As an individual with a disability, imagine having an exceptional guest experience every time you visit your local leisure centre, simply by using an app to alert the venue ahead of time of your service preferences.
For the very first time, this is now possible in New Zealand thanks to the launch of Cérge, a revolutionary communication platform aimed at enhancing the guest experience for members of the community with disabilities.
A partnership between Belgravia Leisure, Belgravia Foundation Aotearoa, Belgravia Foundation and Cérge has made the launch possible after successfully launching at over 30 venues across Australia in 2023.
Now operating across five venues in New Zealand, this partnership brings cutting-edge accessibility features to the forefront at;
- Mount Albert Aquatic Centre
- Huntly Aquatic Centre
- Franklin Pool and Leisure Centre
- Gallagher Aquatic Centre
- Trust House Recreation Centre
Free to users, Cérge allows users to alert customer service staff to their needs, providing an access pathway. This includes personalised greetings, express check in or skip the queue, having accessible equipment set up before arrival, arranging guided tours pointing out accessible features and any other tailored experience necessary to allow the guest to have an exceptional experience, all whilst removing the guesswork for staff to provide these services.
The Cérge platform now introduces two groundbreaking features that set it apart in the industry including 360° virtual tours where guests can explore our venues in advance, making informed accessibility decisions and alleviating uncertainty.
Additionally, audio guides powered by A.I. offer personalised and detailed explanations along with visual stories and sensory guides offer personalised and detailed explanations to cater to users with visual, auditory, intellectual or sensory impairments, ensuring a truly inclusive experience.
Monica, a Deaf individual, shared her transformative experience at Mount Albert Aquatic Centre through the Cérge app. She said, “After using the Cérge app, I continue to have positive communication experiences at Mount Albert, such as being greeted warmly on arrival and communicating effectively using pen and paper. The staff are ready, informed and on the ball with what I need.
“What’s even more exciting is that Mount Albert Aquatic Centre is in the process of training someone in sign language, which will make a world of difference for many. I’ve already recommended the app to friends, and we’re thrilled to feel so included.”
One of Monica’s friends is Judith, who shared her experience through the Cérge app at Franklin Pool and Leisure Centre.
Judith said, “I haven’t been swimming in 8 years. I am a Deaf woman and the idea of going to an Aquatic Centre is nerve racking.
“For me, trying to communicate at the reception, with the fear of being judged or dismissed and then actually swimming is terrifying at times. My friend who is also Deaf (Monica) told me she used Cérge last week at Mount Albert and I loved the idea of being able to communicate before you arrive.”
Judith’s heartening story underscores the importance of businesses embracing Cérge to enhance accessibility and inclusion, not only in New Zealand but globally.
“I appreciate the enthusiasm and staff’s awareness of my Deafness through the Cérge app. I see great potential for Cérge in New Zealand and globally.
“The app eliminated the need for awkward explanations about my Deafness. Sheryl warmly welcomed me, giving a thorough tour while speaking clearly and allowing me to lip-read. This highly inclusive experience boosted my confidence to explore the venue and become a member, marking a game-changing moment after 8 years!”
Dr. Jeff Walkley, Belgravia Leisure’s National Disability and Diversity Manager emphasised the significance of this partnership in providing inclusive communication platforms to communities.
“Launching Cérge in Belgravia Leisure’s New Zealand venues is a significant step towards our mission of making leisure venues more inclusive and accessible. This innovative partnership empowers us to provide exceptional service to all our guests, ensuring that no one feels left behind or misses out. We’re excited to see the positive impact Cérge is already having on our guests across New Zealand.”
Belgravia Leisure, which operates 230+ venues across New Zealand and Australia, is committed to creating inclusive communities and delivering transformative solutions for individuals with disabilities.