Yoga class at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, Texas.

The Digital Generations Head Outdoors: How Parks and Rec Departments can Engage millennials and Gen-Z

ACTIVE Network
July 21, 2021

Year over year, we’ve seen a steady growth of people looking to spend more time outdoors. Whether sparked by social media posts and the rise of influencers, or people looking to break from the digital world, one thing is for sure, younger generations are fueling the numbers of visitors seen at local parks and trails and National Parks.

In fact, according to a survey from the National Recreation and Park Association, at least 65% of millennials and Gen Z-ers think it is essential to do physical activities in open and outdoor spaces to maintain mental and physical health.

Connecting with Younger Generations 

Millennials and Gen-Zers are accustomed to having access to what they need in the palm of their hands, and that means parks departments must be prepared to make a leap into the digital space to meet the expectations of their new visitors.

Here are three tips to better engage with millennials and Gen-Zers:

  • Most millennials and Gen-Zers have used social media for most of their lives and now spend hours a day on different platforms. Facebook, Instagram and others are essential to reach these younger generations and they expect there to be some kind of engagement with the accounts they follow. Social media campaigns can help with this.
  • They’re more focused on experiences over physical purchases. This is great news for those in the Parks and Recreation industry offering up the great outdoors. However, these generations want experiences to come easy, so organizations should mimic brands like Airbnb and Uber that allow access with a simple click.
  • Finally, both generations are more socially conscious than prior age groups, meaning they want the organizations and companies they interact with to have a purpose. For example, protecting the outdoors with a trail or park cleanup could be one of them.

Using Tech to Get Outside

While it’s good news that many are enjoying our natural resources, that’s also brought crowding and requires new initiatives by those in the parks and recreation industry to handle and protect these spaces. Look into new reservation systems and other tools to help everything run more smoothly. 

ACTIVE Can Help Your Department Connect and Engage

As we celebrate National Parks and Recreation Month this July, ACTIVENet is proud to be the official software sponsor. We are focused on helping parks departments around the country see their full potential to engage the growing millennials and Gen-Z audience with our facility management software. Learn more about how ACTIVENet's innovative solutions build strong communities here

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