Free app keeps rec users in the loop

Recreation Oak Bay launches a new mobile app that answers schedule questions

Recreation Oak Bay front desk staff should have more time for other duties thanks to a new mobile app that answers schedule questions.

A “soft launch” of the application for smart phones began in December, said Janet Barclay, manager recreation program services for Recreation Oak Bay.

“We wanted to make sure there are no kinks and we can update it,” Barclay said. It was touted to regulars and promoted through an email to members. Now, it’s ready for full-fledged launch.

“We want people to know they can download it for free, so they have the schedule,” Barclay said.

The app features the week ahead with drop-in schedules for swimming and fitness classes.

“It’ll show you what the times are for that day. It would also tell you the admission prices,” Barclay said. “We’re able to, if we want, to push out an occasion. So we can remind you if there’s a concert coming up, or if there’s an emergency in the building.”

For example when the power is down, staff can let people know quickly, efficiently and more easily. “This can be done with wifi and you would receive a notification that would tell you what was happening,” Barcaly said, adding it’s certainly not to replace the website where residents still register for programming.

It will, she feels, free up some staff time.

“I think it will help in reception. A lot of people will phone in to ask ‘what time are swims?’” she said. “There’s a high percentage of phone calls that come in just checking in.”

The app is available at iTunes or Google Play and is a quick download, she said. “There’s some people that really appreciate it, but again we now want to grow the numbers using it,” Barclay said. “We hope it’s useful for people, particularly for regular users.”