilities require thought and planning for the suitable flooring material that is strong, resilient and durable. “These requirements make rubber flooring the most popular choice for a commercial fitness facility. Rubber flooring offers excellent shock absorption, resists traction and safeguards against injuries. Not to mention it is easy to clean and is bacteria/mildew resistant. “Not all rubber is the same, the thickness and top coat finish will often affect how it feels under foot and also on the skin depending on the movements which will be performed. “For most of our fitouts which include rubber flooring systems, we use Regupol and A1 Rubber as our preferred sources as we find their products are world class, affordable and they are both businesses which deliver a seamless experience to clients from concept stages through to installation.” Contact 07 5574 4975, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.alphafit.com.au
Anti-slip, non-abrasive foam rubber tiles from Life Floor have recently been installed at Cairns Regional Council’s Sugarworld Waterpark. Located in Edmonton, 20 minutes south of Cairns, Sugarworld has an array of waterslides, pools and interactive aquatic play for children. Life Floor anti-slip, non-abrasive foam rubber tiles was chosen by the Council following an extensive public tender process with Queensland based sports surfacing contractor Grassports Australia (Queensland) the successful tenderer. With the existing Polysoft surface layer to the waterslide area having reached its end of life cycle, work commenced in August with the removal of nearly 800 metres² of the former surface. The exposed concrete surface was then prepared for Life Floor by diamond grinding and high pressure washing. Life Floor’s design studio then created a unique, colourful patterned design using three shades of blue - Ocean, Bluebird, and Aviator. The 10mm thick tile with a ripple texture was installed as it provides impact protection and amazing slip resistance - a P5 to AS4586:2013 Wet Pendulum Test - meaning it can be installed in any wet area including sloped entry areas like ramps, and steps both above and below water. Contact 1300 721 135, E: email@example.com, www.lifefloor.com.au
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Myrtha technology installed at rebuilt Waiau Swimming Pool
Christchurch-based aquatics specialist Ian Coombes Limited rebuilt the public swimming pool in the small South Island community of Waiau. The rural North Canterbury town of approximately 250 people was left without a swimming pool after it was damaged beyond repair during the November 2016 earthquakes. Having fundraised the required $1.6 million to build a new pool, Ian Coombes Limited, the main contractor for the rebuild, accompanied by a talented team of local and Christchurch contractors, started digging the pool foundations and changing shed foundations early November 2018. Just a few months later, in February this year, a new Myrtha Pools stainless steel 25 metre lap and 10 x 6 metre learners pool was opened at its Waiau Primary school site. Architecturally designed and engineered by Create Inc Ltd, the pool uses solar heating panels for the main pool - which make use of summer heat to minimise operating costs - while the learners pool uses a heat pump for assured temperatures. Contact 03 348 2072, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.iancoombes.co.nz
Urban Play partners with Waterplay to offer solutions for aquatic fun
After 15 years designing and installing some of Australia’s most exciting playgrounds, Brisbane-based playground designers, Urban Play have teamed up with world-leading aquatic play experts Waterplay to offer a range of new water-based play solutions. Introducing the new partnership, Urban Play Managing Director, Ben Urban explains “we are absolutely thrilled to offer innovative aquatic solutions to the Queensland market. “Waterplay is equipped with over 30 years’ experience and has helped to shape thousands of aquatic playspaces around the world. “(The company’s) dedication to creative design, products that are backed by research and unmatched quality, encompass (our shared) company values, making them the ideal ‘splash and play’ partner. “The Waterplay® range is filled with endless possibilities, whether it is using water sprayers to add visual impact to an urban space, transforming a hotel into a unique and beloved destination or bringing a new type of play to an existing park.” Contact 07 3256 0554, E: email@example.com, www.urbanplay.com.au
New Sydney Coliseum agrees data insights partnership
Sydney Coliseum, the new multi-purpose theatrical development at West HQ, has engaged Activity Stream as its data-visualisation partner. Activity Stream focuses on technology solutions within the live entertainment and sports industries, with several ticketing partners, such as Ticketmaster and Eventim. The platform applies artificial intelligence and data analytics to create actionable insights. The firm will be used by the Sydney Coliseum to track sales data, intimately understand audiences, their habits and origins and manage their marketing campaigns more efficiently. Activity Stream can be instantly used by the service without needing a lengthy set-up time, allowing the Coliseum’s ticketing and sales infrastructure to be set up months before the first show. The simple interface also allows for anyone working in the theatre to use the system, as well as partners and collaborators. Contact E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.activitystream.com
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Camatic releases new Axiom Seating System
Camatic Seating, known for providing seating solutions in highprofile stadium and arenas globally, has released its new Axiom Seating System. Part of Camatic’s line of beam-mounted stadium seats, providing for faster and more flexible installation compared to traditional fixed seats, the Axiom is designed to be the ultimate general admission and club patrons’ seat, maximising venue capacity and combining the durability of a sturdy chair and comfortable design with an aesthetically pleasing product. Offering a host of additional features and benefits, the Axiom System starts with an updated ergonomic profile. Though comparable to the company’s Quantum Series featuring polypropylene seats paired with glass-filled nylon supports and arms and a host of accessories to enhance the seating experience, the Axiom has adopted a more contemporary look. The Axiom seat has already been installed as part of the new seating array at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena (the former Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre) as well as the Ariaki Tennis Center in Tokyo, Japan; The Curragh Racecourse in Ireland and the new North Queensland Stadium in Townsville. Contact: 03 9837 7777, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.camatic.com
Jonas Software acquires marina management experts Pacsoft
Jonas Software has expanded its portfolio with the acquisition of marina management software specialists Pacsoft International. Headquartered in Auckland, Pacsoft is best known for its PacsoftNG software used by marina, boatyard and shipyard managers to operate and manage their facilities. Advising that he was delighted to announce the acquisition at a time when boating was growing in popularity, Jonas Software Australia and New Zealand Portfolio Manager Mike Henton stated “we’re thrilled to bring Pacsoft into the fold and are committed to its continued success. With the 2021 America’s Cup on the horizon and enthusiasm for boating on the rise, Pacsoft is well placed to capitalise on these opportunities.” Pacsoft has grown steadily since it launched PacsoftNG in 1999, with the software now used in 20 countries by businesses ranging from small marinas and boatyards to major harbours with thousands of berths. PacsoftNG makes it simple for marina, boatyard, and shipyard managers to efficiently run all aspects of their business, including operations, administration, accounting, management and business analysis. Contact +64 9 379 7260, www. https://www.pacsoftmms.com/ Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019 63
Byron Bay Bluesfest names Moshtix as exclusive ticketing partner
Byron Bay’s annual Bluesfest has announced that Live Nationowned Moshtix will become its primary ticketing platform from the 2020 event onwards, taking over from longterm partner the Queensland-based emedia. Advising that Moshtix was awarded the exclusive contract by Bluesfest following a select expression of interest process, Moshtix Managing Director Harley Evans stated “Moshtix is incredibly proud to be partnering with Bluesfest. We’re thrilled to bring our experience as Australia’s leading festival ticketing provider to the event and ‘make live easy’ for Bluesfest fans through our suite of products and services.” With more than 15 years’ experience in ticketing some of Australia’s best known festivals and events, and with first-tomarket technologies like its authorised resale platform, Moshtix brings its industry-leading expertise to enhance the experience for festival-goers. Bluesfest customers will benefit from Moshtix’s constant investment in new technologies and marketing tools, including the ability to have their tickets delivered directly to their Facebook Messenger account via the MoshMessenger bot. Contact www.moshtix.com.au
True Fitness appoints Leisure Concepts as exclusive Australian distributor
True Fitness, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of commercial cardio, strength and flexibility equipment, has announced the appointment of Leisure Concepts as its new Australian distributor. Leisure Concept’s extensive industry experience combined with unsurpassed drive and passion was key in the growing international company’s decision. Founded in 1981, True Fitness began international distribution in 1998 and is currently sold in over 50 countries worldwide. With Australia an important market for True Fitness where it has seen good growth over the last seven years - Leisure Concepts’ strategic perspective is expected to continue this growth. Offering a complete solution for clients from the initial design concept through to optimal product selection, facility layout and ongoing preventative maintenance the team at Leisure Concepts assist in ensuring that their client’s investment in premium equipment delivers the best long-term return on investment. Contact 1300 911 441, E: email@example.com, www.leisureconcepts.com.au 64 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019
Salti floating fitness sessions to be introduced at Fleurieu Aquatic Centre
The Fleurieu Aquatic Centre in South Australia is to introduce Salti new water-based group fitness classes this month. The Salti Float is an Australian designed and manufactured floating fitness platform, allowing studio group fitness classes to be moved to water. The units are made from durable, military grade PVC fabric, are light weight and, at 235cm x 90cm, fit between lanes of swimming pools. Advising that the innovation will be welcomed by members and that he expects the classes to be extremely popular, YMCA South Australia Area Manager, James Lomax stated “this is a great initiative by Tammy and her team and it again sets the centre apart by offering new and innovative exercise options. We will be the first YMCA site in South Australia to host Salti Float classes.” The classes will be included in the all access memberships at no extra cost. Members and guests can sign up at the centre to be on the mailing list for more information and we now have two floats on display, so people can see what they are. The new group fitness innovations compliment the recent addition of Centre’s new inflatable obstacle course - Mega Splash - that launched successfully in the October school holidays. Contact, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.salti.com.au
World’s largest artificial cave attraction opens in Beijing
A showpiece project that installer Walltopia claims is the largest recreational artificial cave structure in the world, has opened in the Chinese capital of Beijing. Named Green Box, the 330 metre² installation offers six tunnels totalling 250 metres of tunnels and presenting 26 different routes. Well known for its climbing walls and ropes courses, Walltopia has now completed 17 artificial cave projects around the world. Using its expertise in creating rock style formations for climbing facilities, the Bulgarian company adapted its skills to build custom-designed cave features. When enjoying the attractions, after an introduction in the briefing chamber, guests set off on an expedition during which they encounter stone-like obstacles that challenge their physical skills. Comprising of chambers and tall tunnels, the cavern-like structures offer guests the opportunity to squeeze through tiny holes, walk through stalactites and stalagmites and dive into sumps. Along the way they can take part in games that enrich the adventure, including interactive challenges, treasure hunts and RFID-based electronic activities. According to a Walltopia spokesperson, the caves look “so authentic that you can literally feel the shivers as if you’re entering a natural void in the ground.” Contact +359 2 448 57 44, E: email@example.com, www.adventure.walltopia.com
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Technology from Marina Bay Sands used to build a pre-fabricated pool in remote Western Australian Aboriginal community
Technology used to build the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool at the iconic Marina Bay Sands in Singapore has been installed in the remote Kalumburu community in Western Australia. Manufactured in the USA and sent to Australia in three shipping containers to Perth via Melbourne, the six lane 25 metre stainless steel, prefabricated pool was installed by Natare Corporation with its Australian partner, State Wide Pool Services Australia Pty Ltd as part of long-awaited facilities for the community - the northernmost settlement in Western Australia and one of the most remote Aboriginal communities in the country. Built by Kimberly Green Constructions from Kununurra, the construction takes advantages of the cost savings that prefabrication allows as the remote location makes a traditional concrete public pool structure too expensive. It also allows for much faster installation on site. While Natare Corporation has built many innovative pools across the globe including at Taiora QEII in Christchurch, New Zealand; Pridham Hall in Adelaide’s CBD and Marina Bay Sands, Kalumburu is the first remote project for Natare with their Australian partner State Wide Pool Services Australia. State Wide Pool Services Australia are passionate about pools in regional and remote areas of the country, having previously built pools in locations such as Mutitjulu and Borroloola in the Northern Territory, Amata in South Australia and Bathurst Island in the Tiwi Islands. Contact State Wide Pool Services Australia on 08 8169 9500, E: email@example.com, www.swps.net.au
Jasstech The highlights Future ishistory Brightof LED sport lighting innovations installation durability The Future isand JASSTECH
Sport lighting innovator Jasstech has highlighted its legacy of innovation on LED sport lighting. Affordable and reliable LED Sports lighting Having, in 2012, become the first company to bring true, JASSTECH sports lighting is Australian designed and tested to last in to Australia, and specifically designed, LED sports lighting our harsh environment its current distribution of Luxtronik is, according to Jasstech Our unique designs mean that we deliver market-leading Managing Director Justin Albin “proving to spill be and a big win for endglare outcomes users of our efficient and effective LED Sports lights.” No matter what your sport, JASSTECH has a solution for your Advising of no failures of installed products in the past 12 lighting needs - whether a retrofit or new install month, Albin adds “reliability, and delivering as promised, are Affordable and reliable LED Sports lighting from JASSTECH just some of the key attributes of a good luminaire installation From supply-only,to through to turnkey solutions, JASSTECH’s reliable and responding failures quickly and effectively is also very products and services will ensure you get the best project results important, and only some do it well.” Jasstech’s luminaires have been designed in partnership JASSTECH are LED pioneers, having installed the first Contact us for more details LED installations for sports across Australia. with Luxtronik tomany meet Australia’s harsh conditions and offerJASSTECH Pty Ltd We have the longest history in providing true LED sports lighting. PH: 1300 665 135 solutions allus for sports fields, courts of all sizes and (Pleasefor contact a list of projects we have completed or sincearenas 2011). firstname.lastname@example.org grant application assistance. for all JASSTECH levelsalsoofprovides play. www.jasstech.com.au Jasstech’s market-leading sports solutions continue to JASSTECH is an approved contractor by LG Procurement as a pre-qualified to local and state government. evolve, withsupplierthe Brisbane-based business also offering Sports clubs, local governments and not-for-profits may be able to access discount pricing under these arrangements. intelligent lighting control using various protocols and platforms, including: the Sporte system, DALI, Zigbee, LoRaWan, LED scoreboards, perimeter signage, poles and allied infrastructure. The company’s lighting and media services also include design, supply (including poles), installation and auditing. Contact 1300 665 135, E: email@example.com, www.jasstech.com.au
Construction advances on WhiteWater World’s new Fully 6 waterslides Gold Coast waterpark WhiteWater World has provided an update on the development of its Fully 6 waterslide attraction, due to be completed and ready to slide this summer. A team of more than 40 local contractors behind the development of Fully 6, including the creator Swimplex-Polin Australia, have been working hard since construction started in July. Everything needed to construct the six waterslides was transported to WhiteWater World recently in 13, 40ft containers all the way from their place of manufacture in Turkey. The waterslides, with a combined surface length of half a kilometre, have been assembled on site and are starting to be erected onto their steel support columns, weighing a total of more than 50 tonnes. Once operating, the slides will pump up to five million litres of water in a day, down the six slides with sustainability initiatives in place to reduce power usage and recycle the water. As part of a $7-million investment into the Dreamworld site, Fully 6 will feature six body slides with five unique ‘splashtacular’ experiences and multi-coloured natural light effects.
Contact Polin’s Australian representative Swimplex Aquatics on 1300 796 759, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.swimplex.com.au Australasian Leisure Management Issue 136 2019 65
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Otium Planning Group and Parkdale Amber combine to deliver events strategy partnership
Leading facility development consultancy the Otium Planning Group Pty Ltd has announced a collaborative partnership with multi-sport, e-sport and recreational projects managers Parkdale Amber. Introducing the parntership, Peter Stewart, Managing Director of Parkdale Amber, commented “the events industry worldwide generates billions of dollars that, if properly managed, can make enormous contributions to local communities. We hope that our global experience, combined with Otium’s local understanding, will allow us to provide a valuable service to Australian and New Zealand tourism and local Government agencies”. Stewart and his team have extensive experience in large scale, high profile, global projects, with Parkdale Amber having led large multidisciplinary teams in locations as widespread as the UK, China, India, Singapore, PNG, Australia, the Pacific Islands and Africa. He has held senior roles in Olympic, Commonwealth and Regional Games for both government and local organising committees and is used to working in high profile public environments where the local community has a strong emotional link and a vested interest in the outcomes. Contact Peter Stewart on 0484 650 876, E: email@example.com or Otium Director Mike King on 0417 536 198, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.otiumplanning.com.au/events-strategy/
Jasstech 53 Jonas Leisure
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VenuesWest undertakes smart venues transformation
Western Australia’s VenuesWest agency has completed the implementation of the use of Ungerboeck Software across their seven self-managed venues that will see the technology operate the management of concerts, sports courts, swimming lanes, sporting and corporate events and catering functions. With a growing number of events every year involving a large range of stakeholders, prior to installing Ungerboeck Software, VenuesWest had identified their need to take a contemporary event management system to the next level. Working closely with VenuesWest to understand their vision, Ungerboeck transformed how staff were currently performing day-to-day tasks, delivering a range of new solutions which helped them reach an all new level of organisation. Commenting on the new technology, Lynn McDonnell, VenuesWest’s Project Manager stated “this is the smoothest software implementation we have experienced in recent years. The framework adopted has set the standard for future upcoming software implementations as part of the overall digital transformation agenda.” Call 07 3359 7919 in Australia or +852 2815 6169 in Hong Kong, www.ungerboeck.com
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