The State of Climbing Gym Management Software

Last year 43 new climbing gyms opened according to Climbing Business Journal. On top of that, between 1,000 and 1,500 people try climbing for the first time every day. The climbing industry is booming, and it's only getting bigger. Managing the members, payments, and billing for a gym can be tedious and time consuming. Luckily we live in a modern world where computer software can do most of the heavy lifting. But can the current software options for climbing gym management stand up to the growing needs now, and into the future?

Basic Needs
There's a couple basic features that climbing gym management software needs to support in order to manage a gym. Climbing gyms require waivers from members, so the software not only needs to support it, but revolve around the concept.  It also needs to be able to not only manage those members, but bill them and collection payments as well.

And since their likely aren't many gyms without products, it should handle managing the products, while also providing a Point of Sale interface for accepting credit cards.

Additional Needs
There are a lot of additional features that could be considered as required. One such feature is a calendar and event booking system. It's pretty common to these days for climbing gyms to incorporate events such as Yoga, Aerials, or Club Team for kids, which generate additional revenue. 

Reporting and data analysis is another crucial area that climbing gym management software should support. This should go beyond just charts and graphs. These tools should reveal patterns, and make data forecasting a standard feature. Making business decisions without analyzing data is like sending a boulder without beta. 

Current Options
With the basic and additional needs listed, what management software options are available? As hard as it is to believe, there's only one option available for climbing gyms; Rock Gym Pro. RGP was developed a decade ago. It's mature and robust.

Another software option has consistently popped up as an alternative, and that's called Mindbody Online. This company offers solutions for both gyms and consumers, but it's important to note that Mindbody Online is not specific to climbing gyms.

Needs Still to Meet
In talking with gym owners and staff, it's clear that the current software options are not handling tasks in the most efficient manner possible. The biggest bottleneck I've identified is a lack of automation. Tasks like billing members are done manually. Membership creation via EFT payments are setup manually, and collecting payments is even done manually.

It doesn't have to be this way.

The business models of climbing gyms are evolving, and with the increase in the popularity of the sport, it's important that we have the right tools and software that can keep pace.