Pumping Iron

Monterey Sports Center in Monterey, Calif.

By Matt Roberts


ocated on the breathtakingly picturesque Monterey Peninsula, the Monterey Sports Center sits in a prime, hard-to-miss location. Taking up half a city block, it is considered by many to be the crown jewel of the city's five recreational facilities.

Boasting 77,000 square feet, the Center offers services and amenities including two indoor pools, waterslide, sun deck, a three-court gymnasium, fitness centers, sports café and pro shop, fitness assessment center, babysitting service, two group exercise studios, swimming programs (for all ages), Pilates, sports camps, on-site physical therapy, personal training, weight-loss programs, triathlon training and much more.

Since opening its doors in 1992, the Center has prided itself on staying current, with both equipment and programs and services, to keep more than 3,000 members coming through its doors daily.

As one step to ensuring it's ahead of the curve, the Center's management wanted to make improvements to more efficiently move group exercise guests through those doors—literally. Until recently, guests going to group exercise programs would check into the Center using punch cards, which could be time-consuming and slow the flow through the security doors. Although the Center had an ID card system, not all programs offered interfaced with its recreational program.

This method had several drawbacks. Since the punch cards weren't computerized, they didn't offer an easy way to centrally manage who was in the Center at any given time, so security was an issue. In addition, managing paper cards was often an administrative challenge for the front-desk staff. For example, at peak times, a line would form, which management worked hard to avoid, knowing the importance of efficient access to the facility.

When issuing more than 5,000 cards per year, management decided to make ID cards available for more of its programs. It was during this expansion that they turned to El Segundo, Calif.-based Advantidge, a provider of a full range of secure ID (including eco-friendly) and card issuance systems.

After evaluating the Center's current needs, Advantidge identified the appropriate card solution that would easily and cost-effectively integrate into their existing systems.

"Now, with this improvement, we can offer an ID card people can scan and reload for a wider range of programs we offer. This has saved us a lot of time and has been a really great help in making our procedures more efficient," said Dianne Nielson, administrative assistant, Monterey Sports Center.

Nielson said that with the new cards, it is now virtually impossible to cheat the system by copying the old paper cards, which she noted was a problem at times.

The new card system has also solved those administrative headaches. Now, when Group Exercise Program participants sign up, their information is entered into the computer system and their ID card is printed instantly.

Then, upon each visit, the card is simply scanned, freeing front desk staff from the old hole puncher and speeding members through the line.

"It's nice for the member because they don't have to keep track of this loose piece of paper all the time," said Nielson. "It's just a more respectable system too. When you have an actual ID card, it has more meaning than a little piece of paper."

The result? In addition to the qualitative improvements described by Nielson in areas like security and administrative and member efficiencies, there has also been a significant quantitative increase for the Center. Nielson said implementing wider use of the card system for more than just memberships allows more guests to check in twice as fast as before.

In fact, the new system has even allowed the Center to assign members different cards for different purposes (e.g., one for membership and another for programs and services, which can be reloaded). Gift cards are also offered.

Nielson believes that the process was seamless.

"It was a pretty easy transition. We've never had an issue. They make everything pretty user-friendly for us," she said.


Monterey Sports Center: www.monterey.org/sportscenter

Advantidge: www.advantidge.com

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