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Case Studies

Case Study: Xplor Recreation's Transformational Effect in The City of Tukwila

Header image for Case Study on City of Tukwilas transfer to Xplor Recreations recreation management software-1

Quick Facts

After many years of mounting issues with their rec management software, the City of Tukwila, Washington, found itself having to make a critical choice. They had to decide to either adopt the new solution from their existing software provider or explore new options. 

The city went through and extensive and meticulous evaluation process, leading them decisively to a partnership with Xplor Recreation's recreation management solution.

Their Challenges:

  • In 2017, the discontinuation of their previous recreation management software and poor customer service pushed the City of Tukwila to seek a new solution.
  • Given their history of poor customer service with the previous provider, they were looking for a new software partner that not only offered excellent service, but continuous enhancements.
  • Additionally, they were looking for a recreation software platform with more intuitive, easy-to-use online registration, reporting, and facility management functionality.

Their Solution:

  • Their arduous search narrowed them down to Xplor Recreation and another vendor with over 25+ years of service experience.
  • The team at Tukwila chose Xplor Recreation given its commitment to continuous improvements, exceptional customer service, and intuitive functionality.

Their Results:

  • Best-in-class customer support: Monthly client success meetings and quick responses to support tickets demonstrated Xplor's dedication to customer success.
  • Increased Online Registrations: Adoption rates soared, reducing in-person registrations and streamlining administrative processes – some of their most popular programs are seeing 75% of registrants signing up online.
  • Streamlined Operations: The intuitive design and flexibility of Xplor Recreation's platform improved staff efficiency.
  • Improved Facility Management and Booking: Online booking transformed the client experience, enhancing efficiency and convenience.
  • Enhanced Reporting: Intuitive reporting tools eliminated the need for IT involvement, facilitating better decision-making and data sharing.

Keep reading for the full story!

Featured Quote:

“I actually laugh at how quickly your team responds to tickets. I’ll submit it, move on to another task and get a response so quickly that I’m caught up in something else. It's rare for me to create support tickets, but if I know they’ll be dealt with immediately if I do.”
John Dunn III
Recreation Superintendent
John Dunn III Recreation Superintendent City of Tukwila Washington

Their Story

John Dunn III Recreation Superintendent at City of Tukwila with an Xplor Recreation staff member at Tukwila community center

Nestled just south of Seattle, the vibrant City of Tukwila is home to over 22,000 residents. Guiding the city's Parks and Recreation department is John Dunn III, a seasoned and forward-thinking Recreation Superintendent.

His team of 35+ full-time staff and an ever-changing roster of 50-100 seasonal members orchestrate a wide range of over 75 recreational programs year-round. With 6 shelters, 5 fields, 4 drop-in parks, and a multipurpose community center at their disposal, Tukwila’s Parks and Recreation department enriches the lives of its community members daily with a wide offering of classes, events, and activities for all ages.

With a rich history spanning over 25 years in the parks and recreation field, John Dunn III is no stranger to the evolution of recreation management. For the past 17 years, he has lent his expertise to the City of Tukwila as the Recreation Superintendent.

2017 was a pivotal year for the City of Tukwila, as their longstanding recreation management software solution was ending their services. Leaving the City of Tukwila and (many other agencies) in a pinch.

They had to choose between staying with the existing company and paying much higher fees or finding a new technology partner. They chose the latter... leading John and his team to Xplor Recreation's all-in-one parks and recreation management software.

Their Challenges

City of Tukwila Washington Community Center exterior

The City of Tukwila's journey started when their previous recreation software platform announced it would be discontinuing its services.

Dissatisfied with how the end-of-life situation was handled and underwhelmed by the forced migration to a more expensive platform, John Dunn III and the Tukwila Parks and Recreation team started their search for a new parks and recreation software solution.

John's team was also continuously let down by lackluster customer service from their previous software provider – a recurring theme that persisted well before the migration situation.

How do I put this? The customer service from [our previous provider] sucked. Like many other agencies, we decided to look for a new recreation software provider when they told us we’d have to switch to their new platform. Its interface looked nice, but why would we pay triple the cost of what we were paying for the same level of service?
John Dunn III
Recreation Superintendent

After many years of experiencing less-than-desirable customer service, it was absolutely critical to John and his team that the next platform they selected was more than just a software vendor – they were looking for a software partner.

"In all my years as their customer, I only spoke to someone from their team when my tickets got escalated. Even then, I would have to hunt them down for solutions."

While finding a technology partner that offered excellent customer service was a critical factor in the City of Tukwila’s selection process, they needed to ensure their new software platform supported them with functionality such as:

  • Easy-to-use online registration for programs, classes, and memberships
  • Intuitive, customizable reporting that didn’t require IT support
  • Better facility management and booking workflows

Overall, their previous platform wasn’t user-friendly for their staff or the patrons that they served. Most processes were tedious and required too many steps, which were compounded by compatibility issues across devices and browsers.

It was also essential to them that their next rec management software technology partner was continuously improving its platform and keeping up with technological advances their clients had come to expect. Most importantly, they wanted a software partner that would involve their customers in their development process.

Their Solution

Committed to delivering exceptional services to Tukwila's community members, John and his team geared up to hunt for their next recreation software partner.

Their careful consideration led them to narrow down their options to Xplor Recreation and another provider of recreation software that has been servicing the industry for 25+ years.

While John had previously used the other contending software platform at a different agency, Xplor Recreation was the clear choice for Tukwila because of their:

  • Commitment to continuous software enhancements and innovation
  • Unwavering dedication to supporting and servicing its customers
  • Seamless integration capabilities through an open API
I really enjoyed the fact that Xplor Recreation was committed to continuously evolving and improving its product based on the feedback of its customers. I experienced this first-hand during the evaluation process. Between meetings, they launched new updates! It was clear to me that Xplor Recreation was committed to continuously evolving and improving the product to better empower its customers and the community members they serve.
John Dunn III
Recreation Superintendent

While the thought of adopting and implementing a new recreation management platform is a stressful one for most recreation pros, John felt at ease about his choice.

Personally, I wasn’t concerned about making the switch. Throughout the evaluation process I was able to see just how easy-to-use, streamlined, and flexible the software was. But most people don’t like change and my staff were concerned about having to learn different ways of managing our day-to-day recreation operations.’

His team members, however, were worried that learning their way around new software would be challenging and that they’d have to spend more time managing their everyday tasks, but John assured them that wouldn’t be the case.

My team was nervous about the change, but I assured them that they’d be able to manage all the same processes even quicker than they did before because of how easy it is to manage everything in Xplor Recreation and because the system has the flexibility to complete tasks in a variety of different flows. Unlike our previous software which was very rigid. You only had one way of doing things.


Their Results

As the point person for implementation, John found the experience to be “fantastic” from start to finish.

“The onboarding experience was fantastic! I was able to learn the product inside-and-out and feel very comfortable using and managing the platform because of how in-depth the training was. I’m so familiar with the product that I actually troubleshoot the majority of our staff inquiries without having to open tickets [with the Xplor Recreation support team.]”

As for his staff members’ concerns about learning and using a new software platform...

"It didn’t take long for our staff to realize that Xplor Recreation was quicker and easier to use than our previous platform. New hires that never experienced our previous software pick it up very easily."

John credits this to the intuitive user-experience that aligns with many of the other online platforms people use on a day-to-basis.

"I really like that it’s a cloud-based platform and has the look and feel of other online tools our team members use daily. The processes are self-explanatory which makes it easy for staff members to learn and use the software quickly."


Key Benefits Experienced:


Best-In-Class Customer Support:

John and his team have witnessed first-hand just how committed Xplor Recreation is to its customers’ success. Be it through monthly client success meetings or the various channels they use to solicit feedback from customers.

"Customer service was a big factor in our decision to partner with Xplor Recreation. I love that I have monthly meetings with my dedicated account manager and that our agency, and others, can have a hand in shaping the future of the product by submitting feedback on the AHA portal."

John credits this to the intuitive user-experience that aligns with many of the other online platforms people use on a day-to-basis.

While John rarely finds himself submitting support tickets, he chuckles at how quickly the team responds to them in the odd event that he does.

"I actually laugh at how quickly your team responds to tickets. I’ll submit it, move on to another task and get a response so quickly that I’m caught up in something else. It's rare for me to create support tickets, but if I know they’ll be dealt with immediately if I do."


Increased Online Registrations:

The City's community quickly embraced the convenience of online registration. Programs across the spectrum saw adoption rates of around 30%, with rates soaring to 75%+ for high-demand activities like fitness programs, summer camps, and after-school camps.

"[Before Xplor Recreation], we used to have community members lined up all the way down the block at 6AM on registration days. With online registration, we’re able to deliver a better experience to our clients and staff. We rarely see folks coming in to register in-person these days. We might have a few people come through, but it’s much more manageable for our staff now."

They’ve even seen a significant spike in online registrations for their seniors' programs, given how easy it is for them to sign-up online. The continued adoption of online registration has significantly eased in-person registration pressures and paved the way for his team to streamline administrative processes.

"Last month, I pulled a report in Xplor Recreation and saw that we’ve actually seen a big lift in online registrations for our seniors programs. Even less tech-savvy folks seem to be able to easily register for classes online."


Streamlined Operations:

John’s staff members’ initial concerns about a steep software learning curve were quickly dispelled.

The intuitive design of Xplor Recreation's platform made it easy for both existing and new staff members to adapt swiftly. The flexibility offered by the platform allows multiple approaches to managing operations, resulting in enhanced efficiencies and time-savings for the team.


Improved Facility Management and Booking:

The online booking functionality was a game changer for the City of Tukwila’s facility management process. Integration of availability data and digital contract signing transformed the client experience. Contracts can now be sent and signed at the touch of a button, resulting in a more convenient experience for Tukwila’s clients and staff.

“I really love how easy it is to send [facility reservation] contracts to our clients and let them sign the contracts online.”


Enhanced Reporting:

With Xplor Recreation, reporting became an empowering process – not a limitation. The platform's intuitive reporting tools eliminated the need for IT involvement to pull basic information, allowing staff members to create, modify, and share reports with ease.

This newfound agility in data management has unlocked better decision-making and streamlined the process for sharing critical reports to key decision-makers in the city.

“[Xplor Recreation’s] reporting has been a stand-out feature for us. Before, we needed to get our IT team involved. Now we can easily create and share important data to City Council members and other decision makers as needed.”


Given his positive experience, John was more than willing to advocate for Xplor Recreation among his parks and recreation peers. The platform's best-in-class functionality, combined with the company's unwavering dedication to client satisfaction, made the decision to stand behind.

When asked if John would recommend Xplor Recreation to other Parks and Recreation agencies looking for a new rec management platform, he had the following to say:

“Oh ya! I’ve been really happy with Xplor Recreation since we got on the platform and always recommend it to others that are thinking of switching away [from their existing provider]. Actually, that reminds me that I have to get back to a reference request today! Overall, by choosing Xplor Recreation [as our recreation management software partner], we’ve been able to provide better service to our community members.”

The City of Tukwila's transition to Xplor Recreation was more than a software upgrade—it was a paradigm shift.

With enhanced reporting, seamless online registration, and a partner who valued their success, John and his team transformed their operations.

By embracing Xplor Recreation’s intuitive and easy-to-use tech, they created a more efficient, streamlined, and community-focused recreation experience.

John and the City of Tukwila’s relationship with Xplor Recreation is beyond a mere vendor-client dynamic. Exceptional customer service was a priority for him, and Xplor Recreation delivered - fostering a partnership built on trust and reliability.


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