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Technology: Your Park Ranger's New Best Friend

The dichotomy of technology and nature is an interesting one. While technology doesn’t grow in the wild, technology’s place in our lives grows with us. For better or worse, our children are more involved with technology at an earlier age, with smartphones and tablets becoming commonplace in many households.



Initially, it might be a little discouraging to see kids in the great outdoors glued to their phones but that is still better than being glued to a couch. For some city dwellers, the appreciation of nature and parks can come at a later age or when they’re not caught up with the stresses of work and/or family. Technology can be used to attract more and more guests to your parks and here are some ways to do it.



Embracing Technology

It’s easy to get frustrated with guests who are constantly on their smartphones at your parks and recreation facilities but, at the same time, their attendance beats them being on their couch all day. As we mentioned before, technology’s role in our lives keeps increasing and without our willingness to embrace it and make it work for us, younger generations may not be as willing to spend their time in our parks.


New apps will come out that will keep encouraging people to get outdoors. Before you say it’s for all the wrong reasons, we’d like to argue that it still beats being on your couch. Tech addiction is a real thing but being in nature will still boost their well-being and that’s parks and recreation’s primary objective. Apps that encourage people to explore their surroundings through geotagging and other methods are great for increasing motivation to hit the trails. It’s not a bad idea to advertise how potential guests can use these apps to boost the fun factor.



Build Community Online

Building community takes a lot of work and your team has to be committed to the goal. However, we believe it is one of the biggest factors in modern marketing success. Building a following, interacting and engaging with them in meaningful ways is the gist of it but how do we really execute this?


First, your social media engagement needs to be taken seriously. Come up with your target demographics; while everyone needs parks and recreation in their lives, you’ll probably find certain demographics engage more on social media. For more information on how to build community through social media, check out effective outreach strategies for your community and how parks improve our lives and communities.


Another thing to note is the effect of imagery on social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. Posts with visuals attached perform better than ones that don’t and, for parks and rec, this is great news. Look for photo opportunities you can set up for your guest, and a refresher on the do’s and don’ts at national parks can be a good idea.



App Life

Games and apps are evolving and some of these apps can have big effects on your guest attendance numbers. For example, when Pokémon Go came out, some people were complaining that we were too obsessed with technology, because it’s a location based mobile game. That being said, one thing we noticed was how many more kids, teens and adults were spending more time outdoors, exploring and being active, while alleviating mental health issues. Other games and apps will pop up in the future and being aware of how to embrace them will lead to creative new ways to grow your community base.


Check out this great article by the National Recreation and Parks Association on how to harness the Pokémon Go phenomenon, to learn more on how to do just that.


Is there a tech gadget or app that has changed how your guests interact with each other and with your parks and recreation organization? Let us know on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Google+, to stay up to date with all of your PerfectMind news.




PerfectMind is an industry-leading member management and facility booking software provider. Its robust Platform as a Service (PaaS) serves organizations of all sizes in parks & recreation, health & wellness, fitness, and education sectors. With over 5,000 customers in 21 countries, PerfectMind streamlines business processes so organizations can focus on supporting and growing their communities.

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