Picture of a leisure facility in the sunlight

Enhancing member experience and protecting profits: the many roles of entrance control in leisure facilities

From preventing unauthorised access and discrimination, to protecting revenue streams, providing usage data and facilitating simple but controlled member and visitor access, entrance control in the leisure industry gets a pretty extreme workout. Especially at the moment, with the number of people in a leisure facility at any one moment requiring monitoring and controlling to ensure social distancing guidelines can be met, and touchless technologies increasingly in demand to minimise touchpoints. You can read more about COVID-secure solutions for gyms and other leisure facilities in our recent case study about ClubFit24.

Leisure organisations – such as gyms and swimming pools – have a requirement to protect their members, facilities and profits and can do this using entrance control. But, it is vital that in the delivery of these requirements that ease of access for all paying members and visitors isn’t compromised.

Only allowing members and authorised visitors to gain access

An image of weights at a gymEnsuring that access is only granted to paying members and visitors is very important to leisure centre managers. Tailgating in leisure environments – especially in the advent of 24-hour gyms with unmanned receptions – can be an issue, with members letting their friends in to use the facilities for free if there is no one staffing the front door.

This behaviour can be picked up by Fastlane turnstiles, which issue alerts when more than one person passes through on an authorised card and provide information on which members are permitting these unauthorised entries. Further into the gym, Door Detective can also detect these kinds of violations, protecting other access doors including fire exits.

In Glasgow, at the Gorbals leisure facility, we partnered with Alternative Systems Protection (ASP) to provide an entrance control system that only grants access to members and pay as you go customers, as well as delivering a range of other benefits.

Developed initially to meet a specific need for leisure environments, the Fastlane Glassgate 155 was first installed at this site. Starting with the standard turnstile unit, and working closely with ASP, IDL’s technical team created a bespoke top to allow for integration of ASP’s wristband readers for members and barcode readers for visitors.

Leisure facility entrance control

Equal access for all users

The Glassgate 155 not only serves to protect the Gorbals leisure facility’s revenue streams, it also offers a wider lane of up to 1200mm to accommodate sports wheelchairs, which are slightly wider than standard wheelchairs.

At the Tollcross International Swimming Centre, the width of the turnstile lanes was of particular interest. IDL again partnered with ASP on this project, and Derek Cardno – Business Development Manager at ASP – commented: “Separate Passgates are often used at leisure facilities to provide access for those using standard and sports wheelchairs; these can prove less secure and also feel discriminatory to the users, which is what our client wanted to avoid.”

The Glassgate 155 provides a more inclusive option, as all users enter and exit via the same point, delivering a better user experience. Fire exit routes are now also much simpler, as all users can exit via the same set of gates.

Providing a great member experience

When integrated with leisure management software, turnstiles have the capability to provide a frictionless member experience in other ways too. At Glasgow Club Gorbals, the turnstiles connect with touchscreens and the Gladstone Leisure Management Software, allowing members to pre-book activities online before arriving at the centre. This means members can bypass reception to book-in, avoiding any queues and instead going straight to the turnstile entry points to present their valid wristband to gain access.

Another important factor which impacts member experience is the look of the entrance. This is particularly important when working with a centre which has just undergone a multi-million pound upgrade, such as the new sports facilities at the University of Strathclyde.

Entrance control at Strathclyde University

Here, the Facilities Manager wanted to ensure that users had a smooth experience when entering and exiting the building. At the same time, the solution had to be in keeping with the new modern style of the centre.

Scott Neil, Facilities Manager for Strathclyde Sport, said: “The Fastlane Glassgate 150 turnstiles have allowed an efficient and effective entry and exit system for users, so no frustrating queues. They also provide easy, no fuss access for wheelchair users. In addition, the touch screen entry provides Strathclyde Sport with essential data gathering on the usage trends of facilities, activities and mapping peak times, which ensures more informed future programme planning, plus the ability to give useful feedback to members. The appearance of the turnstiles and touchscreens are in keeping with the expectations of a modern, bright and spacious new facility.”

Delivering insight into facility use

Being able to gather data about facility use and monitor when certain areas of the building are occupied has a number of benefits for centre managers. When integrated with other building management systems, the operation of lighting and HVAC can be regulated, with systems being turned down or off when areas aren’t in use, reducing energy consumption and running costs. This is particularly useful in 24-hour gyms, when facilities need to remain open all hours even when not in use.

Insight can also be gained about user numbers, allowing centre managers to better plan staffing levels during peak times, as well as providing an accurate population count of people in the building at any given time.

Monitoring footfall during special events

Population counting is of importance to Tollcross International Swimming Centre, which hosts various sporting events throughout the year, such as the European Swimming Championships, which attract large numbers of non-members and spectators.

Tollcross International Swimming Centre

During special events, the turnstile gates remain open to allow a free flow of visitors into the centre, but they still accurately count the number of people passing through into the facility. This means the centre’s manager knows when the venue has reached capacity and, in the event of an emergency, they have access to an accurate count of the number of people inside the building.

Whilst we have covered a number of reasons why a leisure facility will require entrance control, it’s important to remember that every environment is unique and therefore a tailored solution should be created for each centre.

To find out more about how entrance control can support your leisure facility, or to arrange a private demonstration of our Fastlane and Door Detective products, please contact our team by calling +44 (0)208 890 5550 or send us an email to info@fastlane-turnstiles.com.


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