Tag Archives: customers

Rewarding Member Loyalty: Effective schemes that encourage retention

26 November 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System, Memberships, Technology

From British Airways to Benugo, companies large and small are incentivising their customers with rewards. When it comes to exercising and staying on track, humans often need an extra little nudge.

You might be inclined to cut back on rewards when finances are tight, but customer loyalty programmes pay for themselves and then some. Rewarding member loyalty is, in fact, a carefully constructed marketing ploy- upselling in disguise.

An effective loyalty programme will increase member activity, improve customer experience, and increase revenue for your business.

Opt for a points-based system

One of the most popular choices is a points-based system. Customers recognise this model from coffee chains and supermarkets, so they find it easy to understand. Points accumulate each time a customer attends the gym, takes a class, or executes a faultless burpee (we’re working on the tech for that one).

Small rewards should be reachable within a week of consistent training. More substantial rewards need to be attainable within a three-month period for clients to find them worthwhile.

Types of rewards

The value of the prizes you offer needs to be carefully balanced with your own goals. When the scales are level, both you and your customer will benefit.

Offer rewards on a sliding scale. Small prizes could include free hot drinks, smoothies, advance booking, a hand towel or gym lock. At the higher end of the spectrum are free classes or a PT session.

The trick is to merge rewards with services or products you are hoping to promote.

Big awards for referrals

A real sign of loyalty is when a member brings in a new customer. A member referral could bring in hundreds of pounds to your health club, so members should be rewarded highly, perhaps with a free class of their choice or a significant discount from a month of their fee.

The equivalent of £30-£50 is a reasonable premium for referrals.

Integrate rewards with your CRM system

To make this a win-win model, integrate your loyalty programme with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology.

A CRM system keeps track of your customers’ interactions with your business, so you can observe their activity levels and, more importantly, the aspects of your business they do not yet take advantage of. You might choose to offer rewards that encourage clients to greater experience your service.

For example, someone who is a Hiit fanatic could be awarded a free holistic class. Someone whose attendance has slipped could be offered a free PT session, to reinvigorate their interest and decrease the likelihood of them abandoning the club.

To find out more about how CRM systems work check out this article… CRM- A complete guide

Enhance the experience

Companies that truly understand customer loyalty take their strategy a step further and create a more convenient experience. Often this is done through the development of an app.

Many airlines provide apps that allow customers to check in online and bypass airport queues. The Wetherspoons app lets people order drinks from their table, meaning they are relieved from elbow bashing at the bar. A customer’s activity is tracked through the app, meaning further rewards can be dished out directly to their phone.

When businesses solve client problems and alleviate pain points, customer loyalty rises.

Re-evaluate and evolve

Any new strategy will take time before it is beneficial. Your system will require lots of remodelling as you get to grips with the desires of your customers. You can measure the success of your loyalty programme by monitoring member retention and satisfaction.

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Event Marketing: How to attract new customers to your fitness studio

26 November 2018 openplay Leave a comment Marketing

The key to getting new customers is to get them through the door.

While it would be lovely to make a profit from the events themselves, you should be prepared to offer your classes and products at a loss, focusing instead on the bigger picture.

Once you have all of the details of your event in order, you need to get the word out. Use social media and your website for online promotions, and distribute flyers to local businesses (including your own) and homes.

Marketing events are more meaningful and intimate than a mass email, so can be hugely valuable to both your potential customers and your business.

Buddy workout and drinks

The majority of people are motivated by other people when it comes to keeping fit. Many individuals only participate in a workout if they are dragged to the gym by a friend. Thankfully, this pack mentality promotes gym membership growth.

To give this effect a little push, host a “bring your buddy” night once a month. Members’ friends get the chance to visit your studio for a class and afterwards they can hang out with your customers and your team. Sell drinks at a discounted price, with only a small profit margin, so visitors do not feel like they are being stung. Offer a membership premium rate to anyone who signs up for a membership at the event and two free passes to next month’s event.

Flash Sale

One day a month or term, your studio can transform into a high-end fitness clothing store. Collaborate with an apparel brand and hold a sale day- Black Friday, May Madness- any excuse.

Try to coordinate your event with “Pay Day,” so money is not the reason someone misses out. The clothing company will benefit from adding your customers to its list and you, in return, will reap the rewards of their happy shoppers. Everyone welcome, members and new sign-ups get an extra 5% discount.


Yoga, as a genre, is known for its high retention rates. Its following is partly due to its ability to simultaneously fire-up and relax the body and mind; it can feel addictive. However, it is also a progressive workout: one that can very clearly be tracked by a person’s increasing ability to hold a balance and growing flexibility. Yoga lends itself well to workshops, with many studios offering events on ‘Handstands and Inversions’, ‘Breath Control’, or even week-long retreats in Ibiza.

Workshops can serve any sport or fitness style, as people aspire not only to get fit, but to improve technique, prevent injury, and master steps. Workshops do not need to be solely movement based but could be diet focused or lifestyle enhancing.

If you do not have the knowledge to host a particular seminar reach out to industry professionals for help. Sometimes a physio or other expert will offer their services free of charge in exchange for access to your members.

Charitable Marketing Event

Whether the intentions are selfish or selfless, businesses are perceived as generous when they donate to a charity. Choose a cause that aligns with your business; it might be sporting access for people with disabilities or maybe an environmental charity to offset any emissions your studio generates.

Sport and exercise are one of the leading go-tos for charity events. Marathons and cross-country bike rides are often the motivational pushes that inspire people to rise from the couch and get exercising. Whether you decide to enter a team into an organised event or you host an event at your studio, encourage your members to get involved.

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So you want to grow your yoga business? Follow our top tips

26 November 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System, Marketing, Operations

Your yoga business is already a success, with a steady stream of customers and a satisfactory income. You’ve done the hard part: getting your business off the ground, but there comes a time your seedling must grow into an oak tree.

Expanding from a small to medium-sized business is a difficult but fun process. Gone are the days when you had to search for potential customers at friends’ weddings and funerals- when you offered free classes to relatives just to bulk out your otherwise empty studio. Now, is the time to increase your marketing efforts, re-evaluate the systems you have put in place and to think outside the box that is your yoga studio.

Here are our top tips to help you grow your yoga business.

Build a community

A yoga studio is the perfect place for yogis to meet like-minded people. However, nobody is going to talk to those around them if the atmosphere at your venue is cold and unwelcoming. The key to retention is to build a warm community feel that will have customers itching to stay longer. Build a hangout space that oozes comfort and calm. If you have the facilities, add a small cafe area, which is ideal as a chilled catch-up space. In addition, the extra revenue from coffees and smoothies will help you to grow your business.

It’s not just the space, but the people in the space, who elevate your business from standard service to community. Your staff should lead by example and develop meaningful relationships with students. When hiring staff, don’t only assess their qualifications and credentials; judge their mannerisms, their eagerness to chat and their willingness to go above and beyond standard requirements. You want a teacher that stays behind after class to help students with niggles, a receptionist that remembers the names of regular visitors and most of all you want a team that loves working at your studio.

Host an event

Yoga is the type of exercise that requires dedicated learning. That’s why workshops a brilliant way to complement classes and boost retention. Offer specialised classes like: ‘Handstands and Inversions’, ‘Breath Control’, or even host a week-long retreat in Ibiza. If you really want to make these workshops a success, run complimentary sessions either side of lunch. Pre-lunch will be a high-intensity class to fire up the metabolism. Then students break for a healthy lunch and a mingle, before returning to the studio for Yin relaxation.

Another idea is to host weekly socials. Pilates and Prosecco Thursdays? Yin and Yang Fridays? Advertise these events at the end of classes and encourage your staff to join in the fun.

Choose the right online booking system

There is nothing worse than having willing customers, only to find they have not carried through with their online booking because the system you use is too complicated, too longwinded or, as is the case with many out there, crashes altogether.

1) When choosing a booking system you want one that is first and foremost reliable- one that will deliver on every booking request.

2) Your next consideration should be simplicity. How easy is the booking process? Is it accessible to people of all ages or will some users find it too complex to navigate?

3)Your third concern should be functionality. How many features does the system allow for? Your yoga business should be offering a tier of membership options as well as drop-in rates and special offers. You need a system that can cater to your personal needs.

4) The fourth thing that many businesses often overlook, is assessing the support that the booking service can offer you- the business owner and system operator. Will there be a team reachable by email or phone that can help you with concerns?

5) Finally, you should take into account the overall look of the system. It is important that the front end of your website looks just as professional the service you offer. While appearance is crucial, beware of systems that offer style over substance.

Use Instagram

Yoga positions are visually impressive, and so photos of dancer’s pose, downward dog and headstands fill the pic-based platform. If you are looking to target a young market, then Instagram is for you. 59% of users are under the age of 30, whilst 63% of teenagers are active on the app every day.

To be successful on Instagram and build your following, you will want to post at least once per week, ideally more. Take photos of your studios, your team, your students and the products that you sell. Upload instructional videos or just film one of you teachers doing an impressive Vinyasa flow. The trick is to be experimental and always keep the ethos of your brand in mind.

Curious? Learn more: How to use Instagram to boost your fitness brand

Collaborate with a brand that compliments your image

There are tonnes of apparel brands that focus on fitness or, more specifically, yoga. It doesn’t need to be uber-famous brands like Sweaty Betty or Lululemon; In fact, a lesser known business might be more excited about a collaboration. A small business, still in its early growth stage will be more willing to promote your classes on their website and in their store.

A local sports shop or even an organic health shop could be your ideal partner. Approach them in person and offer discounts to their customers and vice versa. This sort of collaboration benefits both businesses and, when kept local, promotes a positive image.

Additionally, when working with a business at a similar stage of growth to that of your own, you have the opportunity to share knowledge with each other. Learn from each other’s mistakes and discuss ideas for growth in the future. If you are lucky you will create a valuable partnership.

Offer rewards for referrals

92% of consumers trust recommendations from family and friends over every other form of advertising. This statistic proves that word of mouth is the biggest marketing tool you have.

To optimise this Chinese whispers effect, you should have a referral reward scheme in place. For your referral scheme to be most effective, offer a membership discount to both parties involved (ie. the referer and the referee).

Interested to know more? Word of Mouth Marketing link

Question: What tactics did you find most effective in growing your fitness business?

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6 things to consider when choosing an online booking system

14 October 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System

There is nothing worse than having willing and eager customers, only to find they have abandoned their reservation because the online booking system you use is too confusing, too long-winded or, as is the case with many out there, crashes altogether.

We have spent years finetuning our system so that it works for you- the business owner or system operator- and for your customers.

1) Is it reliable?

When choosing a booking system you want one that is first and foremost reliable- one that will deliver on every booking request. Imagine a system that crashes on one of your busiest days of service. You will miss out on many valuable bookings, lose potential customers and receive a barrage of complaints from your users. It is a risk you simply cannot afford, and neither can we.

“OpenPlay has eliminated a lot of issues we had with our previous booking system and helped improve the booking process for the customer and ourselves.”– Ben Pridham, Data & Analysis Officer, Argyle Community Trust.

2) Is it user-friendly?

“The role of genius is not to complicate the simple, but to simplify the complicated.” – Criss Jami.

Our booking software is densely complex- it has to be, in order to deliver cutting-edge multi-functions. Meanwhile, to the user (both you, the system operator, and your customers), the system is refreshingly simple. This is because we have spent years refining an intuitive piece of software that performs complicated tasks with a single click.

You, the system operator: First off is the onboarding process. We walk you through the set-up and installation process through face to face meetings, online guidance, webinars and calls. Many of our clients found that the system was so simple, that they didn’t even need our help.

“The booking system is so easy to use that we didn’t even need the staff training sessions.”– Danny Harrigan, Queens Park Rangers FC.

Once you are set up, you will have the autonomy to manage your business through your Dashboard or your OpenPlay Pocket App. These services are designed for easy use, to save you time and energy.

Your customers: There is no point in you offering restorative yoga classes if booking into the class results in spiked cortisol levels. Booking an activity or facility with you should not feel like a chore. Our process requires as few clicks as possible, delivering a streamlined, stress-free booking experience.

“It is a very time effective system. It makes it much easier for customers, they find it quick and simple to use.”– Glenn Vaughn, Director, One Touch Football.

3) Is it highly functional?

A naive person might think that a booking system has one function: to carry out bookings. Any business owner will know that it has so many more roles. A booking system will cater to a range of memberships, varied drop-in rates, discount codes, voucher options and offer automatic email reminders. It will give you, the business owner, opportunities to upsell, market and manage operations. A good booking system will offer services you never heard of and enhance your business in ways you never expected.

“The system has been incredibly valuable to our business. It has supported us to improve the operational management, significantly improve the experience for our users and is now creating real strategic value through utilising the dashboard and reporting functionality.”King’s College London.

Not only should the booking system itself offer pioneering widgets and features, but it should be able to work in tandem with other pieces of software you may be using. We are a global company, meaning that our software integrates with international payment gateways, oversees accounting systems and widgets from across the world.

“We could tell from the first demonstration how well it integrates with other websites.” – Rob Wilkinson, Director, Moving Matters UK.

4) Is it good value for money?

The tactic of some system providers is to hook you in, get you comfortable the system, only to hike the prices by 300% over a two year period. We offer a competitive price across our four package tiers. Whether you are a small studio or national sports complex, we have a package to suit your needs that will not see you out of pocket.

“OpenPlay was a system that did everything that we required it to do at an affordable price. We found that other systems were very expensive and would not have been cost-effective.”– Carly Payler-Rabess, Project Manager for Harrow Council.

5) Does it keep you in mind?

Just like you keep your customers are at the heart of everything you do, so too should your booking software provider. As a paying customer, you should receive support and feel that your system provider genuinely cares about your needs.

We value the relationship we have with each of our customers. We know each business owner individually and on a personal level. We want our customers to succeed because

“OpenPlay responds very quickly via phone or email at any time. They really take pride in helping us take and manage online booking.”– Jack Mackinnon, Access to Sport.

6) Does it have a professional front-end?

Finally, you should take into account the overall look of the system. Does it match the prestige of your website and the professionalism of your service?

Remember that while appearance is crucial, many systems offer style with little substance behind it.

“Using the OpenPlay system’s widgets which were easy to create and integrate into our website, we have seen a thorough improvement in our online booking system. It now matches the professionalism of our staff and marketing.”– Chris Broadhurst, General Manager, Soccer Stars UK.

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PayPal vs Stripe? Which payment gateway is better?

20 August 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System, Technology

PayPal and Stripe are two programmes that process online payments. It sounds pretty straightforward, but there is a heap of other products, such as financing services, mobile payments and dashboard reviews. These tag onto their systems, making the booking process cleaner and more effective.

These two are by no means the only payment gateways out there- nor are they the cheapest- but PayPal and Stripe are far superior to anything else in the market. Before getting stuck into comparisons, it is important to know that both companies adhere to strict international laws and are highly secure. There is no need to worry about the security of your transactions, as both of these systems are completely trustworthy and reliable.

Founded in 1998, PayPal is a globally recognised brand, trusted by even the most novice of consumers. It is reliable, hardy and functional. But just because the brand is long established does not mean it is superior.

Stripe came about in 2010, co-founded by the Collison brothers- aged just 19 and 21. But don’t let the company’s youth turn you off. Stripe bulldozed its way to multi-billion dollar success, making John Collison the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. Companies like Facebook, Under Armour, Deliveroo and Shopify all rely on Stripe’s service.

We, at OpenPlay, have years of experience dealing with payment gateways. Some have clumsy integration, others self-promote, many are unreliable. With our knowledge, and from listening to feedback from clients, there are two that stand out amongst the pack. And then, between PayPal and Stripe, there is one very clear winner.

1) Speed and efficiency

PayPal makes consumers complete 10 steps en route to payment. The longer and more complicated a booking form takes to complete, the more likely your customers will get frustrated and abandon their shopping cart.

The Stripe journey requires only three steps, meaning payment- the boring, but most important part of a purchase- is speedy and successful.

PayPal: 0

Stripe: 1

2) The sign-up process

PayPal encourages customers to sign up to its system. This means that PayPal is prioritising its own service over that of the market website. A lengthy sign-up distracts your customer, leaving the potential for basket abandonment.

Stripe keeps its eye on the prize, focusing on getting your customers to enter their card details.

PayPal: 0

Stripe: 2

3) Appearance

Online payment gateways can be on-site or off-site. As the name suggests, on-site keeps the transaction on your website. Customers will enter their payment details into an inline or pop-up. Off-site takes customers off your website to that of the payment gateway. This is a messy and unnecessary step that drags focus away from your business.

PayPal works as an offsite payment vendor and can be a distracting re-direction for your customers.

Stripe’s pop up window appears on your website, fading the booking page behind it to grey. This is a much slicker experience for the consumer, making the process more streamlined.

PayPal: 0

Stripe: 3

Is your business in Aus? Check out Australia’s best payment gateways


4) Customer focus

Part of PayPal’s fame is because it markets itself as both business and consumer-focused. When a customer buys from your website they will be aware of both your brand and PayPal’s. For a business owner, there is a definite sense that PayPal’s loyalties are split.

On the other hand, Stripe is much more under the radar and your average consumer may not have heard of the multi-billion dollar company. Stripe works behind the scenes, ensuring that the payment process is as smooth and effective as possible- then it lets you take the credit.

PayPal: 0

Stripe: 4

5) Fees

Within the United States, they charge the same base fee and fee per transaction: 2.9% plus $0.30. But Stripe undercuts PayPal’s margins when entering the European market. Stripe’s European prices are significantly cheaper: 1.4% plus 25c in Euro or 20p in G.B.P. PayPal sticks close to its U.S. fees, charging the same 2.9%, plus 35c in Euro or 20p in G.B.P.

Paypal’s pricing structure is more complicated than Stripe’s, with prices varying for international cards, large or micropayments, online, mobile, or in-store, profit or non-profit etc.

Stripe keeps its charging structure more simple. It charges extra for international card payments, converting currencies, payment disputes, billing services and refunds.

Stripe’s fees are less of a headache. If you are also worried about returns and chargebacks, then Stripe is going to be the better option.

PayPal: 0

Stripe: 5

6) Innovation

Stripe is miles ahead of the game in terms of features. They roll out new and innovative developments all the time. The service has the ability to save data, allowing for recurred billing (e.g. monthly memberships) and speedy repeat purchases. Refunds can be made at the click of a button, eliminating the lengthy refund process of PayPal and other services. Stripe is also the most efficient mobile payment system.

PayPal: 0

Stripe: 6

7) Brand recognition

So, this all depends on individual customers. As PayPal is known across the globe, many people already have PayPal accounts. The brand has already won the trust of consumers- this familiarity is both comforting and handy.

However, Stripe, as said before, keeps a low profile when on your website, allowing you to shine. If Stripe were to market to your customers, it would detract from your own branding.

PayPal: 1

Stripe: 6

OpenPlay is not affiliated with Stripe in any way, but we do recommend the service to all of our clients- because it is the best. Stripe is in a league of its own- it is slick but also reliable. PayPal is by no means a bad service, but it lags behind Stripe, whose success seems to be on a sharp upward trajectory. If you are choosing a payment gateway for your business, we cannot recommend Stripe highly enough.

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