Clubware helps transform historic squash club into thriving local fitness centre

Business is booming for one of Wellington’s most iconic fitness clubs thanks to the introduction of Clubware membership management software, says club manager Rob Walker.

Club Kelburn, situated in Salamanca Road, Kelburn, was originally founded in 1963 as the John Reid Squash Centre by Kiwi cricketing great John Reid, and is credited with being a major influence on the development of squash in New Zealand.

On taking over management of the centre in 1994, Rob Walker changed the name to Club Kelburn and diversified the centre with the establishment of a gymnasium area, which he says has now become a significant part of the club.

“Squash is most definitely our heritage and the centre is still a home for squash – including being a training ground for national and world champions and Commonwealth Games medal winners. But it’s the gym that has helped us take a leap forward as a multi-use club.”

Walker says that when they first set up the gym with technology to manage memberships, they only had a very basic system that worked as a separate database to the centre’s till.

“Most members paid up front for each session, but as we grew there was an increasing need to offer payment plans for membership. It was around this time that we started signing up members through Debitsuccess.”

However, Walker was still finding that keeping track of all paying members who attended the gym was an ongoing headache.

“We had a number of members who had apparently joined us but had never actually paid, so they were getting their gym membership for free. We clearly needed better systems internally for running our business.”

This realisation ultimately led Walker to installing the Clubware software system as a way to keep track of the daily administration of Club Kelburn. After only a short time, the difference it made to the running of the centre was, in his words, a “massive improvement.”

“Clubware simplified so much of what we do. We were at once able to combine and access all customer databases at the same terminal, and it also revitalized our point-of-sale presence with new equipment,” says Walker.

“Previously, when members came in they would leave their card at reception, but we didn’t know who they were. With the Clubware system, we were able to provide members with membership cards with barcodes that not only let us keep track of their visits, but also helped us get to know them better.”

Walker says Clubware has also effectively streamlined the process for signing up new members to the gym, which has in turn increased revenue.

“With the Clubware user interface directly in front of us, we simply get new members to read through the notes of their member responsibilities as we enter their data. There is no more waiting for them to complete a written form, which could easily have errors,” he says.

“Beyond that point, we can regularly communicate with club members through the correspondence tools of Clubware – be it via email or SMS text – which is a big advantage, ensuring they feel well taken care of, and so come back regularly.

Walker also cites the Clubware tech support phone line as a key part of what has made a difference to the success of Club Kelburn.

“The fact that we have access to advice and assistance from a dedicated Clubware team in the event of any software issue is a big advantage. The training and service they provide is very, very good – and with fantastic webinar tools like TeamViewer, we can train new staff quickly and easily.”

Walker is excited about the future for Club Kelburn, both as a club and as a service, providing a high-quality squash and fitness facility for use by the local community.

“The bottom line is that Clubware is actually making us money! The reporting functions have enabled us to analyse our databases to pick up those non-paying members and the online functionality has created an easy membership sign-up process, so we have more people coming through the doors than ever before.

“So thanks to Clubware, the future is looking bright for Club Kelburn, which will not only be good for us as a club, but also enable us to continue nurturing the roots of the centre by supporting the development of squash in New Zealand.”

For more information about Clubware Facility Management Software, or call +64 9 481 0401.