By Scott Rennak
As many climbing facility operators now know, Rock Gym Pro (RGP) has gone through some big leadership changes lately. Many users of the ubiquitous software have expressed worry both privately and publicly, to the point where a new Facebook user forum was even setup to ensure continued dialog about the platform.
During this pandemic, this is not a time any manager wants to have concerns about the software their business depends on. We have enough challenges right now simply reopening with new operational guidelines. And so I wanted to weigh in based on my observations of the unfolding events, as well as my experiences as an RGP user for many years as a manager at The Spot in Boulder. I also spent over 90 minutes during two phone calls speaking with Maria Trysla, RGP’s new Business Leader, about what is going on.
The Software Is Still Great (and Improving)
Nothing about the actual software has changed for the worse. In fact, during the pandemic the team at RGP has released much-needed new features including a real-time occupancy counter that can display on user’s websites, check-out features that enable contact tracing, and bulk freeze function that was very helpful when the closures began. Perhaps more importantly, the team at RGP is focused on the stability and reliability of the software platform. They are embracing the cloud as an ongoing effort and are building a customer-driven roadmap for new functionality. As a key tool to run your business, RGP has only gotten better during this crisis.
Their Support Team Is Still There (and Learning)
Many of those RGP staffers you have come to love for their answers and insights, they have not left the business. When you contact support, you will still hear back from Jon, Kevin or Katie, while developers Dave, James and Dan are still on top of it. Admittedly we are all nostalgic for the days when replies to the Facebook posts were posted within minutes. However, maybe we were spoiled by that, and yes now RGP is becoming a bit more traditional software company with a bit more traditional support.
Their team also has been inundated with new requests for support as we all reopen our gyms and use their software in new ways, needing extra help. When you consider the reality of COVID-19, any short delays in support are pretty understandable, practically every business out there has been affected by the pandemic and is experiencing some sort of delayed or interrupted service.
They Have Shared Our Pain
I personally believe RGP is one of the great unsung industry heroes of this crisis. Quietly, they have temporarily allowed their customers to opt-out of service fees and contracts. Together this has amounted to over $500,000 in lost revenue, an amount of financial support for climbing gyms that may be unequaled in our industry. Additionally, all of their staff have taken pay cuts. Yet in the face of all that, they are working diligently to support our reopening businesses, and also investing in and expanding the tools we need to operate in this new world.
They Have a Strong Backbone
Being part of the Togetherwork family of businesses, RGP has access to technical know-how and private equity that will ensure they thrive into the future. Many users were surprised to hear of their “new” ownership, but in fact the acquisition took place two years ago, and we all just didn’t know it yet. They could have done a better job of telling their own story through the leadership transition, but the fact remains that Togetherwork has been underpinning RGP for quite some time now. And all along they have been investing heavily in RGP Cloud, an essential outlay of cash that will make sure this tool we all depend on will weather the changing times far into the future.
Together these reasons not only alleviate any of my concerns, but in fact inspire me to be hopeful about the future at RGP.
Scott has been promoting indoor climbing since 1997 when he bought Climb Time of Cincinnati and started what would become the American Bouldering Series. Since then he has helped hundreds of small businesses grow including climbing gyms and manufacturers. He is available for projects through Reach Climbers. In his free time he still scours nearby hills for fresh boulders, skis all year, and is a dedicated father.