Sydney Coliseum Theatre Stadium F&B
Print Post Approved PP100022562
REOPENING Fans Return to Eden Park Cockburn ARC
Sportsground Seating Asian Attractions Leadership Challenges
The Biggest Ever Challenge A New Approach
AV Technology Will Live Ever be the Same?
‘Opera House of the West’ The prospects for the new Sydney Coliseum Theatre
Will Live Events ever be the same? Thea Jeanes-Cochrane on entertainment post-Coronavirus
Reshaping the Stadium of the Future Critical areas for venues to address
Reopening the ARC Cockburn ARC’s phased approach to reopening
Back in the Game The return of spectator sport to Auckland’s Eden Park
COVER: The Sydney Symphony Orchestra perform at the Sydney Coliseum Theatre. Courtesy of Clare Hawley.
regulars 6 From the Publisher 8 Two Months in Leisure 43 People 62 Products www.ausleisure.com.au for all the latest industry news, products and events
Sound Challenge Providing sound for the T20 Women’s World Cup opening
Experience, Independence, Assurance The P.A. People’s venue experience
Be Seated What sportsgrounds need to know about spectator seating
The Way Forward The reopening of facilities demands a new approach
Fitness’ biggest ever Challenge The challenges that lie ahead for reopened fitness facilities
After ‘the Great Lockdown’ The leadership challenges facing fitness, recreation and sport
4 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
The Path to Attractions reopening Learnings from the reopening of China’s visitor attractions
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From the Publisher The ‘New Normal’
Published by Australian Leisure Media Pty Ltd, 102 Taiyul Road, North Narrabeen, NSW 2101 (PO Box 478, Collaroy, NSW 2097) AUSTRALIA ABN 32 092 549 721
Tel: 02 9970 8322 Fax: 02 9970 8355 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.ausleisure.com.au Twitter: @AusLeisure Facebook: www.facebook.com/AusLeisure Editor Karen Sweaney Publisher Nigel Benton Design Australian Leisure Media Pty Ltd Administration Bill Gillies
Advertising Inquiries Nigel Benton Tel: 02 9970 8322 Email: email@example.com James Croll Tel: 0488 090 904 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Printed in Australia by Newstyle Printing Pty Ltd 41 Manchester Street, Mile End, SA 5031 Tel: 1300 773 438, www.newstyleprint.com.au The annual subscription cost is AUS $90 (inclusive of GST) in Australia, New Zealand and throughout the Rest of the World. Members of AALARA, ALFA, ASSA, EVANZ, Exercise Association of New Zealand, Sports and Play Industry Association and the VMA receive the magazine as a membership benefit. The views contained in Australasian Leisure Management are not necessarily those of Australian Leisure Media Pty Ltd or the Editor. While every care is taken with advice given, Australian Leisure Media Pty Ltd and the Editor can take no responsibility for effects arising therefrom. Views expressed by contributors may be personal and are not necessarily the views of their employers or professional associations.
© Australasian Leisure Management, 2020. ISSN 1446-1374
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It is welcome to see that the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic is seemingly passing in Australia and New Zealand with easing measures coming into place, society moving toward the ‘new normal’ of the potentially post COVD-19 world and parts of the leisure industry reopening in this new environment. At the time of writing, it’s remarkable that people are already able to visit sporting fixtures in many areas, and pretty much without restriction in New Zealand; that aquatic, fitness and sport facilities are reopening and that people can again participate in community sport. Another remarkable fact is that some suppliers to the leisure economy have been busier than ever during the lockdown as facilities, particularly in local government, have used lockdown closures to undertake and bring forward projects and work. Yet for some sectors, particularly in the arts, entertainment and events, being able to open does not immediately mean that income will return. Major events, performances and tours are generally planned between one to two years in advance, with box offices and ticket selling a process undertaken months before an event. As a result, major promoters along with the likes of global entertainment giant Live Nation is not planning to resume concerts at “full scale” until 2021. Similarly, while the tourism and the attractions sector can now look forward to day and short-term visits, the planning of anything beyond intrastate excursions requires lengthy lead-in times. One of several terms pretty much unheard of at the turn of the year - ‘flattening the curve’ and ‘social distancing’ being two other notable examples - the ‘new normal’ is being widely used to describe how our routines are changing in the wake of the upheaval brought on by COVID-19. As research conducted by Twitter suggests, the new normal shouldn’t be seen as a marketing opportunity. Rather, the critical thing for industries to do right now (and leisure is no exception) is to engage with consumers in order to offer solutions to meet their needs, backed by support, service and positivity. However, beyond reopening, the big test is likely to come in the last quarter of the year and beyond as the ‘new normal’ may very well see big changes in consumer spending habits, with resulting impacts on the industry. For all sectors of the leisure industry in Australia, this underlines why the Federal Government needs to consider extending its JobKeeper program - currently scheduled to end in September - into 2021 and beyond its planned end-date.
At the time of Writing With issues relating to the Coronavirus pandemic changing daily and, at times hourly, it can be a challenge to keep what we publish entirely on point. Information published one day can be contradicted the next and, particularly in the area of governments’ easing of Coronavirus restrictions, timetables can’t always be adhered to. Here, we have to say with all the content in this magazine, it is correct at the time of writing. Nigel Benton, Publisher
Australasian Leisure Management is an Australian product, Australian owned and printed in Australia.
Australasian Leisure Management magazine 12 month/six issue subscriptions cost AUS $90 To subscribe go to www.ausleisure.com.au
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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
NSW Government abandons plans for redevelopment of Sydney’s ANZ Stadium The NSW Government has announced that it is scrapping the planned redevelopment of Sydney’s ANZ Stadium, committing to use the $810 million of savings into fasttracked infrastructure projects. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian made the refurbishment of the venue Australia’s second largest sports stadium - one of her key promises in last year’s state election. However, impacted by the Coronavirus crisis, Premier Berejiklian has advised that the project “no longer makes sense”. Meanwhile the builder of the new Sydney Football Stadium is facing delays that could see the venue unable to stage the 2022 NRL Grand Final.
Community sporting clubs facing financial ruin as revenue streams hit by Coronavirus impact While Coronavirus restrictions around Australia are being eased, with community sport following elite sport in being able to restart, local sporting clubs and competitions - impacted by evaporating sponsorship money and falling members memberships - will soon not be in a financial state to continue. A new study by the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF), suggests that one in five community sports clubs could disappear within three months if current COVID-19 restrictions remain in place. The ASF, which surveyed data from 2,700 clubs, found that community sports clubs could face up to $1.5 billion in losses this year. The survey shows that community sporting clubs around Australia have suffered an enormous financial toll from the Coronavirus pandemic, with local sponsorship and membership income plummeting since March, when most restrictions were first introduced.
Insurance refusals impacting adventure tourism operators With carnival ride and trampoline arena operators among industry sectors having been seriously impacted by sharply rising premiums and, in some cases, an inability to secure insurance cover, adventure tourism operations are now reportedly ceasing activity after being refused public liability insurance. A number of long-running adventure tourism businesses have had to cease operations with brokers and industry representatives saying such coverage for the sector is becoming “financially unviable” for global insurance markets. These include Tasmania’s Huon River Jet Boats and Kalbarri Quadbike Safaris and Wagoe Beach Quad Bike Tours (both in Western Australia). Amid a global tightening of the market for certain insurance types, in some instances it is no longer financially viable for underwriters to provide public liability cover. Image: Jet Adventures, in Dunsborough, is among a growing group of adventure tourism operators that have had to close down. Courtesy of Jet Adventures. 8 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
Aquatic, recreation and sport operations in eased Coronavirus environment An alliance of industry peak bodies, facility operators and program and activity providers who collectively provide opportunities to encourage Australians to be more physically active and participate in community sport, have come together to provide an Industry Reopening Framework response. The reopening framework is committed to providing safe environments for its employees and the community who are keen to exercise, recreate and participate in community sport within managed facilities and space. This industry framework has been developed by benchmarking key global and national organisations’ frameworks and approaches to activities and sports that include social interaction (while respecting the need for social distancing) and aims to provide operators and local government to have confidence in reopening facilities.
Sydney gym ordered to pay $550,000 to injured member A gym member who injured her back putting away a 25kg weight at the New Dimensions Health and Fitness Centre in Western Sydney has been awarded more than $550,000 in injury compensation. In making the award, the NSW District Court found that the business was negligent for leaving the area untidy with equipment scattered on the floor. The decision is likely to serve as a warning for gym owners already facing challenges in managing their floor areas and equipment when reopening following Coronavirus shutdowns. In its defence, the gym claimed the member should accept half the blame and share the costs associated with the injury but this was rejected by Judge Leonard Levy. Judge Levy’s damages ruling of $551,097.62 was reached by assessing the member’s economic loss, out-ofpocket expenses, future treatment expenses and future domestic assistance.
Consultants Otium highlight how aquatic and recreation projects stimulate local communities Leading industry consultants Otium Planning Group have highlighted how a range of aquatic and recreation facility projects to which it has had input are stimulating local economies, enhancing active and healthy lifestyles and delivering much needed social and economic benefits. A statement from Otium advises “many local councils and communities that have invested in aquatic and leisure centre feasibility and business planning are taking planning to action with the construction and development of significant community activity and social hubs. “Not only will this aquatic and leisure facility investment stimulate much needed social, health and economic benefits but the facilities collectively will form a legacy of places and spaces that will stimulate their communities to be healthier as well as be ‘more active more often’.”
New Zealand’s CityFitness moves into Australia with acquisition of final Fit n Fast clubs Leading New Zealand gym chain CityFitness is moving into the Australian market with the acquisition of the remaining clubs of the Fit n Fast brand. With 13 Fit n Fast clubs sold to Viva Leisure earlier this year, the new ownership of the four NSW clubs - Westfield Sydney, Westfield Southland, Charlestown and in Sydney’s Liverpool Street - will see new branding introduced from July. CityFitness, which operates 36 clubs in New Zealand, offered a comprehensive online exercise system during New Zealand’s recent Coronavirus lockdown.
Australian Ski Resorts launch Keep Our Season Safe Campaign Aligning Australian skiers and snowboarders downloading of the COVIDSafe app with moves to ensure that the nation’s winter season can be allowed to get underway, Australia’s ski resorts have launched the ‘Keep Our Season Safe, Download Covid Safe’ campaign. Including an industry led video and other digital assets, the aim is to send a signal from the Australian Ski resorts that they are supporting governmental guidelines to download the COVIDSafe app and are acting responsibly and in line with the current restrictions.
www.ausleisure.com.au for all the latest industry news
Expo 2020 Dubai site to be delivered this year Despite the postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai until next year the event site remains on target for completion before the end of 2020. The six-month world fair, a milestone for the United Arab Emirates, has cost US$8.2 billion to develop, but because of the Coronavirus pandemic, has been postponed from October this year to October 2021. Nonetheless, grappling with the complexities of rescheduling the event, the organisers are intent on delivering the main buildings of the Expo by the original start date.
Event Summit to return as free to attend physical conference Expressing confidence in the recovery of the conference sector, the annual Event Summit will return to Sydney on 14th October 2020 and will be free for event stakeholders. Originally scheduled for June 2020 as part of the Vivid Ideas program, the annual Event Summit was postponed as a result of measures introduced to control the spread of COVID-19. Recognising that the Summit is an important opportunity for the industry to come together, organisers have worked with their partners to reschedule the event to support the events community in bouncing back from the crisis.
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139 9
ASM Global releases operational plans for the reopening of its arenas, stadia, theatres and convention centres As facilities across the globe begin to reopen and welcome staff, tenants and guests, ASM Global has released industry-leading protocols to provide trusted protection for the live experience. Supporting the continued reopening of its more than 325 facilities and client partners worldwide, ASM Global has further enhanced its industry-leading VenueShield program. VenueShield’s protective capabilities have already been tested at UFC’s event at ASM Global-managed VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, USA on 9th May and was activated for the NRL fixture at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on 28th May in the first live-audience Australian sport fixture played since March.
NSW Government announces merger of SCG Trust and Venues NSW The NSW Government has announced that it is merging the Venues NSW agency and the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust (SCGT) to create a single organisation for NSW sporting and entertainment venues. The move, proposed by the Labor opposition prior to the last NSW state election is being undertaken to, according to a media statement “attract blockbuster events and drive economic activity across the state”. The SCG Trust is responsible for the SCG and the under-construction Sydney Football Stadium. Venues NSW is the owner, coordinator and promoter of publicly-owned sports and entertainment venues including Sydney’s ANZ and Bankwest Stadiums, McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, the Newcastle Entertainment Centre and Showground and the WIN Sports Stadium and Entertainment Centre in Wollongong.
TEG looks to UK expansion with acquisition of struggling venues and Ticketek launch Live entertainment and ticketing company TEG is looking to invest in UK venues impacted by the Coronavirus shutdown. In an interview with the Financial Times, TEG Chief Executive Geoff Jones outlined the Sydney-based group’s strategy for expansion in the UK. Explaining that TEG is looking at a handful of options to buy venues with a capacity of between 500 and 2,500 as the halt on live entertainment puts the sector under severe strain, Jones advised “there will be a lot of casualties. Without sounding like a vulture that presents opportunities.” Jones told the FT that he expects that half of TEG’s earnings could eventually be derived from Europe while also giving an update on plans to expand its Ticketek ticketing brand in the UK. Having last year said the launch would come in early 2020, he said this would now happen “when the time is right”.
Australian tourism suffers 99.7% fall in international arrivals Australia’s tourism industry has suffered an extraordinary 99.7% decrease in arrivals, the largest fall ever recorded. The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Overseas Arrivals and Departures results for April 2020 showed just 2250 trips, with New Zealand the largest source country, accounting for 16% of all visitor arrivals, and just 720 short-term visitor arrivals. Commenting on the findings, Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) Managing Director, Peter Shelley stated “this is the beginning of what will be a deep and protracted downturn for our export tourism industry and there is absolutely no end in sight.”
Industry stakeholders unite to restart sport and entertainment Australia’s largest live event businesses have launched the Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF) - a new body that aims to ensure fans can return safely to live entertainment, music, theatre, festivals and sport events following the industry’s complete shutdown due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions. LEIF’s executive committee includes leaders of TEG, Live Nation, Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment, ASM Global, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Sydney Cricket Ground, Marvel Stadium, Melbourne Olympic Parks, Adelaide Oval, ASM Global, Venues West, Venues Live, Michael Cassel Group, Live Performance Australia (LPA), Venue Management Association and the Australian Festivals Association. The aim of LEIF will be to support the safe reactivation of events with live audiences across Australia. The group will develop a comprehensive, flexible, all-of-industry reopening and risk management strategy that will meet the needs of the public, governments and sporting bodies alike. 10 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
Fitness Australia releases new industry code of ethics Fitness Australia has released its new Code of Ethical Conduct providing members with comprehensive guidance on expected standards of industry behaviour. Releasing the document, Fitness Australia explains on its website that the updated Code of Ethical Conduct “better demonstrates our commitment to best practice and working with clients.” Explaining the background to the development of the code of ethics, the peak body advises “the new decade has commenced with a tumultuous start to say the least (and) the health and fitness industry has been shaken to its core. “But rather than fall apart, we have come together as a sector and made positive changes to better serve our community … demonstrating our shared values and commitment to excellence more than ever.”
Developments in Brief Tamworth Regional Council has voted to delay the development of its planned new $67 million Tamworth Aquatic and Leisure Centre project until the Coronavirus crisis passes. The $35 million project to upgrade The Gabba to provide an improved match-day atmosphere and experience for fans has commenced. Two high profile sites in Launceston’s CBD are to be redeveloped into a $90 million creative precinct, bus interchange and undercover arcade. Construction of the $31 million Cobblebank Indoor Stadium in Melton, situated on Melbourne’s western rural - urban fringe has commenced. Sydney Motorsport Park has begun a major facility upgrade with the addition of new permanent lighting which will bring night racing to Eastern Creek. Despite financial uncertainty resulting from the Coronavirus crisis, the AFL is to proceed with the $225 million overhaul of Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium into what League Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan says will create “the most fan-friendly multipurpose stadium in the world”.
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Six years on from the first proposal to re-purpose the former Goulburn Town Hall as a performing arts venue, construction on the project has now commenced. East Gippsland Shire Council has announced funding of $5.3 million for the planned WORLD Sporting Precinct upgrade in Bairnsdale which, when completed, will support almost 1,500 local netball, football players and hockey players. With the facility closed as part of Coronavirus enforcement measures, Goulburn Mulwaree Council has brought forward its planned $30 million redevelopment of Goulburn Aquatic and Leisure Centre with work underway on the project. The Graham Condon Recreation and Sports Centre in Christchurch has reopened its swimming pool to the public following an extensive refurbishment that started in mid-January. A new accessible lookout with a better view of the highest waterfall in NSW, Wollomombi Falls, has opened in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. The $66 Million redevelopment of Adelaide’s Her Majesty’s Theatre has been completed (left).
Christchurch venue manager Vbase confirms plan to reduce permanent staff by 60% Christchurch City Council owned venues and events company Vbase Limited is in the process of reducing its permanent staff numbers by 60%. The proposal was a direct response to the company having endured a 100% loss of event revenue since March and with the forecast slow recovery of the events sector, particularly as it relates to international events, over the next 12 to 18 months. Following consultation and feedback from staff and other key stakeholders several changes were made to the original proposal resulting in the retention of some additional roles and the disestablishment of others.
Mass participation sporting event industry highlights $1.1 billion Coronavirus impact Australia’s leading mass participation sporting event organisers have come together to show how COVID-19 is leaving a $1.1 billion hole in the national economy. The unprecedented restrictions put in place to fight the pandemic has meant that since March, 8,500 mass participation sporting events have been cancelled or postponed, jeopardising the economic benefits that these events pump into the Australian economy each year. As a result, more than 250 organisations involved in the industry have joined forces to create the Australian Mass Participation Sporting Event Alliance (AMPSEA) who will work with all levels of Government to support the industry to survive this crisis.
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139 11
Les Mills sees 700% rise in users in the Middle East during Coronavirus crisis Fitness platform Les Mills has experienced a 700% rise in users in the Middle East and 800% rise globally since the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis, according to Glen Stollery, Chief Executive of Les Mills International in the Middle East, India and Africa. Known for its 30-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts shot in high production and virtual reality settings, the New Zealand-based company’s brand is distributed across 20,000 clubs around the world. In the Middle East, it attracts an audience of 24-43 year olds of which 85% are female.
Global Wellness Institute collaborates with the Vatican on ‘Resetting the World with Wellness’ As part of a new commission created by Pope Francis to create a better world postCOVID, the Global Wellness Institute is contributing a series of white papers on how wellness can provide a roadmap for world healing and growth. In early April, Pope Francis announced a new COVID-19 commission focused not only on confronting the current Coronavirus crisis but also to create a better, healthier and more just world in the aftermath of the Coronavirus epidemic. With the Catholic Church having commenced the ambitious new initiative, the future of health and wellness is seen as a key pillar of the move (in addition to ecology, economics and public security), and the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) is producing a series of eight white papers proposing how a holistic concept of wellness could transform human life, including workplaces, the built environment and mental wellbeing.
F45 reveals plans for listing on US NASDAQ exchange HIIT franchise F45 Training is set to list on the NASDAQ exchange in the USA after striking a deal to merge with Crescent Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company backed by investment firm Crescent Capital. The deal will see the two companies merge and seek a listing during the third quarter of this year. The listing, which values the business at US$845 million, follows F45 abandoning its planned initial public offering after the Coronavirus pandemic forced it to close almost all of its 1200 studios around the world. In a statement released jointly, the companies advised “the transaction will accelerate F45’s continued global expansion, driven by its highly attractive and scalable franchise model, technology-enabled platform and optimised studio design.”
Perth museum project provides jobs for Western Australian creative industries Work on the new Western Australian Museum has surged ahead during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing local jobs for people in creative and construction industries during tough economic times. Construction workers, museum staff and local specialists employed in a range of industries and across a range of activities have continued to work on fit-out and exhibition installation, with physical distancing, enhanced hygiene and safe work practices maintained. More than 30 local companies have been employed to deliver multi-media, films, graphics, audio tracks and interactive experiences, as well as special installations to augment the thousands of objects and stories to be shared in the new Museum. 12 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
Tourism and Transport Forum calls for extension of JobKeeper for another six months The Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) is warning of hundreds of thousands of job losses and a significant decline in the industry if the Federal Government does not extend its Coronavirus JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme for another six months beyond its planned September end date. Modelling commissioned by the TTF shows monthly job losses rising from 33,000 in August to at least 133,000 by December if JobKeeper ends on schedule, with lost wages soaring from $1.3 billion to $5.3 billion in that same period - even with the return of domestic travel. TTF has written to the Chair of the Prime Minister’s National COVID-19 Commission, painting a bleak picture for the industry and pleading for the JobKeeper payment to be extended until at least March 2021.
Australians’ physical activity declines during Coronavirus lockdown Despite the visible signs of families cycling, walking and running through the suburbs, research undertaken by sport and entertainment consultancy Gemba suggests that 44% of Australians are actually doing less physical activity now than before the Coronavirus lockdown. Gemba reports that the constraints of the Coronavirus lockdown have forced many to try new activities (a quarter of Australians have taken up a new form of exercise during the lockdown), and to explore online fitness classes and tools. While Gemba’s report, Physical Activity during COVID-19 Lock-Down: Insights into Australians’ Physical Activity and Fitness during the COVID-19 Lock-Down, shows a number of positive indicators of certain demographics being more active, overall it shows 44% of Australians are doing less physical activity now than before the Coronavirus lockdown - with decline most marked in the 30 to 39 years age (63% doing less activity compared with 17% doing more) and 50 to 59 years age groups (48% doing less activity compared with 14% doing more).
FIFA awards 2023 Women’s World Cup to Australia and New Zealand The joint bid by Australia and New Zealand to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup has been successful with the Council of world football’s governing body FIFA voting to stage the tournament in the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. The announcement that the world’s largest women’s sporting event is coming to Australasia is exciting cities and venues that expect to host matches. Set to be the first 32 team edition of the tournament, it will be held during a period allocated by the world football governing body between 10th July and 20th August 2023. While match dates and venues are still to be confirmed, the final is to be played at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium while Eden Park in Auckland will likely host the opening ceremony and opening match. FIFA estimates that more than 1.5 million tickets will be sold, generating more than $40 million in revenue.
Funlab reopens Strike Bowling and Holey Moley attractions With its facilities around the country forced to close in March, amusement and entertainment operator Funlab - operator of the Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq, Strike Bowling, Holey Moley Golf Club and Sky Zone trampoline centre brands - is progressively reopening its facilities across Australia in line with state government easing measures. The group advises on each of its brand websites of a ‘Hygiene Commitment’ to patrons, with measures put in place “to help keep our guests safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19”. The group’s Sky Zone centres in Sydney and Brisbane have also introduced booking systems to cater for the more limited numbers allowed to enter each facility. The closure of Funlab’s facilities in March came just four months after the group’s private equity group Next Capital had agreed a deal to sell the business to Archer Capital. The sale, believed to have valued the group at about $250 million, appears to now be stalled. Funlab closed its Sky Zone attraction in the Sydney suburb of Miranda in November last year, due, according to local media reports, “to external circumstances out of our team’s control”.
www.ausleisure.com.au for all the latest industry news
AALARA release guide for the reopening of Australia’s attractions industry Aiming to aid attractions as they approach reopening after the Coronavirus shutdown, the Australian Amusement, Leisure and Recreation Association (AALARA) has released its Reopening Guide: Considerations for the Australian Attractions Industry. Developed in association with AALARA partner, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA); attraction professionals and operators from around the world; medical experts, as well as health guidance from Australian and global government departments, the guide outlines principles and approaches to consider for reopening once lockdown restrictions are lifted for attractions business operators. The AALARA Reopening Guide, along with more COVID-19 resources relevant to the attractions industry is available on the AALARA website at www.aalara.com.au
Ardent Leisure shareholders launch class action over Dreamworld deaths The Ardent Leisure Group has acknowledged that it has been served with a shareholder class action as a result of the deaths of four people at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast in October 2016. The proceedings have been filed by Piper Alderman in the Federal Court of Australia on behalf of people who acquired shares in Ardent between 17th June 2014 and 25th October 2016 and allege contraventions of the Corporations Act. In a statement to the ASX acknowledging the legal action, the company advised “Ardent strongly denies any contraventions as alleged and believes the proceedings to be without merit. Ardent intends to vigorously defend the proceedings.”
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‘Opera House of the West’ shines in Sydney’s Rooty Hill West HQ’s Chief Executive Richard Errington talks to Nigel Benton about the development and prospects of the new Sydney Coliseum Theatre
t may well be November before it again hosts live performances and its seats are filled with patrons but the Sydney Coliseum Theatre is significant not only for being the first major theatre development in the NSW capital in the current millennium but also for its potential to transform live performance in what is the fastest growing region of Australia’s largest city. Opened in December last year at West HQ in the Western Sydney suburb of Rooty Hill, the Coliseum was developed by the one-time registered club (formerly known as the Rooty Hill RSL) and latter-day integrated entertainment hub to offer what the media immediately labelled as the “Opera House of the West”. With the city having an acknowledged shortage of venues, the $100 million development’s capability to host full-scale Broadway musicals, international and Australian live music, symphony orchestras, ballet, contemporary dance, dramatic performances, comedy and family shows, makes it the first outside of the Sydney CBD able to stage major productions, shifting the city’s entertainment access to the west. With 1.7 million people living within a 20 kilometre radius of the venue - more than the population of Adelaide, the catchment extends across the NSW Blue Mountains to the Central West, down to the Southern Highlands, and north through the Hills, 16 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
The Sydney Symphony Orchestra perform at the Sydney Coliseum Theatre (top) and the new venue’s exterior (above, courtesy of Cox Architecture).
representing roughly one-half of the greater Sydney population. Established in 1964, West HQ is a self-contained precinct spanning eight-hectares, attracting four million visits annually, servicing 60,000 members with a wide range of amenities across key sectors including aquatics, entertainment, fitness, hospitality, recreation and sport. It also offers 1,770 car parking spots, as well as hotel accommodation and a range of restaurants. With its name drawing inspiration from Rome’s historic Colosseum, West HQ Chief Executive Richard Errington says the name stands for something “epic and bold, something that will stand for centuries to come. A historical name for what will become a historical building.” Benefitting from the current renovation of the Sydney Opera
Keith Urban opens the Sydney Coliseum Theatre (above). John Butler (below left) and Tina Arena (below right) at the venues. Images courtesy of Robert Catto.
House, securing the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as a tenant for three years, Errington advises “our theatrical partners can double their market in Sydney – we can provide Western Sydney, the other half of the city, with an opportunity to enjoy the arts. “I know the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and other arts organisations now see that we have a quality asset and are starting to identify and recognise the opportunity in Western Sydney and see there is a ‘pot of gold’ in this market from a diverse yet cultured demographic seeking entertainment. “People are surprised at what we’ve built with an immediate ‘wow’, and that it’s in Western Sydney but we are looking to change perceptions and our naming as the Sydney Coliseum Theatre, not ‘Western Sydney’ is a part of that. “We are also offering the arts community with representation and an audience and a place for children to be inspired, and aspire to perform in – rather like we did with the Sydney Gymnastics and Aquatic Centre which we opened in 2013, for which we also didn’t achieve any government funding support . “18,000 children have been through our learn-to-swim program while the gymnastics program has involved more than 5,000 participants, with three of our gymnasts likely to be heading to the Tokyo Olympics. “We’ve invested in this, using our asset base to borrow to fund this but the economic model is that over the period of the life cycle – which we expect to be at least 50 years for the Coliseum – the diversity of population in the Western Sydney region will support the variety of arts that we would hope to provide hence the changing of the theatre as the planning progressed.” This modelling led to expansion of the concept for the venue from its first proposal in 2012 as a 1,000 seat showroom style venue, to be built at a cost of $18 million. Our vision shifted to a 2,000 seat entertainment centre at a cost of $35 million in late 2013, an auditorium (with costs rising to $70 million) in 2015 and an $90 million multi-mode performing arts centre covering an area of 14,269 metre² (more than double the size of the 2012 plan) in 2016. 18 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
Briefly halted in 2016 due to funding and some uncertainty for support of western Sydney by the industry, the project was revived in 2017 and launched in the November when construction commenced, with West HQ fully funding the development. Explaining West HQ’s inability to secure public money for the development, Errington advises “we learnt early that unless we became regionally relevant rather than to only a local government area, we would not attract support from either state or at federal government level. Therefore, our pursuit and ambition now has been to position the Sydney Coliseum Theatre as relevant to eight federal government and 10 state government local areas (seats in Parliament). “As the project became more significant in size and community relevance, we went to the NSW Government for backing - even stopping the project in 2016 - but we didn’t even get a hearing or any encouragement. “Such approaches initially were made to Destination NSW, alas their perception of an arts destination in western Sydney didn’t meet our vision. The stark reality of being the first arts amenity to be built in Sydney (and NSW) since the Lyric Theatre in 1996.
The jury at 2020 Australian Interior Design Awards commented that "the relationship between interior design and the architectural fabric of the building is particularly successful, providing a sense of occasion through exceptional materiality and detailing. This is an outstanding civic project that creates a theatre experience accessible for everyone."
“(As a result) we built up a real resilience that we will make this work.” Errington notes that even Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who bought his own tickets to see Tina Arena before Christmas, one of the venue’s opening week events, “was surprised when I told him we had received no Government money.” A further example of the Prime Minister’s support came at the end of June when, along with Federal Minister for the Arts Paul Fletcher, he launched the Federal Governments $250 million Arts and Entertainment Industry support package to the national media from the Coliseum. However, at the time of writing, the Coliseum has not been visited by either NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian or, before his resignation in April for having breached Coronavirus restrictions to travel outside of Sydney, the former NSW Arts Minister Don Harwin. Another example of how the venue is still impacted by old habits and prejudices is evidenced by the Coliseum having only received minimal coverage by Sydney’s traditional media outlets. Fortunately, Errington has welcomed key influencers to the venue including Lucy Turnbull, Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission until March this year, and Minister Stuart Ayres - who while not backing the venue financially has, Errington notes “been engaged and is a believer”. In addition, promoters have been more willing to engage with the venue, with Errington explaining “all of the major producers now having been out here and we’ve been thrilled by how great the reaction has been.” Errington advises that this acceptance was not immediate, recalling “when we first proposed the venue I think promoters thought of us as a ‘cover band’ type venue but having shown the scale and capability of the building and the services and amenities that form part of the whole experience, there was more interest. “When, over a three to four-year period, they then saw the superior technical capability of the venue they became
Richard Errington (centre), with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Federal Arts Minister Paul Fletcher at the recent announcement of the Federal Government Coronavirus rescue package for the arts - made at the venue.
engaged and more interested. “Here, when we got close to opening, we felt we had to make a statement and we went about securing Keith Urban. “We went after Keith Urban for strategic reasons, showing the market ‘this is who we are’ and that we can have an international performer here.” Launch events at the venue also saw entertainer David Campbell and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra take to the stage, preceding eight days of opening performances - including Tina Arena and Barry Humphries’ Dame Edna - leading up to a star-studded line up for its official launch with Amy Shark, John Butler and Keith Urban on Saturday 21st December last year. Subsequent performances included Circa in Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus and The Australian Ballet’s Storytime Ballet, The Nutcracker through to the Bangarra Dance Theatre’s performances of Bennelong on the weekend of 14th and 15th Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139 19
March - which attracted significant ticket sales - immediately before the Coronavirus lockdown saw the venue closed less than 100 days after opening. At the time of closure, the venue had been heading for a 48% occupancy in its first year and had been anticipating in excess of 66% occupancy which Errington sees as being “remarkable for a new theatre with a new concept in a new market, new location and as a new destination.” With staff furloughed and, in some cases, made redundant, the easing of Coronavirus restrictions would suggest that the Coliseum can look towards reopening. However, as with other arts venues, the NSW Government’s reported moves to allow venues to operate at 25% capacity as of 1st July is no panacea – as such numbers are not financially viable. With live performances requiring a lead in for acts to be
The Venue Designed by Cox Architecture, the Sydney Coliseum Theatre consists of a 2000 seat proscenium arch theatre and flytower to accommodate traditional theatre performance. The stalls level incudes a 1,300 seat retractable seating section to facilitate Flat Floor banquet and standing concert modes. In addition to the main auditorium, the venue features seven bars, multiple event spaces, a full stage-sized rehearsal room, Green Room, dressing rooms for 90 and luxury VIP Suites. Already the venue has been named as a winner at the 2020 Australian Interior Design Awards - in the Public Design category. Announced at the end of May the 2020 AIDA Jury advised that the “Sydney Coliseum Theatre is an exemplar public design project.” Commenting on the project, COX Architecture Director, Brooke Lloyd advised “this venue is for everyone, from ballet lovers to rock enthusiasts. The honest and unpretentious materiality is almost chameleon-like in its ability to suit everyone and every occasion.”
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available – tour promoters generally need an 18 month to twoyear lead in - and tickets to be sold, the Coliseum is moving towards reopening in November. Programming for the Coliseum is evolving, as Errington explains “we are a new venue, with a new business proposition for a new market and so to leap into a six month running program may not work.” The venue had been due to stage its first medium running show, the West End musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie from 4th to 20th September, but that production’s national tour is now not proceeding because of Coronavirus restrictions. Nonetheless, Errington noted that “such a production would have been our opportunity to test if there is a market for a medium running show and to prove ourselves, as we evolve, as an appropriate and better known venue with audience support in a growing market with shows running over many months. “But we have to be able to show that we can sell the tickets … which will come in time.” For the future, West HQ is looking to build on its value as a destination and is moving forward with a new five-star Pullman hotel as well as new food and beverage outlets (new high quality F&B concepts have been a significant part of West HQ’s expansion over recent years). Already, as Errington adds “we duplicate what you can get in the Sydney CBD and we want to continue to do that, to be the entertainment destination for Western Sydney.” Errington concludes “our vision throughout has always remained the same, to be one of Sydney’s leading arts venue, supporting and working collaboratively with all aspects of the arts and to be relevant to the future. “We have delivered a fully integrated, iconic, performing theatre.” Nigel Benton is Publisher of Australasian Leisure Management. David Campbell performs during the first performance at the Sydney Coliseum Theatre (above, courtesy of Robert Catto). Images below courtesy of Cox Architecture.
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Thea Jeanes-Cochrane (second from left) and Tony Cochrane (second from right) with past clients The Rolling Stones.
Will Live Events ever be the same? Gwen Luscombe talks with entertainment entrepreneur, Thea Jeanes-Cochrane on what the entertainment and events industry can expect in the post-Coronavirus environment
rom the AFL season to Formula1, Dark Mofo, Coachella and more, mass cancellations of public events across the globe due to the Coronavirus pandemic have left a significant dent in the already struggling events and arts industry. Industry expert and Director at Cochrane Entertainment, Thea JeanesCochrane discusses the help the arts and entertainment industry needs at this time, what the ‘new normal’ will be for events and more. It’s an industry used to funding woes and while the arts are often on the chopping block for more and more cuts, what does it mean for those venues, theatres, arenas and thousands of suppliers that the industry supports? Thea Jeanes-Cochrane has witnessed the industry undergo its ups and downs over a career spanning 25 years. From starting in sports marketing in the 1990s looking after clients such as IndyCar to working on extraordinary exhibitions with The Rolling Stones, Real Madrid Football Club and The Nelson Mandela Foundation, she currently sits on the board of Gold Coast cultural precinct HOTA and Motorsport Australia and was instrumental in the bidding for the Glasgow Games, Arafura Games, and the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The Impact Jeanes-Cochrane says that just as the event of 9/11 impacted the globe and reshaped our collective way of life, predominantly in the way we travel, so too will this pandemic change the industry in ways we likely haven’t considered and may not even had a glimpse of yet. She explains “no one is holding the magic crystal ball. When 22 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
we talk about the arts and events industries we capture all aspects of the business from independent content creators and government funded organisations, to venues, promoters, managers, caterers, publicist, event staff, road crew and more. “All of whom have been hit with a wrecking ball of varying degrees as consumption via live attendances has been iced. Depending on how you function within the industry equation, the impact of COVID-19 and the responses or reactions will have been different as we try and find new opportunities for the future. “I think as a whole our industry has fought back admirably in terms of banding together with great Aussie spirit, quickly moving to online/virtual performances and exhibitions, and accelerating alternate income streams, like streaming revenues, merchandise, and more recently drive in live performances. “But none of these sources of income could even vaguely fill the void of our traditional business model relying on ‘live’, audience attended events bringing with them ticket revenues, F&B, merchandise, corporate hospitality, travel packages, interstate visitation and premium experiences. Our industry, with the support and leadership of organisations such as Live Performance Australia, has fought hard for Government support, but it will only scratch the surface of the financial void– let alone the emotional chasm.” Jeanes-Cochrane advises that it’s also important to note the hard work of organisations such as Support Act, an Australian charity offering relief services and support to musicians, crew and artists. They, along with other organisations have banded together, providing a much-needed industry boost.
The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has live streamed concerts during the COVID-19 crisis.
She adds “the impact of lost opportunity is immeasurable, but we have to keep moving forward and navigating under this new landscape. I believe the impacts of COVID-19 will be with the industry for some time. For example, international acts won’t be down under anytime soon, and for large parts of an industry whose business modelling has relied heavily on International guest talent and major internal tours, this will make a major dent in revenues rippling far and wide across the industry.” She says more than ever, we need to think about ‘home grown’ Australian talents to keep the industry alive. The Ripple Effect As the planning for large scale events and festivals often begins several months and (depending on the event) years in advance, many events are finding themselves unable to sell sponsorship or corporate hospitality packages when quite frankly, organisers just don’t know what the landscape will look like and what, if any restrictions might still be in place. Jeanes-Cochrane explains “even when I think about a world opening back up with a vaccine in hand, I can foresee that this pandemic will have left a permanent scar on the arts and entertainment sector, forever influencing our event planning, content creation and financing. “We will see some of our freedoms vaporised, at least in the short to mid-term. I think we will be adding additional costly ‘safety measures’ to already existing screening measures, things like temperature checking and perhaps even medical passport checks. Coronavirus could be the first of many new pandemic shake downs. “I think possibly everything about our industry that involves a live attendance will be more highly governed, and this will impact the economic efficiencies of the arts and entertainment sector, aside from perhaps the screen industry.” Jeanes-Cochrane fears that the financial impact and ripple effect of COVID-19 on the industry will be felt over a three to five-year period and that the recovery will be gradual and in stages, as it will rely firstly on the easing of government restrictions and the economy as a whole to recover. Not just in general terms, but in arts sponsorships and corporate support, alongside consumer confidence to travel and attend events, concerts, festivals and exhibitions. Moving forward, for at least the next few years, JeanesCochrane sees that ‘the pie’ will be smaller, and the risk will be greater, going on to note “that’s true for most facets of the creative industry. “The economic fallout will be long felt in my opinion. We will no longer think about planning for a rainy day, rather a once in 10-year tsunami.” The Future What does this mean for the future of events? Is it as bleak as it feels? Is it possible to ‘future proof’ the industry to be better prepared for future crises? While it’s impossible to predict and thoroughly plan for the impact of a pandemic like this, she says any talk of completely ‘future proofing’ the industry as a whole isn’t realistic. 24 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
Jeanes-Cochrane states “there are so many cogs playing different roles in this industry machine. However, I do foresee that as a whole, forecasting will need to be more conservative and reliant on domestic modelling in the short term. In terms of ‘future proofing’, well like most businesses’ cash flow is king. “Industry players, big and small will need to carefully analyse future cash flows to have confidence they can weather the storm for future events such as a further set back with a potential new wave of this pandemic. Content creators will want to have fully fleshed out digital strategies and a bank of content to monetise, thinking laterally about future revenue streams.” During this pandemic, Australia saw a surge in live streamed musical performances and events with everything from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra performing live to the success of Powderfinger’s ‘One Night Lonely’ reunion concert fundraiser that saw nearly 100,000 people jump online for the half hour gig supporting mental health organisation Beyond Blue as well as Support Act. Jeanes-Cochrane says the staging of these live streamed ‘virtual events’ have become a great by-product of this pandemic for two major reasons. They provide a much-needed human connection, and they’ve kept live performances and content creators top of mind. Jeanes-Cochrane comments “it’s not a totally new idea, but its prevalence has boomed. And I think it is here to stay for a while as the world slowly re-opens. What we might see going forward is a hybrid model of live performance and live stream where the live stream is able to be appropriately monetised. That, in part, exists now where we have pay per view models and to a degree concert DVD’s, but a hybrid event where the artist engages live with an in venue crowd, as well as an ‘at home’ audience via streaming services could evolve more highly, especially if international travel becomes burdened with quarantine restrictions.” Full STEAM Ahead And while we all look for solutions and ways to best support the industry, it seems the sense of community within the arts and entertainment industry will play a vital role as well as the focus on arts as a priority moving forward. Jeanes-Cochrane concludes “the industry is naturally bound together as a family, all for one and one for all. “And we all have a part to play in its overall success. Everybody will have to ‘take a hit’ on the post-COVID road to recovery (and while) the pie will be smaller, we all need to make sure there is enough to go around. “The industry as a whole however, led by our representative organisations will need to keep pushing hard to put the A into the STEM narrative. By this I mean, there is so much emphasis on the importance of a ‘STEM skillset’, from schools to the board room, but it’s totally missing the arts. “We need to ensure that STEAM is the buzz word.” Freelance tourism, events and food writer, Gwen Luscombe is Director of the Ideas Library and a former Editor of Spice magazine. The interview was conducted at the end of May 2020.
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Reshaping the stadium of the future Adam Summerville considers six critical areas for stadiums and entertainment venues to address in the post-Coronavirus environment
ith the time afforded to us during the recent Coronavirus lockdown, we have been able to stop and attempt to understand what the future holds and try to understand how stadiums, arenas, racecourses and other leisure precincts will evolve post COVID-19 when it comes to its hospitality and F&B offers and how they protect this important revenue stream and component of the fan experience. Itâ€™s a question that all operators and even architects will need to grasp as we come through this. For the immediate future, and perhaps in its entirety moving forward, business as usual may not ever be the same again. While authorities may restrict attendance numbers at stadiums, arenas and
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racetracks for the near future, perhaps the bigger question is the psychological one of patrons - in the future, will they want to be jammed into a seat next to 40,000 others? Distancing, contactless transactions, technology and automation are with us now and will form a big part of our lives going forward. In addition, stadiums and entertainment venues are going to need to meet the requirements of governments and statutory authorities as well as the psychology of fans and patrons in the post Coronavirus world. 1. Mobile Ordering and Collection Mobile ordering and collection has been accelerating in many areas of hospitality over the past year. Tech operators such as me&u are at the forefront of this development and hospitality operators are embracing the opportunity to assist with lowering labour costs as well as providing faster and better customer experiences. Some of Australiaâ€™s biggest and best hospitality operators were reporting up to 35% of all F&B spend at venues coming through the tech ordering systems and this is expected to grow exponentially once they re-open, they are already reimagining the customer experience. Stadiums and venues should be no different. There is virtually no barrier to mobile ordering and collection at a stadium, arena or leisure precinct. A customer ordering a beer
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3. Self Serve Self Serve is not new. However, it has been under-represented in the stadium and arena space over the years, especially in Australia. Even new stadium design is not embracing it as much as it potentially could. It has always had its benefits (such as speed and spreading the load) but as technology gets better it is definitely producing a more premium quality product, more efficiently, and without the need for experienced (and expensive) operators. Combining this technology with mobile ordering creates the full benefit of being contactless, with many systems no longer requiring touchscreen capability. Even where touchscreen is in place, a simple ‘hand sanitiser’ solution can be in place for pre and post touch. For racecourses and other leisure activities that ramp up and down, self-serve has the added advantage of adding in additional The new Gami F&B outlet at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium. POS opportunities that can be manned with minimal staff or used for carnival days or where demand has won’t even require a pick up time as the process is so fast, crowds further away from traditional drinking locations or outlets. they simply order from the seat and by the time they get to the bar the beer will be ready. The tech can also provide clear 4. Automation directions to the bar and ample opportunity for up-sell during Now is the time to really look at its advantages and how it can the order (from an entry level to a craft beer, or add-ons for simply drive a better operating model. (such as a packet of crisps). Payment is receipted automatically Anyone who has been to a stadium or arena has more than making the process contactless. It simply needs a sectioned likely been faced with an over poured beer that doesn’t present off clearly marked pick-up zone at the bar, with relevant staff very favourably. When you add the fact that this beer is in a taking care of responsible service of alcohol protocols and age plastic cup and typically priced at a premium, the value gap confirmation. in the consumer’s mind grows. Beer is one place that iOS is There are other added benefits with the tech such as getting plenty of attention in the world of automation. There instantaneous F&B promotions (dynamic pricing) throughout the are multiple automated dispensing units now (such as ‘beerjet’) event (including pre and post activities or happy hours), plus all that address the problems of speed and quality. the data being collected allowing for some analysis of what the Coffee presents a similar opportunity. It is more acceptable sales are and where the sales are coming from, further assisting these days to purchase coffee from a fully automatic machine, with cost reduction over time. The beauty and advantage for the simply because the quality of end-product from these machines stadium operators is that the tech is already being widely used are very, very good. Long gone are the days one coffee option by many of the current stadium fans attending the venue. They per machine. Machines these days have multiple blends (taste are used to it at their local venues (and will be more so over the profiles) as well as the ability to order your favourite latte or next 18- 24 months) and will be much less hesitant to use it than cappuccino. You can even choose for it to be hot or iced. a stadium specific option that they are not familiar with and have Automation on the food front has progressed tremendously, been tried and unsuccessful over time. but the biggest gains are more for operators. Advances in food technology now means there is equipment on the market that 2. In Seat Delivery can be used to cover a wide array of cuisines, removing the We believe this to be the ‘holy grail’ for stadiums and arenas and need for expensive back-of-house culinary experience, as well it is something we are focused on helping our clients achieve both as reducing space requirement and, the knock-on effect, a for greater revenue opportunities and the changing habits and significant reduction in capital cost. needs of Gen Z and Y. We propose a ‘fly-in-fly-out’ seat system Moving forward finding ways to improve quality and speed as that would see venues’ seating configuration designed so that well as a lower reliance on expensive staff is more vital than ever. multiple middle seats can be easily removed to create more aisles with no one more than six seats from an entry/exit point. 5. Social Spaces When we originally proposed this, it was on the basis of More social spaces might sound counterintuitive as we talk ensuring easy access for the delivery staff and while that hasn’t about distancing but they are vital for the future attraction, F&B changed it now has the extra benefit of instantly providing clear revenue, for stadiums and arenas. distancing between groups of fans at stadiums. The whole F&B As social and experience-driven consumers, Gen Z and Gen experience is an exact repeat of the above mobile ordering Alpha - the fans (and customers) of the future - want these spaces process except the customer simply selects in seat delivery so providing them with the right opportunities to watch live sport in instead of pick up. The tech does the rest with precise seat a social environment is key. The impact of COViD is also likely to and row number details with the deliverer being responsible for have a lasting impression on these generations and it is unlikely responsible service of alcohol protocols and age confirmation. they will find it overly attractive to squeeze past dozens of people In seat delivery has the added benefit of reducing crush periods to get to their seats in Bay 41, Row G Seat 113. at bars when quarter time, half time and three-quarter time roll Social spaces where F&B can be consumed while being around, by spreading the load. Virtually every stadium will have a part of the match day experience will be valued, and this bars in each quadrant that could potentially be fully dedicated is where lost revenue opportunities from crowd drops and to pick up and delivery. restrictions can be recovered. With most stadiums and arena in As a potential likelihood that requires stadiums to remove or Australia only sold out for less than 10% of all events, operators section-off every second row, clearly In-Seat Delivery creates can dedicate semi-permanent social spaces taking up areas of even more opportunity and appeal. We believe this is something the seating bowl as Cricket Australia did with the ‘boundary every stadium operator should be considering right now. 28 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
Pop up hospitality at Perth’s Optus Stadium.
social’ across the summer test matches. Spaces there are, and should continue to be, premium in nature however open to the general public creating opportunities to double, or even triple, spend per head. Stadiums should also look at engaging the best high street operators to activate these spaces as they will bring the glam and high end expertise (not to mention data base and social reach) that the incumbent F&B operator would be unable to do. The capital costs will stack as it can be used across the season(s) and nudging your brewery partner for a contribution cannot hurt also. 6. Pre and Post-Event Revenues Pre and Post revenue will now be more important than ever as every dollar in F&B sales will go some way to repairing damaged businesses and P&Ls. It’s time to get some mongrel around this and not accept that the role of pre and post revenue is taken up by the local pub and restaurants in close proximity. It’s your event and you should benefit first and foremost.
P 1300 897 117 E email@example.com quayclean.com.au
Start with the most basic - ensuring that you are at the very least serving up until the full-time siren. We get such limited game time that closing down bars ten minutes before the end of a match or at three quarter time is a luxury we simply cannot afford. Of course, all normal responsible service of alcohol protocols apply however now is the time to be meeting with the licensing authorities, challenging restrictions that, in some cases, go back 30+ years and have not moved with the times. What happens when the bars close is that the fans simply leave the stadium to find a drink elsewhere - time to get inwardly mean on this, every dollar counts much more than it did previously. Be strategic and look at which bars are most likely to continue to be busy right up until full-time and potentially after. With the new ‘rules’ around distancing egress after (and before) games may need to be staggered in any event so capitalising with F&B as the anchor seems smart. Regardless, having a great bar or social space for pre and post F&B revenue should be at the top of every stadium’s wish list. In summary, stadiums and arenas must be adapting and evolving their F&B strategies. Stadiums with some ‘mongrel’ to progress to more advanced tech and automation, with great experiential concepts, and clever thinking (such as in-seat delivery) have the greatest chance not only to recover the lost revenue of 2020, but to grow F&B revenues exponentially by focusing on pre, during and post event dollars. Food and Beverage Consultant Adam Summerville is Managing Partner at Ground Control. With partner Kevin Zajax, Ground Control provides solutions to increase return on investment and awardwinning F&B experiences. Services include concession planning and selection, business streamlining, crisis management and growth strategies for airports, brands and stadiums. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.groundcontrolglobal.com
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139 29
The multiple award-winning Cockburn ARC.
Reopening the ARC
With Western Australia lifting its internal Coronavirus restrictions ahead of much of the rest of Australia, Caroline Lindsay explains how the Cockburn ARC has been one of the first major local government aquatic and recreation centres to go through the phased approach to reopening
n Sunday 10th May, Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan, announced in his regular COVID-19 update that aquatic and recreation centres, closed since March, could open in a very limited capacity. After two months of closure, the team at the Cockburn ARC (Aquatic and Recreation Centre) had two weeks to get the facility ready. The challenge we faced was modifying a centre where 5,000 visitors a day had been commonplace, to cap attendees to 20 people per one indoor and outdoor pool, and 20 in each group fitness class, at any point in time. The principle of restricting participation is against the ARCâ€™s overall mission of enabling more people, to be more active, more often, and a number of difficult decisions had to be made in the interest of public safety and supporting our local community.
30 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
Knowing we could only accommodate less than 20% of the facilityâ€™s average daily member visitations prior to COVID-19, we focused on our members first and foremost. In order to prepare, all members were surveyed to gauge not only their readiness to return, but to find out what the areas of concern were. Members responded with an overwhelming enthusiasm to return, but only if it was safe to do. While they expressed confidence that centre staff would adhere to a strict sanitation program, their major concern was around other members not complying with protocols and the shared use of equipment. It was decided that only members above the age of 13 would be permitted to use the centre, each having to book in for a 50-minute lap swimming or warm water session, through our existing online booking system. All membership payments were suspended, allowing each
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The multiple activities at the Cockburn ARC now includes “a strict sanitation program” - as seen below - that accounts for members’ concern around other members not complying with protocols and the shared use of equipment.
individual to keep their membership status current, without having to pay for a service they were unable to or did not want to use. For those that did return, we operated under a pay as you go model, with each swim or group fitness session charged at $5.20. All regular hirers, children’s programing, swim school and social sports remained offline. Communications to the ARC community highlighted that all attendances had to be pre booked and that attendances would be very limited during this phase, as this was not a full reopening of the facility. Despite members’ enthusiasm to return, this did not translate to high levels of participation. The community was still very much in a lock down mindset. This may have related to external factors such as concern around a number of COVID-19 outbreaks on visiting ships, the fact that restrictions were still very limited across other venues, or internal factors such as a dissatisfaction with the lack of individual access to the gym, and having to pay as you go. Due to the low numbers, the team made the decision to open up to casual visitors, registering online for a free Active Casual membership, to track attendances, enable patron tracing and allow them to use our member portal to book into classes and lap lane sessions. This did boost attendances, with 18% of visitors paying casually. We also quickly reintroduced aqua classes which we thought would not be possible due to the demand of lap swimmers on restricted pool space. Interestingly, it was the
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aqua group fitness that was the only service that resembled pre COVID attendance, with strong demands for each class recorded. Within the following fortnight the community sentiment around the pandemic became significantly more optimistic. No instances of community spread had been identified in the state, and there was a widespread satisfaction of how the situation was being managed, by the Centre and all Government agencies. As a result, in the next phase, from Monday 6th June, members returned in force. During this third phase the gym, indoor cycle, swim school and casual basketball shooting in the stadium were reopened, with each key zone in the Centre capped initially at 100 people. This was increased to a centre-wide capacity of 550 when an exemption was accepted by the Western Australia’s Chief Medical Officer. Three types of patrons While most patrons were happy to change their behaviour to meet the new cleaning and social distancing protocols, the team identified three types of patrons who required specific strategies to manage their return. Firstly, there were the ‘invincibles’, the serious gym user who may not be as dedicated to adhering to sanitary protocols such as wiping all equipment before and after use. To combat this, staff were thoroughly trained through role play to manage difficult conversations. A zero tolerance policy meant staff had permission to escort non-compliant members and even cancel a membership. Members were very understanding and keen to comply, and our staff only had to resort to this option on one occasion. By applying very strict policies around these members, and being very public about it, the gym community responded and began policing the protocols themselves. Digital and physical signage and regular public address announcements echoed the strong stance. Alternatively, there were the ‘wary’ members. These members were comfortable enough to return to the centre, but were very observant and quick to criticise other members and staff if they believed protocols were not being adhered to. For this group it was important to make our new cleaning protocol very visible and for our staff to lead the way in practicing social distancing and personal and Centre cleanliness. Live attendance counters were placed on screens at the entrance, reception and online to indicate how many people were in the Centre and how many more we had capacity for, which helped alleviate member concerns. Social media assisted in showcasing members happily returning to the facility and adhering to protocols. The third group were the ‘scared’ members, those who were uncomfortable with any notion of returning to the facility. For these members we offered the continuation of online group
Cockburn ARC wins at 2020 Australian Fitness Awards
Cohera Tech developed a live counter feed to assist Cockburn ARC in managing capacity.
fitness and the ability to suspend their membership for the rest of the year. Our Member Consultants also called the majority of our older and vulnerable members, to check in with them and to let them know their options and that we were thinking of them. This will be ongoing. As of late June, the centre now operates under Phase 4, with most restrictions lifted, and the ARC returning to its mission: more people, more active, more often. Challenges Communicating the intricacies of each phase to the public and members was difficult. The community was already being bombarded with COVID-19 content and did not digest the complexity of each phase. As Western Australia’s phases were ahead of the National Cabinet’s roadmap, there was confusion as to what was and wasn’t allowed, as it often contradicted what was being said by government representatives in the media. Social media played a key role here, using the platform as an open forum with members where they could ask questions to clarify any aspect of the phased reopening. We found that as we were in a very reactive mode, our members also helped us identify aspects of our service that we needed to work through more thoroughly. Video was also heavily used to demonstrate the new normal, as a follow up to all email communications. There was very little time to implement each new phase and to make decisions around how we could best service our customers and still meet all the restrictions. As a result, the team had to respond quickly and adapt its services and communications when demand did not meet expectations. Acknowledging that this was an unprecedented time, we were honest and upfront in our communication as services changed. Many of our challenges were assisted by agile and innovative suppliers, such as our visitor counting software supplier, Cohera Tech, which developed a live counter feed for display on screens and websites to assist in managing capacity specifically for COVID-19. Alternatively, with less flexible systems and suppliers, work arounds and alternative solutions needed to be found which impacted the resources of the team. Caroline Lindsay is Marketing and Communications Coordinator at the Cockburn Aquatic and Recreation Centre.
Cockburn ARC was recently announced as the national winner of the not-for-profit Fitness Business of the Year award at the 2020 Australian Fitness Awards. The Awards recognised ARC’s commitment to service excellence in implementing a service improvement program to ensure the team are consistently providing outstanding quality service across communication, professionalism, personal appearance, presentation and supervision. The service improvement program employs a third party to assess the team on a monthly basis against the service streams in order for Cockburn ARC to ensure they can continually improve their service delivery and reflect best practice industry standards and workplace culture. Fitness Australia has not only recognised Cockburn ARC for their excellence in service and delivery, they have also been recognised for their outstanding achievements that have greatly impacted their community as a whole. These achievements include, exceeding the average number of visitors per day feasibility study projections by 41%, generating an added $30.3 million to Australia’s output through annual operations, offering 500 university trainee positions and hosting a community concert with more than 8,000 attendees, indirectly generating $187,000 for the local economy. The annual Australian Fitness Awards are the only national awards program dedicated to the fitness industry and received a record 2,000 nominations across eleven categories for individuals, businesses and community groups.
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Back in the Game Nick Sautner explains the return of spectator sport to Auckland’s Eden Park
fter three long months of COVID-19 lockdown, it was with immense relief that we were able to reopen Eden Park’s doors on Sunday 14th June for an event that will go down in the history books - the day when New Zealand’s largest sporting venue welcomed back fans for the first round of Super Rugby Aotearoa. I’m sure there are very few that would dispute COVID-19 has had a significant effect on the stadia and event industry. Eden Park’s event calendar went from fixtures every second weekend, to very suddenly an empty stadium for over more than 100 days. Like many others, the termination of all match day activities at the stadium directly impacted our members and corporate suites, our partners, match day catering, ticketing revenue, corporate functions, and our tourism attractions. To put it simply, our revenue streams dried up completely overnight. It would, in no way, be excessive to conclude that the stadia industry across the world was, and continues to be, in crisis. With zero revenue, our stadium was forced to take proactive measures including reducing staff salaries, reducing hours, and making several redundancies. Our team has always operated as a lean and agile organisation of fewer than 30 full-time staff, but COVID-19 forced us to be nimbler than ever. There was an ongoing understanding within management that the retention of our key staff, and their unique skills, was
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vital to ensuring we were able to hit the ground running once events were able to recommence. We communicated to staff our strategy for surviving, and thriving, post COVID-19. ‘Emerging Stronger’ became a mantra and we regularly spoke about creating our new normal that would be implemented across three overlapping stages. These consisted of: 1. The upcoming weeks - managing the current disruption and uncertainty due to the impact of the pandemic’s containment restrictions, with a focus on business continuity and resilience. 2. The upcoming months - Preparing for a ‘new normal’ period where we adopt new operating measures in light of ongoing health impacts and restrictions. This is likely to last at least six months and calls for a focus on innovation and productivity as well as employee and patron wellbeing. 3. The upcoming years - Planning for a post COVID-19 world with adjusted patron and stakeholder expectations, leveraging the innovations and the new operating measures developed through the pandemic. All of these stages contribute to a Game Plan to enable Eden Park to survive and emerge stronger than ever. The New Zealand Government introduced a countrywide COVID-19 alert system which saw varying restrictions implemented on daily life as the nation’s infection levels either increased or decreased. Throughout the lockdown, there were
Fans return to, and fill, Eden Park for the first round of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
a number of conversations that took place centred around potential scenarios for a return to live sport. We implemented a plan for our staff to divide into two groups in the ten days leading up to events. With such a lean team, the potential for a whole department to be unable to work could severely compromise the running of a match day. In the event that an individual has flu-like symptoms, it’s expected that they’ll undergo the COVID-19 test, likely return a negative result, and then need to be free from all symptoms for at least 48 hours prior to returning to work. Thus, there was a requirement for the division of teams, to ensure that we could still operate in the event that one member of a team needed to self-isolate. When the restrictions on outside gatherings was announced as 500 patrons at Alert Level 2, Eden Park also mapped out a scenario where the stadium was segregated into blocks of 500 with designated entries and exits. We planned for 10 allocated gates, each able to seat 500 within its zone, and allowing us to host 5,000 fans within the seating bowl. Our preparations included methods for contact tracing of each group of 500 through both ticket allocation and technology, with measures providing restrictions on the contact points at the venue including security, customer service and catering. Thankfully, these preparations became unnecessary due to the announcement of Alert Level 1 which enabled fans to return to stadia in New Zealand with no restrictions and life as we previously knew it could recommence. However, we see value in having these plans ready should they ever be needed again. Eden Park had just five days to prepare the stadium to welcome 43,000 fans. Our earlier decision to retain our skilled staff, made mid-lockdown with no events forecasted for some time, proved to have been a beneficial decision. Across my tenure as Chief Executive at Eden Park, I’ve had a number of proud moments. I can say undoubtedly that welcoming rugby fans back for the resumption of Super Rugby Aotearoa following a global pandemic is right up there. My team, who had just been through a challenging and difficult three months, came together and worked tirelessly to deliver an event to remember. There was an immense amount of hype around the game, and before the whistle had even blown for kick-off, we’d already seen a handful of memorable moments. The event was announced a sell-out the day prior, with approximately 43,000 fans pouring through the stadium’s doors to watch our home team, the Blues, take on Wellington’s Hurricanes. The last time we’d hosted a crowd this large would have been about 15 years ago. The fixture felt like a test match or a final, despite
being the first fixture of the revised season. As the players made their way onto the turf, a familiar rousing song played across the loud-speaker, and a Hercules plane flew overhead, heralding the return of live sport. There was a feeling in the air that this event, this uniting of 43,000, was more than just a sports event. We certainly create unforgettable experiences at Eden Park, and this was a celebration - an occasion to celebrate New Zealand’s achievement during this challenging moment in world history. Regardless of the result on the field, we were all the winners. In a moment that I won’t forget for a long time to come, the crowd rose to a standing applause for the ‘team of five million’ along with our essential workers. And then, just to make the occasion even sweeter, our home team secured the win on our hallowed turf. As I write this, we’re all still riding the high from the reopening game. I feel a mixture of emotions: relief that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel for our struggling stadia industry; joy that we’re able to get back to what we do best, delivering live sport and entertainment; and above all, gratefulness, to work with such an incredible team who love Eden Park just as much as I do. The journey to return to live sport hasn’t been easy, but New Zealand’s national stadium has been a much-loved venue for 117 years and home to some of the world’s most unforgettable moments of sporting history. With a recent business confidence survey suggesting that six out of 10 people believed that rugby resuming at Eden Park is a sign of life returning to normal, I certainly hope this is true and that the venue will be home to many more memorable sporting and entertainment moments for at least another hundred years. Nick Sautner is Chief Executive of the Eden Park Trust. Super Rugby Aotearoa, Eden Park, Blues v Hurricanes Sunday 14th June Final attendance: Approximately 43,000 Total staff in stadium: Approximately 3,000 which covers cleaning, catering, security, traffic management, medics, facilities, turf management, maintenance, and operational staff. Number of catering staff: 702 Number of food and beverage outlets: 67 Total beverages sold: 47,000 Total meals served: 17,500 Portions of chips served: More than 10,000 Corporate guest attendance: 3,500 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139 37
The P.A. People designed, installed and delivered the audio and communications for the opening celebration of the seventh T20 Women’s World Cup at the Sydney Showground Stadium.
Brett Steele explains how the Sydney Showground Stadium provided state-of-the-art sound for the T20 Women’s World Cup opening
ack in February this year, the Opening Celebration of the seventh T20 Women’s World Cup was staged at the Sydney Showground Stadium. On the day, title holders Australia opened the tournament against India - with the ceremony marking the culmination of an almost two-year process to upgrade the former sound system in the venue. The P.A. People were involved from start to finish in the project, being not only the successful contractor engaged to design and install the new system, but also delivering a performance audio and communications package for the event itself. Australia’s only professional audio vendor with a significant capability to execute both an audio system design for a venue of this scale and deliver a complementary rental solution for large-scale events, the Sydney-based business adopted a multi-disciplined approach for the project, based on an understanding of the different requirements of each delivery phase. The Install In May 2018, in response to their selection as a major venue for the forthcoming T20 Women’s World Cup, the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) embarked on a process to upgrade the sound system at Sydney Showground Stadium. The venue (also known as GIANTS Stadium) had undergone 38 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
a major refurbishment some five years earlier which included the construction of two new grandstands, and while the existing buildings were refurbished internally at that time, replacement of the existing original grandstand sound system was outside the approved scope of works. Given the profile of the World Cup, and the fact that the venue was now host to both the GWS Giants AFL team and the Sydney Thunder BBL team, the RAS Capital Works and Assets teams went to market to seek ideas and options for the upgrade. The P.A. People responded with a comprehensive options paper outlining a scope of works, appropriate performance criteria, design constraints, and differing types of solutions that could be deployed and their associated budgets. Some nine months later The P.A. People were engaged to deliver a new system for the venue. The initial task involved developing an acoustic model of the venue and the preliminary design of an appropriate sound system that not only would meet the performance criteria previously agreed but would also meet the structural loading requirements of the existing grandstand roof. The P.A. People engaged the RAS’ nominated consulting engineers to provide certification that the proposed design was suitable from a loading perspective. The design was based on the latest generation of constant curvature line array from Bose. The new ArenaMatch product
The P.A. People’s techology in use for the opening celebration of the seventh T20 Women’s World Cup at the Sydney Showground Stadium.
fitted the bill perfectly. Released in February 2019, it is high performance, IP rated for outdoor use, and relatively lightweight. It can be powered in low impedance or 100v line mode with an option for bi-amped configuration. Each cabinet houses a custom 14” woofer and six mid high devices giving the system significant mid-range punch and penetration. At Sydney Showground Stadium, we opted to power each cabinet individually in order to maintain maximum flexibility through the commissioning process. The system comprised some eleven clusters, each comprised three 100 degree x 40 degree cabinets, plus an additional two fill cabinets to cover the area between the new and the old grandstands. The system is powered using Bose PM8500N eight channel amplifiers connected to an existing Biamp Vocia DSP system. Each cluster is suspended from a custom fabricated bracket, designed so the system can be lowered for maintenance without a requirement for a boom lift or other access equipment. The bracket design and fabrication was carried out inhouse at The P.A. People. Ross Ford, The P.A. People Project Manager for the RAS upgrade, explains “design of systems with a view to their ongoing maintenance is a feature of our large venue projects. “Each cluster hangs vertically from a beam which is inclined in two directions; every mounting bracket for the clusters is unique. The bracket design and fabrication is quite a detailed engineering project in itself.” The new system was rounded out with a new Yamaha QL5 console and two RIO1608 Dante I/O boxes, first trialled during the Sydney Thunder BBL games in January. System operator Trevor Beck was suitably impressed, noting “the system has far better clarity and coverage than the old rig. It makes operating gigs like the Big Bash quite pleasant.” The Celebration While the installation was in its later stages, event producer Michael Cassel Group was appointed to produce the Opening 40 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
Celebration for the T20 Women’s World Cup. Veteran Technical Director Nick Newey was assigned the task of putting together the team of suppliers. He quickly learned that The P.A. People, whom he had worked with on many successful events previously, was installing the upgraded system in the venue. A meeting ensued, ideas were tossed around and subsequently The P.A. People were appointed as audio and communications supplier for the event. The opening celebration encouraged the audience to get into the spirit of the show and celebrate the T20’s theme song ‘Get up and Dance’. With this in mind, the Michael Cassel Group were looking for an audio system that would provide solid low frequency performance as well as effective and even coverage to the stands. The P.A. People proposed a system that combined the low frequency performance and sense of direction of an on-field system based on our Bose Carts, with the elevated clusters in the new installed system. Each of the ten carts distributed in front of the grandstands features a three element Bose ShowMatch array with two 18” subwoofers, all powered from an onboard Linea Research 44M20 amplifier. Infill between the carts was provided by Bose LT9702 cabinets in layback frames. The entire system was time aligned with the two upper cabinets in the installed arrays to provide even coverage and a focus on the field of play. The FOH system was controlled on a Yamaha PM10 and Genelec monitors, with a pair of Mac Mini based QLAB machines for playback. Each Mac Mini is mounted in a Sonnet chassis fitted with a 128 channel Dante interface. Sam Dodds, Systems Engineer for the job, commented “we use Dante as our primary mode of audio transport in all our larger system designs. The Linea Research amps and the Yamaha consoles all feature native Dante connectivity. “Apart from the use of Yamaha’s RPIO stage boxes and its TwinLAN protocol, pretty much all of the system uses Dante. We really like the feature set of the Yamaha consoles, and have
been asked to provide them on a number of recent projects.” Monitor land which was located behind the stage featured a Yamaha PM7 console, the main Yamaha RPIO I/O frame, and a substantial RF complement for both inputs and outputs along with conventional monitors. The console took eight Shure UHF-R Beta 58 radio mics as well as the tracks from Front of House, and then generated mixes for two channels of Shure PSM1000, six channels of PAP Level 2 IEM systems and a feed for the mass cast dancers who used proprietary FM packs operating just outside the commercial FM band. The stage area was also covered with eight recently refurbished Creative Audio CA3831 foldback wedges. The contract for the celebration also included a substantial communications system covering all areas of the arena and the rehearsal space. Technical Operators for the production were located on one side of the arena, while the Show Caller and other portion staff were located almost 300m away in another set of control rooms, which was again some 400m from Monitor land. The communications system comprised a ClearCom HX Matrix intercom system with 12 key stations spread across all three locations, ten Clear-Com HelixNet partyline belt packs, some 20 FreeSpeak II full duplex packs in use across the arena itself, 8ch of interfaced two way radios with 50 handsets, and a time code display system. The HX Matrix was fitted with a Dante network audio card, which facilitated a simple sharing of sources between the FOH audio system, monitors and the Comms system, while the entire audio and comms infrastructure was built on a common 10GB ethernet back bone, which also provided a connection point for the FreeSpeak II IP Transceivers at any network switch. Andy Carson, Head Communications Technician on this task for The P.A. People, added “the Comms system was big enough to be non-trivial, but small enough to be handled by two people. Effective comms are the key to these types of events
- they are fluid and it is essential that the Comms system allows the creative to develop over what is usually a very short rehearsal period.” The Cricket On the way through the process of the install and celebration delivery, The P.A. People also worked with the sports presentation producers on other aspects of the T20 event. In order to comply with requirements for a T20 World Cup, they needed to provide a secondary LED Scoreboard for the Venue. The P.A. People worked with specialist supplier TDC to install a temporary 7m x 4m screen on the concourse to support the three match days at the venue. Dodds added “we were also asked to supply a system with another 300 FM mass cast receivers for the Final at the MCG. We were happy to oblige.” The Wrap With its multi-disciplined approach for the project, The P.A. People’s experience and capability informed the project as it progressed based on an understanding of both the venue and the production requirements feeding into the installed system design. The project also drew together a unique group of stakeholders - The RAS Capital Works team, the RAS Assets and Maintenance folks, the RAS Events team and Michael Cassel Group – each of whom had their unique requirements. Summing this up, RAS Head of Project Development, Jonathan Seward concluded “the P.A. People listened to our requirements and have come up with a solution that has already - and we trust will continue - to meet our needs for the next 15 years. “Overall, we are very happy with the outcome.” Brett Steele heads Installed Systems for The P.A. People Pty Limited.
Experience, Independence, Assurance The P.A. People experience in delivering audio, AV, IPTV and digital signage networks for venues
ince its foundation almost 50 years ago, The P.A. People has built an enviable reputation as Australia’s only professional audio vendor with a significant capability to execute audio system design and delivery for venues and rental solutions for large-scale events, not only domestically but also internationally. The company’s comprehensive experience spans the country, providing fit-for-purpose system solutions across state and
independent schools and universities, government facilities, councils, Parliaments, sporting facilities, entertainment and conference venues and transport hubs. The P.A People has been nominated as an essential service provider for locations including Sydney Airport, Sydney Olympic Park and the NSW Parliament. The company brings a knowledge base that spans design, Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139 41
The P.A. People’s installations for the Roundhouse at UNSW (above left) and at Sydney’s Barangaroo Wharf (above right).
integration, installation, operations and comprehensive maintenance programs. That knowledge is based on an understanding of venues’ diverse needs, pressures on management and staff and the need to deliver superior patron experiences in a dynamic context - and the systems that support required outcomes. The P.A. People’s recent refit for the Sydney Showground Stadium and the subsequent opening of the Women’s T20 Cricket ICC World Cup (see page 38) underlines its role in being able to execute fit-for-purpose audio system design. The value of quality audio equipment cannot be overstated because good sound is vital: as part of any entertainment experience; in adding atmosphere to any setting; in delivering vital information to patrons and in emergency situations. However, traditionally the value of quality audio has often been overlooked with its provision in facilities coming second to building design and utility issues. Chris Dodds, Managing Director of The P.A. People, sees this changing, commenting that “among both end users and the public there is a rising expectation of audio quality - and while good quality audio can go unnoticed, when sound is poor it has a negative impact on patron experience and venue operations.” Noting that “the right sound can inject great energy into a venue or event”, Dodds acknowledges that “competent designers now have a better understanding of the requirements of an audiovisual installation and its role in the venue experience.” The P.A. People reputation has seen the Sydney-based company provide its services to major international events including the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan; the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea and the 2018 Asian Games in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. In the current and very different Coronavirus impacted operating environment, The P.A. People is emphasising its demonstrated capabilities acquired over many years in offering a value proposition that arguably means more now than ever before, in permanent installations. Dodds notes “we are unique in the industry as the only business that has day-to-day experience in all aspects of venue
requirements, design, installation and day to day operations. “We know we can bring value and better, more appropriate outcomes for facilities and venues operating in post-Coronavirus environment, particularly as all types of venues and facilities review their need to ensure efficient communication.” The P.A. People has the ability to provide audio visual installs; event communications; and AV equipment sales, as well as hire and service. It has access to over 3000 items from more than 100 manufacturers and a comprehensive in-house wood, metal and plastics fabrication workshop. Dodds adds “our capability spans system design technicians, to engineers, equipment testing and repair, to after-sales service and maintenance.” The company provides an in house full-service capability, covering everything from design and manufacture of the AO (Australian Open) LED logo device for Tennis Australia through to steel bracketry supporting speaker clusters and LED screens in stadium roofs, to the mobile speaker carts that surround the field for Sydney FC’s home A-League fixtures. Explaining what he calls a “closed-loop experience” Dodds goes on to say “we are unique in a crowded space, adopting a partnership approach to our client’s projects – which is our sustained point of difference. “We listen to our clients. We apply our unique experience through all phases of a project’s life cycle, we engage and collaborate throughout the process - and deliver the performance outcomes required.” Fit-for-purpose The P.A. People team’s ability to find the balance between utility, quality, serviceability and attainability is a skill only learned through years of real-world experience. The company remains brand-agnostic in the marketplace and selects products and components from hundreds of suppliers according to each project design. Protecting a client’s investment in their systems requires the ability to repair, augment and retrofit for whole-of-life - a standard The P.A. People continues to maintain.
The P.A. People’s installations at William Inglis Hotel (above left) and for the Australian Open (above right).
42 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
IN BRIEF Sydney’s Barker College has named Cameron Anderson as Head of Sport. Sydney Festival has appointed Australian curator and producer, Olivia Ansell as their new Festival Director for 2022. The Board of Sydney’s City Recital Hall has appointed Justin Boschetti as its new Chief Executive. John Boultbee has taken on the role of Chief Executive for the National Sports Tribunal. The Australian Amusement, Leisure and Recreation Association has advised of the death of respected amusement ride consulting engineer Brian Bradley. Football Queensland has appointed Robert Cavallucci as Chief Executive. Arna Wahl Davies has been appointed as Chair of the Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) Approved Professional Conference Organisers Group. TEG has appointed corporate finance executive Matthew Donazzan to the newly created role, Director of Strategy and M&A. Matt Duldig is the new General Manager Football at SANFL. Skills Active has promoted longstanding team member Maren Frerichs to the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer. The Mayfair 101 Group has appointed former Hamilton Island General Manager Ciaran Handy as Chief Executive of Mayfair Tourism, a role where he will be responsible for the development of the group’s Dunk Island and Mission Beach assets. The Adelaide Festival Centre Trust has appointed Jim Hazel as the new Chair of the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust with Artistic Director of State Theatre Company South Australia, Mitchell Butel, also having been appointed as a board member of the Trust. The Women in Fitness Association has named seven new global Ambassadors, including Leisl Klaebe, Fiona Kriaris and Mel Tempest from Australia and Nikki Williams from New Zealand. Otium Planning Group has appointed Malcolm Kuhn as a Senior Consultant to its Facility Planning, Business and Management Advisory Division. Meghan Mayman is the new Head of Clubs and Community Engagement at Football Victoria. Media executive Hamish McLennan has joined the board of Rugby Australia, taking on the role of Chairman from Paul McLean. Marketing specialist Terri Meadmore has joined the Netball Australia board following the resignation of Karen Stocks. Sophie Moore has been appointed National Education Manager at Water Polo Australia. Gymnastics Victoria has appointed Robin O’Neill as its new Chief Executive. Following criticism of his approach to dealing with the Coronavirus crisis, Kevin Roberts has been replaced as Cricket Australia Chief Executive by Nick Hockley. David Sharpe has been appointed inaugural Chief Executive of the new Sport Integrity Australia (SIA) agency which commenced its operations from 1st July. 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. Carlile Swimming’s Manager of Operations, Michael Yeomans, has won the Australian Swim Schools Association’s inaugural Young Guns Award.
Campbelltown Aquafit Manager named Club Manager of the Year
The 2020 Australian Fitness Awards has named Campbelltown’s Aquafit Club Manager, Kristen Green, as the national winner of the Club Manager of the Year award, sponsored by Australasian Leisure Management. Green is a highly regarded industry thought leader and has made a significant contribution to the fitness industry for more than 30 years. With her years of experience and passion for health and fitness, Green is a current Director of the global association ‘Women in Fitness Association’ (WIFA) and was a Fitness Australia Board member for four years.
Ross Gage steps down as ASSA Chief Executive Ross Gage, inaugural Chief Executive of the Australian Swim Schools Association (ASSA), has stepped down from his role. An acknowledged leader in swim teaching and education, Gage, a former Chief Executive of the Australian Swim Coaches Association (ASCTA), has been involved in swimming teaching, coaching and swim school management for more than 35 years. While Gage has taken a step back from leading ASSA, he will still be involved with the Association in other capacities.
Collective Wellness Group appoints Chief Executive Collective Wellness Group (CWG) has appointed Nicole Noye as Chief Executive. Noye will lead CWG and the continued brand growth strategy for Anytime Fitness and XTEND Barre, currently comprising of 530 franchise locations and 570,000 members. Noye was previously Chief Executive for the Ardent Bowling & Entertainment Division, leading the strategy to create a more customer-focused organisation. She was also appointed interim Chief Executive for Dreamworld, WhiteWater World and Skypoint for five months to guide Ardent’s theme park and attractions division through the Coronial inquiry into the Dreamworld fatalities of 2016.
New General Manager appointed at The Events Centre Caloundra Former Sydney Entertainment Centre Chief Executive, Steve Romer has been appointed General Manager of The Events Centre Caloundra, taking on the role from the retiring Gary Mears (pictured below). Romer, most recently Chief Operating Officer for Bluesfest, was also Chief Executive of the Venue Management Association (Asia Pacific) between 2014 and 2017. He will be replacing Mears, who has led many upgrades and development initiatives at the Sunshine Coast’s major events venue since 2013, culminating in its recently completed $8.1 million renovation. In 2019, Mears was named VMA Venue Professional of the Year. Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139 43
Felton Industriesâ€™ Select Grandstands have transformed the Gunnedah Showground.
Julia Saluja explains what sportsgrounds should consider when choosing spectator seating
hether you are looking to upgrade or build a brand new sportsground, an essential component of planning involves spectator seating. Chiefly, how best to incorporate seating into the layout of the ground and what types of seating offer optimal experience and greatest value. Getting seating right has an influential role in determining the status of the sportsground as a preferred venue. Purpose of the Sportsground Identifying the full purpose of the sportsground is key to understanding the practical implications for seating requirements. What level of competition is expected to be held at the facility? Are there key specifications from sports governing bodies in relation to the new facility that must be met in order to be fit for use? What are the council or state requirements for seating, accessibility and quality at spectator venues of this size? Is the sportsground primarily for one sport and one target audience, such as a sole usage baseball field or will it be used by multiple groups and as multi-purpose facility for a range of different activities? Are there regulations regarding sizing that must be taken into consideration at the very start of the design? Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the intended purpose alongside the future growth potential of the sportsground will greatly aid decision making surrounding spectator seating provision. Sportsground Usage Defining the extent of usage that can be expected in the sports area is paramount. Will it be used daily for many hours and have different participants throughout winter and summer? Or will it have recovery time in between heavy usage. Is it for training primarily or to be used as a principle venue for matches 44 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
and competitor games. Outlining how the sportsground will be used in the upcoming months and years will help identify the type, positioning and capacity of seating required. Maintenance of Seating Maintenance of the seating facilities is another aspect for consideration. For seating a low maintenance material such as aluminium is a definite advantage for cost and upkeep. Aluminium is lightweight, strong, and very durable making it an outstanding
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choice for spectator seating. Due to its non-corrosive nature, its finish, strength, and durability, aluminium needs very little assistance to keep in good condition and maintain its original quality. Further to aluminiumâ€™s natural low maintenance properties, adding a marine grade clear anodised coating make it highly resistant to wear and tear or vandalism. Anodising can increase the hardness of the untreated aluminium surface by more than three times. Even strong physical actions like bashing, kicking or scratching will not impact the seating due to the anodised finish. The quality and composition of the aluminium seating is another factor that will influence longevity and maintenance of seating. To ensure outdoor seating has a maximum lifespan with minimal maintenance, look for seating that uses premium quality aluminium with a higher percentage of aluminium per seating length. Inclusiveness and Accessibility Alongside suitable access to paths, the field, toilets and changing room facilities, implementing provisions for wheelchairs in seating plans are essential. Sportsgrounds should also include a provision for those who require to sit in standing spectator areas and provide a clear line of sight of the event. Spectator Seating Design and Style Not all seating is equal. As well as the maintenance and quality of seating materials, the design of the seating is fundamental. It should make the best use of space, offering maximum capacity without sacrificing the quality of seating for spectators. It should meet the highest of safety standards and offer outstanding durability. Seating should be designed to create a superior spectating experience with outstanding sightlines to the event from every seat. Two styles of seating that are top sellers for spectator seating at sportsgrounds are bench seating and grandstands. Bench Seating Bench seating is one of the most versatile forms of seating in terms of its design and usage and this is what makes it particularly popular with sportsgrounds. Length and height can easily be customised, bench seating can be fitted with or without backrests, armrests and can be permanently fixed to the ground or remain free standing. Training grounds for example typically benefit from aboveground, inground, or free stacking bench seating depending on whether the facility is publicly accessible or privately owned. For public facilities inground or bolted down bench seating with or without backrests are popular choices. Bench seating can be used for team benches to accommodate substitutes, staff and coaches or can reside outside the field of play to house small numbers of passing spectators. Bench seating is also predominant in changing room facilities within the interior spaces of sportsgrounds. 46 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
Grandstands When a sportsground is to hold regular sports matches and events, grandstands are an essential seating addition. Grandstands like benches come in a variety of sizes and styles. At Felton Industries we specialise in providing a range of premium quality aluminium grandstands to meet any sportsground requirements. Our latest edition is the Elite Portable Grandstand which comfortably seats 55 people, offers exceptional portability with fork tine (a type of forklift extension) access and a towable sled base, and its raised height guarantees outstanding views with uninterrupted sightlines. Another of our most popular grandstands is the Sunsafe Select Grandstand which comes with shaded shelters to ensure spectators can enjoy the game regardless of the weather. This structurally engineered all-in-one unit provides shade and shelter for up to 40 spectators. Our extended range of spectator seating can be found at ovals and sportsgrounds all around Australia, from large-scale grandstands through to portable solutions, ideal for putting up temporary seating, wall-mounted seating for indoor settings, and covered seating, to help keep the sun off the crowd. All Felton Industries grandstands are built to provide superior sightlines and to the highest levels of comfort, durability and safety. Our grandstands are 100% Australian made and typically feature 20% more aluminium to offer greater strength and value. Our grandstand seating is used at indoor and outdoor venues, schools, sportsgrounds and entertainment attractions throughout Australia. Julia Saluja is Marketing Manager for Felton Industries. Felton Industries are specialists in providing and customising bench seating of all varieties for sportsgrounds for participants and spectators.
SYDNEY MON 9 | ME LBOU RN E W ED 11 B RI S BAN E FRI 13 NOVEMBER 2020
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Plagues and epidemics have ravaged humanity throughout its existence, often changing the course of history, with Spanish flu, Asian flu, AIDS, Swine Flu, Ebola and Zika among those the world has faced in the last 100 years. COVID-19, just like influenza and the common cold is here to stay and like all the others it will take a drug to ease such tensions. However, with finding a vaccine and treatments for COVID-19 being sometime in the future, it is up to each of us to adjust as we have with all other epidemics to survive not only with regards to our health but our welfare as well. What will such apprehension have on our industry and how do we adjust to survive?
The Way Forward Chris Skinner believes that the reopening of exercise facilities after the Coronavirus pandemic demands a new approach to delivering fitness you think we are on the right side of the Coronavirus then think again. Ifpandemic, While restrictions are starting to ease and life is moving towards some normality, the ‘normal’ that we were accustomed to is now in the past, and the ‘new normal’ will be one that sees us all adjust in a number of ways. One example - the simple greeting of two people with a handshake, kiss or hug - now brings a sense of concern to both parties. Such anxiety, trepidation and fear are all now bestowed into every person around the world.
Facilities at the Crossroads Firstly, we must weigh up if it is possible to survive with the restriction and conditions that are placed on the reopening of aquatic and recreation centres and fitness clubs and how that may differ state to state. For council aquatic and recreation centres, their role is to provide a service to members and ratepayers while for fitness clubs - it is their livelihood. In the simplest terms, social distancing although eased will still apply, whether forced or through each individual’s personal preference and it is this one sole fact that will determine how many can attend a class and if it will be worth holding. This alone will have a significant impact on how many can attend one class, be it any form of group exercise or with regards to the general use of equipment in the facility. The correct/recommended distance is also subjective as one person’s distance might not be acceptable to another. Hygiene is also a major concern. How many times can you clean a machine down after each patron has used it and will it have been cleaned enough to satisfy the next user? These are all no-win situations, so how do we reduce the odds and still provide the service all our patrons want? Let’s focus on the areas that can provide the greatest returns. Group Exercise This form of exercise involves patrons working out together in an allocated provided space where all that is required is a tailoring of an area within the facility to suit our current circumstances. What’s wrong with Aerobics? I hear you laughing, but all many patrons want is to move, have fun, some enjoyment and a sense of achievement when they leave. Classes could rotate every 45 minutes - and there is nothing to clean, nothing to disinfect or spray - just everyone keeping their distance. As a reminder- it was Aerobics that started the movement of group exercise as we know it. How many of you have The Original Step stored away? For those who don’t remember or are too young to know, the Original Step is a platform and four blocks that can be placed the appropriate distance apart from each patron. Again - with the same floor space required as above and with no cleaning, spraying or disinfecting classes can rotate every 45 minutes. Using one piece of equipment for the duration of a patron’s visit Let’s consider Pilates from the simple mat classes to those adding a versatile resistance training apparatus such as an Ultra Lite circle. Attendees can bring their own mats and/or Ultra Lite circles to each class. For those patrons who arrive without equipment, facilities can sell them mats and Ultra Lites - then they are the only ones using them.
48 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
These two simple additions would mean that reformer classes could operate back to back from the floor space they utilise while allaying patrons’ concerns.
MOTR classes Balanced Body’s MOTR (MOre Than a Roller), is a complete gym in a manageable one metre cylinder. It combines a foam roller with the challenge of three levels of resistance, easily adjusted with the click of a button. MOTR offers a simple form of resistance exercise that is new and performed on the same floor area. Reformer classes It’s one of the only pieces of equipment in the club that a person uses for the complete duration of their group exercise program. So, if spaced accordingly provides the perfect program. Like in Yoga or Pilates Mat Classes, patrons can bring their own mat (often referred to as a ‘Salt and Honey’ Pilates towel) that covers a reformer and which can simply be taken home washed and brought to their next class thereby alleviating many of the problems we are now facing with hygiene and sanitisation. In addition, Balanced Body, a leading manufacturer of Pilates equipment, are now making PVC Single and Double Loops that can be fitted to all their reformers. A couple of sets of these for each reformer means that a set could be changed on each reformer after each class with the used ones washed and ready for the next change over.
50 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
Weights area Most facilities today have between 10 and 20 single fixed movement pieces of equipment including strength machines such as a chest, shoulder and leg presses. One of the main concerns over using these types of equipment is that clients tend to continually move from one to the other doing 10 reps rotating from Upper Body to Lower Body. The best scenario would be to have machines such as the FreeMotion Cable Column or the FreeMotion Dual Cable Cross that are multi-functional so that one person could do their whole program on the one machine either as part of a group exercise or an individual program. The Cable Column has a small stack 50lbs in 2.5lbs increments and is on lock down castors so can be positioned on a floor space to set up group classes. The Dual Cable Cross could be considered as the best functional machine on the market for 20 years. If you have either of these units you just need to set programs for clients to work to for 30 to 40 minutes. If fitted with the Sports Trak Handles these could be exchanged with every client for hygiene. Another advantage of these units is that everyone is standing up and with no-one sitting down I’m sure trainers can work through the benefits of this with every patron. These are not the only machines to consider, wall pulleys for example would also work well. During these times of COVID restrictions and a heightened awareness of hygiene, it is time for the fitness industry to think outside the box, and I’d suggest that exercisers use one machine per session. Cardio Area The benefit of this area during the current times is that if people choose to stay on their selected cardio machine such as the treadmill, rower or bike for the duration of their workout, then cleaning of equipment will only be required when they are finished at the end of a 30 to 45 minute session. During this time options for cardio classes might include one person being allotted a treadmill and a rower, facing each other and a class set out between the two machines. So, if you have 10 treadmills and 10 rowers or bikes, you have classes of 10 people every 40 minutes and charge accordingly. This would then also mean only cleaning down machines every 45 minutes. To reinforce social distancing for facilities with rows of cardio equipment, where I’m aware that some clubs are moving machines further apart or even removing every second treadmill, I’d suggest allocating users to every second treadmill for their allocated time while the alternate machines are turned off and cleaned. At the end of one session, the alternate equipment is then turned back on and the process reversed. Where in some facilities, the patrons either use the cardio equipment to ‘warm up’ before a strength session or choose to alternate between cardio and strength equipment, then the facility should supply the patron with a means to disinfect the equipment after each time it is used - such as a spray bottle of disinfectant and a small cloth. Patrons must accept that their training time needs to accommodate these cleaning processes. We all need to consider what our facilities have and determine what we must do differently to create the best situation for our clients, patrons and ourselves. Chris Skinner is Managing Director of HF Industries.
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Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139 51
Image courtesy of Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA)
Fitnessâ€™ biggest ever challenge With fitness facilities emerging from lockdown, Karen Sweaney looks at the challenges that lie ahead
ears of growth in fitness - with innovative concepts, new gym chains, club growth and expanding franchises - all driven by ever growing participation and member numbers came to an abrupt halt in March this year when the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic saw the industry enter an immediate, unplanned and near total shutdown. As with almost all sectors of the economy and wider society in Australia, New Zealand and nations across the world, the cessation of activity was not mitigated by operators having quickly adopted best practice in hygiene and sanitation during February and March as the threat of Coronavirus first emerged. Image courtesy of Blue Magic/Novofit.
52 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
While the initial result was facility closures and massive uncertainty over what the future held, the ever entrepreneurial spirt of many in the industry saw them move classes and programs online to maintain engagement with their communities, albeit that these activities generated significantly less income than that of a facility in its â€˜normalâ€™ operational model. With many parts of the economy shutdown, areas of open space, parks and trails almost instantly turned into open-air exercise areas. While even outdoor gyms were closed, joggers, cyclists, speed walkers and yoga enthusiasts stretching on mats seemed to become an increasingly familiar site. At the same time, retailers selling in-home exercise equipment quickly ran out of stock as people set up gyms in their garages, backyards and other domestic spaces while bicycle retailers reported never having been busier. However, while anecdotes suggested people were exercising more, research undertaken by sport and entertainment consultancy Gemba during April found that only 23% of Australians were exercising more than before the Coronavirus lockdown, while 44% of the population was actually doing less physical activity. The decline in activity was most marked in the 30 to 39 years age (63% doing less activity compared with 17% doing more) and 50 to 59 years age groups (48% doing less activity compared with 14% doing more). Before the Coronavirus, the fitness industry had enjoyed
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years of ongoing growth. Four million Australians - more than 6% of the entire population - had a gym membership spending a record $3.5 billion a year on being active. With all of that activity coming to a shuddering halt in March, while some moved online, all had to face ongoing expenses while income evaporated. Facing significant numbers of member cancellations, gyms immediately froze member direct debits when the lockdown began but still had to meet franchise and licence fees, amenity bills, ongoing rental and site costs (although some landlords did allow ‘rent honeymoons’) and other fixed costs. While predictions from some quarters that the sector would not be operational again until at least September seem to have been unnecessarily gloomy, as clubs become operational again new challenges are looming. At the time of writing, with the worst potentialities of the pandemic seemingly averted, clubs in New Zealand are fully operational while, across Australia, clubs are again operating - but at reduced (and different) capacities according to each state’s levels of easing restrictions. It is also worth bearing in mind that new outbreaks and a reoccurrence of cases could see shutdowns reintroduced. Fitness will never be the same Most of all, the industry of mid 2020 is and will be very different from how it was performing before the March shutdown. In a world where the term ‘the new normal’ has entered the lexicon, Steve Pettit, Chief Executive of the Australian Institute of Fitness, explains fitness will not return to “normal” and “will never look the same as it did pre COVID-19”. Commenting how “the traditional fitness industry was switched off overnight” in March, he advised “the phased reopening will test the fitness industry as costs are turned back on and members are phased back into gyms and fitness studios.” Changing Habits While former members may still have fears over the threat of Coronavirus - albeit that gyms are now operating at optimum levels of hygiene - perhaps the biggest challenge is whether people will stick with the new exercise habits that they have formed during the shutdown. Nicholas Rizzo, Fitness Research Director for athletic equipment reviews website RunRepeat, explains “with gyms 54 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
closed for such a long time, people have been forced to drastically change their exercise habits and find new ways to stay active.” Suggesting members are likely to be cautious about the potential health-risk of returning to the gym, Rizzo notes “people are also aware that they are not going to be able to enjoy all of the same luxuries that their gym may have offered them prior to the pandemic while still paying the same price. “Not being able to get that same value in return is leading to some members to decide to cancel.” Research undertaken by RunRepeat during the shutdown found rising exercise levels in Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA while gyms were shut during the Coronavirus pandemic - contrary to Gemba’s findings. Commenting on this, Rizzo suggested “(people learned) how convenient it is to be able to squeeze in great workouts from the comfort of their home, when it wouldn’t be possible to make it to the gym otherwise.” Others factors include the keenest users of gyms - urban millennials (those born between 1981 and 2000) - being among the worst hit by Coronavirus job losses. Commenting on findings in a recently released report from Club Intel (What Members Say Matters) that highlight this, Phillip Mills, founder and Executive Director of Les Mills - a sponsor of the study, stated “there’s a major risk identified here of losing our crucial 18 to 39-year-old market. Whether this is driven by fear of infection or - as I suspect - more by financial insecurity, the way to retain them is to provide such value that they will prioritise us, as they have during previous recessions.” Location In addition, many gyms may just be in the wrong place. If office workers do not return to work in significant numbers for some months, with a possible permanent increase in working from home, gyms in city centres and business locations may start to look somewhat redundant. Exercise Association of New Zealand (ExerciseNZ) Chief Executive, Richard Beddie, confirmed this, recently advising “city centre gyms have been hit harder than suburban gyms due to the 40% of Kiwis that are still working from home during some or all of their working week.” He also confirmed issues with rents, noting “the biggest challenges for gyms are their commercial leases, with almost 50% of landlords refusing to have meaningful engagement with tenants.” Newer research from RunRepeat has also suggested that over 30% of Australian gym-goers have no intention of returning to facilities. Staying Members Finding that nearly half of all gym members globally will not return to their gyms upon reopening (46.67%), the Australian figure of 31.34% was more positive than for other nations. However, Australia was found to have the highest percentage of gym members who had either already cancelled or were considering cancelling their gym membership (41.15%). Local research showed smaller potential declines in gyms membership, with a consumer survey conducted during May by Fitness Australia finding that more than 85% of gym users
Image above courtesy of Sydney gym Flow Athletic
will renew their memberships when gyms safely reopen. In addition, advertising media have reported on internal research by the Fitness and Lifestyle Group that advises three in four gym-goers have plans to return to their branch within the first week of opening. Encouragingly, a survey from ExerciseNZ shows that gyms and fitness facilities were back to 70% activity levels within two weeks of re-opening at the country’s COVID Level 2. ExerciseNZ’s post-Coronavirus reopening survey showed the number of new people keen to stay. However, the survey suggests trainers have been hit harder than gyms, with many reporting around barely 50 to 60% of their pre-COVID income. Commenting on the findings, ExerciseNZ’s Beddie explained “while 70% is a solid start, it’s not enough for most facilities and gyms to survive as they have very high fixed business costs. A downturn of 30% is not sustainable for long, so all exercise facilities will be exploring options over the coming months on how to stay viable.” Consumer Insights More than ever, information about how the industry and consumers will behave is vital. Plagued, as ever, by lack of market data specific to Australia, the industry is largely relying on overseas data, with Club Intel’s recent What Members Say Matters report proving particularly insightful. Surveying 2,000 adult gym members in the USA, researchers found that member usage prior to closure will be a powerful predictor in relation to the likelihood of members returning. More than half (52%) who visited their facility on average 12 times or more a month indicated they were very likely to return, compared to around a third (37%) of those who use their facility eight to 12 times a month and 22% who use it once or fewer times. Commenting on this, Phillip Mills noted “frequency of attendance is a seminal metric for our industry that’s powerfully associated with customer retention and delight. “We are in the motivation business as much as that of exercise prescription and need constantly to find ways to inspire.” When it comes to the actions that facilities can take to encourage members to return, key things members would like to see include disinfecting equipment after each use, members having immediate access to hand sanitising stations and facilities enforcing limits on the number of members allowed in the building and also in group exercise classes.
The What Members Say Matters report also provides six recommendations for facility operators to consider, as the sector emerges from lockdown. These include a call to ‘think and plan differently’ for the next 12 months, as the data points to a ‘new era’ for the industry - framed by lower membership numbers, slower ramp-up periods, and more scrutinised business practices. According to the Club Intel, authenticity and transparency will also take centre stage during the reopening phase. The survey showed that members want operators to be honest about what’s happening with respect to the virus and their facility and that it’s important to hold staff and members accountable when it comes to reinforcing policies, even if that requires taking a stand. There’s also a call to take into consideration the effects of the fitness industry having pivoted to digital during the lockdown and operators seeking relevance among the gen Z and millennial generations will need to commit to providing virtual fitness content. As ExerciseNZ’s Beddie adds “we’ve seen a huge increase in general awareness of ‘moving your body’ and even if ‘going for a walk’ and ‘joining the local gym’ aren’t the same thing, awareness is high.” Optimistic about how the industry will perform moving forward, Pettit concludes “we have been reminded of how vital our health and wellbeing is, so I actually think the fitness industry will go from strength to strength.” Karen Sweaney is Editor of Australasian Leisure Management.
Image courtesy of Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA)
Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139 55
After ‘the Great Lockdown’ Simon Weatherill considers the leadership challenge facing fitness, recreation and sport
e all know that the impact of the Coronavirus crisis has been massive with borders sealed, large parts of the leisure industry closed, unemployment rising and financial markets impacted. With Coronavirus not just a pandemic, but a supply chain, macro-economic, social and geopolitical crisis that is affecting us globally we are facing a large amount of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. As a result, we need to manage the staggering technical challenges of mustering surge capacity in the health system, ensuring business continuity in essential sectors of the economy, delivering massive tax relief and income support programs in real time, while discovering effective techniques for halting the speed of the disease. While some elements of the Coronavirus are being eased - potentially earlier than was initially anticipated - fitness, recreation and sport have many challenges to overcome in order to make our facilities and services as COVID-19 proof as possible. And while sport is a $14.3 billion industry in Australia (representing 1% of GDP) it is critical for community mental health and social and physical wellbeing. We know that the path forward will not be uniform and smooth, it will be hellishly difficult for every sporting organisation due to the complexity of the crisis we are now in. Potentially lasting into 2021 and beyond, program and facility management will be very different in the future.
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What Can Leaders Do? The leadership response should be to put the organisation’s survival first. The actions you take as a leader are very challenging because if you have to make cuts to reduce costs you are harming your people. Yet you have to prioritise what is the greatest good for the greatest number and how can we ensure the survival of the business. While we are all apprentices in dealing with this crisis as a leader you could prioritise as follows: •Overall Survival of The Business •Your Employees •Your Customers •Your Shareholders or Stake holders You must put the business first, employees second, customers third and shareholders stakeholders fourth. If you are laying off people give them all the support that you can and try and spread the pain across the organisation by everyone taking pay cuts or working until we start to come out of the other end of this crisis, remembering that when we come out of this and establish what the ‘new normal’ will be, we will want to re-employ these people. Leadership in Action How a leader reacts is paramount in being a role model for leading in a crisis. •Be transparent and remain positive •Develop a set of principles around what you know
•Ensure the business is economically viable and preserve core revenue streams where possible, for sporting facilities monthly debit at a lower cost by using technology to maintain customer loyalty. •Share the Pain •Plan for the worst but expect the best •Assume a minimum of six months business disruption •Conserve expenditure where possible - ‘cash is king’ •Develop a business reestablishment strategy As a leader ask yourself who do you want to be and how do you bring your ‘A game’ to every meeting and encounter with your staff, other organisations, government and the like. •Keep a calm and clear emotional state •Thank and appreciate others •Look for new ways to adapt and change •Live in the present, focus on the future •Practice gratitude and patience, relationships and creativity •Make your talents available to those who want to use them •Be empathetic with yourself and others Protect the Business It is more than likely that we will have to live with COVID-19 as the probability of a vaccine is a long way off. Therefore, how do we cope at an operational level? •Work at breakneck speed to visual map our capacity to protect our core business and monthly debit. While at the same time reimaging future operations. Monthly debit and the membership base should be protected at all cost even if you are only charging $10 a month for your services you need to keep the membership base alive •Set up two teams, one to work on the core business and to communicate with your membership and community customer base and the other to look at delivering the services
via technology •Undertake a stocktake of all the services that you offer and determine how you will offer some or all those services after the lockdown •Carry out an audit of your current technology to develop a road map of what will be required to deliver up to 50% of your services via zoom or other webinar-based technology •Consider developing an App that can handle bookings online and can be used for a loyalty rewards program, that also has the capability to communicate with your members and customers in an easy effective manner •Develop plenty of digital content for your members •Map out at a facility level how you make your facility bio secure to minimise the spread of the virus when your customers return to the facility. Also map out social distancing requirements and maximum numbers for the services you offer •Develop a clear set of reworked business principles and budgets •Start now. This is not a time for hibernation, it is a time to rework and reimagine your business in order to be effective in the new environment that we will all face •Smart business operators will use the crisis to transform the way in which they operate, by digitising processes, changing ways in which they interact with customers. Simplifying decision making processes and providing a clear path for the future As John Daley, Chief Executive of Australian public policy think tank the Grattan Institute, suggests “the best-case scenario is an orderly, globally synchronised, deep recession, which will take several years to recover from.” So plan for the worst but expect the best. Simon Weatherill is Managing Director of World Wide Sports Management. www.weatherill-leadership.com
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Shanghai Disneyland and some of its many attractions.
The Path to Attractions reopening Ron Merriman highlights what a study of the reopening of Chinaâ€™s attractions means for soon-to-reopen visitor attractions worldwide
n 25th January this year, Shanghai Disneyland, the mostvisited theme park in mainland China, announced its indefinite closure in response to a disease outbreak we now know as COVID-19. Within 60 days, virtually every major visitor attraction worldwide had followed suit. We at MR-ProFun felt an obligation to act. Our company has spent 40 years helping visitor attractions worldwide with planning, managing, and improving their operations. We were determined to put that experience to work for the benefit of our industry. As we observed the increasing spread of COVID-19 globally, our team in Shanghai began to observe some improvements on the ground in China. It quickly became evident that China was not only going to be the first place to face the pandemic, it was going to be among the first to emerge from it. And if China was going to be ahead of the curve in figuring out when and how visitor attractions would reopen, we saw an opportunity to serve our industry by observing, documenting, and reporting on that process. In late March, our Shanghai office began tracking the status of various operational metrics for a broad cross-section of visitor attractions in China. Metrics related to operating status, social-distancing measures, and admissions policies are among those we are tracking. When our study began in late March, less than 30% of attractions had reopened. In the nine weeks since, nearly 80% of attractions have reopened. Especially noteworthy over the last few weeks has been the careful relaxing of operating
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protocols among some reopened parks: expanded operating hours, easing of advanced-reservation and/or timed-arrival requirements, limited re-opening of select indoor venues. If these reopened attractions succeed in avoiding any COVIDrelated setbacks, we expect to see continued standardisation of these relaxed-but-still-cautious operational parameters. Again, we expect that reopenings in China will provide a valuable preview. Eventually, attractions will move beyond a focus on their initial re-openings and begin to grapple with when and how they can return to something approaching more ‘normal’ operation. We believe that the most successful attractions will be those that take a very structured approach to that transition. The critical first part of this approach will be to recognise that progress from the unique conditions of an initial re-opening to an eventual return to normal operation will occur in discrete stages. Progressively, attractions will need to be prepared to move through a very restricted initial reopening phase, then through an extended-but-temporary phase of limited operation, before eventually arriving at a ‘new normal’ mode of operation. Secondly, attraction operators will need to think carefully in advance - of the metrics and milestones they will apply in determining their readiness to advance to the next stage. At every stage, operators can expect to face significant financial pressure to move forward. But the need to move forward does not in itself indicate a readiness to move forward. A clear set of criteria, including but not limited to financial considerations, will provide organisations with a valuable set of ground rules to inform their decision-making. Finally, MR-ProFun believes that operators should be preparing themselves to address several critical issues that will emerge as the attraction moves through its progressive stages toward normal operation. We recommend that operators develop specific plans to address at least three key aspects of the operation beyond their initial reopening.
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Differentiating Between the Temporary and the Permanent Predicting the future at a time like this is essentially impossible. However, it seems quite likely that some - but certainly not all - of the operational changes put in place during attraction reopenings will become permanent. The days of children’s ‘ball pit’ play areas, interactive touchscreens, and self-service bins for dining utensils may already be behind us. On the other hand, reservations-only admittance, empty ride vehicle rows, and shuttered food and beverage operations are less likely to persist. MR-ProFun is already working with its clients to begin classifying the operational changes that may be permanent visà-vis those that are likely to be temporary. These classifications will help attraction operators make better decisions related to investments in new technology, initiatives related to staff training, and preparations for longer-term renovation and/or redevelopment. Managing Unique Staffing Challenges Every attraction recognises the need to re-train staff in its new reopening operating procedures. The best-managed attractions, however, will also recognise the need to address several unique morale-related issues among their staff. For staff members among that first group recalled to work for the initial reopening, there will almost certainly be some with significant misgivings about their health and safety. It seems likely that some staff members will be at risk of burnout well before the attraction is back to normal operation. On the other hand, those staff members who are recalled in latter stages as the operation expands may return with concerns about how much they are valued or respected, with the call-back process itself implying a “pecking order.” Any feelings of resentment toward those colleagues called back earlier in the process will likely be compounded in cases where those later-recalled staff members endured longer periods with
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little or no household income. Accordingly, MR-ProFun is advising its clients that they should be especially mindful of clearly communicating their staff recall processes. We are also beginning to define special rewards and recognition programs to address some of the unique morale-related challenges. Finally, we are strongly emphasising that attractions should be devoting extra attention to existing programs for monitoring and measuring employee satisfaction. Marketing to Re-Generate Visitor Demand For many attractions, moving beyond pent-up demand in the initial reopening period will be challenging. Household budget constraints and residual safety concerns among would-be visitors are likely to result in a difficult medium-term environment for attraction marketers. MR-ProFun recommends that attractions begin now to prepare for the marketing strategies that will be required six to twelve months down the road. In fact, we believe that the unique marketing landscape likely to emerge in 2021 may present forward-looking organisations with the opportunity to pursue new and/or long-neglected initiatives. Admissions pricing will inevitably be a major factor in postCOVID demand generation. However, for some attractions the post-COVID market may provide opportunities to explore more innovative ways to employ pricing as a tool for capacity management. In fact, it is quite possible that the long-discussed advent of “dynamic pricing” for attractions may accelerate in the post-COVID period. Co-marketing is another area we believe will present unique opportunities. Perhaps never before have more different companies in more disparate industries all faced the same essential challenge: bringing customers back. With a vastly expanded universe of potential marketing partners, we expect leading operators to greatly expand their co-marketing activities with innovative cross-brand product bundles, new sales channel relationships, and co-operative advertising campaigns. The impacts of COVID on the global attraction industry are likely to be felt for some time. Our on-going study in China is confirming that the initial re-opening of an attraction represents only the first step in a longer process. We at MR-ProFun expect that those attractions which plan thoroughly for operational changes, prepare carefully for downside risks, and position themselves to exploit unique opportunities where they may arise will likely emerge best-equipped to succeed in the postCOVID landscape. Ron Merriman is Managing Director-China for global consultancy MR-ProFun. MR-ProFun has been studying post-Coronavirus attractions reopenings in China to understand more clearly the path forward for soon-to-reopen visitor attractions worldwide.
AALARA releases guide for the reopening of Australia’s attractions industry Aiming to aid attractions as they approach reopening after the Coronavirus shutdown, the Australian Amusement, Leisure and Recreation Association (AALARA) has released its Reopening Guide: Considerations for the Australian Attractions Industry. The guide - developed in association with AALARA partner the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), attraction professionals and operators from around the world, medical experts, as well as health guidance from Australian and global government departments - outlines principles and approaches to consider for reopening once lockdown restrictions are lifted for attractions business operators. Available to members, AALARA expects that its Reopening Guide will be used to suggest operational adjustments to ensure a COVIDSafe facility and develop operators’ own plans. Commenting on the release, AALARA advised “while we lobby and advocate for our members and industry, we find ourselves in a positive position where we are making progress in getting in front of the right people and by providing them (with) proactive information and resources we have made available to our members and industry, we believe this will be looked upon favourably by state and territory health departments.” The AALARA Reopening Guide, along with many more COVID-19 resources relevant to the attractions industry is available on the AALARA website at www.aalara.com.au
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URBNSURF Melbourne. Credit URBNSURF/Ed Sloane
Wavegarden continues to deliver world-class surf parks around the world Following the recent opening of its URBNSURF Melbourne, Wavegarden is planning to open four commercial surfing facilities in 2020/21 (Siheung, next to Seoul and Incheon International Airport, South Korea; Valais, Switzerland; Praia da Grama & Garopaba, Brazil) and has another 30+ projects financially contracted and in development across five continents. As businesses across the globe progressively start to reopen following the forced closure due to COVID-19, URBNSURF Melbourne recently announced that surfers can return to the attraction. Amid a period when enterprises are subject to numerous new pressures, Wavegarden founder and Chief Executive Josema Odriozola shares a positive outlook “in spite of everything, our team is working hard to continually improve the performance of our systems and we remain excited and confident about the future.” A full-scale facility, like URBNSURF, can host over 80 surfers simultaneously, with each surfer catching between 10-15 waves per session. Contact +34 943 041 018, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.wavegarden.com
Grassports installs Laykold Advantage courts at Melbourne’s Wesley College Grassports Australia has completed a transformation of the outdoor netball courts at Melbourne’s Wesley College, installing impact absorbing Laykold Advantage surfaces from APT Asia Pacific. The re-surfacing of the school’s four outdoor tennis courts complete with netball lines, using the top-of-the range Australian-made playing surface, is available for use by the more than 1,000 pupils at the school as well as for regular Saturday sport competitions. Grassports Australia Managing Director, Bernard Evans explained “Grassports was engaged by the school because of our reputation in completing other projects at the school over many years with fantastic outcomes. “With the existing courts worn out, base rectifications were completed before the new acrylic surfacing could be applied.” APT (Advanced Polymer Technology) is the leading global manufacturer of polyurethane-based materials, acrylic coatings and synthetic turf products for sporting and recreational applications. With a range of synthetic sport surfaces, over 100,000 metres² of Laykold surface have been installed worldwide since it was introduced in 1970. The USTA recently announced Laykold as the new surface of US Open. Contact 1800 652 548, E: email@example.com, www.aptasiapacific.com.au 62 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
Polin Waterparks launches world’s largest Bowl water slide Polin Waterparks has launched the brand-new Time Rider water slide featuring the world’s largest Bowl offering four paths - allowing riders to experience different choices every time and extend their time on the attraction. Time Rider also offers special lighting effects on its wormhole (functional observation walkway) while also offering VR applications. Contact Polin’s Australian representative Swimplex Aquatics on 1300 796 759, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.swimplex.com.au
BioGuard introduces complete pool business management system BioGuard Retail Lynx is a complete pool business management system which brings together every aspect of a pool business in one simple interface, giving owners and managers complete oversight of their operations at-a-glance. With BioGuard Retail Lynx, operators can now automate workflows, eliminate paperwork, boost sales and serve even happier customers. By integrating the three most popular software management tools in one seamless pool management platform BioGuard Retail Lynx delivers: State-of-the-art BioGuard Water Cloud and BioGuard Service Pro water testing, servicing and invoicing software used by more Australia and New Zealand stores than any other platform; Vend point-of-sale technology and Xero accounting - collectively used by almost 2.25 million businesses worldwide. Contact BioGuard distributor BioLab Australia Pty Ltd on 08 8274 6800, E: email@example.com, www.bioguard.com.au
PLAE and BeaverFit formalise partnership to boost athletic training options in Oceania Leading sports flooring provider PLAE and functional training equipment suppliers BeaverFit have agreed a new joint-venture to expand athletic training solutions in the Oceania region. PLAE’s new formal partnership with UK-founded BeaverFit presents an expanded range of athletic training solutions and follows the two companies having collaborated on a number of projects globally in recent years. The partnership, which is set to increase their scope within the industry, will see PLAE’s Australian-based office, in collaboration with BeaverFit, manufacture the Beaverfit range in Australia, adding its diversity of outdoor training solutions to its already extensive consultative offering. Contact 0409 859 335, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.plae.global
Visitance digital contact tracing solution proves popular at aquatic, fitness and recreation centres Leading leisure industry software provider, Jonas Leisure has reported their recently launched Visitance app, is proving popular with aquatic, fitness and recreation centres. The contactless system is helping these centres comply with government COVID-19 contact tracing requirements and occupancy limits. Visitance simplifies the process of checking people in and out of a facility by using a QR code which members and other visitors scan using just the camera app on their phones. Scanning the code loads a branded web page where visitors enter contact details including their name, phone number and email address. This information is then securely held, allowing managers to easily contact people or export data for local government if a case of COVID-19 is discovered among facility users. Jonas Leisure Chief Executive, Mike Henton advises “it’s great to see Visitance being widely adopted, including by some sectors we hadn’t originally anticipated. It’s now being harnessed by the likes of libraries, scout halls and churches, as well as our target audience of leisure centres, aquatic facilities and gyms.” Henton advised that a feature that had proven particularly popular was Visitance’s occupancy count display, which allows a facility to show a real-time count of how many people are currently inside by displaying it on digital signage, a spare monitor, or an iPad at their front door. This made it easy for staff and visitors to view the current occupancy count and the permitted capacity at a glance. Contact 02 9906 7522, E: email@example.com, www.jonasleisure.com.au and www. visitance.net
Latest Life Floor installation on display at Hills Swimming in Sydney Life Floor has provided details of its recent installation at Hills Swimming in the Sydney suburb of Kenthurst. Owned and operated by swim school leaders Julie and Deny Zancanaro, the Life Floor Design Studio recommended two shades of blue from Life Floor’s ‘High Tide’ theme to match the existing decor. Tiles were laid in a classic checkerboard grid arrangement and included pre-cut depth indicator signs. Prior to the installation, the Zancanaros had persevered with large, interlocking loose lay rubber mats which - not designed for pool deck environments - had made it difficult to keep the pool deck safe. Julie and Deny Zancanaro are pleased with the transformation Life Floor has made - especially how much easier it is to keep clean (vital in the current climate), explaining “cleaning and maintenance associated with the (old) temporary mats was proving to be increasingly challenging and so, after considerable research, we settled on Life Floor in the 10mm thick Ripple texture. “We are absolutely delighted with the transformation Life Floor has made to our centre. It looks great, it’s keeping everyone so much safer as they move around the wet pool deck, and it’s a lot easy to clean than the rubber mats we had.” Contact 1300 721 135, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.lifefloor.com.au
Quayclean Australia launches new supply network Australian-owned venue cleaning experts Quayclean Australia, has launched its new commercial arm, Quay Supply Network, to assist public venues, businesses and schools source and supply cleaning and protection products. Quay Supply Network specialises in supplying hand sanitisers, antibacterial hand washes and soaps, hospital grade disinfectants and a broad range of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Quay Supply Network was founded from customers demanding genuine service from product suppliers, searching for commercial competitiveness, and sourcing Australian-made products. Contact 1300 897 117, E: email@example.com, www.quayclean.com.au
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SwimDesk expands online software functionality for swim schools SwimDesk has released an expansion to the functionality of its popular software platform for managing swim school communication, progression and retention. Introducing the extension, SwimDesk Product Manager, Lane Harrison advised “many in the industry have expressed their frustration to us about the limitations and lack of options when it comes to online swim school software (so) we are excited to announce the release of our expanded functionality to the industry.” This new functionality integrates seamlessly with SwimDesk’s other popular features for managing assessments, progression and providing parents with detailed feedback about their child’s progress. Contact 1300 181 665, www.greenedesk.com Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139 63
Partnership announced between Technogym and IRONMAN Technogym has been announced as the Official Global Fitness Equipment Partner for IRONMAN which sees the partnership also including Technogym’s involvement with the IRONMAN World Championships and Virtual Racing Series events. The partnership will debut with the recently announced IRONMAN® Virtual Racing™ (VR™) Series that will be offered through the IRONMAN Virtual Club, an innovative webbased platform that allows athletes to train and compete from anywhere around the world, while earning activity-based points and engaging with the community. The IRONMAN Group President and Chief Executive, Andrew Messick advised “Technogym has developed a wide range of state-of-the-art smart fitness equipment that provides exceptional indoor training solutions for our athletes.” Contact Technogym on 1800 615 440, E: email@example.com, www.technogym.com
Extreme Sports Zone releases simplified installation for BrushBoarding attractions The design team at sporting attractions experts Extreme Sports Zone Ltd have introduced a new innovation that eases the installation of the BrushBoard ‘dry’ wave/surfing attraction. Extreme Sports Zone’s engineering and design team have developed a BrushBoarding ramp that can be carried through standard double doors and assembled at the owner’s location. As explained by Extreme Sports Zone founder and Director, Kyle Dent “this is great news for those activity centres and FECs who might find access into their centres an issue but still want to add new innovative crowd drawing interactive features. “This unique cost-effective attraction can be manufactured to suit just about any location or space available. With a low power consumption using an average 12Kw of power, the required readily available 415v power supply puts the ease of installations and the return on investment at the front of the queue.” Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, www.brushboarding.com
New thermal imaging technology to enhance event security
MiGym helps personal trainers and coaches transition to online business model Adapting to the changed way fitness providers have done business as a result of circumstances that have been brought on by COVID-19, MiGym has extended its services to assist personal trainers and coaches transition to an online business model. Built to helping gyms and studios connect with new members, the platform now supports personal trainers, nutritionists, yoga and Pilates coaches - and soon to include sport specific coaches - with additional features to provide the coaches with all the necessary tools to win in the online space. Advising that the coaches profile looks, feels and functions as their very own website, Ryan Elliott, the founder of MiGym. com.au, explains “I’ve met and worked with hundreds of personal trainers over the years, and although they are great technicians, most aren’t the greatest at building websites, creating marketing channels, ecommerce stores, SEO or lead generations strategies - so we figured we’d do it all for them.” Contact Ryan Elliott 0439 730 487, E: email@example.com, www.MiGym.com.au 64 Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139
Vital Protection Group have launched new thermal imaging technology that will allow event organisers and venue operators to detect elevated temperatures of event attendees. Commenting on the technology, Vital Protection Group Director, Eddie Idik notes “having the exclusive distribution rights for Australia and New Zealand, our thermal detection technology is going to assist venues in having the tools it needs to instil the confidence back to its stakeholders.” Anticipating that future events will not just require traditional security screening but a focus on the ‘new normal’ of biosecurity screening as well, Idik notes “the days of discretion are gone. Attendees want to know and see the actions event organisers and venue operators are taking to ensure not just the security of attendees, but what bio-security measures are being put into place.” Contact 02 8856 1421, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.vitalprotectiongroup.com.au
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AlphaFit notes local support for Australian manufactured equipment With the Coronavirus crisis having thrown a spotlight on Australia’s manufacturing sector, Queensland-based fitness equipment company AlphaFit has emphasised how the local manufacture of much of its product range sees it well placed to continue the uninterrupted supply of its equipment. With manufacturing activity such as that undertaken by AlphaFit deemed an essential service during the Coronavirus shutdown, the company has so far not been impacted as severely as many other industries. AlphaFit Director, Bobby Montesalvo points out the Australian Government’s call for Australians to support local businesses amid the COVID-19 crisis has not only assisted businesses such as AlphaFit in meeting the demand for supplies but has also kept these businesses open and people employed. Advising that a renewed focus on the Australian manufacturing industry with more consumers looking to support local businesses and the economy, Montesalvo explains “Coronavirus has highlighted Australia’s reliance on international manufacturing, and this is seen through the lack of supply from some of our competitors. “We are a proud Australian business manufacturing the vast majority of our steel components here in Australia, by Australians.” Contact 1300 257 428, www.alphafit.com.au
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 in Australia and New Zealand. 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.” The new protective screen is the latest in a growing list of virus-fighting products launched in Australasia by Centaman Entrance Control. Contact 02 9906 7522, www.entrancecontrol.com.au
PerfectGym innovations back industry reopening 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 re-entry strategies - anticipating how club owners and centre managers will need to operate as facilities are allowed to reopen 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 a simple to implement ‘people in club counter’, that will deny entry when the threshold is reached.” Building upon the need to limit entry and control thresholds, 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 in addition, 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. Contact 1300 088 922, E: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.perfectgym.com.au
Smart Connection Consultancy releases updated guidance for Synthetic Sports Surfaces As part of an ongoing commitment to knowledge sharing, collaboration and advocacy to the industry, Smart Connection Consultancy has released its latest and most advanced generation of Smart Guides for Synthetic Sports Surfaces. As one of the world’s leading synthetic sports surface consultancies, Smart Connection Consultancy is committed to sharing the latest industry insights and surfacing technology to help local government, the education sector and community sport meet growing demands for sports fields. The highly regarded Smart Guides for Synthetic Sports Surfaces are the only independent and comprehensive resource of its kind available within Australia, and are conveniently packaged into five easy to navigate volumes. Contact 03 9421 0133, the Smart Guides can be downloaded free of charge at www.smartconnection.net.au/downloads Australasian Leisure Management Issue 139 65
Zamperla conceives plexiglass safety barrier for attraction rides
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Global attraction and amusement ride manufacturer, Zamperla has conceived a plexiglass safety barrier that guarantees social distancing to their park visitors, even when riding their amusement rides, thus giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy attractions and amusement parks without any concern. In this challenging period during the COVID-19 pandemic, Zamperla have taken on a clients’ perspective aiming to “understand the difficulties that Parks are going through in communicating to their guests that amusement venues are now as safe as ever.” Contact +39 0444 998 400, E: email@example.com www.zamperla.com/
INTIX develops world-first contact tracing technology for events To support customers being able to return to running events sooner, Australian ticketing and technology company INTIX, has developed a world-first contact tracing add-on for its ticketing platform. Social distancing and lockdown restrictions caused by the COVID19 virus has had a detrimental impact on the events industry. INTIX Chief Executive, Alan Grant has advised the ticketing add-on will allow event organisers to assist the Government with COVID19 contact tracing by proving the details of attendees if required. Grant noted “we developed this add-on in the hopes that by assisting the Government with contact tracing we may be able to cautiously help our customers open their doors and get events and gigs back up and running.” Contact E:firstname.lastname@example.org, www.intix.com
Gumbuya World selects Davey Water Products to deliver efficient innovative solutions for pool maintenance Having expanded into commercial pool operations, Davey Water Products recently delivered efficient pool maintenance solutions for Victorian water park attraction, Gumbuya World. A total of 3.5 million litres of water flow through Gumbuya World’s pools, slides and lazy river. Consultant Adrian Pratt from WJ Pratt was tasked with designing the water infrastructure and worked with Davey Water Products to select and David Potts, Commercial Business Development Manager for customise pumps for the huge project. Davey Water Products with Adrian Pratt, WJ Pratt Industries Pratt advised “the pump selection is absolutely critical to the project’s success. As the slides are designed to be run at very specific flow rates the pumps selected had to be sized correctly to achieve these. Too much water slows the rides down and not enough water can actually speed the slides up, which of course is an unacceptable safety risk.” Pratt notes that with using Davey Water Products “we can run the entire plant from anywhere in the world.” Contact 1300 232 839, E: email@example.com, www.daveywater.com/au/commercial
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