Road Map to the Future

Senior Managers Update

Our future will be defined ONLY by the degree of focus we give to our mission – to create active places and healthy people – its why we exist; the more dynamic, inspirational and exciting we make our activities, our programmes and our centres, the more people we’ll encourage to be physically active. The more people we encourage to be physically active, the more profitable we’ll be, and the more we’ll be able to re-invest to make our communities better places to live, work and play.

In the future we’ll be driven by compelling evidence and insight; if you’re physically active 1-2 times per week, you’re 41% less likely to die of heart disease, 30% less likely to die of any cause and 18% less likely to die of cancer…..and its about mental health too; those who exercise 3 times per week are 34% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia and inactive adults are 44% more likely to experience depression.

So, the purpose is there but the market’s tough – we’re now in an era of ‘disruption’; as a business you’re either a ‘disruptor’ or you’re being ‘disrupted’. The disruptors in our market place started with ‘low-cost gyms’, then along came the ‘boutique studios’ and they’ve both been joined by the ‘aggregators’. Our future success will rely upon us ‘challenging convention’ and being a disruptor ourselves.

It’s why we’re putting Technology at the heart of our future road map. The consumer of the 21st Century wants to be recognised as an individual and to ‘personalise’ their experience. Its why our new Leisure Hub platform is built on the principles of Amazon and other retailers – the principle of your own ‘Account’ – where you’ll access your personal choices, your activity and payment history, your favourite purchases and where you can manage your physical activity experiences as you want to.

We’ve launched new ‘Online Joining’ software as part of the Leisure Hub. ‘Online Bookings’ is hot on its heels and the legacy ‘OLM’ and ‘Horizons’ software can be banished for good! It will give us a platform from which additional functionality can be easily added; we’re already working on the ability to add bookings direct to calendar.

We continue to hone our sights on 2M Places Members – who may pay buy ‘subscription’ or ‘pay as you move’. The launch and further development of Salesforce will provide us with a ‘Customer Relationship Management’ tool that will enable us to take care of the member acquisition and retention process like we’ve never been able before. Salescloud ‘phase 1’ has been launched; this will develop further in FY20 and MarketingCloud will be added too, allowing us to communicate effectively with all our members.

Integrated in to these technologies will be further developments of the Technogym MyWellness system. We’ll provide our customers with further opportunities to track their activity, capture it from their other wearables and apps and wrap it all in their own ‘Places Locker’. Incidentally, the largest EVER study undertaken on behavioural change and physical activity launched its results in November and discovered unequivocally that ‘technology-based’ incentives drives increased physical activity.

Oh, and if our strategy needed any endorsing, one third of all Amazon purchases are derived from their ‘Recommendations’ feature…..that’s why we’re so passionate about our technology-based customer experience initiatives. Places Pulse is now providing insight far beyond anything we’ve had before. Our new Places NPS is gathering three times as much ‘knowledge’ as we were acquiring before and is allowing us to make informed decisions about the customer experience ….by customer type......we now know that customers who are asked over 5 questions are almost 100% more likely to become a member than if they’re asked 4 questions or less…..well that gives us some clues as to how service leads to sales leads to success.

Technology provides data and data provides knowledge and knowledge informs decision making – that’s the future…….

We yearn not necessarily to be the biggest but the best; to make a real difference to society. It’s why in the future we predict that we’ll transform our membership model. We’ll be adding the ability to commit to twelve months of physical activity for a reduced fee in April 2019, and we expect to increasingly look at more creative ways of building activity packages for our customers that may not just be segmented by ‘activity/facility access’ but also by customer type; after all, does a student want different things than an older retiree? Does a Mum with teenagers want different things from their activity lifestyle to a single Millennial?

Our infrastructure will continue to develop too. Quinyx has been completely rolled out and we’ll support this through further training in order that we fully exploit the system to its full potential to ensure that we are managing resources as efficiently as possible.

In addition, we have commenced the HRP Business World project with the aim of transferring payroll and HR from 1st April 2019. We envisage that moving to Business World will bring about many efficiencies including additional automated processes, improved document storage, improved systems integration and enhanced reporting. All sites will move to Business World from 1st April and training will take place in the new year.

Finally, but probably most critically, our endeavours in combining inspiring activity programmes with technology will be the ability to demonstrate the ‘social value’ that is created by our ‘social enterprise’ – that will give data to our Local Authority partners that will blow their mind!