As of July 2015, Statista.com reported that 1.5 million apps are available in Apple’s App Store. And the variety of those apps is astounding.
In fact, the University of Missouri’s campus recreation department launched its very own MizzouRec App in August of 2014. Jennifer Seris, the creative production manager, said it was initially implemented for fitness challenges that campus recreation was hosting. However, as time progressed it began to do much more.
“[It] reached a part of our user group audience that doesn’t participate in other programs,” said Seris. “They’re already in using the space, using the facility, using the treadmills and the equipment, so it’s one more way they could track their workout, compete and all that.”
The app, based through Netpulse, saw a relaunch in August 2015. Seris said it now allows for the ability to send push notifications and utilize what she called the deal section — where promotions for the spa, free group fitness classes, etc. appear. Plus, the app now has a training tile that allows students to submit inquiries to get a personal trainer.
Ultimately though, Seris said it’s another channel for digital advertising and for information to be spread. However, her biggest want behind implementing an app at all was for it to be interactive. “It needed to have a function,” said Seris. “There’s no reason to have an app that just shows your hours and your class schedule and what you offer if you can’t also do something with it. So, that was really the big appeal with the Netpulse app was because between the challenges and the tracking of workouts and goals and that kind of thing, the students that can use it that way will come back to it and use it.”
In order to get students using the app, digital screens with ads about the app are placed through the rec center. Social media, email and the website are also used to push it. “It’s just a matter of getting the awareness out there for them to know about it, to know that it’s a resource for them and then to keep them interested in it and using it is our challenge the rest of the year,” said Seris.
One of the lessons she has learned in the process is to treat the app like other rec center programs and promotions. This will allow staff to embed the app and the work required to keep it updated into their workload.
Overall though, Seris said the decision to bring the app onboard has been worthwhile. “It’s a really fun opportunity that we’ve noticed a lot of feedback and engagement on and response to that people are enjoying and using it,” she said. “It’s been well worth the time and energy and cost of it.”