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regulars 6 From the Publisher 10 Two Months in Leisure 57 People 59 People in Brief 60 Products www.ausleisure.com.au for all the latest industry news, products and events
In the Game
2020’s Crises and the Future of Sport and Recreation
VenuesLive’s new Assignment
A Massive Disruption but a Big Opportunity
Wellbeing for All
Raising the Digital Profile of your Business
The End of Travel as we know It
4 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
The opening of the Queensland Country Bank Stadium New challenges in cleaning venues The need for energy efficient aquatic centre design Chris Skinner’s 40 years in supplying fitness equipment Fitness Australia’s Coronavirus fightback strategy New approaches to community sport provision
How VenuesLive has met the Coronavirus challenge Coronavirus is a unique test
Provision for the most disadvantaged in society Creating member-value with digitalisation
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From the Publisher The ‘C’ word
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When I wrote at the beginning of this year about this being “a decade of challenges” I was not imagining how the spread of the Coronavirus would impact all aspects of life around the world. While the start of 2020 suggested looming challenges, with the first outbreaks of the Coronavirus hinting at problems ahead, the way in which COVID-19 has spread has dramatically turned economies and society upside down is unprecedented in the modern world. While all areas of the economy and daily lives have been impacted by the Coronavirus shutdown, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that the sector it defines as ‘Arts and Recreation’ has been the hardest hit by the pandemic with more than half (53%) of businesses ceasing to operate. With populations locked down and limited in the amount of time they can spend out of home, the closure of businesses has seen jobs lost and workers furloughed and redeployed. Of course, behind the scenes some operators have conducted maintenance and, in some cases improvements, while those in fitness, proving that they are always resourceful, have moved parts of their businesses online, looking to maintain engagement with members and provide services to support physical activity and exercise. Other areas of adaptation have seen the kitchens of major venues used for feeding travellers in quarantine and the disadvantaged while a range of individuals and businesses have gone online to maintain their business profile. However, while anecdotes suggest public parks have been full, walking trails crowded and bicycle shops as a sector enjoying an economic upturn, research from consultants Gemba suggests that fewer than one in four Australians are undertaking more physical activity now than before the Coronavirus lockdown. In these pages, it hasn’t been appropriate to report on facilities that are closed, activities that have been halted and industry events that have been cancelled as pretty much all areas of the industry are shutdown. It’s also unfortunate to see the openings that we have covered subsequently closed. Here it is already interesting to look back on weeks during February and March when the full impact of Coronavirus was only starting to be felt and the industry looked at ways to adapt and stay open before the closures became almost total. Since that time, Governments have released a range of vital stimulus packages that are supporting many parts of the industry and those who work in it, although local government is a notable area that has been overlooked. In addition, the arts and live performance industry, which has been massively impacted and is likely to be one of the last sectors that will return to anything like normality, has been largely ignored by support packages with a potential that cultural life will be poorer in the future. Indeed, as we look to the potential easing of lockdowns, mass gatherings for entertainment and sport, as well as international travel, will have to endure restrictions well into next year. Throughout this, and mindful that there are now so many streams of information - not all of it reliable - we are aiming for Australasian Leisure Management to be a consistent and authoritative source of news for professionals across the industry. While we won’t shy away from awkward realities, we want to present an industry viewpoint, mindful that businesses, careers and livelihoods are being impacted by this current crisis and that there are levels of uncertainty about how the industry and society will look when it is over. 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
TEG Live to refund thousands of basketball fans over Marvel Stadium fiasco
Promoter TEG Live has agreed to refund over $5 million to thousands of basketball fans for tickets purchased to last year’s Australia-USA exhibition series at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium. The move follows an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigation that found fans at the two games in August last year were misled about the quality of views from their seats in sections of Marvel Stadium. Fans were also found to have been subjected to false advertising by TEG Live, which used top NBA stars in promotional material but who did not ultimately play in the two games. Record crowds of more than 50,000 fans attended each of the Melbourne matches. As a result of the ACCC investigation, TEG Live admitted that it made false or misleading claims about seating at the games held in Melbourne and acknowledged the Commission’s concerns that it may have breached the Australian Consumer Law.
Broadcaster accuses NRL of ‘mismanagement’ as league announces plans to recommence on 28th May
With the NRL moving towards a restart of its season, the code has been accused by broadcaster the Nine Network of financial “mismanagement” and breaking its lucrative television deal. During discussions on a restart to the season, Nine released a statement referencing COVID-19 and stating “this health crisis in our community has highlighted the mismanagement of the code over many years.” Nine advised “(we have) invested hundreds of millions in this game over decades and we now find they have profoundly wasted those funds with very little to fall back on to support the clubs, the players and supporters. “In the past the NRL have had problems and we’ve bailed them out many times, including a $50 million loan to support clubs when the last contract was signed. “It would now appear that much of that has been squandered by a bloated head office completely ignoring the needs of the clubs, players and supporters.”
VMA supports members with suspension of membership dues
The Venue Management Association (Asia and Pacific) [VMA] has announced that to support its members during the Coronavirus crisis it has decided to provide all current financial members with a 12-month membership fee free period. In a communication to members, VMA President, Steve Harper CVE, wrote “I wanted to take this opportunity to personally reach out to each of you, our valued members, and those in our amazing industry during this challenging and unprecedented time. “Our industry, in particular, has felt the full brunt of this crisis and we know there will be many more challenges ahead for our members, their venues and staff.”
New national guidelines for guided outdoor adventure activities
The safety of active and adventurous Australians has been strengthened with new standards and guidelines being rolled out across the country. Developed in partnership with the nation’s Sports and Recreation Ministers, the Australian Adventure Activity Standards (AAAS) and Good Practice Guides (GPGs) are part of the first Australia-wide framework for good practice risk and safety management for providers of guided outdoor adventure activities. The AAAS apply to organisations conducting outdoor recreation activities where the participants have a level of dependence on the leader. This new national approach will make it easier for activity providers to operate in multiple jurisdictions, improve sharing of expertise and experience, and improve safety for participants.
Viagogo confirms website changes and accepts jurisdiction of NZ courts
The Commerce Commission has dropped injunction proceedings against online ticket reseller Viagogo after the Switzerland-based company made changes to its site and advised that it had submitted to the jurisdiction of New Zealand courts. The Commission had sought an interim injunction preventing Viagogo making representations that the Commission alleges are misleading, pending a hearing of the Commission’s full case against Viagogo. 10 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
Two-thirds of world’s gyms are currently closed
The Coronavirus outbreak has seen nearly two thirds (64%) of the world’s fitness clubs, gyms and studios close, either voluntarily or as a result of Governmental restrictions. The closures, part of measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, have resulted in around 230 million people with fitness club memberships around the world being unable to attend their regular place of exercise. The figures have been released by new global fitness data platform fitNdata, launched in March 2020 by David Minton, the founding Director of The Leisure Database Company.
News in Brief
The multi-purpose Melbourne Arena has been renamed to honour the late Victoria Premier John Cain. The John Cain Arena’s naming is in tribute to the former state Premier, who died in December 2019 at the age of 88. The ACT Government is set to spend $200,000 on a feasibility study to assess a potential location to build a new 25,000 seat stadium in Canberra. Matamata-Piako District Council has approved New Zealand’s third largest tourist attraction, Hobbiton, to operate under their new development concept plan which will allow 3,500 visitors per day and a million per year, up from 300,000.
A seven-year public battle to save Melbourne music venue, The Palace Theatre has ended with its demolition in readiness for its redevelopment into a Marriott hotel. Designed to reinvigorate Northam’s sport precinct, the new $10 million Northam Aquatic Centre (right) has been opened north east of Perth. Johor Darul Ta’zim, the reigning champion of football’s Malaysian Super League, has unveiled its new 35,000-seat stadium in the city of Iskandar Puteri – built at a cost of RM200 million (US$47.2 million). Geelong’s first Children’s Museum MoPA: Museum of Play and Art has opened at the historic Wintergarden Building. The Canberra Raiders have officially opened their Huawei Raiders Centre (left) in the ACT suburb of Braddon. North Sydney Council has lodged a development application for its planned $57.9 million overhaul of the North Sydney Olympic Pool, which includes upgrades to the existing pools, a new ‘family leisure’ pool and a replacement grandstand. Fortress Melbourne, Australia’s biggest esports arena, has opened in the Victorian capital. The venue (right) covers over 2700 metre² and includes a range of purpose-built attractions including a 200-seat esports arena, VIP game booths, streamer pods, and an arcade gaming area. The Sunshine Coast has completed the $8.18 million redevelopment of its premier performing arts centre, The Events Centre Caloundra.
Casey Stadium launches Access Key
To improve its access and inclusion, the City of Casey’s Casey Stadium has introduced an Access Key which provides critical orientation, structural and sensory information about the facility to prepare people prior to visiting. Developed with the YMCA Victoria and ONE Casey, the customised accessibility guides provide convenient and accurate information on venue layout, parking, access in and around the facility, customer service/ticketing, toilets including environmental specifications, accessible offerings, procedural and sequential information on accessing services and sensory elements.
NSW Government abolishes Sydney Olympic Park Authority
The NSW Government has merged the Sydney Olympic Park Authority into its Place Management NSW agency. As part of a move to rationalise and align several functions and boards across the NSW Government, the Board of the Sydney Olympic Park Authority (SOPA), headed by Chair and former NSW Premier, John Fahey, has been dissolved. The decision to abolish SOPA ends its post 2000 Olympics legacy, which Fahey was instrumental in securing for Sydney as NSW Premier.
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138 11
New report aims to prompt recognition of climate change threat to Australian Open
The Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub has produced a new report, Love 40 Degrees? Climate change, extreme heat and the Australian Open, which aims to prompt authorities to recognise the threat climate change presents to tennis and take action to safeguard its future as a summer sport. With Januarys predicted to get hotter the report says tennis authorities should consider a series of actions to protect players, such as extending the length of the tournament – to allow games to be cancelled in the hottest part of the day if it’s too hot on court – or moving the event to November or March. It also advises that climate change threats may soon represent ‘material financial issues’ for Tennis Australia and its directors, who could face liability under the Corporations Act for failing to adequately address and report these risks.
UN launches international program to enhance security of major sporting events
Mindful of threats to major sporting events around the world, the United Nations and its partners have launched a ‘Global Programme on the Security of Major Sporting Events, and Promotion of Sport and its Values as a Tool to Prevent Violent Extremism (PVE)’. Released at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA, the program came about with input from high-level representatives from member nations, international and regional organisations as well as the International Olympic Committee, national Olympic committees, sport federations and private companies. In a statement accompanying the program launch, a UN spokesperson advised “in the last few decades, many terrorist attacks have been perpetrated in public places against soft targets. “Attacks against sports events are particularly hideous as sports have historically played a significant role in the dissemination of positive values across civilisations and cultures, especially for young people.”
AIG to end All Blacks sponsorship deal
US insurance group AIG has decided against renewing its sponsorship of New Zealand Rugby when the current deal ends next year. The current sponsorship agreement involves AIG sponsoring New Zealand’s senior men’s national team - the All Blacks - as well as the All Blacks Sevens, the Maori All Blacks, the Black Ferns, the New Zealand Black Ferns Sevens, and New Zealand’s U-20 teams. AIG has sponsored NZR’s national teams since 2012, with the initial five-year deal worth a reported $80 million, and a six-year renewal in 2016 worth, according to local media reports, $10 million to $20 million annually. 12 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
Sports injuries impact Australians
Almost 60,000 Australians were admitted to hospital for injuries sustained while playing sport in 2016/17, according to a new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. The report, Hospitalised Sports Injury, Australia, 2016–17, finds that almost one-third (32%) of all hospitalised sports injuries were sustained while playing one of the various codes of football. Injuries, including AFL, rugby codes and football, each accounted for around 8% of injuries, plus almost 2% for touch football. Most football injuries were to the hips and legs (30%), followed by the head and neck (25%). Just over a quarter (28%) of all hospitalisations for sports injuries were for women or girls. Among females, equestrian activities accounted for 11% of hospitalised injuries, followed by netball (10%), and cycling (7%).
Sport Australia slammed for extravagant spending on offices and consultants
Sport Australia has been slammed by a media report that suggests it spent extravagantly on executive staff, office accommodation, training and recruitment consultants. The report in The Australian cites “swish offices” in Melbourne and Brisbane, spending of more than $8 million on executive training and an outlay of nearly $5 million on recruitment consultants. The Australian revealed that senior Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) executives are on “eye-watering salaries of more than $400,000 a year and that another handful of staff earn well over $220,000”, referring to AIS Chief Executive Peter Conde’s salary of $426,000 a year and former Sport Australia Chief Executive’s Kate Palmer annual salary of $452,000. Further investigation by The Australian showed that Sport Australia spent $2,018,947 in 2018 and $2.785 million in 2019 to recruitment companies while also referencing leases of nearly $2 million for leases on office space in Brisbane and Melbourne up until 2021.
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Report says Moree pool pricing Indigenous Australians out of its waters
The Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre in northern NSW, known for having denied local Aboriginals access in the 1960s, has been accused of modern-day segregation by charging costly entry fees beyond the reach of the area’s poorer residents. One of the key locations in the 1965 ‘Freedom Ride’, when young civil rights activists faced an angry crowd to force the local council to allow Aboriginal people to swim in the pool, a report in the Guardian Australia suggests that 55 years on, “segregation still exists at the pool in the form of an entry price so steep few can afford to go there.” With the Guardian Australia having collated the entry fees charged by counciloperated swimming pools in each of the NSW’s 129 local government areas, analysis shows the Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre (MAAC) is one of the two most expensive public swimming pools in NSW. It advises that “MAAC’s entry fee per adult of $9 is higher than every other councilowned or operated swimming centre except Fairfield in Sydney’s western suburbs. Fairfield council’s entry fee at its three aquatic centres is $9.50, which includes access to indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna and steam room.” MAAC’s entry fee for children, at $6.80, is also the second most expensive in NSW.
New Zealand performing arts, recreation and sport sectors generate $6.2 billion in economic activity
New Zealand’s ‘active’ industries delivered $6.2 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018, according to new research from Skills Active Aotearoa. Skills Workforce Scan - covering sport, community recreation and aquatics; outdoor recreation; performing arts; and exercise found that these industries employed a total of 85,812 people in 2018 with all industries barring exercise seeing increases in the size of their workforce during that year.
NBL regular season attendances rise through 2019/20
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The National Basketball League has become the only major summer sporting league to have increased average attendances over the last 12 months, registering an 8% increase in crowds through what has been its fifth year of consecutive growth. The NBL’s total attendance for 2019/20 regular season also increased by 21%, attracting a total of 866,082 fans at an average of 6,874 per game – by contrast with last year’s total attendance of 714,346.
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138 13
AFL Taskforce report shows Tasmanian team viable and sustainable
A Taskforce report investigating the granting of a Tasmanian AFL and AFLW licence shows that a Tasmanian team from 2025 onwards is viable. The long-awaited report outlines that the inclusion of a Tasmanian team not only stacks up financially but can strengthen the AFL by making it a national competition. The report into whether a Tasmanian team should be granted an AFL licence has found the state would benefit from more than $110 million a year delivering more than 360 additional jobs, urging the Tasmanian Government to take the case to the code’s governing body - or watch as the code dies.
New Zealand Government approves Christchurch stadium funding
The regeneration of central Christchurch has reached another major milestone, with the New Zealand Government approving its NZ$220 million contribution to the city’s new multi-use stadium. With the new 25,000-seat roofed stadium set to cost NZ$473 million, the Crown’s contribution will be made via the Christchurch Regeneration Acceleration Fund (CRAF) with Christchurch City Council to contribute the remaining NZ$253 million.
An artist impression of a concert at the new Christchurch stadium. Courtesy of Christchurch City Council.
Viva Leisure sheds more than 1,000 staff in 48 hours
Leading fitness facility operator Viva Leisure was forced to stand-down or let go more than 1,000 staff members in a 48 hour period as Government measures to halt the spread of the Coronavirus halted the operations of fitness clubs, gyms and indoor sports centres across the country. In a Stock Market update, the Canberrabased company advised on its current progress and future operations following, as Viva Leisure Managing Director and Chief Executive, Harry Konstantinou explained “the decision by Government to force close all gyms in Australia with no idea on when they will reopen.” Writing on LinkedIn back in March, Konstantinou stated “this week our team went from 1,050 staff members, to 42, in 48 hours.”
TEG survey suggests most Australians expect ‘normal life’ to resume within six months
41% of Australians believe life will “go back to normal” within six months while a third think the return to normality will take between six months and 12 months, according to TEG Insights & TEG Analytics’ first weekly COVID-19 Sentiment Tracker. The survey of a representative sample of more than 500 Australians reveals a profusion of insights into the nation’s thoughts and feelings about the growing pandemic, including how our political leaders and the live entertainment industry have handled the crisis thus far. Tellingly, TEG Insights & TEG Analytics’ COVID-19 Sentiment Tracker shows that Australians are more concerned about the impact of the Coronavirus on their loved ones and the community than themselves. While 63% of Australians are concerned that they will be infected, 83% are concerned others close to them will be infected and 89% are very concerned or somewhat concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
AALARA releases COVID-19 Action Plan
The Australian Amusement, Leisure and Recreation Association (AALARA) is equipping members and attractions industry stakeholders with resources, including a COVID-19 Action Plan, with which to face the business and operational implications of the Coronavirus crisis. AALARA is steering members to measures offered by the Australian Government to address the crisis and, as it explains “the many financial and livelihood implications that we are seeing as a result.” AALARA advise that “the challenge at this time is making sense of it all, so we’ve tried to collate all the information, to help you navigate and find the resources and assistance that you need.” 14 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
Tokyo Olympics’ organisers face ‘massive’ facilities costs for rescheduled Games
The Tokyo 2020 organising committee has advised that it is facing “massive” additional costs in securing the facilities needed to deliver a rescheduled summer Olympic Games in 2021. Speaking at the launch of a 2021 Games ‘Task Force’, Tokyo 2020 Chief Executive, Toshiro Muto conceded that organisers are facing “massive” additional costs in securing the facilities needed to deliver a rescheduled summer Olympic Games in 2021. With the Tokyo Aquatics Centre (the final permanent Olympics venue completed at the end of February), Tokyo 2020 announced in March that all new venues for the Games had been completed.
Council rejects financial assistance request from aquatic facility operator
Almost three years after Coffs Harbour City Council controversially decided to award the tender to manage three public pools to contractor Lane 4 Aquatics, the Council has rejected a request to provide financial assistance to the contractor of approximately $300,000 per annum above the agreed price to continue to operate the facilities.
Swimming Australia celebrates first year of iSwim
Swimming Australia is celebrating the first year of its free training app, iSwim, which has achieved 20,000 iSwim downloads while allowing its ‘swim tribe’ to watch the 2019 World Swimming Championships live and free in Gwangju, South Korea. With Australian recreational swimmers spending more than 10.6 billion minutes in the water each year, their ability to track their time and engage with other like-minded people is aided with iSwim.
Royal Life Saving welcomes JobKeeper payments as a ‘lifeline’ for aquatic facilities and swim schools Royal Life Saving Society - Australia has released an estimation that the Australian Government’s JobKeeper payment “represents a $700 million lifeline for many businesses and employees across aquatic facilities and swim schools.” With Government restrictions having required the closure of all public aquatic facilities and swim schools as of 25th March 2020, Royal Life Saving has Nepean Aquatic Centre regularly highlighted the plight of the estimated 1,077 aquatic facilities, the majority of which are owned by local councils, and 1,176 swim schools, including many small businesses, are experiencing as a result of Coronavirus closures. With approximately 67,000 frontline workers affected, Royal Life Saving noted that almost half of the workforce were casual employees, three-quarters were female, and that 40% were between the ages of 18 to 24 years. Royal Life Saving has estimated that the financial impact of a six-month closure of facilities would be $900 million in lost revenue, and $430 million in lost wages.
ABS survey shows ‘arts and recreation’ businesses as being hardest hit by Coronavirus pandemic
Newly released data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that the sector it defines as ‘Arts and Recreation’ has been the hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic with more than half (53%) of businesses ceasing to operate in the past month. Data from the new ABS Business Impacts of COVID-19 Survey released this week shows how Coronavirus restrictions on arts and recreation businesses as being greater that the two other industry groups most impacted to date - Accommodation and Food Services and Information Media and Telecommunications. The devastating impact on these sectors is clear given the ABS found overall that 90% of Australian businesses reported that they were operating in the week commencing 30th March. The ABS’ classification of arts and recreation includes: creative and performing arts activities; fitness, recreation and sport activities; gambling activities; and heritage activities. It does not include tourism.
www.ausleisure.com.au for all the latest industry news
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New structure and management for Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness
New Pollstar figures show Elton John’s Australasian dates as world’s second most successful tour
Newly released figures show that Sir Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour dates in Australia and New Zealand over the past summer was the world’s second top grossing tour of recent months. Global first-quarter figures (spanning the period from 21st November 2019 to 19th February 2020) from USA-based concert industry publication Pollstar, show that Sir Elton’s 31 dates in Australasia, which started at Perth’s HBF Park on 30th November last year, generated US$67.6 million in gross income. While the artist’s Australian and New Zealand dates on his three-year Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour finished at Sydney’s Bankwest Stadium on 7th March (outside the reporting period), the concerts covered by Pollstar’s report recorded over 360,000 ticket sales. While the Trans-Siberian Orchestra tour in North America topped Pollstar’s first-quarter figures, U2, whose last tour included dates at Perth’s Optus Stadium and the Sydney Cricket Ground, as well as concerts in Singapore; Saitama, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; the Philippine Arena in Manila; and Mumbai, India during the reporting period, recorded 360,710 ticket sales and US$52 million gross income. Among venues, Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena recorded 130,990 ticket sales for the quarter, compared to 94,725 sales in the same period in 2018/19, to be Australia’s top performing arena while Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne generated Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne 97,822 ticket sales and $9,612,116 in gross income and the Brisbane Entertainment Centre recorded 61,790 ticket sales and $7,368,517 in gross income.
Sydney Showground’s new virtual reality tool helps clients plan their event
Sydney Showground has introduced a new interactive virtual reality (VR) tour which is set to provide a unique perspective for Sydney Showground clients, providing a one-stop-shop for all photos, 360-degree videos and fact sheets. Designed by Rapturous Media, the interactive tool will take event sales into the new decade, assisting clients and prospects to understand the precinct, venue space, setups, location and functionality.
Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness, the body responsible for all of the University of Sydney’s sport, fitness and recreation activities, has introduced a change of structure and management. Sydney University Sport (trading as Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness) has been run as an unincorporated association since the amalgamation of the Sydney University Sports Union (SUS) and the Sydney University Women’s Sports Association in 2003. Following a review of the corporate form and governance structure of the Sydney University Sports Union in 2019, a new company limited by guarantee has been formed (Sydney University Sport and Fitness Limited) governed by a board of 10 non-executive directors.
Melbourne study shows how cities struggle to enhance urban tree cover
Many cities around the world are struggling to reconcile ambitious environmental targets with development pressures, according to a new study based on trees in the city of Melbourne. The study, conducted by the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University and published in the Sustainable Cities and Society journal show that over a 10-year period Melbourne recorded a net gain in street tree cover but a net loss in parks and private land. The RMIT team says measures to protect mature trees are “critical” if the urban forest cover is to be enhanced in the future. Globally, the role of trees in towns and cities are well recognised, such as providing shade during hot summer months, and helping to absorb noise pollution and floodwater.
Live Performance Australia backs consumers getting better information on ticket resales
Better information for consumers is crucial to helping them make informed choices when using ticket resale services according to Live Performance Australia (LPA). LPA has welcomed the introduction of an Information Standard for ticket resales which is currently under consultation by the Federal Department of the Treasury. The Information Standard will require ticket resale websites to disclose the face value of tickets, and to disclose the fact that the website is not a primary ticket seller. More than 26 million tickets were sold for live performance events in Australia during 2018. While there is limited data about the extent of ticket reselling, unscrupulous resellers and scalpers are the scourge of the industry causing detriment to consumers, artists and producers.
www.ausleisure.com.au for all the latest industry news 18 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
Perisher Valley courtey of Destination NSW
Australia’s ski resorts prepare for winter 2020 season amid Coronavirus uncertainty
Australia’s major ski resorts are continuing to plan for the 2020 snow season despite uncertainty as to when Coronavirus restrictions will be lifted. With major ski resorts across Europe not operating during their season, the Australian Ski Areas Association (ASAA) is confident that there will be some sort of opening. ASAA Chief Executive, Colin Hackworth recently stated “it will be a different season than we’re used to seeing, but once the restrictions are lifted by government(s) we can have a snow season.” Advising that the industry is flexible and accustomed to delayed openings, Hackworth commented “all of the operators are highly experienced at onboarding large numbers of seasonal workers in a pretty short time.”
Village Roadshow Theme Parks back staff during lockdown
With its Gold Coast theme parks closed, Village Roadshow Theme Parks (VRTP) are continuing to follow Government guidance on operations during the Coronavirus crisis. Throughout the closure VRTP - which operates Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World, Wet’n’Wild, Paradise Country and Topgolf - has been engaging with team members and has advised that it “will continue to support them during this period, including providing access to their accrued leave entitlements.”
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The NRL's Cowboys and Broncos stage the first NRL fixture at Townsville's new Queensland Country Bank Stadium. All images courtesy of Blair Hughes.
Blair Hughes measured the excitement as Townsville’s new stadium hosted the Cowboys’ first NRL fixture
he dawn of a new era has begun in Townsville with the NRL’s North Queensland Cowboys and the local region having hosted the inaugural sporting event at Australia’s newest major venue, Queensland Country Bank Stadium. Built by North Queenslanders for North Queenslanders in a home-grown effort involving the Queensland and Federal Governments, Townsville City Council and close to 500 local businesses, the $290 million venue facility represents a proud moment for the city. Having experienced rough times in recent years, the new Stadium, which stands on the Wulgurukaba traditional owners’ land in the heart of the Townsville CBD, acts as a catalyst for economic rejuvenation and urban regeneration and from experiencing this first hand it is clearly set to revitalise the local community and surrounding regions. On a rollercoaster opening weekend of the 2020 NRL season in the middle of March when Coronavirus concerns began to bite, and amid some uncertainty as to whether this first event would be called off, I was able to experience the impressive features of the Stadium and the Cowboys’ game day fan experience as they played their first fixture at the new venue against the Brisbane Broncos. Fan Engagement Arriving early at the venue on a scorching hot Friday afternoon to do a pre-game walk around, it was clear from first impressions that the venue exudes a uniquely North Queensland identity which has been designed with the fan experience at the forefront. The Cowboys ‘fan first’ approach starts well before the match as I joined hundreds of fans in the first ever ‘Cowboys Stampede’ march to the Stadium from the Cowboys Leagues 20 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
club. This was an exciting experience on the night and a tradition that looks set to continue on game days into the future. The pre-game fan engagement continues outside the ground as fans can experience the ‘Captain’s Walk’ where names of Cowboys legends and supporters are etched into pavers while fans were also instantly captivated by the chance to get photos with the life-size bronze statue of Cowboys legend Johnathan Thurston that was designed by local artist Jane Hawkins to honour his contribution to North Queensland sport. Impressive screen content, engaging performances and promotions and at last count seven mascots kept fans entertained all night long inside while outside fans of all ages enjoyed a dedicated fan engagement zone as well as receiving a free Cowboys flag on entry to commemorate the opening game. Transport Transport was a seamless experience from the CBD with free game day express event buses organised to transport fans around while multiple park and ride or walk options made it simple for those fans wishing to park the car nearby and access the venue with free parking also available after 2pm in the CBD. Ride share and taxi zones as well as accessible pick up and drop off areas ensured every patron can easily access the venue. However, with the stadium located in the heart of the city, walking was also seen by the majority of fans to be the easiest way to get to and from the venue. Architecture Designed by Cox Architecture and constructed by WATPAC on the banks of Townsville’s Ross River, the centrally located Stadium was delivered on schedule and to budget and has a
Seating and the concourse at the new venue.
host of smart architectural features that add to its iconic North Queensland design. A horseshoe shaped cantilever roof with plates inspired by the native tropical Pandanus plant forms the centerpiece of the stadium design and makes the venue instantly recognisable to global audiences. This unique design also provides the strength to resist North Queensland’s cyclonic winds as well as allowing the roof to expand and contract to the city’s tropical temperatures. Green spaces are abundant with over 100 trees and 30,000 plants spread throughout the venue while a lush grassed parkland and plaza at the northern end of the venue provided a family friendly atmosphere for fans to meet and mingle in before entering the venue. The Stadium has also been specifically positioned to face north in order to catch the breezes while its spacious open design showcases the panoramic views of Townsville’s Castle Hill and CBD, making it one of the most picturesque stadiums in the country. Technology Audio-visual capabilities are state of the art and delivered an immersive experience through a lighting set up which made the field vibrantly pop with colour while the sound system pumped out team announcements, music and a hype reel countdown in clear and crisp audio. An imposing 200 metre² HD scoreboard at the northern end is strategically positioned to be viewed by all spectators while the multi-coloured LED lights incorporated into both the roof and translucent kites showcased an exciting and memorable pre-game light show with Cowboys themed lighting displays
switching between strobe, flash and still which amplified the crowd atmosphere. The free QCB Stadium and Cowboys apps both provided an informative and effective user experience that highlighted important game day information for fans such as F&B offerings, news, transport guidance, seating maps, the ability to purchase tickets and merchandise, accessibility information as well as the ability to connect to the venues Wi-Fi which was fast and reliable when speed tested throughout various moments of the game day. Seating There is not a bad view in the house with 25,000 Cowboys coloured seats highlighting a contemporary stadium design that puts every fan within close proximity to the lush field to ensure an edge of your seat pulsating experience. The configuration of the stadium sees four primary seating areas with roof shades covering 75% of the ground while a unique part of the design in the northern end features open standing areas where fans can enjoy breath taking sightlines of the try line in a relaxed and informal setting next to bars and food outlets. Cup holders also compliment seating in the western grandstand while multiple disability seating options and family rooms with showers and change tables all highlight what an inclusive, comfortable and accessible venue this is. Food and Beverage An extensive selection of food and beverage choices are available to suit all tastes with Pandanus Catering putting a key focus on ensuring the majority of produce is locally sourced from the North Queensland region to ensure a truly homegrown experience. The fans’ view and catering at the new Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
22 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
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Scenes during the first NRL fixture at the Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
Gourmet, value and variety are at the core of an inclusive foodie fan experience here with affordable options ranging from 12” ‘Cowboys’ hot dogs, local reef fish and Red Rooster chicken to ‘Stockman’s’ tropical burgers, vegetarian burritos and vegan pies all available throughout the venues 29 F&B concession stands ensuring fans never have to go far to grab some quality game day grub. Uniquely themed public bars such as the Castle Hill Bar, Long Bar and City View Bar are scattered throughout the venue offering fan favourites XXXX and Bundaberg Rum and are complimented by outstanding views of the field and local attractions. Meanwhile, Cowboys members can even enjoy their very own ‘Cowboys Castle’ craft beer from local microbrewery Tiny Mountain Brewing Co that is available in their exclusive ‘Cowboys Castle’ members bar on game days. Fans will also appreciate the ability to walk around the entire 9 metre wide, 600 metre circumference of the Stadium concourse to check out the full F&B range and take in spectacular views of the field of play from different vantage points.
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Hospitality Located in the western grandstand, the stadium includes a diverse range of exciting hospitality experiences to suit every budget from premium offerings such as the elegantly decked out Chairman’s Club ‘Shorty’s’ with its unrivalled guest service and delicious delicacies to the relaxed and vibrant Sky Deck on level 4 that features panoramic views of the pitch and city for those instant shareable social media moments. The impressive club lounge and ground level field club along with the 88 external boxes and 17 suites highlights a first class hospitality experience that is sure to be very popular on game days for those guests looking to network and enjoy premium F&B and live entertainment in comfortable surroundings. Conclusion While the opening match may have started with a tough 28-21 loss at the hands of state rivals the Broncos, it was a spectacular win for both North Queensland Cowboys fans who will continue to experience exciting game days here as well as the local region who will benefit from the positive economic and social outcomes that transpire from this marvellous new venue in tropical Townsville. Blair Hughes is an award winning, globally respected fan engagement specialist who helps clients in the sports, music and craft beer industries grow their fan bases, improve fan experiences and create new business and revenue opportunities. You can follow him on Twitter at @MrBlairHughes or at www.MrBlairHughes.com.
Because of the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, Quayclean has re-evaluated all aspects of cleaning from staff training and procedures, safety of its team of cleaners, through to the range of decontamination and disinfection products being used at sites.
Re-evaluating cleaning Greg Campbell explains how cleaning venues faces a new array of challenges
hile our doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers have been justifiably lauded for the magnificent work they W have performed to manage the Coronavirus pandemic across Australia, behind the scenes an army of dedicated cleaners have been busily disinfecting and decontaminating a range of sites to ensure their continued safe operation. In the front line of the battle Quayclean Australia, a specialised organisation which supplies cleaning services to aquatic and recreation facilities; entertainment and sport venues; high traffic public sites; over 50 major private schools including many with boarding house facilities; and key institutions such as the Parliament of Victoria. Because of the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, Quayclean has re-evaluated all aspects of cleaning from staff
26 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
training and procedures, safety of its team of cleaners, through to the range of decontamination and disinfection products being used at sites. Quayclean Australia Chief Executive, Mark Piwkowski, said his team is well equipped to manage the safe and complete cleaning of customer sites, adding the company is vastly experienced in dealing with highly contagious viruses such as COVID-19. Piwkowski said Quayclean has drawn on its experiences from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games to assist customers and protect the public during the COVID-19 pandemic - Quayclean having been responsible for cleaning and presentation services for 11 event venues at the Gold Coast Games when there were a number of Norovirus (gastro) outbreaks among athletes and officials. Piwkowski explained “once we were notified of the gastro outbreak at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, we took immediate steps to safeguard athletes and officials, and we managed to contain any further spread of the virus. “The knowledge we gained, and the systems we implemented in 2018, has allowed us to respond quickly and safely during this current pandemic.” Piwkowski said Quayclean has successfully completed disinfection cleans for suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 at venues, educational facilities, commercial
operators and healthcare sites across Australia. Advising that cleaning staff are using cleaning agents approved by Australian Health Authority (AHA) and World Health Organization (WHO) that disinfects and kills bacteria, Piwkowski noted “work has been completed at private schools, aquatic facilities and public venues on the same day of the suspected infection. “The purpose of the cleaning and disinfection process is to remove viral contamination from all surfaces to eliminate the transmission of the virus from these surfaces to other staff. “We continue to take a proactive approach reviewing advice and recommendations provided by WHO, the Australian Government, and Australian and state Chief Medical Officers to ensure the best results for our customers and our staff.” Quayclean was quick to supply its state offices and major contract locations with a specifically designed COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Response Kit which includes disposable overalls, face masks, gloves and goggles. These PPE kits enabled Quayclean staff to have the flexibility and speed to attend sites and complete a thorough decontamination cleaning. Piwkowski stated “the kits are designed to protect our team in case of suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 and only used by teams trained to focus on suspected or actual outbreaks.” Staff workplace safety has been a key focus for Quayclean, Piwkowski explained, commenting “exposure to COVID-19 is a potential hazard for workers, and we have put measures in place to ensure their protection. “Staff are advised to wash their hands prior to commencing work and immediately pull on their gloves. “Work trolleys are wiped at the beginning and end of every shift, mops and vacuums are sanitised at the end of each shift, and staff are advised to work a minimum of 1.5 metres from each other,” he added.
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Advising that Quayclean staff are dedicating cleaning work towards ‘touch point’ cleaning where COVID-19 can potentially exist, Piwkowski added “our staff are currently directing their energies towards extra emphasis on sanitising and disinfecting areas such as wiping door plates, handles, waste bins and taps to support necessary preventative maintenance cleaning measures.” Quayclean has increased cleaning support for many clients particularly educational, leisure, healthcare and commercial accounts. Piwkowski notes that “customers have requested additional labour to ensure that rotational touch-point sanitising is maintained at a higher level. We are working with clients to identify all areas that have the highest possibility of becoming infected. “While the additional rotational touch-point cleaning will assist sanitisation, there is no better solution than ensuring for personnel hygiene, self-isolating if you are unwell, and
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138 27
following the guidelines provided by the AHA and WHO.” Piwkowski also sees that communication with clients and staff is critical during the current climate, going on to say “we have been speaking with customers and providing regular newsletters regarding the latest information available to us and advising about the cleaning measures we are undertaking to protect their communities. “Our leaders and supervisors have been conducting ‘tool box’ meetings with our staff on safe operating procedures. The team has been awesome and have responded as expected and I can’t speak more highly about their attitude and desire to serve.” With Quayclean workers having been acknowledged by customers during a very difficult time for the country and for business operators, Piwkowski noted “we have received fantastic feedback from our customers who have expressed their gratitude with the meticulous work our staff are undertaking to ensure their sites are safe. At such a critical time for the health of the nation, this positive feedback has been very welcomed and warmly received.” Piwkowski sees that the pandemic represents an opportunity for the whole cleaning industry to step up to the challenge,
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demonstrate its capability during a significant time of need, and alter negative pre-conceived perceptions, stating “cleaning is an essential front-line service, particularly during COVID-19. But too often our work goes unrecognised and is too often under-appreciated because our work is mostly carried out after hours and out of public view. “In fact, we had one client recently comment that our staff were not visible doing what we do such as repetitive touch cleaning. This is because we have always operated quietly and unobtrusively in the background to allow business to operate as normal. “We have responded to this comment by asking our staff to wear high visible vests so that our team are clearly identifiable so we can illustrate the work we are doing to keep them free from any infection.” Quayclean has also been trialling a new fogging gun at outdoor facilities where the machine blasts a mixture of disinfectant and water into very fine droplets to decontaminate surfaces. Additionally, Quayclean is considering using drones which can conduct large scale external mass disinfection of public areas. Piwkowski concluded “we have always embraced the potential to use new technologies to make cleaning more effective and more efficient. “And at times where social isolation is so important in the containment of COVID-19, the potential use of new technology is not only smart, but is also safe.” Greg Campbell is Managing Director of PRISM Strategic Communications.
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A large rooftop solar installation is planned for The Hills Shire Council’s upgrade of its Waves Aquatic Centre.
Energy Matters Poppy Johnston believes it’s time for the industry to get serious about energy-efficient aquatic centre design As councils struggle to cope with ever rising gas bills to heat and cool their aquatic centres, pressure is building to find cheaper and less carbon-intensive ways to keep these treasured community facilities open. While Australia might be a leader on building energy performance, one niche building type appears to have fallen through the cracks: public aquatic centres. Historically cheap gas prices and the absence of a carbon tax has spawned a fleet of energy-hungry aquatic facilities across the country. These facilities, which typically consist of indoor pools and other functions such as gyms and cafes, can consume up to seven times more energy per floor area than the average commercial office building. This could soon change, with councils now facing enormous bills thanks to rising gas prices that aren’t expected to decline. One source from a metropolitan Victorian council advised that the council’s energy bill had increased by more than 60% compared with 2014-2017 averages. Fortunately, there’s growing evidence to suggest it’s possible to design and retrofit aquatic centres to dramatically improve energy efficiency. Northern Environmental Design Director Jonathan Duverge, whose PhD focussed on energy efficiency in aquatic centres, says Europe leads the way on aquatic centre design as a result of higher energy costs prompting the design of better performing buildings, with, for example, minimal use of glass. Dr Duverge explains “it’s very rare to see an aquatic centre with floor-to-ceiling glass surrounding it ... Europe is really looking at the design.” By contrast, large swathes of glazing are common in Australian aquatic centres. While it might look attractive, sky lights and floor-to-ceiling glazing attracts condensation. If not managed correctly, glare can also be dangerous inside an aquatic centre. Steel framing is also common in Australian aquatic centres, creating thermal bridges and attracting condensation and rust. 30 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
Dr Duverge says that in Australia it’s rare for designers to consider how much energy the facility is going to use - it’s all about making them “tall and shiny”. He feels that it doesn’t help that fully-glazed ‘domes’ are recognised by the industry as tender-winning designs, pointing out that people don’t understand the effect of evaporation and heat loss that occurs in an indoor pool. Suggesting that “they treat it as an office building”, Duverge says the evaporative effect has a big impact on energy consumption, but is rarely taken into consideration, adding “I think people just try to do calculations in terms of heating but neglect the effect of evaporation. That’s not really accurate.” Another common problem is that aquatic centre staff are not trained or don’t understand how HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) systems work, opening windows and doors when it becomes too hot rather than adjusting the HVAC. Duverge is seeing change in the industry as councils start to feel the financial and ethical pressure, with many declaring a climate emergency and looking for opportunities to decarbonise their operations. Capturing heat energy For RMIT Senior Industry Fellow Alan Pears, an energy efficiency expert who’s been looking into the energy performance of aquatic centres since the 1990s, the key issue for aquatic centres is that they flush out enormous amounts of heat energy that is costly to produce. Most of the thermal energy going into an aquatic centre is used to heat pool water to around 27-29 degrees Celsius, but that warm water evaporates, absorbing large amounts of energy, producing water vapour and making the pool facility hot and steamy. Air extraction fans are required to suck out the hot, humid air and the energy it contains at an astounding rate. Air equivalent to four to 10 times the volume of the building is exhausted and replaced by outdoor air every hour.
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Sutherland Leisure Centre. In 2017, Sutherland Shire Council considered closing its pools because of rising energy costs.
However, there is a tried and tested technology that can capture and upgrade this escaping heat energy for another use - the heat pump. How it works A heat pump is an electrical device that extracts heat from one place and transfers it to another. Refrigerators and air conditioners are both heat pumps b ut only for cooling. The heat pump cycle is fully reversible, and can provide heating in winter and cooling in summer. Unlike traditional heating equipment that only generates heat, the pumps extract heat from the environment - as per the laws of thermodynamics, where even cold air, heat or other materials actually contains a lot of heat energy. In an aquatic centre, a heat pump is particularly attractive as it is able to capture the large amounts of waste heat energy from humid exhaust air and “pump” it back into the pool, all while using a relatively small amount of electricity. This all ends up far cheaper because, although the price per unit of energy is more than gas, a heat pump is much more efficient than a gas boiler in this kind of setting. A heat pump’s energy efficiency is measured by its Coefficient of Performance (CoP), which is the amount of heating or cooling provided by a heating or cooling unit to the energy consumed by the system. A top-of-the-line heat pump can have a CoP as high as 9.5 to 11 (950-1100%), compared with traditional gas boilers that have an expected efficiency of around 50-75%. The efficiency of heat pumps increases again if used as an integrated building-wide system for both heating and cooling. This makes the technology even more attractive for aquatic centres because different spaces and pools are heated at different temperatures. For example, a gym needs to be at a comfortable temperature for exercising, while a pool in the same centre needs to be about 30 degrees. Pears says that once you start running the numbers, heat pumps “look pretty good,” with lower maintenance and running costs offsetting the higher capital costs over time. Councils turn to ammonia heat pumps Renewable energy consultant Derek Harbison of Smart Consulting believes low-charge ammonia heat pumps are 32 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
a good option for those aquatic centres considering the shift away from gas. Harbison, who has been acting as an intermediary between councils and the refrigeration industry, says the technology is proven and already used in other building types in Australia, such as commercial buildings and cold stores. A key benefit of these systems is that they rely on a “natural” refrigerant that doesn’t contribute to global warming. Critically, he says a fully integrated and optimised system has the potential to make an aquatic centre 80% more efficient when compared with a comparable gas system. Harbison has been approached by multiple councils from Victoria and NSW interested in alternatives to gas for heating and cooling their aquatic centres. Rooftop solar and a tight thermal envelope Heat pumps are only part of the story with rooftop solar and battery storage becomes an appealing proposition for power generation, especially given the vast roof space available on an aquatic centre. A tighter building envelope will also require a smaller capacity heat pump, meaning that an optimised facility will make a heat pump look more attractive upfront. Although it’s possible to retrofit heat pumps into aquatic centres, the best results undoubtably come from a facility designed for high thermal performance. Smaller pools also have problems Although the biggest pools are run by councils, similar energyperformance problems are experienced in smaller home indoor pools and indoor pools in high-rise apartment blocks. Rehabilitation pools and healthcare facilities have an even tougher time because their pools are run at high temperatures. Poppy Johnston is a journalist at The Fifth Estate, Australia’s leading online newspaper for the sustainable built environments.
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In the Game Chris Skinner’s 40 years in supplying fitness equipment
hris Skinner of HF Industries has recently passed 40 years of supplying equipment to the fitness industry and, while looking back at his many achievements and innovations, he is also looking forward playing an ongoing role in the future of the industry. Over those four decades he has seen many come and many go, and a few come back again. For him, its about building a business on layers, over time moving to the next plateau. Having seen many explode onto the marketplace with quick growth and decline even quicker, he explains “at HF we work on a seven-year program, looking to reach the next comfortable level, sustain that for a period and then start work on elevating to the next. “If that produces two good years of growth and five years of maintaining that level, then we will prosper in our business.” He has never looked for the business to be number one in the industry, commenting “two and a half, one out one back suits us well. “We came into this industry with long term goals. To be successful in our region you need a good team, good products, good support and lots of luck. “Australia being the size it is with the population it has you have to keep turning up in all areas of your business, continually offering something new, something different that will enhance your clients’ business and help them prosper … and if there is nothing new, create something.” 36 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
Balanced Body’s Exochair (top) and Chris Skinner at HF Industries’ Sydney base.
He looks at business as simply a game of rugby league, advising “we turn up to play the game, as do the competition. We have our front row, midfields and backs already for the whistle. On the sideline is the support crew, the stands are full of our potential client and above them in the viewing box are the owners and our suppliers all wanting us to push forward and score. “There’s no half time or oranges, the coach watches the game yelling out instruction, changing the game plan and this is where the day is won or lost.” Skinner says one of HF Industries’ advantages has always been to be able to instantly change direction when needed but stresses “when the whistle blows at full time the game is over for the day. “Where you come on the ladder is irrelevant it is only how you played the game. Never burn bridges and remember that the name HF stands for ‘Have Fun’. “In life the past is the key to the future and business is no
Tamara O’Reilly, owner of The Pilates Workshop in Wollongong, NSW (and below).
different. First and foremost, learn from your mistakes, as many don’t. “For our 40-year history we have gone to find partners – suppliers - that were synergistic with our thinking and who produced products that were the highest quality.” Skinner says he never had any qualms of being the most expensive in the marketplace as long as he had the best product, although that does have its disadvantages when the client’s highest priority in purchasing is based on price. He cites that as the reason for HF Industries seldom applying for tenders these days. With relationships key to the success of his business, one of HF Industries’ longest partnerships has been with Balanced Body. Having worked with some of their team when they were previously with Cybex, they introduced Skinner to the Balanced Body range of Pilates products. Describing how Pilates equipment began as “a bed with some springs on the end, to which springs were later added for resistance” he states “we just saw that concept and said ‘ok this is no different to what we see in other equipment, we’re just using a spring as opposed to pulling a weight’, we can work with this.” Advising how he has worked with Balanced Body founder and Chief Executive Ken Endelman, he comments “Ken and I are roughly around about the same age, have been 40 years in business and operate to the same principles. “It’s those principles that keep the relationship strong and meaningful.” With HF Industries being Balanced Body’s largest distributor
worldwide, Skinner notes “our dealings are all still based on the original agreement … and such agreements are pretty much the same with all of those we represent and the way we keep our partnerships strong, not through contracts. “We don’t need a 50-page contract to establish what we need to do, we just need to promote each product to the best of our ability, not owe them any money and buying their product as we go along while also taking their products from their traditional markets and finding a place for them in other markets within our industry.” HF Industries has enjoyed ongoing success with Pilates, creating a niche in each market segment so that, as he says “everyone enjoys the fruits, our clients especially and the end user.” Today Pilates is prevalent from the traditional Pilates place of old to the physiotherapy markets. Used extensively in the sports arena, as a conditioning and rehab tool, to the fitness markets who, more recently, have seen the benefits or introducing Pilates to their facilities, bringing to their client base something that has multiple variation to capture their interest long into the future. Another element that Skinner sees as important is not only establishing partnerships but also retaining relationships, with both suppliers and clients, adding that “holding onto friendships is even more important even if you no longer represent a product or lose a customer … for the simple reason that you never know what tomorrow brings.” Here he recalls “I’ve seen good concepts but sometimes their manufacturers feel that their product is the ‘be all and end all’ and think that we should only be selling their product. “As a company, and for the companies that we represent, we have two rules: that they don’t sell against us in our own marketplace and they don’t sell to anyone else in the same marketplace. “A number of companies have broken that rule and a number of them we are no longer the distributor for because of it.” Skinner has also adapted to the concentration of buying power in the industry, noting “probably 70% of the market is controlled by 12 guys and if you don’t have a contract with one of them, you’re probably not in such good shape in the business world. “Getting a new product out there into the market place today is harder in that, if you have a product which may be a functional piece of equipment like an Activ Motion bar for example, the only way you know how this works is if you put it in your hand and feel it. “So the knack is now how do you get that into a person’s hand for them to feel how it operates and them say this is a great piece of kit. “So you have to create the market as we have with Pilates.” Looking back, Skinner explains that the business began in Balanced Body Reformer - below and opposite. Distributed by HF Industries.
38 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
Balanced Body MOTR and Pilates Foam Arc.
1978 with the introduction of the Hydra-Gym to the Australian market. Totally different to Universal’s multi station weight stack units popular at the time, his concept for the Hydra-Gym system was to get 20 people into a group circuit class working to a timing beeper, using 10 x Hydra Gym units and 10 in between stations. He recalls “the fitness centres that took it up soon found that they were doing 10-12 circuit classes per day with 20-30 people turning up to take the class … and we ended up with 400 systems around the country. “In the early 1980s, the aerobic movement then took off, movie stars were making workout videos some of the early clubs such as Valentines and Aerobic City were going crazy with aerobics.” At this time Skinner helped pioneer the step, branded for many years as the Reebok Step, and now as the Original Step, which has been a perennial best seller for him. He advises “it’s still the same platform, it’s still the same four blocks, and I know there are steps out there that we sold 25 years ago.” Later in the decade, HF Industries became the distributor for Cybex equipment, becoming, as Skinner explains “their largest distributor and being part of making the brand what it was over 20 years. “In those days Cybex focused on strength and didn’t have cardio equipment so we took up Star Trac and we were their distributor for 24 years. “That gave us the potential of supplying Star Trac in their cardio line, and Cybex in their strength line so we were able to supply our clients with the complete package. “That was great for a long while but, as so often happens many companies are taken over, businesses are bought out by bigger organisations who want more or think they should have more market share. “Our only goal was to maintain a long-term presence as we saw ourselves as staying in this game for a long time – which we’ve basically done for the last 40 or so years. “This was achieved by finding a niche in the market, some might say boutique and about that time, we then decided that we wouldn’t have all of our eggs in one basket … we would never deal with one company. “Looking to diversify we set a target of picking up a new product each year, sometimes in the markets we already played in and sometimes taking on something we knew absolutely nothing about. “Some of these we’ve been really successful with and some not so much. “As an example, more than 20 years ago we found a children’s play station product called Keebee which we successfully supplied to crèche areas in fitness clubs and can now be seen in malls, airports and hospitals across the country.” Skinner also has some firm principles about business
conduct, advising “over a period of time it is important to show your existing client base that you’re not going to undercut the prices they are paying to someone down the road. “Why should someone who buys 20 get a better price than the person that bought 10 just because they buy more. “Our purchase price per product is the same whatever we buy, our duties and taxes are the same our shipping costs the same. Therefore, to offer a cheaper price only means cutting into our margins which in effect means we can’t provide as good a support service. “10 to 15 years ago a salesperson dealt with a particular area, they had their customers and their client base, they would visit on a regular basis. However, clients today don’t have time to sit and talk, they will contact you when they want something, they’ll contact the sales person, they’ll also send you an email from two or three accounts all trying to get a better price. “You make life way too difficult by bartering on prices, so we just don’t do it. “If price is the major factor, we understand that, but at the same time we also believe that in setting a fair price, our clients see the value in our products, and just as importantly our products hold their value come the time to trade in or resell. “Part of our job is to bring value to our consumers; in the fitness industry we have seen competition to the point that the only thing a centre can offer as different is price point. Free joining fee, $8 per week and bring a friend free, just driving the market down. “If a customer feels that they can go down the road and use something which is better and a service to match, that’s where they’re going to go and nine out of 10 times are prepared to pay for that service.” Looking to the future, Skinner comments “we’re still a family company and besides me getting older, both of my daughters work in the company and many of our team have been with us for years.” ALM
Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138 39
Main image courtesy of Crunch Fitness.
Barrie Elvish outlines Fitness Australia’s Fightback Strategy
he fitness industry has suffered significantly since gyms closed on 23rd March 2020. However, with the health and wellbeing of all Australians paramount, taking significant steps to flatten the curve has been everybody’s business, and rightly so. Now, with the tide slowly turning and restrictions easing in some states, the fitness industry is ready to fight back. But fighting back doesn’t just mean flexing your muscles and putting on a show for your opponent. Really fighting back means lifting your game and pushing the boundaries to be better than you’ve ever been before. Really fighting back requires an acceptance that it can’t be business as usual. Fighting back effectively needs commitment from within and support of those around you. Fitness Fightback Strategy Focus #1: Getting gyms safely reopened As we continue to pave the road to recovery, Fitness Australia is committed to getting gyms safely reopened as soon as possible. There is no reason why gyms can’t be one of the first sectors to reopen. As an industry, we will do whatever it takes to get back to work and reopen our facilities safely. This is evidenced by the willingness of our members to comply with, and in many cases go above and beyond, preclosure restrictions and precautions. Now, Fitness Australia has gone one step further and developed a comprehensive framework for the safe reopening of gyms. Over
40 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
Barrie Elvish (at right) meets with Federal Minister for Youth and Sport Richard Colbeck.
the past weeks, our team has been working with government authorities, industry stakeholders and our international counterparts including UK Active, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), the Exercise Association of New Zealand (Exercise NZ) and utilising the World Health Organization resources to develop this framework. This framework has now been finalised and submitted to government. Focus #2: Really raising the bar Promoting a return to the gym and driving industry growth are two important factors in the industry’s recovery post COVID-19. But simply continuing to do what we’ve always done will not shift the dial or give more Australians more reasons to join the gym, sign up to an outdoor bootcamp or take a yoga class. An important factor in our Keep on Moving Community Awareness Campaign has been to keep people active during isolation. Generating an increased interest in exercise and engaging a larger pool of potential new gym members can help springboard the industry in its recovery.
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However, with a change in habits (adapting to virtual training for example) and potential new audiences comes a new level of expectations. As the fitness industry’s peak body, it’s our responsibility to lead and really raise the bar for a new level of excellence. Improving our standards, quality, and service delivery will deliver greater consumer confidence and credibility, while also professionalising the industry in the eyes of government and other allied health. Service Excellence Program The introduction and immediate rollout of our new Service Excellence Program will spearhead our fightback. It’s about setting the world’s best standards and striving for excellence. Demanding and advocating a higher level of industry standards will give our members – from gyms to exercise professionals – more credibility. But why now? Like many organisations who are charting new waters, improving our offering and, quite simply, doing things better than we’ve ever done before will help industry recover. Giving consumers greater confidence to return to the gym and resume their exercise routine and memberships, or join a gym for the first time once facilities reopen, is a positive outcome for all of us. However, the Service Excellence Program isn’t just a shortterm, flash in the pan idea. It is a long-term commitment to quality assurance and service delivery for the whole industry. Under the program, Fitness Australia will rollout ongoing initiatives focused on a higher level of service delivery. The first two initiatives of the program that will be implemented are our Quality Assurance Employment and Fitness Australia Accreditation. Quality Assurance Employment From next month, all Fitness Australia business members will be required to ensure all their personal trainers and employees are registered with Fitness Australia. The Quality Assurance Employment will provide businesses with the confidence and guarantee that their personal trainers are following industry best practice, protocols and guidelines. For the individual registered personal trainers and employees, Fitness Australia registration under the Quality Assurance Employment will provide them with industry credibility, ongoing support, increased employment opportunities and access to continued learning. 42 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
Fitness Australia Accreditation As the fitness industry continues to evolve, it is critical that Fitness Australia solidifies its position as the leader for the promotion of quality service and best practice. The introduction of Fitness Australia Accreditation will drive a higher standard of service delivery across the industry. Equally importantly, it identifies an improved standard of service delivery that will be audited and guaranteed by Fitness Australia. It will enable exercise professionals and our industry to be recognised like other allied health professionals. For our members, Accreditation will provide increased credibility for gyms and personal trainers, resulting in a more professional industry. Further information about Fitness Australia Accreditation, including details on the assessment and requirements framework will be released over the next three months. With a renewed focus, the fitness industry is in a strong position to really lift the bar post COVID-19. How we fight back on our road to recovery will determine how we are perceived by both decision and policy makers and the wider community in the future. Are you going to be part of Australia’s fitness history; or join us in creating a new destiny? Barrie Elvish is Chief Executive of Fitness Australia.
Coronavirus closures have a massive impact on the fitness industry
An analysis of how the fitness industry has been impacted by the Coronavirus crisis, undertaken by Fitness Australia, has found that among clubs and studios less than 10% of staff are still working and that 50% of gym owners have reported a 100% drop in revenue. Fitness Australia’s release of the COVID-19 Fitness Industry Impact Report shows the devastating effect of gym shutdowns since 23rd March, laying bare the
financial, social and economic impact suffered by the $3 billion a year industry that employs more than 35,000 people across more than 6,426 businesses. The report’s analysis of boutique businesses and multiservice facilities surveyed found: •All businesses have had to stand down employees with less than 10% of staff still working •70% of businesses cited a 100% decline in memberships •24% of businesses reported a 61% decline in memberships due to cancellations or suspensions •Revenue was down 100% for 50% of gym owners •Gyms have only been able to generate less than 10% of their usual income through virtual or outdoor one-on-one training. In addition, Fitness Australia’s analysis of exercise professionals and sole traders surveyed found: •81% has lost their job or main source of income •71% had not had a single client since gyms closed on 23rd March 2020 •44% of respondents have lost more than 61% of their income •90% are continuing to pay up to $5,000 per month for business expenses despite not operating •Less than 10% of clients had transitioned to virtual platforms or one-on-one training.
www.ausleisure.com.au for all the latest industry news
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138 43
The Australian Schools Cross Country Championships, courtesy of CMS Lateral/Great Australian Cross Country Challenge.
2020’s Crises and the future of Sport and Recreation
Martin Sheppard explores the opportunity to reform sport, make it stronger, more resilient and future proof it
he start year of a new decade normally starts with optimism, long term future plans and a renewal of energy and focus. Yet 2020 has already presented massive challenges. Australia has been hit with its worst ever bushfires, losing 7.7 million hectares of land (an area larger than Ireland) - with 3,000 properties burnt to the ground and 33 lives lost, resulting in an estimated $1 billion in damage. Following this, parts of the country that had not seen rain for years celebrated rain, while the shadow of the Coronavirus outbreak began to spread, leading to the activation of the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on 27th February. Within weeks, the industries of community and professional sport, fitness, aquatic and recreation had been shut down while people embraced the request to ‘stay at home’ with the true Australian grit we expect. With one of the four reasons ‘to leave home’ identified as to exercise, the positive is that across every community you see people, two by two, or families exercising together, walking, jogging or having a kick around. But, what legacy will this create when state and territory governments loosen stay at home requests? The Future of Sport – the Backbone of Australia As an industry we have experienced two decades of growth in traditional sports clubs, driven by 30% population growth, set against an underlying trend (and well documented) move away from traditional sports provision. The question now is whether changes resulting for Coronavirus closures will fast track this trend and what can
we do to embrace this movement and ensure that sport as we know it also survives. The pressure on sport at all levels has already been documented during the COVID-19 Crisis with many elite sports suffering or on the verge of economic collapse with the worry of a subsequent knock on effect to community sport. Numerous commentators are asking if we are at a ‘crossroads’ for sport, whether the way Australian sport is structured is sustainable and whether multiple levels of sporting administration is too ‘heavy’ and draining. Leaving emotion and egos to one side, we need to quickly consider how these challenges can be embraced, and how our beloved sports (and the sector) can reconnect and rebuild for the future. Why are some sports teetering on the edge, regularly staving off financial hardships and seemingly living month to month or even beyond their means? Will this year’s obligatory sign up to the National Redress Scheme mean that sport will this time fall over the edge? (The National Redress Scheme has been created in response to recommendations by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.) As we see Virgin Australia enter voluntary administration, with a focus on restructure and becoming more sustainable, hopefully coming out the other end a stronger and more robust organisation. Should we be establishing something like this for sport in Australia, a collaboration between sport, community NBL owner Larry Kestleman
44 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
and commercial organisations. This could mean that sport will need more entrepreneurs like NBL owner Larry Kestleman running the professional leagues, with this approach being an alternative or a vehicle to complement the ‘One Sport’ model that Sport Australia has been exploring. This could allow NSOs (national sports organisations) to refocus their roles to national team management and growing participation. This may allow the industry to rethink their funding models especially the user pay system that covers costs and how we balance that with the value we offer participants. Once lockdowns are lifted and eased, it is to be expected that passionate sports participants will return to what they have Tasks and diaries done previously, but many may well have found other ways to exercise and stay active. Automated messages Sport may need to reinvent itself to re-attract people into Lead allocation sport in a manner that we have been speaking about for years, by adapting the offering to attract the broader community. Real-time reporting. Combining traditional competitive sport clubs with recreational participation has been the strategy for several years, but with limited success for NSOs. Cycling Australia’s recognition that more people cycle than compete is a great example and watching how they have established their ‘Join the Ride’ When some National Premier League football clubs charge initiative could be the starting point post COVID-19 for many in excess of $2,000 in annual fees for children as part of their other sports. Why wouldn’t we expect athletics clubs to now coaching development programs, would $75 more in affiliation have jogging clubs linked with weekend ‘Parkruns’? This could fees really make a difference? If there is an amnesty for the see the ‘joggers’ be the future volunteers for the club, possible year, all levels of provision need to commit to it with a standard future participants and bring much needed economic benefits. levy across all sport to reduce the duplication while also The same could be with swimming clubs, who could now offer between states and national bodies. ‘Stroke correction’ classes for lap swimmers or open water MYMEMBERSALES IS THE MOBILE-FRIENDLY LEAD MANAGAEMENT This is time for radical changes, maybe an acceptance that training by their coaches. SOLUTION THAT CAN HELP YOU GROW YOUR MEMBER BASE. the model we have grown up with may not be as robust and Supporting local sport will be essential as we come out sustainable as some make out. As an industry should we be of COVID-19, we are already hearing several state sports VISIT WWW.MYMEMBERSALES.COM US FOR A DEMO AUSno- 1300 858 840 NZ - 0508 236 826to rethink aboutMyMemberSales starting how we canis brought all work better together, organisations (SSOs) and CALL NSOs exploring membership to you Jonas Leisure. all levels of government, theby vertical hierarchy of sport and levies on participants to help in this time of hardship.
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138 45
how can we embrace the commercial providers of activities and programs more, as people continue to find the money to receive a quality experience. Starting internally with exploring key corporate overheads that are being duplicated between the NSO and the SSOs could make a significant difference to the levels of investment into core programs throughout a sport. The idea that each state and national sports organisation should build up over the next decade a substantial war chest on their balance sheet (50% of turnover) may be a prudent start, especially if the industry could secure tax relief now to be able to future proof the sector for future generations. Community Aquatic, Recreation and Sports Facilities The closure of over 1000 community facilities has impacted drastically on the ability of community sport to access facilities. While local government as the key owner and their management organisations who operate these facilities on their behalf, are considering the impact on membership and facility overheads, there are a number of learnings that are emerging that need to evolve for the future. Funding from local government to the facilities and the management models may need to be reviewed. As many local governments will be financially hurting as the year progresses; this will impact on the subsidy they pay or the level of revenue
Images courtesy of the Y and pixdeluxe (right).
46 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
they receive for their facilities and will impact on the opening hours, the level of service and the ability to subsidise local community and sporting use may be significantly impacted. Future operational budgets could mean that the service offering needs to change. Considerations might include whether a swimming pool should open at 6am for a handful of lap swimmers and whether a facility should stay open during the day if the cost significantly exceeds the revenue? Now is an ideal opportunity for local government, politicians, service providers, community sport and council officers to go back to basics and ask the question, why do we have these facilities and are they really making a difference to the health and wellbeing of our community? The impact on capital developments need to be questioned now surely. If a Council was going to invest $30 million into a second 50 metre aquatic centre, and instead invested that and received a 5% return on investment, they would receive $1.5 million per annum to invest into community physical activity and recreation programs that would encourage far more of the community to be physically active than currently participate in community sport. The facility managers like YMCA, Belgravia Leisure, Bluefit and Aligned Leisure already have the programs for community participation and now community sport and SSOâ€™s need to consider supporting their clubs to align with these organisations and provide these offerings themselves if they wish to stay relevant to the new post COVID-19 exercise society. Consider it as the provider of the exercise or recreational program taking the programs to the people and not expecting the people to come to their facility. Surely a better community outcome, although more challenging for traditional sports. If this is the future of sport in Australia it could also be the lifesaver with the roles that NSOs, SSOs and clubs play in the role of increasing the community to be more active. Community sport, local government and the facility management companies can create an integrated approach with National and state governments to embrace this generational opportunity and communicate through simple campaigns for the broader community who have been exercising more during this COVID-19 close down to participate in more exercise, fitness and recreational programs as well as options for community sport. This should recognise the focus of the broader community and provide greater participation numbers for community sports clubs, program providers and community facility usage. An integrated approach to the support and provision of community participation and sport is needed now that the sector and the families will have significantly limited resources, otherwise we will lose the opportunity that COVID -19 has provided the sector. Martin Sheppard is Managing Director of the Smart Connection Consultancy and co-founder of the National Sports Convention, which will be relaunched at in June as three NSC â€“ Forums, for the middle of November in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, with the backing of State Governments and peak bodies.
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John Deane, Executive Chef at VenuesLive; Sydney’s ANZ Stadium (below right) and Bankwest Stadium (below left).
VenuesLive’s new assignment Arthur Stanley explains how VenuesLive stepped up to meet the Coronavirus challenge As Australasia’s major venues closed their doors in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, and as the majestic fields of play suddenly fell silent, out of the gloom grew opportunity. What role could our venues play for the community at this unprecedented time? It was only in February that ANZ Stadium, the largest venue in NSW, played host to 75,000 fans and millions more watching around the globe as the Fire Fight Australia concert raised upwards of $10.5 million for bushfire-ravaged communities across the nation. Here was another tragedy unfolding before the nation’s eyes, and indeed across the world. The Australian and New Zealand Governments were quick to respond, and the NSW Government in particular looked to its major venues to be part of the solution. As thousands of international travellers were isolated at Sydney hotels, there was a sudden and pressing need to prepare a large number of meals each day – a demand far outstripping the capacity of some hotel kitchens. Pointing to the large crowds that fill Sydney’s Olympic Stadium for events throughout the year, Andreas Breitfuss, General Manager of Catering at VenuesLive, explained “we regularly invite 80,000 people over for dinner.” So when the NSW Government turned to VenuesLive, the stadium team jumped at the opportunity to play a small role in the Government’s extensive game plan to protect the community from the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe. VenuesLive operates ANZ Stadium and Bankwest Stadium 48 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
for Venues NSW, the agency that owns the stadiums on behalf of the NSW Government, along with Perth’s Optus Stadium for the West Australian Government. Christine McLoughlin, the Chairman of Venues NSW, has long been strong in her views that the nation’s leading venues play an important role in our community far beyond hosting elite sport and entertainment, and that they can be life-saving at times of crisis. McLoughlin notes “our major venues are here first and foremost to serve the community, and never has there been a more significant time for stadiums to show their value beyond the sport and entertainment arenas. “In days to come, our stadiums will again bring people together, rebuilding our communities through social inclusion and a sense of connection. For now, at a time of crisis, they can provide a community shelter and offer multiple services and essential spaces.” After being engaged by the NSW Government to produce meals for quarantined international travellers at Sydney’s Travelodge Hotels, the VenuesLive/Venues NSW Catering Team prepared and delivered 2,276 meals on the first day of operation to quarantined guests, plus working NSW Police officers, NSW Department of Health employees and members of the Australian Armed Services. By the end of Week 1, which encompassed Easter, no less than 17,694 meals had been provided. After 17 days of nonstop activity, the team had prepared and delivered more than 30,000 meals. VenuesLive began preliminary discussions with Government on Tuesday 30th March, prepared and presented a proposal on Thursday 2nd April and, later that evening, were assigned the two Travelodge Hotels. Across that weekend, a Hotel Catering Operation Plan was quickly developed to provide an end-to-end service delivery model from production at the ANZ Stadium kitchens, to road distribution to the Sydney CBD, and delivery and distribution at Travelodge Sydney and Travelodge Wynyard. The team dialled in suppliers, arranged for delivery of produce to ANZ Stadium, cleaned the kitchen and rostered staff, before then preparing, cooking and packaging meals for delivery the following morning on Monday 6 April. Three meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner – plus a range of snacks were produced each day for delivery to the hotel room doors of quarantined guests … and the response and feedback from grateful guests was overwhelmingly positive. The food and beverage offering encompassed a range of products that reflected a diverse culinary and cultural diversity while keeping the expected requirement to provide nutritious, easy to prepare and presentable meals. Breitfuss added “the menu structure ensured that the quantity of food adequately sustained each of the guests over a 24-hour period and, as such, included main course meals, beverages, healthy snacks and range of indulgent snacks. “The menus catered for a range of dietary requirements to include meals for guests with dietary requirements, from vegan and vegetarian to gluten-free and children’s specific meals.” All meals for quarantined travellers were designed by Executive Chef John Deane and a small committed team worked hard to prepare and deliver to the hotel room doors of quarantined travellers. Deane concludes “we are very happy to play our part, even though it is a very small part, and we are doing everything possible to make the lives of those people forced into quarantine as pleasant as possible. “And because each meal has been made with love and care, our team has truly been humbled by the positive feedback.” Arthur Stanley is General Manager, Media & Communications at VenuesLive.
Optus Stadium as a Police HQ
Optus Stadium in Perth has been converted into an emergency headquarters for WA Police as the State coordinates its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A 24-hour Western Australian Police Force (WAPOL) Incident Management Team (IMT) has been based at Optus Stadium and is utilising the Level 3 Sports Lounge and some Level 4 Suites. VenuesLive has rostered a venue management team on duty 24/7, with the roster being filled by events and operations staff and supported by staff from Catering and ICT. The Stadium’s kitchen, in conjunction with Venues West and RAC Arena, is being utilised for the production of thousands of meals to meet the needs of the community. The meals are going out to support emergency services, hospitals and vulnerable people within the community. Two members of Optus Stadium’s Meetings & Special Events team have been seconded to the WA Health Department, and have been assisting in operations. Another example of the nation’s leading venues standing up for the community at a time of need.
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138 49
A Massive Disruption but a Big Opportunity Wayne Middleton sees that the current Coronavirus is a unique test of resilience As venues and events internationally come to terms with the impact of the COVID-19 virus shutdown, it’s difficult to see many positives out of all this uncertainty. Mandatory closures of small outdoor and indoor mass gatherings, compulsory self-isolation for overseas traveilers, as well as social distancing; these are becoming the new norm in the workplace vernacular - at least in the short term. We are still forced to keep businesses operating with, in many cases, our workers operating remotely. At this point you are hopefully dragging out your wellrehearsed Business Continuity Management Plan and putting into place the contingency plans you have trained for. But if you haven’t tested them for some time, or worse still - you don’t have a BCM Plan, now is a very good opportunity to document these processes while implementing home-based work. ‘Denial of Access,’ or being unable to work from your office, is one of the most common scenarios that requires a continuity response in business. Whether it’s an act of terror, a power failure, a failed sewer main in a neighbouring building, a motor vehicle accident on an arterial road nearby, or the Coronavirus; denial of access should be the starting point for disruption scenarios in your BCM Plan. COVID-19 - A Test of Resilience For those who’ve attended Year Two of the Venue Management Association’s (VMA’s) Venue Management School, dust off those notes from Year Two’s lesson on ‘Business Risk & Resilience;’ because now more than ever, you need a plan for major operational disruption. This area of risk management relates to resilience planning. Resilience Plans help deal with major operational disruption; to prepare, respond and recover from a major incident or situation. The Oxford Dictionary says that Resilience is “the ability of people or things to recover quickly after something unpleasant, such as shock, injury, etc. He showed great courage and resilience in fighting back from a losing position to win the game.” The terms Risk Management and Risk Assessment are used frequently in our industry. Most commonly these terms are applied to safety, security and emergency management, yet 50 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
there is risk in almost everything we do. Every organisation that operates in the venues and events industry has a different level of risk maturity. Organisations with a low risk maturity focus largely on safety, security, emergency planning and insurance in risk management. Organisations with a higher level of risk maturity apply risk management concepts to other parts of the business including those above, plus legal liability, compliance and resilience-based plans. Resilience-Based Risk Plans Organisations that are risk mature may have an established Enterprise Risk Framework that ties all facets of risk together. An Enterprise Risk Framework provides a structured and systemised approach to managing all risks (including disruptionbased risks); is commissioned by the Board, led by the Executive, and implemented by the workforce. The successful management of all risks to the business is underpinned by a structured approach to risk assessment. The suite of Resilience-based risk plans and their current role in a venue’s response to the COVID-19 crisis are below: Risk Assessment (RA) The Risk Assessment involves an analysis of risks in terms of consequence and the likelihood that the selected consequence will occur. Risk categories for consideration include: • Health & safety • Disruption • Reputation • Financial • Legal • Technology The assessment should exist in a risk register (table of risks) and use agreed definitions for consequence and likelihood, and contain evaluation criteria to determine the magnitude of the problem and an appropriate course of action. For health and safety risks you should use the hierarchy of controls to help guide appropriate actions: Eliminate, substitute, isolate, engineer controls, administrative controls, personal protective equipment (PPE).
Role of Risk Assessment in the Current Crisis In the current crisis the role of risk assessment is to focus on the following risk categories: Health and Safety risks Impact on people’s health from communicable disease - (staff, contractors and patrons) • Eliminate - temporary closure of venue • Substitute - N/A • Isolate - home-based work, self-isolation • Administrative - social distancing, split-shifts (combined with home-based work), cleaning program • PPE - gloves, sanitiser, face masks Disruption risks Critical business functions affected • Consequential impact on other business functions • Timing of critical functions Reputation risks Stakeholder communications •Who are the stakeholders affected? (staff, patrons, owners, neighbours, suppliers, clients) •How are they affected? Financial risks • Lost income • Accrued leave • Additional costs Legal risks • Venue hire agreements • Ticket refunds • Insurance - cancellation, forced majeure • Sponsorship Technology risks • Information systems integrity • Software and hardware capabilities • Remote systems access • Cybersecurity Emergency Management Plans (EMP) An Emergency Management Plan (EMP) should help guide an initial response to an incident or situation to protect people and property from harm.
It is a written document containing the emergency arrangements for a facility, generally made during the planning process. It consists of the preparedness, prevention and response activities and includes command and control structures, roles and responsibilities and specific emergency response procedures. Role of Emergency Management Plans in the Current Crisis Set out prevention and response procedures for communicable disease outbreak: • Venue lock down, access control and head count; indoor and outdoor limits to gatherings, staff & visitor sign in and out • On-site health and medical care •Sanitisation - cleaning program, contaminated waste removal • PPE requirements • Reporting and recording requirements • Emergency service and communicable disease testing • Links to state pandemic plans • Department of Health, Federal Government Policy and other important information sources • Venue’s Communicable Diseases Policy • Staff welfare - Employee Assistance Program Crisis Management Plan (CMP) Crisis Management Plans (CMP) are for responding to incidents or situations that threaten the organisation and its reputation. A CMP provides a coordinated strategic executive management response to the immediate, short term and longterm effects of the situation. They are characterised by: • Scenarios that are (generally) unforeseen and that occur rapidly • Require quick decisions • Not necessarily impacting upon critical business functions but can affect achievement of the organisation’s mission, goals and objectives • Potentially resulting in real or perceived risks that invoke outrage and media attention • Information traveling fast due to electronic media Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138 51
The diagram above shows how these plans all fit together:
Role of the Crisis Management Plan in the Current Crisis Preparation of the Crisis Management Plan should involve: • Establishing a Crisis Management Team • Understanding potential impact risks (see above) • Develop a Crisis Management Plan • High impact foreseeable risks • Crisis management team • Roles, responsibilities, contact details • Action plans and checklists • Where do we meet? • What will we need? • Who do we call? • Training and testing schedule • Crisis Communications Plan The Crisis Communications Plan should include: • Clear, concise, honest and timely information • A nominated competent media spokesperson with a clear and consistent voice • Targeted audience identified • Pre-scripted communications • Appropriate responses - provide brief explanation of approach, regular updates, future preventative actions • A desire to nurture goodwill now with important stakeholders Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) Disaster Recovery Plans (DRP) usually integrate with the Business Continuity Plan, given an organisation’s heavy dependence on information technology and telecommunications equipment. The DRP is a technical document that sets out details of information systems, back up arrangements and cybersecurity protections in place to ensure the efficacy and resilience of information access and sharing. Role of the Disaster Recovery Plan in the Current Crisis The DRP is important for documenting IT and telecommunications arrangements for the hosting of data backup, secondary remote office sites, and home-based work. Business Continuity Management Plan (BCM) Business Continuity Management involves the integration of the organisation’s planning and management processes to provide operational resilience. It involves developing a plan for the: • Ongoing management of disruption-based risk 52 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
• Building a resilient and sustainable business • Achieving business goals and objectives It should cover: • Continuity response • Resources, processes and controls provided • Focus on maintaining critical business functions • Recovery response • Resources, processes and capabilities restored • Implement improvement Role of the Business Continuity Management Plan in the Current Crisis There are a number of stages to achieve Business Continuity Readiness. They include: 1.Vulnerability (Risk) Assessment and a Business Impact Analysis (BIA). The BIA should explore: • Critical business functions. These may involve: o Important/critical people o Key facilities, infrastructure or equipment o Core services that you deliver for the next 3-6 months o Key information - from meetings, databases, server access o Resources - what systems, funding or tools are heavily relied upon to deliver critical business functions? • Impacts to other parts of the business • Dependencies on IT applications 2.Developing response strategies a. Who is the Business Continuity Coordinator? b. What is the process for determining the crisis? 3.Developing resources and interdependencies - contact lists, checklists, hardware needs, software needs, WHS/ OHS requirements for home-based work. Link to other source resources such as: a. State or national Pandemic Plans b. State Hazard Plans 4.Continuity plans/contingency plans - what are the workarounds for each critical business function, and who will do it? How do we recover back to normal business? 5.Communications strategy - linked to the Crisis Management Plan. Communications matrix - who speaks to which stakeholder and when? 6.Training and testing - This is happening now! 7.Evaluation and Review - Document what you can, as it is happening and conduct a formal review once it’s over. Make further changes and use the opportunity.
Other things to Consider Functional Area BCM Plan Each functional area within your organisation should have a BCM Plan that shows: •Crisis Management Team Members & Lead Crisis Manager •Chief Warden or person in charge of emergency response and back up person •Business Continuity Coordinator & back up person •Functional Area Recovery Team Leader & back up person for each functional area •Alternate site if teams are separating - names of people/ teams and IT requirements •Procedure for invoking the Contingency Mode •Procedure for returning to Normal Business Mode •List of Critical Business Processes, Functional Area affected, Maximum Acceptable Outage - (how long can we afford to lose the function for?); risk rating, and impacts if it fails •Employee IT hardware needs (laptops, tablets etc.) •Functional Area Allocation - List each functional area and alternate site - Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, etc. •Critical Business Function (CBF) - List the CBF - Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, etc. •Functional IT applications needed •Contact numbers - Crisis Management Team, Business Recovery Teams, Employee Contacts, Key Stakeholders, Key Suppliers, Emergency Services Functional Contingency Plans Contingency Plans are ‘workarounds’ given the denial of access/ work from home scenario. They might include for example: • Human Resources - Payroll system & superannuation • Box Office - Ticket sales and refunds • Compliance reporting • Servicing key suppliers’ contracts
Where can you get help with Business Continuity Planning? There are a number of international and Australian Standards available to help guide this process. •ISO 22301:2012, Societal Security - Business Continuity Management Systems - Requirements: Will help organisations, regardless of their size, location or activity, to be better prepared and more confident to handle disruption of any type. •AS/NZS 5050:2010, Business Continuity - Managing Disruption - Related Risk: Describes the application of the principles, framework and process for risk management, as specified in ISO 31000:2018, to disruption-related risk. •ISO 31000:2018, Risk Management Guidelines: Describes guidelines for managing risk faced by organisations. The application of these guidelines can be customised to any organisation and its context. It offers a common approach to managing any type of risk in the venues and events industries. In Summary So, while the current Coronavirus crisis appears to present few opportunities in the venues and events industries, it does allow us to consider all the activities we’ve been too busy to get to. This pending shutdown period could be the perfect opportunity to update Enterprise Risk Management & Resilience Plans. If you are a Graduate of VMA’s Venue Management School, review your Year Two Risk Management notes, and if you’re not a graduate, drop me a line, and I’ll try to steer you in the right direction. We all hope this crisis passes swiftly and that our industry recovers to a place that’s even better than it already was. Wayne Middleton, CVE, is current Chair of the VMA’s Venue Management School. He has been a risk management instructor for over a decade at the School and the Principal of Australian-based consultancy: Reliance Risk.
An example of Contingency Plans for Critical Business Functions might be as appears above
Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138 53
Jennifer Barker helping students (above) and programs at Bankstown Senior College (opposite).
Wellbeing for all
Jennifer Barker introduces Collective Leisure and its focus on wellbeing for the most disadvantaged in society ith people’s lack of well-being in some cultures on the rise, the W foundation of Collective Leisure aims to make sure some of the most vulnerable don’t get left behind. With a purpose to enabling ‘wellbeing without boundaries’, the business was founded in September 2019 by experienced aquatic, community and recreation professional David Burns (previously of Belgravia Leisure and before that City of Sydney and Penrith City Council) and myself. Collective Leisure is a social purpose business whose programs and services use a systems approach to achieve ‘whole of person’ well-being, to tackle issues such as chronic disease and mental health. As Burns explains “we form cross sector partnerships working with local government, education, public health and the third sector, bringing many people and organisations together, to leverage our full potential through collective impact.” The business was born out of personal drive to have a greater impact, specifically in low and middle-income communities, where the majority of lifestyle-related deaths occur. Having grown up in a low-income family, losing his father at 46 to a chronic disease
and supporting his mother with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Burns has always been driven to help the most disadvantaged in society. From his work in the UK with the Football Association, setting up football programs to reach youths; to breaking down cultural barriers between staff and patrons at Auburn Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre; by setting up a funded training program to get refugee students from Bankstown Senior College into employment. This relationship with Bankstown Senior College and the unique combination of skills between Burns and I led to Collective Leisure being the first choice for the College when looking for help with the well-being of their students. The teachers at the college had become increasingly concerned with the lack of self-care their students were displaying and the increasing amount of stress they were experiencing. Specifically, they became aware that the students were: consuming high amounts of energy drinks; eating junk food regularly; not taking part in any physical exercise; complaining about feeling stressed and tired; managing their finances poorly; smoking regularly and had a lack of awareness when it came to sea and sun safety. The College felt they had a duty of
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care to address these issues with the students, to remind them of the basics of healthy living and to raise their awareness of different aspects of their life that can impact their well-being. This was especially important for them given that many of the students have suffered trauma and had to live in a transition stage in another country (refugee camp or precarious living) for three to five years before being allowed to live in Australia. Maria Pascalis EAL/D (English is an additional language or dialect) teacher and refugee contact office at Bankstown Senior College, explains “our students with 86% of them from refugee backgrounds, have suffered torture and trauma and although they are quite resilient they still need to be reminded about the important aspects of life and well-being.” The College identified 52 year 10 students (being of age 16-22 years at the College) as their most vulnerable group. Their requirements were three weekly sessions for a duration of four hours each. They asked for the program to address nutrition; the importance of physical activity; emotional wellbeing; money management; sun and beach safety and the impacts of smoking. The program was to be delivered in ‘simple’ language, with interactive and engaging activities and practical guidance to help students implement what they learn into their lives. We designed the program based on three principles. Firstly, we wanted to share with the students things that we have taught ourselves about wellness that we wished we had been taught in school or college. Things that we knew would be so powerful for the students in their situation such as meditation and the effects of physical activity on the brain and body. Secondly, we only share things that we have implemented or tried in our own lives so we could speak from experience and not just theory. This ensured we were being authentic which was very important to us. Thirdly, that everything we share was backed by evidence that it worked and not just from a personal perspective. Based on the varied requirements of the college and our personal experience, we decided to structure the program around Zig-Ziglars ‘wheel of Life’, which we adapted to create the ‘wheel of wellbeing’. The wheel is designed to create awareness of all aspects of a person’s life that contribute to their well-being. When you are not feeling your best, you can use the wheel to become aware of aspects of your life you may be neglecting. You then know where to apply your attention and energy to
become more balanced. Also, as research shows, we are simply a collection of routine habits and behaviours. Having a deep personal understanding of how to create and change habits; we included habits as the fundamental driver for all aspects of wellbeing. Based on the College requirements we focused mainly on nourishment, environment (which incorporated sun and beach safety), financial, spiritual (the basis of which being connecting to their true self - this was the leader into managing their emotions), physical and habits (which incorporated smoking as a habit and how to change this). We structured the delivery of each section to include question and answer interaction with the students to gauge their learning, including a practical activity to embed their learning, and a partner or group activity to help spark insight and a video where relevant. We also included physical activity sessions which involved the use of motor skills and individual challenges and competitive games linking to the Australian Physical Literacy Framework from Sport Australia. The college was consulted at critical points, such as the overall program structure and approving a draft of the content for each week. At the end of the program the feedback was extremely positive and moving from both the students and our sponsor, with comments like “this program was amazing. Understanding
that we can change our habits was really great for me” and “learning meditation has changed my life. I struggled to sleep before and now I feel more relaxed and sleep better”. At the end we measured whether the program had met the objectives of the College. We collected quantitative feedback to measure what topics the students enjoyed the most and, more importantly, whether they were able to easily understand the content. We also collected qualitative feedback through feedback forms and interviews to see whether the students had a practical understanding of the content and how they were going to implement their learnings. We’re pleased to say that all the requirements of the College were met and we will be running the program again for them this year. Due to the success of the well-being program, Collective Leisure was invited back to the College to deliver a bespoke smoking cessation session to the entire college earlier this year.
We’re now speaking with other organisations to adapt and deliver the program for different groups and abilities. Collective Leisure has also partnered with UK-based company Substance to be the exclusive distributor of their Views impact measuring platform. Views is currently used by more than 700 organisations in the sport, youth and health sectors in the UK to measure and report on the impact these organisation programs have on their target groups. Noteable clients include the Premier League and English Football League, Street Games, Mind, Chance to Shine and Basketball England. Jennifer Barker is a Human Potential Coach and Director of Collective Leisure. For more information on Collective Leisure contact email@example.com, www.collectiveleisure.com.au/. Interviews with students can be seen on Collective Leisure’s Facebook page.
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138 55
Raising the digital profile of your business Peter Croft sees that the present climate presents a unique opportunity to focus on your members and create value in a highly connected digital world
itness facilities have a unique opportunity to keep their community engaged with activities and help them be healthy and happy through what is becoming a challenging set of circumstances surrounding the global spread of COVID-19. With a large number of fitness facilities having closed their doors for the health and safety of their members and communities, we feel there is a real opportunity to fortify relationships with members, re-establish healthy routines and practices, and develop your companies’ brand mission by making good use of the digital tools available to you. So, let’s have a look at some of the operational tasks that need to be addressed. Using your member management platform, you should be facilitating operational tasks on a mass scale. Details such as mass contract management, mass communication for consistent updates, changes to customer journey mapping, and access rules should be front-of-mind. It’s important to create this kind of checklist, reach out to your member management vendors, and get the right answers to ensure a smooth transition. Once your core operational components are under control, you should be focusing on your members and creating value in our highly connected, digital world. To accomplish this, it’s important to know your purpose, communicate your value and deliver high-quality content openly during the coming weeks
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to ensure your members not only thank you for the services you have provided to them, but also for the health benefits you have helped them achieve. This value will inevitably protect your revenues and strengthen your brand in the future. To understand our member needs, we need to understand the “why”. Your members come to you for several simple reasons: they are looking for an experience, they want to be motivated, they enjoy connecting with like-minded people, and they love or need your facilities to achieve their wellbeing goals. So, the question is how might we provide some or all of those elements to a remote audience in the current isolated environment? In order to make this shift, fitness brands need to be proactive in terms of communicating with members by using all the tools you have at hand: your website, your app, your social media channels, SMS, WhatsApp, your instructor networks, your membership management system tools or your digital communities. Here you will need to rally your team and organise them around communicating with your members on a one-to-one basis, in their class groups or in their like-minded community groups. Be consistent, on message, coordinated and leave room for incoming communication as people start to experience isolation. Build rapport with your members at a time when they are likely ready to receive conversation. In order to be more proactive, you need to take action and start to provide or advise on content which your members can interact with from a distance; relaunch your Wexer virtual content provision, spin up a MyZone challenge, deliver new messaging channels through Coach AI, point people to the right Virtuagym content, create short, on brand YouTube videos of body weight exercise sessions, have your instructors publish daily classes to be done at home based around your class timetable, use activity tracking to affirm the advise of your performance coaches or the World Health Organization. But, most of all, give people options connected to activities they are used to doing and their motivation will be stronger. I am positive that all of the digital solution operators will be more than willing to assist in any way possible at this time. Don’t forget this is a perfect time to help improve the digital capabilities of your staff and members alike. If you find that many of your members are lacking the digital expertise to take advantage of the experiences you offer, you can create resources to help them. Create groups or forums for your members online or on social media, which can teach them how to approach and use your online services and content. You can designate group leaders and sponsor discussion groups to connect your members with each other and with staff, which will inevitably build your brand’s community and serve your digital transformation long after this situation is over. With the few clearly outlined steps above, by now you should be communicating on brand messages, delivering digital experiences, motivating and educating your members, keeping them on course with their goals and, most importantly, delivering real value for money. At Europe Active and Perfect Gym, we realise that these steps will be easier for some than for others and will no doubt highlight the need for a coherent digital transformation strategy, built with a common modern day membership management platform which supports an ecosystem of experiences and provides data which can be used for business intelligence. My advice is to think quite literally outside the box; serve your members with a sound digital value proposition, teach them to recognise your brand value in your digital services and seize this opportunity to accelerate your digital transformation strategy. Peter Croft is Chief Strategy Officer at Perfect Gym and Chair of EuropeActive’s Digitalisation Steering Committee.
World Leisure names Canadian professor as first female chair
The World Leisure Organisation has appointed its first woman Chair - Canadian Professor Joanne Schroeder, along with a newly elected Vice-chair and its re-elected Treasurer. Schroeder, Professor at the Department Recreation and Tourism at the World Leisure Centre of Excellence (WLCE) at Vancouver Island University in Canada’s British Columbia, has occupied the Vice-Chair position during the past twoyear term. In addition, Dr Lawal Marafa, Professor and Director of the Master of Social Science in Sustainable Tourism of The Chinese University of Hong Kong has been elected Vice-chair for the next three years while Yvonne Klerks, Lecturer and Coordinator of International Relations at the Academy for Leisure & Events of Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherland (also a WLCE), has been re-elected for a new term as WLO Treasurer. The Australian Sports Commission Board has appointed Robert Dalton as acting Chief Executive of Sport Australia, replacing Kate Palmer, who left the role earlier this year. Dalton has been a Senior Partner at global consultants EY for 25 years where he focused on leadership, governance, strategy, audit and entrepreneurship. He is also non-Executive Director of the Richmond Football Club and Chair of Richmond’s facility management enterprise Aligned Leisure. He has stood down from his role as Chair of Hockey Victoria while working for Sport Australia.
Former ASM Global executive voted on to Brisbane City Council
Former ASM Global (Asia Pacific) Communications Manager, Greg Adermann has been elected as the Pullenvale Ward Councillor with the Brisbane City Council. Adermann resigned from ASM Global in late January after being preselected by the Liberal National Party to contest the Ward, which covers more than 300km² in Brisbane western suburbs. Speaking after his electoral win, Adermann sympathised with his former colleagues in the venue management industry currently dealing with the shutdown of sport and entertainment events as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Adermann advised “I’ll miss working in such a great industry and for a fantastic company in ASM Global, particularly Harvey Lister and Rod Pilbeam, and I wish them every success in the future.”
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Vale: Sports administrator Andrea Mitchell
Sports administrator and former Western Australian Government Minister Andrea Mitchell has died at the age of 64 as a result of a longtime heart condition. A physical education teacher who later moved to the Western Australian Department of Sport and Recreation, initially as a consultant and then in managerial positions, Mitchell went on to join the Tennis West Board in 1988. She took on the Vice President role in 1991, then became the first female President in the association’s history in 1996. She spent 12 years in the President role and was also a Director of the Hopman Cup. Mitchell later served on the Tennis Australia Board from 1997 to 2007, becoming the first woman to attend a Tennis Australia Board meeting in a representative capacity, and was a board member for the Australian Sports Commission.
Otium Planning Group’s Yvette Audet appointed IAKS Ambassador for Australasia
Yvette Audet, Senior Consultant at Otium Planning Group, has been appointed the Australian and New Zealand ambassador for the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS). The role will see Audet liaise with other countries in obtaining global trends and discussing best practice approaches for aquatic, fitness, recreation and sport facilities while also creating an Australasian alliance of members encouraging global networking for planners, architects, engineers, clients, designers, operators as well as sports federations, associations and clubs.
YMCA South Australia has appointed David Paterson as its new Chief Executive
Looking to grow the reach and positive impact of the Y across South Australian communities, Paterson advises “I want to ensure that the Y grows and continues to strengthen communities across the State. “We have an amazing 175-year history of global impact (with) YMCA South Australia … one of the first YMCA’s in the world and the first to be established outside of Europe, way back in 1850.”
Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138 57
Attracting more than 2.5 million visitors a year, overtourism threatens Cambodia’s historic temple complex of Angkor Wat.
The end of Global Travel as we know it Freya Higgins-Desbiolles sees the impact of the Coronavirus crisis as an opportunity for sustainable tourism
aturday 14th March 2020 was “the day the world stopped travelling”, in the words of Rifat Ali, Head of Travel Analytics company Skift. That’s a little dramatic, perhaps, but the COVID-19 crisis has the global travel industry, “the most consequential industry in the world”, says Ali, in uncharted territory. Nations have shut their borders. Airlines face bankruptcy. Ports have refused entry to cruise ships, threatening the very basis of the cruise business model. Associated hospitality, arts and cultural industries have come to worldwide halt. Major events have been cancelled. Tourist seasons in many tourist destinations have collapsed. Vulnerable workers on casual, seasonal or gig contracts are suffering. It seems an epic disaster. But is it? Considering human activities need to change if we are to avoid the worst effects of human-induced climate change, the Coronavirus crisis might offer us an unexpected opportunity. Ali, like many others, wants recovery, “even if it takes a while to get back up and return to pre-coronavirus traveller numbers”. But rather than try to return to business as usual as soon as possible, COVID-19 challenges us to think about the type of consumption that underpins the unsustainable ways of the travel and tourism industries.
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Tourism dependency Air travel features prominently in discussions about reducing carbon emissions. Even if commercial aviation accounts ‘only’ for about 2.4% of all emissions from fossil-fuel use, flying is still how many of us in the industrialised world blow out our carbon footprints. But sustainability concerns in the travel and tourism sectors extend far beyond carbon emissions. In many places tourism has grown beyond its sustainable bounds, to the detriment of local communities. The overtourism of places like Venice, Barcelona and Reykjavik is one result. Cruise ships disgorge thousands of people for half-day visits that overwhelm the destination but leave little economic benefit. Cheap airline fares encourage weekend breaks in Europe that have inundated old cities such as Prague and Dubrovnik. The need for growth becomes self-perpetuating as tourism dependency locks communities into the system. In a 2010 paper, I argued the problem was tourism underpinned by what sociologist Leslie Sklair called the “culture-ideology of consumerism”, by which consumption patterns that were once the preserve of the rich became endemic. Tourism is embedded in that culture-ideology as an essential pillar to achieve endless economic growth. For instance, the Australian Government has prioritised tourism as a “supergrowth industry”, accounting for almost 10% of “exports” in 2017/18.
How Roy's Peak near the South Island town of Wanaka is promoted (above), and the preCoronavirus reality as visitors queue for their ‘unique experience’ (below).
People IN BRIEF Paul Angell has taken up the position of Senior Manager Strategic Accounts at Mindbody (Asia-Pacific). Peter Burns is the new interim Chief Executive at SALT - Sport And Life Training. Tourism industry veteran Bruce Baird has returned to the Chairman’s role at the industry peak body, the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF). Jenn Benden has been appointed Team Leader - Placemaking at New Zealand project managers Jacobs. Michelle Buckworth has taken on the role of Manager, Media and Communications at Stadiums Queensland. Olympic gold medallist Natalie Cook has joined the Queensland Academy of Sport as Executive Director of Elite Success and Partnerships. Steve Cox is the new Chief Executive at Destination NSW, the government agency responsible for driving the NSW tourism and major events sector. Tania Fountain has been appointed Communications Manager at Endeavour Turf Professionals (ETP-Turf). Australian Swim Schools Association Chief Executive Ross Gage has stepped away from his current leadership role with the Association to “pursue other interests” in the swim school sector. Kristen Jackson has taken on the role of Manager Pandemic Response and Emergency Management at Cardinia Shire Council. Former Western Australian Government Minister Bob Kucera has been announced as the new Chairperson of the state’s Combat Sports Commission. Steve Loader has taken on the role of Chief Executive at Sport NSW.
Out of crisis comes creativity Many are desperate to ensure business continues as usual. “If people will not travel,” said Ariel Cohen of California-based business travel agency TripActions, “the economy will grind to a halt.” COVID-19 is a radical wake-up call to this way of thinking. Even if Cohen is right, that economic reality now needs to change to accommodate the more pressing public health reality. It is a big economic hit, but crisis invites creativity. Grounded business travellers are realising virtual business meetings work satisfactorily. Conferences are reorganising for virtual sessions. Arts and cultural events and institutions are turning to live streaming to connect with audiences. In Italian cities under lockdown, residents have come out on their balconies to create music as a community. Local cafes and food co-ops, including my local, are reaching out with support for the community’s marginalised and elderly to ensure they are not forgotten. These responses challenge the atomised individualism that has gone hand in hand with the consumerism of travel and tourism. This public health crisis reminds us our wellbeing depends not on being consumers but on being part of a community. Staying closer to home could be a catalyst awakening us to the value of eating locally, travelling less and just slowing down and connecting to our community. After this crisis passes, we might find the old business as usual less compelling. We might learn that not travelling long distances didn’t stop us travelling; it just enlivened us to the richness of local travel. Freya Higgins-Desbiolles is a Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management at the University of South Australia. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.
Jetts Australia Chief Executive Elaine Jobson has been appointed a Director of Sunshine Coast-based aged care and wellbeing specialist ComLink. Daniela Kraus has taken on the role of Chief Optimism Distributor at XVenture (Global). As it prepares to open its doors in Auckland, the All Blacks Experience, the joint venture between New Zealand Rugby and Ngai Tahu Tourism, has appointed Phil McGowan as Business Manager. Phillip Mills has started a new position as Executive Director at Les Mills International. Lori Modde is the new Chief Executive at Outdoors NSW. The Australia Council has appointed Alice Nash as their Executive Director Arts Investment. David Norman has returned to Australia from his role as Head of Fitness with Virgin Active Health Clubs South East Asia to launch Fitbodonline - offering the new GYM SAFE range of hygiene products (see page 66) - and Pilates & Co. Visit Sunshine Coast has appointed destination tourism specialist, Jo Prothero, as their Head of Marketing. The Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia (EEAA) has appointed events and digital technology expert, Claudia Sagripanti as their new Chief Executive. The Sport Australia Hall of Fame has appointed Adrianne Sarkozy as its new Chief Executive. Wayne Smith has joined the Cairns Convention Centre as Business Development Director. Christchurch City Council has named Murray Strong as Chair of the company that will manage the construction of the city’s new 25,000-seat multi-purpose stadium. Netball Australia has taken on one of the recommendations of its recent independent wellbeing review by appointing Brigid Walsh to the new role of the National Wellbeing Manager. Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138 59
GLG lighting at eastern Melbourne’s South Belgrave Oval.
SYNLawn Australia introduces new hybrid turf range
SYNLawn Australia has released a synthetic turf system that integrates with natural grass for perfect year-round coverage. The new and improved, synthetic turf system - SYNLawn Hybrid - cleverly integrates with natural grass to create a dynamic hybrid that looks and feels like natural grass, but with far superior durability. The new SYNLawn Hybrid synthetic turf system has been developed to combat eroded areas of natural grass caused by high foot traffic or environmental damage, to provide healthy and beautiful grass coverage all year round. Part of APT (Advanced Polymer Technology) Asia Pacific, SYNLawn Hybrid synthetic turfs are made from a strong polyethylene yarn and feature a polyester honeycomb cell base, which enables natural grass to grow through the cells to become fully integrated. This integration of the two grass types strengthens the worn area. The unique honeycomb base also allows for superior water drainage through to the natural grass roots. Contact 1800 652 548, E: email@example.com, www.aptasiapacific.com.au
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Gerard Lighting Group completes sale of infrastructure division to Schréder
Gerard Lighting Group (GLG) has completed the sale of its infrastructure lighting division in Australia, Sylvania and Austube, to the Schréder Group, one of the world’s leading intelligent outdoor lighting solutions providers. Schréder Group will operate in the Australian and New Zealand markets combining both existing names and brands, as Sylvania Schréder and Austube Schréder. Both teams will be integrated into a single entity, creating a strong market leader in Australia. Sylvania – now rebranded as Sylvania Schréder - is the leading outdoor lighting brand in Australia. It designs and manufactures outdoor lighting with applications in roads, tunnels, decorative lighting, recreational sports and smart lighting connected solutions. Austube – now rebranded as Austube Schréder - designs and manufactures indoor linear lighting solutions for applications in railway, airports and commercial infrastructures. Headquartered in Belgium, Schréder has been operating as a family-owned business since 1907. It has over 2,600 employees in more than 35 locations worldwide, including Perth where it opened its first Australian subsidiary in 2015. Since then, the company has provided lighting solutions for a host of major infrastructure and urban renewal projects around the country. Contact 02 9353 9417, www.glg.lighting
PerfectGym innovations back industry re-opening Following the recent release of a live streaming feature for classes, PerfectGym has continued to innovate and add additional features to their platform to assist clients with their reentry strategies - anticipating how club owners and centre managers will need to operate as facilities are allowed to re-open in various capacities. Taking into account Federal and state government guidelines, in the ever fluid Coronavirus environment, PerfectGym has built upon and refined aspects of its platform to assist with maintaining regulated occupancy limits in facilities, and enabled club owners to easily abide by guidelines and support proposed ‘Covid Safe Plans’ in the future. Introducing the new platform enhancements, PerfectGym Country Manager, Matt Inglis, explains "I am proud of and impressed with our company’s ability to react and produce enhancements and new features to assist clubs during COVID-19; which is testament to the agile nature of our offering and development ethos. "In some cases, features that count ‘who is in’ the club have existed since 2010, but we now can offer the ability to scan out of the club, through implementing a ‘people in club counter' that will deny entry when the threshold is reached." Building upon the need to limit entry and control thresholds, 60 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
PerfectGym's ‘max people in club’ feature is able to deny entry to members when the facility maximum occupancy is reached, to complement the ‘who is in’ functionality. Noting the importance to uphold customer satisfaction, PerfectGym has added a ‘club counter’ to their mobile app, and soon also to their member portal, which is able to inform members of current club capacities, so they can plan their work out accordingly, and to avoid being turned away. Through the PerfectGym portal, PerfectGym has utilised their flexible booking system to allow facilities to implement a booking system for attending the facility that is able to be tiered to be paid, non-paid, and is accompanied with a plethora of settings, empowering club owners and enabling them to set parameters specific to their facility and guidelines. Pairing the Member Portal, mobile app, Automation Centre and Access Control modules, Inglis notes "will allow clients to maintain guideline recommendations, allow members to easily return to gyms, and ensure all people are safe and happy when they return to the gym. "We at PerfectGym cannot wait for our clients and the industry to reopen; and are proud to be able to have our clients utilise our platform to help make their unique re-entry and reopening as easy and stress free as possible." Contact PerfectGym’s Australia and New Zealand office on 1300 088 922, E: email@example.com, www.perfectgym.com.au
New health products look to help facilities stay clean
The Visage Facility Health range of products from Queenslandbased Visage Building Services, has been launched to help operators and managers enhance hygiene and improve patron safety in all types of facilities. Releasing a package of Australian-made products to help facilities ‘Reopen the Safe Way’, the range includes a new, patented Touch Free Sanitiser Bollard along with smart, flat-pack signage displays and floor decals. Introducing the product range, a Visage Building Services spokesperson advised “as facilities and businesses prepare to reopen, these solutions will protect, reassure and give confidence to consumers that the appropriate measures are in place to ensure abidance with health authority guidance. “These products are very durable and lasting in both design and materials. “They are also manufactured locally in Australia for the sustainable supply, quality and support of local resources.” For more information contact 1800 255 322, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.visagefh.com
Ticketek introduces contactless tickets at Central Coast Stadium
Fans attending sporting fixtures at the Central Coast Stadium are now able to make use of Ticketek’s contactless tickets on iPhone and Apple Watch for convenient and fast access. With Central Coast Stadium the first sports and entertainment venue in NSW to provide the option, fans can now easily and securely add contactless tickets to their Apple Wallet at a single touch. Once at the stadium, fans will be required to hold their iPhone or Apple Watch next to the turnstile’s reader to be admitted into the ground, eliminating the need to search pockets or wallets or having to worry about losing their paper ticket. Fans will also receive a push notification when they arrive at the venue for further convenience, allowing them to quickly access their tickets for streamlined entry. Ticketek has long been a market leader in mobile technology and was first to launch mobile tickets in 2011. Since then, there has been rapid growth in customer adoption of digital tickets, with over 88% of tickets in Australia in 2020 are now delivered digitally, and 49% of these directly to mobiles. The addition of contactless ticketing is predicted to further accelerate the shift to paperless digital ticketing. Contact 02 9266 4102, www.ticketek.com
Centaman Entrance Control launches virus-fighting screens
Security experts, Centaman Entrance Control, have launched a countertop screen designed to help prevent the spread of viruses at aquatic and recreation centres, gyms, cafes and retail outlets. Built to stop airborne germs commonly spread by coughing or sneezing, the robust and easy to install EasyScreen is available as a tri-fold or single panel with an opening that allows for the transfer of items or payment of transactions. Centaman Entrance Control General Manager, Michael Bystram said the new screen was perfect for facilities seeking a practical and affordable solution to mitigate the risks posed by viruses such as Covid-19. Bystram advised “the new countertop screen works in a wide range of point of sale settings to add an extra line of defence against airborne viruses. Not only does it offer a physical barrier against the virus, but it also plays an important role in giving customers and staff confidence that you are taking the risk of Covid-19 seriously and introducing measures to protect their wellbeing.” Centaman Entrance Control has also released a contactless wrist scanner, known as a ‘Thermo Detector’, that checks the temperature of every facility visitor and only allows gates to open if their temperature is within a normal range. The Thermo Detector can be added to new or existing Centaman Entrance Control gates. The company has also added a separate ‘Automated Occupancy Control’ solution to its product range. The occupancy counter can be added to many existing Centaman Entrance Control gates to monitor the number of people entering and exiting a facility and prevent entry when a set occupancy limit is reached. Noting that the two virus-fighting solutions would play an important role in enabling leisure centres and fitness facilities to re-open safely when Government restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 were eased, Bystram added “when the time comes for leisure facilities and offices to re-open, facilities will need to ensure they have measures in place to ensure the safety of customers and staff.” A leader in security and entrance control technology, Centaman Entrance Control has also introduced the EasyGate SG 1000 - a mobile entrance control gate with an integrated thermal camera that can be used by supermarkets and retail stores to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading among shoppers. Contact 02 9906 7522, E: email@example.com, www.entrancecontrol.com.au Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138 61
Wellness Solutions launches Wellness Lounge technology
Laserforce and Arenaverse introduce revenue generating virtual reality experience
Laserforce and Arenaverse have announced a relationship which they believe will disrupt the developing out-of-homeentertainment virtual reality (VR) sector. Laserforce consider that VR, for a number of years has fallen short of being a solid commercial reality. Tethered units, back packs, slow throughput and high labour costs have prevented many operators from including VR products in their mix of offerings. With Laserforce, now the official distributor of Arenaverse, Laserforce International Operations Executive Jason Wallace enthuses that “Arenaverse has developed an untethered, zero backpack, free roam virtual reality laser tag product that Laserforce feels has embraced our mission and vision as an amazing complimentary product to Laserforce laser tag.” Designed to scale up or down, Arenaverse is ideal to repurpose into non performing attraction areas. Arenaverse will map out your location to avoid any columns or obstacles to provide a customised arena for your location. Contact 07 3391 0155, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.arenaverse.laserforcetag.com
Industry innovator Wellness Solutions has released a suite of resources designed to help fitness clubs, gyms and aquatic and recreation centres stay connected to their members. Wellness Solutions On Demand offers a robust hightechnology range of wellness, movement and exercise videos for members to enjoy at home. Introducing the new range, Wellness Solutions Managing Director, Tony de Leede explains “at this time it’s more important than ever to ensure your members have access to fitness and movement options to boost their body and strengthen their mind. “We also recognise that in this climate it’s essential for your business to retain as many members as possible by offering a digital solution.” Wellness Solutions On Demand sees the delivery of Move123 and Mind123 content to corporates and fitness customers around the world. Contact 02 9126 8800, www.wellnesssolutions.com.au
Pavigym floor markings to aid social distancing in reopened gyms
Replas develops new recycled and customised plastic Sports Themed Seats
Replas has developed a new product, the Recycled Plastic Sports Themed Seat, which is fully customisable to give the customer complete creative control. Replas is an Australian provider of recycled plastic products using the most problematic soft plastic waste stream. With six panels and several colour options for the new Sports Themed Seat, the customer is only a few clicks away from ordering a seat in their favourite sporting team’s colours. Based off the popular Kimberley Seat it features an ergonomic design with a smooth curved back for extra comfort - perfect for any sporting club oval, field or stadium. Contact 1800 737 527, E: email@example.com, www.replas.com.au 62 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
With fitness clubs in Australasia looking at post Coronavirus lockdown reopening, flooring innovator Pavigym is offering a simple solution to aid social distancing among exercisers. With social distancing requirements calling for people to remain 1.5 metres apart, a protocol fitness facilities are likely to need to adhere to in a post lockdown environment, the functional training markings that can be included in Pavigym’s multi-use rubber gym flooring offers a simple way to reinforce the requirement. The markings (as pictured above) can be permanent or part of interactive and integrated LED lights and sensors that link with Pavigym’s Interactive Training Software. Combining traditional manufacturing with cutting-edge technology, Pavigym remains the only flooring manufacturer exclusively focused on the fitness industry. Between its flooring and interactive solutions, Pavigym has completed over 20,000 health and fitness installations around the world over the last decade alone, impacting the fitness experience for millions of exercisers worldwide. Contact Michael Smith of Pavigym on 0481 085 581, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.pavigym.com
BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park opens minimum supervision waterslide structure
BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park has opened its new multi-milliondollar aquatic attraction to the public offering 40 interactive play features, including one of the largest splash buckets in Australia. The new attraction at the BIG4 Gold Coast Holiday Park consists of waterslides from Polin Waterparks with a combined length of 317 metres. Launched from 13 metre high tower - making them the highest and longest in any holiday park in the country - thrillseekers can enjoy glimpses of nearby Warner Bros. Movie World and the hinterlands of the Gold Coast from the platform. The slides, fittings and structure were custom designed by Polin Waterparks to realise the customer’s dream while achieving maximum operating efficiency and installed by Swimplex Aquatics. With a total of seven slides, three from 9.9 metres and the other four from 3 metres and below, Swimplex Aquatics Sales and Marketing Manager, Oz Ikiz says the feature “is like a medium size waterpark appealing to both teenagers and younger children. “The structure allows for the operator to use their discretion in slow times to close the 9 metre slides reducing the required supervision staff from two to zero.” Only requiring a maximum of two staff to supervise the feature when all slides are operational, when the 9 metre slides are closed, Ikiz adds “kids can still climb up the 9 metres and play with different water guns, buckets and toys.” Contact Polin’s Australian representative Swimplex Aquatics on 1300 796 759, E: email@example.com, www.swimplex.com.au
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Life Floor enhances beach entry at Sunshine Leisure Centre
Leading slip-resistant surface Life Floor, has recently been installed to enhance patron safety at the Sunshine Leisure Centre in inner western Melbourne. With thousands of visitors year-round, the popular Brimbank City Council venue had been frequently closed due to a number of slip and falls on its previously painted beach entry at its indoor leisure pool. To change this, the Council commissioned Life Floor to remove all the paint and install 10mm thick Ripple 2.0 anti-slip, non-abrasive tiles in four colours. To add excitement, die cut designs of marine creature were also installed. The recently completed project is set to welcome new clients when the facility reopens. Contact 1300 721 135, E: email@example.com, www.lifefloor.com.au
Technogym’s Mywellness Cloud allows fitness clubs to remotely manage members’ training
In order to make the best use of its Mywellness Cloud platform, Technogym is offering a free consultancy service to all clubs registered in Mywellness and to operators interested in learning more on the platform. The platform, which allows fitness clubs to offer training and coaching programs to their customers remotely, helps them continue to be close to members. A Technogym spokesperson explains “club members who have the opportunity to let members train also at home generate more loyalty in the medium-long term. Even if for a period of time they are unable to attend the facility, then they are more likely to return because they have not lost their training habit.” Contact Technogym on 1800 615 440, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.technogym.com Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138 63
ENDLESS EXPERIENCES Products
CRM • PROMOTI O N new S • DY N A M I Cpage PR I CIN Vivaticket creates website forG RESO U R C E M A N AG E M E N T • R E P O R T I clients impacted by Coronavirus N G F O Ohas D & B E V E Ra AG E • SU B S C R ItoP refunding T I O N S and Vivaticket launched simplified solution converting into following the Gwidespread M E M B Etickets R S H IP S •donations B U S IN E S S INTE LLI E N CE
cancellations caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. The new website page for current clients, which will GALLERIES & MUSEUMS | SPORT S | AT TRACTIONS help facilitate the handling of refunds, donations and PE RFO RMIN G A R T S & THE ATRE S | FE S TIVA L S exchanges, eliminates the overwhelming amount of customer THE ME & WATE R PA RK S | ZO OS & AQ UA RIUMS communication and documentation as well providing much needed donations to clients. The automation allows for customers to state their preferences 1300 682 203 for whether they wanted a refund on their ticket purchase, or to donate to the venue, or to wait for recommencement of trading. Advising that the webpage is available to all Australian clients on Vivaticket’s Managed Platform using the latest version of its software, as well as to BASS ticketing in Adelaide, Vivaticket’s Development and Solutions Specialist, Lewis Upton-Davis stated “this is Vivaticket’s commitment to the Australian arts sector and to support the campaign asking patrons to donate their ticket refunds to the arts.” Vivaticket’s local technical team had a 1.5-day turnaround in writing and deploying a webpage to all customers on their current platform. Contact Vivaticket’s John Godwin on 0411 470 205, E: email@example.com
Humanforce release Employee Trace Tool to manage casual workers through Coronavirus outbreak
Leading global workforce management solutions provider Humanforce, has released a free Employee Trace Tool to help all businesses manage and protect their casual employees and the community through the Coronavirus outbreak. The Employee Trace Tool provides employers with enhanced visibility over their casual workforce during any period where Coronavirus (COVID-19) may be present in the community. The tool, which works in conjunction with any source of timesheet or roster data, enables businesses to quickly and easily ascertain which employees worked on what day and time, in what location, and with who. Contact 02 9434 0500, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.humanforce.com
Sydney’s MCA powers digital transformation with Ungerboeck Cloud
A few months after being named the world’s most visited contemporary art museum by The Art Newspaper, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) has moved its event and venue management system to a cloud-based platform, improving their overall operational efficiency to better meet the expectations of their 1.1 million annual visitors. Australia’s leading museum for the arts have been using Ungerboeck Software across their entire organisation for the past four years, powering over 16,200 exhibitions and events through their five venues. With the ability to access the latest cloud version, the 137 staff are enjoying superior user experience and performance, as they become familiar with the new interface. Contact 07 3359 7919, E: Asiapacific@ungerboeck.com, www.ungerboeck.com 64 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138
Spa Vision and Spa Guru Consulting collaborate on wellness tourism project
Leaders in the Spa industry - Spa Vision and Spa Guru Consulting - have been selected to collaborate on a wellness tourism project at Opuke Thermal Pools and Spa on the outskirts of Methven on New Zealand’s South Island. The inspiring wellness tourism project, being developed by Methven Adventures, aims to cater for a broad spectrum of travellers and local guests, from families to luxury consumers. At its heart the focus is on delivering a premium-quality and sustainable hot pools and spa experience, set against a stunning mountain backdrop; sourced from the mountains, powered by the sun. Spa Vision, led by Australian based Director Neil Owen have been involved in a variety of elements of the planning and design phase to ensure the optimal solution for this extraordinary development. This has required a turn-key approach from the outset, working in close partnership Spa Guru Consulting Director, Kirien Withers to utilise her extensive regional knowledge and experience. In addition, this project has seen close collaboration with manufacturing partners at Kurland who have designed and supplied a custom Rasul® and Soft-Pack®-System experience. A unique ‘Spa Hutt’ welcome and treatment area inspired by Withers invites guests into the spa and five multifunctional treatment rooms, including two double rooms and a relaxation lounge to complete the treatment area. Owen advised “Opuke is a truly exciting and extraordinary project for many reasons. It gives us the opportunity to showcase our comprehensive approach, as well as our collective expertise and understanding in the spa and wellness space. Our collaborative approach with Spa Guru Consulting is of great benefit to the client and enables us to combine our efforts to ensure the absolute success and efficiency of the project.” Contact Neil Owen of Spa Vision on 0418 951 353, E: email@example.com, www.spavision.com
Abel Sports and Flagpoles still open to install goal posts and flagpoles across Australia
Abel Sports General Manager, John Cann has highlighted that the leading manufacturer and installer of goal posts and flagpoles remains open for business during the Coronavirus crisis. Abel, a partner in the Australian Made Program, employs over 15 people manufacturing and installing goal posts and flagpoles for councils, schools, venues and various clubs, associations and sporting codes across Australia. Cann advises that “during this lockdown period, while sports grounds and schools are closed, (this is) a great opportunity for Abel to manufacture and install both goal posts and flagpoles. Pictured above are the Abel manufacturing team waiting for their next order - whether for AFL, rugby, football goals or flagpoles - at business’ Sunshine West Factory. Contact 1300 193 714, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.abelsports.com.au
TSG acquires health and fitness software provider TrueCoach
Jonas Leisure introduces Group Move live-streamed fitness to Australasia
Leading leisure industry software provider, Jonas Leisure has introduced Group Move, a live-streaming interactive fitness platform to Australia and New Zealand. The new service, dubbed Group Move, which has been extremely popular in the UK, makes it easy for gyms, health centres and leisure providers to stream live group fitness classes that allow participants to interact with instructors and each other during each session. Jonas Leisure Chief Executive Mike Henton notes “the beauty of Group Move is that it is truly interactive and has been built specifically for the leisure and fitness industry. “Many other services only allow instructors to upload prerecorded video, or if they are live, they don’t feel like a group workout with others. Group Move changes the game by allowing participants and instructors to all be on screen and interacting with each other during each session, making online group fitness classes an engaging social experience.” Businesses and instructors can benefit from Group Moves’ ability to generate new income and improve engagement with existing clients. The platform’s built-in payment functionality makes it easy for fitness providers to offer pay-as-you-go options for people who want to try out new live-streamed classes and fitness types. Businesses could also use Group Move to offer classes free of charge to existing members via personalised and branded apps or web pages listing all of the classes they offer. Contact Jonas Leisure on 02 9906 7522, E: email@example.com.
Otium Planning Group launches free hotline to help councils and sporting bodies navigate the impact of Coronavirus
Otium Planning Group has launched a free hotline to help local councils and peak sporting bodies navigate the impact TSG, an Advent portfolio company and leading global business of COVID-19 on their aquatic, recreation, sport and related management software and payment solutions provider, has services and facilities. acquired US-based health and fitness software provider, Announcing the initiative, Otium Managing Director, Kate TrueCoach offering a flexible solution for club owners and Maddock stated “our leadership team have decades of personal trainers to engage with their clients on a state-of-theexperience managing sport and leisure services and facilities. art digital platform. “We want to support our industry as much as possible in these Since its founding, TrueCoach has grown to over 15,000 difficult times and will offer advice from our team forged from active coaches delivering four million workouts monthly. This their own experiences in acquisition will see TrueCoach expand to serve gym owners times of crisis. We are also SCALEand + REACH + CAPACITY + TRACK RECORD personal trainers in the United Kingdom, Australia and available just to listen to New Zealand. anning Group is a contemporary sport and leisure consultancy those who need someone Its acquisition by TSG in the boutique fitness space joins to talk to. g trustedother advice to the sport, recreation and leisure industries. recent acquisitions and underpins the TSG commitment “We are prepared for a to Sydney, the sector as it builds a world-class softwareChristchurch platform. Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns, Perth, Auckland, new working environment TrueCoach becomes part of TSG, following on from the and are ready to provide acquisition of boutique fitness software Mariana Tek, 304/91 Murphy Street, Richmond VIC 3121 +61 (0)3 9698providers 7300 firstname.lastname@example.org www.otiumplanning.com.au seamless continuity of service.” Triib, Zingfit, and BrandBot. Otium has established continuity measures which are now in place and its client’s projects will continue with minimal Send your product news to disruption. email@example.com The Otium team can be reached on 03 9698 7300.
LOCAL UNDERSTANDING, OBAL KNOWLEDGE, TRUSTED ADVICE
Australasian Leisure Management Issue 138 65
Experienced fitness operator addresses clubs’ hygiene challenges
Astral Pool 5 AUSTSWIM 31 Biz Collection 17 Debit Success
FFA PaySmart 3 Fitness Australia
GYMSAFE 67 HF Industries 37 HTS Group Ltd
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Experienced fitness industry executive David Norman’s new venture Fitbodonline has released an industry specific ‘Gym Safe’ sanitiser and portable stand and automatic dispenser. Norman, the founder of EYE Fitness, who recently returned to Australia from his role as Head of Fitness with Virgin Active Health Clubs South East Asia, launched Fitbodonline to meet the demand for at-home fitness products. However, with Pilates & Co, the Gold Coast studio that he and his wife operated, forced to close due to Coronavirus restrictions in March, he moved to source hygiene products not only for his studio but also for other operators. As Norman explains “we needed this equipment for our studio but discovering it was required by other operators we moved to work with trusted manufacturers to develop a solution for the industry. “Future solutions we can supply if demand exists will include smaller pump bottles, masks, gloves, and thermometers so we can be a ‘one stop shop’ for the post COVID-19 ‘clean me, trust me’ conditions. “While Fitbodonline has also supplied innovative fitness best sellers like freeform boards, hyperwear weighted vests to commercial facilities from Crunch, Virgin Active, EMF and 12 Round in recent times, we hope this dedicated Gym Safe range can be trusted and help us all win back our customers and re-grow our businesses.” Contact 0410 325 244, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.fitbodonline.com.au
Life Floor 29 MyMember Sales
Otium Leisure Planning
Quayclean 27 Rae-Line
Technogym 7 Tim Batt Water Solutions
Udio 45 Venue Jobs
Vision Projects 47 VivaTicket 49 Wellness Solutions
Surf Stadium Japan begins construction of American Wave Machines powered surf facility
Growing interest in artificial surf wave attractions in Japan is to see an American Wave Machines powered surf facility in the coastal city of Shizunami on the country’s main Honshu island. Currently under construction and scheduled to open in June, Surf Stadium Japan will use American Wave Machines, Inc’s PerfectSwell® technology to facilitate competitive training and stimulate a fast-growing enthusiastic surf community. Aiming to create an arena as an atmosphere for surfing that will bring viewers closer to the action more than ever, the PerfectSwell Surf Stadium Japan is located close to Makinohara, in Shizuoka Prefecture, chosen to house training facilities by Olympic surf teams from several nations for the Tokyo Olympics. AWM’s SurfStream® facilities have a capacity of 100 while PerfectSwell® surf pools have an additional 0.4 hectares with a capacity of 1,000. Since 2007, more than 3,000,000 sessions have been enjoyed at American Wave Machines facilities worldwide. Contact + 1 858 755 1497, E: info@AmericanWaveMachines.com, www.americanwavemachines.com
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