When Doug Bacon and his family picked up the keys for their new gym in 2016 it was the culmination of a quarter of a century of hard work.
A new beginning. And to mark the occasion they turned to Gymnastics Club Manager Software to help cope with the increase in numbers and interest.
Casablanca Cheerleading, Gymnastics and Trampolining Club is a family-run business, the Bacon family consisting of Doug, his wife Claire and daughter and son Carli and Daniel.
Doug was a British International in Trampolining in the 1970s, Claire a gymnast. When they retired from their respective sports Doug worked in a sport centre and Claire as a nursery nurse. But the lure of the gym was always strong and in 1991 they started Casablanca, initially offering gymnastics and trampolining and hiring a local church hall to house a small number of enthusiastic participants.
New facilities, new software
Almost twenty five years on to the day from those small beginnings and inspired by the ambition of their children Carli and Daniel to expand,they received the keys to their new gym in Loughton, Essex. They needed somewhere with the space and height to cater for around a thousand members taking classes in Trampolining, Gymnastics, Tumbling, Cheerleading and Hip Hop. In the end they found a warehouse which had been converted in to offices and stripped it back in to its original space to house the gym.
“It’s been great,” says Doug. “We had such long waiting lists and managed to clear them with the extra space and capacity. Only now – following London and Rio – we have a brand new waiting list.”
While the new building was being re-fitted and revamped they took the opportunity to try out the software at the same time. And, happy with the results, the Club decided to use it for members to coincide with the opening of the new facilities.
“Prior to that all of our information was in Excel spreadsheets and a book I carried with me everywhere. This is by far better.”
“The building was still being converted when we decided to go for the software. When we re-opened, everybody in the club had to register. They find it really easy to use, they’re used to doing things online in the rest of their lives.”
75% reduction in admin time
A significant factor in the dream to build a bigger club has been Carli, Daniel and the team’s efforts to develop the Cheerleading section. Now one of Britain’s fastest growing sports, cheerleading is the ideal sport for many – combining gymnastic and tumbling elements with dance. Casablanca boasts around 250 cheerleaders and the Cosmic 5 squad recently qualified to represent Britain at the World Championships in April. So these are exciting – but busy – times for the Club.
One of the most important aspects about the software for Carli is that it frees the coaches to focus on what they love doing – working with their squads.
“The software has definitely decreased the time we spend on admin. Every Monday I would spend at least four hours on admin, now it’s virtually nothing, I would say a 75% reduction at least. It means we can spend more time choreographing routines.”
Recommending other clubs
Doug also points to the ease with which the club can take and monitor payments.
“The big difference has been in taking payments. There’s no more waiting for people to pay. The direct debit works very well and if people don’t pay then they receive an automatic reminder.”
“Overall it makes life easier, everything is in front of you. It means we can deal with greater numbers but its less work. I have recommended the system to a lot of people. In fact we have a club coming to try it out today!”
As with so many other clubs around the country, Casablanca has plans to meet the need for a growing demand for gymnastics. In the future Doug would love to be able to expand in to larger premises – a separate building which would deal with the extra interest. Cheerleading in one building, gymnastics and trampoline in the other.
But in the meantime Casablanca’s focus is on the Worlds in April and Gymnastics Club Manager will be following their progress in our blog.