Tag Archives: revenue

Word of Mouth Marketing: How to create an effective gym member referral programme

14 August 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System, Marketing, Memberships, Operations

You can pay for AdWords and spend thousands on a social media campaign and still struggle to increase footfall at your facility. Despite all the advancements in technology, word of mouth is still your most effective marketing tools. A member referral programme is an age-old, low-cost way to rake in new meat to your fitness centre. 92% of consumers trust recommendations from family and friends over every other form of advertising.

So how can you use word of mouth marketing to increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction?

What is the return?

Obviously, new members are what we’re after, but referrals, specifically, can prove to be astonishingly lucrative. According to Harvard Business Review, customers obtained through referrals are more faithful and more valuable than regular customers. The study reviewed 10,000 accounts in a large German bank over a period of three years. It found that, on average, referrals are 18% more likely to stay with the business. They also spend about 16% more (amounting to €40 each). When considering both of these factors, the company earns about 60% on its €25 referral award. Referrals begin their gym journey with a higher level of trust than someone who has no prior connection with your service. This means that they are happier to spend money on your products.

To reward the referrer or the referree?

You might think that you can get away with rewarding your current member and bypassing your new client, but overall a method that sees both parties benefit works best. Giving discounts to all involved makes them feel like a team who have worked together for their prize.

How generous should you be?

The first step in creating an effective gym referral programme is to create a great offer that incentivises both the referrer and the referree. The reward given out should always be in line with the reward your business receives, ie: a possible gym membership. To find a suitable figure, you need to calculate the profit margin of each individual membership, ie. what is left over once rent costs, instructor costs, towel service, water etc have been taken away.

For example, if your profit margin is 50%, the reward you offer needs to be significantly lower than this. A 10% membership discount for both customers would still leave you with a 30% profit increase from the new sale. You need to calculate a figure that leaves you confident your margins are healthy but one that is also a significant reward to the customer. Alternatively, you could waive the initial joining fee or throw in free merchandise and PT sessions.

Inform members

Once you’ve devised a plan, it’s time to tell your members. You can do this via whatever means of communication you normally use. This can be email marketing, push notifications (if you have an app), in-house posters, or verbally, when members check in at the reception desk.

Read more: CRM: What is it and do you need a system in place?

Guest passes

The try before you buy model is enticing to potential customers. Of course, having the trusted view of your gushing pal is persuasive, but it doesn’t beat smelling the sweaty chlorine air for yourself. Offer members three yearly guest passes and encourage them to bring new people into the club.

Move in for the kill

Without looking like a tiger ready to pounce on its prey, be ready and eager to settle the sale. Some consumers will sign up having never set foot in your gym, but they’re the easy sell. Those that utilised a guest pass may be a little fussier and more cautious with their investments. Assuming that your guest checked in upon arrival, your sales team has already had a chance to greet them and obtain their contact details. Aside from plying them with alcohol, your guest will be happiest and most willing to join immediately after their visit, so try to tap into their spontaneous side. Organise a casual chat in the cafe or reception area. Using a friendly, moderate approach will be most effective.

If they leave without joining, simply send them a gentle reminder a day or two later, so you remain on their mind. Apart from that, you have a trusted side-kick in your current member: their friend.

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How to increase member retention: A guide for sports centres, gyms and studios

7 August 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System, Memberships

It’s the same every year; January sees a flock of eager Christmas-pudding shifters clog up the gym as they attempt to do sit-ups on the leg curl machine. But most of these blow-ins are nowhere to be seen come February. Gyms must work harder to motivate and retain these well-intentioned newbies if they want to keep their membership numbers up.

Redundant memberships are more common than active ones. The less a member uses your facilities, the less likely they are to renew their membership. For every additional visit a person makes each month, their risk of cancellation reduces by 33%.

So how can you increase member retention? The answer is surprisingly simple: communication and engagement.

Reward member loyalty

Your longtime members are most likely to become dissatisfied with your service. To combat this, consider offering a point-style loyalty system where people earn a free smoothie after five visits or free personal training session after 20 visits. Reward them with extra guest passes, which, in turn, could gift you with new members.

Implement a CRM system

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is booming in the technology world and beyond. CRM is usually stored in the cloud, where it records, reports, and analyses each interaction between a business and its customers. When you understand your customers; remember their previous requests, their birthday, and their goals with you, they feel valued. Your CRM system is built into your OpenPlay account, so you can access a customer’s details and discover their relationship with you directly from your OpenPlay dashboard.

Curious? Learn more: CRM- A complete guide

Promote PT and group classes

It is not the swanky heated pool or treadmills with Sky Tv that will keep the bulk of your members coming back; human interaction will. People are socially motivated. Whether it’s a group fitness class, where friends can work out together, or a personal trainer who will scream at clients for missing a session, humans need to be involved.

Challenge cycles

Make every second month the “January rush”. Host a ‘30-day Challenge,’ where people compete to complete the highest number of workouts in 30 days. Introduce a leadership board and get your staff to promote the competition or even join it. These competitive events will keep customers engaged and help them achieve their exercise goals.

Reach out to inactive members

Using your CRM system, you can track member activity. Send polite, motivational emails to those who have been absent for a few weeks. Recommend your favourite upcoming classes, Attaching workout tips and remind members that your staff are always around to help with any questions or concerns.

Staff engagement

To keep members engaged, you need your facilities to feel like a community. A hello is free, and a smile costs nothing, so make sure that every employee is friendly and forthcoming. Wherever possible, learn clients’ names, and use them. Staff should be extra accommodating with new members- yes, the January mob! Show them how to use equipment, recommend appropriate classes, and welcome them into the community.

Question: What tactics have you used to increase member retention?

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM): What is it and do you need a system in place?

27 June 2018 openplay Leave a comment Analytics, Booking System, Marketing, Memberships, Operations, Technology

In 2018, customer relationship management (CRM) software became the leading and fastest growing software market, with a growth rate of 16%, according to research by Gartner. Worldwide, CRM software revenue reached $39.5 billion at the end of 2017, surpassing that of database management systems (DBMS). With such rapid growth, people have been given little time to get their heads around what CRM actually is. Many people use the word, sounding impressive in emails and board meetings, but frequently they confuse its meaning with more general management software. So, what exactly is CRM and should your wellbeing business use one of these highly complex systems?

What is it?

Simply put, CRM is a way to manage and improve your interactions with customers and potential customers. Sometimes it refers to a company’s theoretical strategy or process. In its most recent format, it is a software product, usually stored in the cloud, that records, reports and analyses every interaction between company and customer. It sounds very Big Brother, but it is intended to serve both the service provider and the consumer.

The Benefits of CRM

  1. Personalised marketing: CRM allows for a more personalised approach to marketing. Think of targeted ads that follow you around the internet; CRM refines this personalisation further. Customers or potential customers are only advertised to about products or events that are highly relevant to their interests.
  2. Automated sales: Salespeople cannot afford to waste time rooting through spreadsheets and notepads to remember their relationship with a customer. CRM puts this information directly onto their dashboard allowing for a much smoother and more effective pitch.
  3. Higher retention: It is proven that retention rates and member usage are directly correlated. For each additional visit by a member in any given month, the risk of that member cancelling in the subsequent month is reduced by 33%, according to research by IHRSA. With a fitness CRM system, you can monitor and reach out to inactive members who are most vulnerable to cancellation.
  4. Customers feel valued: A mother might call with a query about her daughter’s tennis group. With an efficient sports CRM system, you can quickly search her name and load every previous interaction. With the facts laid before you in your dashboard, you will be able to provide a more personalised customer support service. Member care is a journey; it evolves as your members change.
  5. Happy Birthday: Automatic birthday wishes can be sent to every client with the gift of a special offer. For many activity providers, kids’ birthday parties are a big chunk of their income. An effective CRM system could decipher appropriate clients and send a promotional email in advance of the child’s birthday.

Budget for change

CRM systems for sports typically contain vast amounts of sensitive personal data, such as customer contact information, date of birth etc. This information increases in value over time, as a customer’s profile builds up. In its very nature, CRM is prone to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) non-compliance. CRM budgets are expected to increase as companies follow GDPR procedures.

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Should your sports centre offer dynamic pricing?

25 June 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System, Marketing, Operations

Dynamic pricing has been a part of flight sales for years. You check the amount, think about it, then return to book the next day and find out it has doubled in price. Now, many leisure centres, fitness studios, and sports courts are using dynamic pricing to increase usage and maximise profit. It makes sense; isn’t it better to have a tennis court filled, even if the profit margin is slimmer? Does dynamic pricing solve the gym’s most prominent issue of being either too full or not full enough? The answers are not as straightforward as you might think.

How does it work?

There are many software products that each have their method of determining price points. First off, the studios themselves set their price margins: the minimum and maximum they are willing to charge for a class. Then the algorithms kick in. The method works by taking the actual capacity utilisation of a studio. Let’s say a studio is, on average, at 60% capacity. Dynamic pricing aims to increase this figure while also growing revenue. However, it is possible for this studio to improve its capacity utilisation to 70%, yet revenue stays level or decreases, due to lower prices.

Who will benefit?

Dynamic pricing is particularly useful in the boutique fitness market, where customers will pay premium prices for premium slots. Then there are the many people who cannot afford to participate unless the price is lower; dynamic pricing gives them access to slots depending on when they book. Facilities that are in high demand (such as squash courts) can also do well from a dynamic model, as space will only go to waste if a timeslot is left open.

Will dynamic pricing put people off advance purchasing?

A tool like Zenrez offers a pricing structure that decreases the value of a class as the starting time nears. A descending model may seem like a positive move; that empty spot gets filled- fantastic! Ultimately Zenrez’s programme discourages early-bird bookings, causing a last-minute flurry of activity and studios struggling to predict and manage class numbers. Your class might be full, but your margins are squeezed and your customers are less loyal. People who wait until the final moment to book your classes have proved that they could take or leave your service. They are an unreliable customer that could very quickly jump ship.

What about an ascending price model?

Perhaps more useful are the systems that turn this algorithm on its head, rewarding early booking and slowly hiking the price as the time nears so that a reservation made the final hour costs up to £6 more than one made a week before. This system is more effective than a descending model and is proven to be useful in the airline industry. However, an ascending price structure can dissuade some people from booking at all.

Introducing your customers Jane and John. Jane is delighted she bagged herself an early deal for Boxfit and views your studio favourably. John doesn’t know what his plans are in a week’s time and cannot commit to a class seven days in advance. It comes to the day of, and John resents paying more than Jane for the same service. That bitter taste makes John spiteful. Maybe he is a spiteful guy? Or, quite possibly, many more of your customers are a little miffed. Jane, on the other hand, is a loyal customer who prioritises your classes, instead of offering Jane a discount on individual courses, you should be focusing on promoting class bundles or a membership.

Will it encourage more pay-as-you-go purchases and discourage memberships?

The short answer is yes; well, probably. With an abundance of choice in studios and gyms, pay-as-you-go is very popular, particularly amongst the younger generation who enjoy varied workouts. At the end of the day, each venue wants you to train with them and them alone. So if you bring dynamic pricing into the mix, aren’t you encouraging people to earn discounts by paying for individual classes?

In Conclusion…

By all means, experiment with your pricing; perhaps a dynamic model will work for your studio. However, if you want to build a loyal customer base, maybe it makes more sense to provide value for money memberships. Regarding pay-as-you-go, peak and off-peak is a tried and tested method that few customers seem to begrudge.

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Increase Revenue From Retail At Your Fitness Studio

18 June 2018 openplay Leave a comment Marketing, Operations

Having a finely displayed range of retail items can add character to your reception, giving it a boutique feel. Your customers should enter your venue and be comforted that you can offer them all they need to attend a class. Retail is not always a success, to begin with. You will need to shop around to find items that match the professionalism and ethos of your brand. If items don’t sell, cut your losses and hold flash sales (an excellent form of event marketing) or sell these items at a highly reduced cost to your staff members. When done right, retail has the potential to massively increase revenue at your fitness studio.

Give customers the Prime service

Amazon Prime has got it sussed when it comes to customer ease. The purchase process is almost completely frictionless, with people now asking Alexa to order the batteries. Whilst it is not yet necessary for you to be integrated with Alexa, you can take Amazonian steps to make it easier for your customers to purchase things. Perhaps they can pre-order a shake through your app, so it is ready and waiting for them when they finish their workout. The whole point of your retail station is that it is more convenient for your customers to purchase from you than to head to a nearby shop or cafe.

Food and Drinks

Obviously selling bottled water is a must for all fitness facilities. Consider switching to an eco-friendly version, such as Aquapax or Voss. When selling a higher end product, you can increase the markup, and people are happier to pay a little more if it is helping the planet. Plus, it shows that your brand cares about the impact it creates. In addition to healthy drinks, why not host a post-workout social on Thursday evenings, even if only once a month around pay-day, and encourage members to mingle over beer and wine.

Collaborate with alternative clothing brands

A lot of studios choose the mainstream brands: Nike, Adidas, Sweaty Betty, Lululemon. With high street shops on every second corner, is there any point in joining them? Your customers know them well and many will walk right by your clothing rail, assuming you are selling the products for a higher price than they could get in a store. You should spend time researching more obscure labels, in any case; these companies will be more excited about the collaboration. Promoting an indie label will prove to your customers that you are “in the know” for all things fitness and have a good eye for up and coming trends.

Forgotten Items

When coming from work or squeezing classes in between daily tasks, it is easy and a nightmare to forget workout gear. Water bottles, leggings, sports bras, are neglected time and again by busy fitness goers only to be sorely missed during an exercise class. In addition to fitness apparel, consider stocking some items that facilitate an easy exit. There is nothing worse than forgetting a spare pair of socks and have to hit the town in a damp pair or worse- sockless. Price the pieces so they are a little more expensive than a high street chain but not so expensive that impulse purchases are out of the question.

Gift Vouchers

Gift vouchers are your finest sales accomplishments. When customers love your brand, they want nothing more than to encourage friends to join them for a fitness class. Sometimes mates are resistant; a gift voucher is the perfect ploy to get them through the door and get them hooked.

Branded items

What better advertising for your brand than to have your customers wear your logo? It’s a bold form of marketing; your customers literally pay to advertise on your behalf. Whether it’s a sports bag, hoodie or reusable water bottle, selling branded items earns you both cash and marketing rewards. The customisation market is rife with companies of questionable quality. Shop around and don’t sell out for a cheap deal unless you want your brand to look cheap. Ordering branded items is a long process if you do it right. Reserve in small batches to determine product quality and then bulk-buy once satisfied.

Luxury Treatments

If you are an upmarket studio consider hiring a hairdresser on Friday and Saturday evenings or a part-time masseuse one or two days a week. If you do not have the space or the clientele for such services, consider partnering with local hair salons, physios, or massage parlours to cross promote your services and provide discounts.

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Website Tips for Sports Businesses

13 June 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System

It is essential that you invest in the front end of your business. We provide booking software for sports providers big and small, so we have seen and worked with our fair share of websites. Sometimes, it is not the flashiest, most expensive site that stands out (or indeed that takes in the most bookings). Having said that, nobody ever built a website out of peanuts. Hiring a website developer is a significant investment, costing upwards of three grand. Of course, this would give you a bespoke, glossy finish and a highly functional site. Many people choose to go with a DIY site builder, such as WordPress. Using such templates result in a more generic, less professional looking website, which often struggles to integrate with other software. Whatever route you choose, you must have a clear idea of the look and feel you want from your site.

Prioritise the visitor

You may want to get lots of useful marketing information from your customer via a booking form: How did you find us? Would you recommend us to a friend? Resist that urge. These questions are irritating and may lead to a customer dropping out before purchasing. Perhaps you want to hammer home your mission statement and flaunt your qualifications and triumphs. Yes, your business must look successful, but avoid slipping into the realms of boasting. Your website is not about you; it is about what you provide. So be generous; give them a taste of what you offer. Your site should be a virtual representation of your business; show what you provide, rather than telling them. Which leads us to the next point…

Photos are essential, but videos stand out

Most activity providers have lots of pictures of children having fun at their camps and courses. Instead of having a “Gallery” page, scatter these photos throughout your website so that every page is brimming with smiling students. Videos of practice or matches give potential customers a glimpse into the experience they will get if they sign up for your club.

Keep things simple

Start with a simple navigation bar, with clear headings, so your visitors immediately know which section to click. Nobody likes clutter: you only have to think about Ryanair’s jumble sale of a website to consider cancelling your holiday plans. Don’t have a master’s degree in the English Language? Don’t worry, because customers favour conversational English over stuffy technical jargon.

Mobile-Desktop View

Mobile is fast becoming the surf medium of choice. It is vital that you consider how your website looks on both a desktop and a mobile. The mobile view is not merely a smaller version but must be explicitly designed with a phone screen in mind. Text should be clear and large enough to read, without having to zoom in. Include a slick, pop-up menu bar for easy navigation. A nice touch is a click-to-call feature, so customers can ring without having to dial the number.

Online bookings

This is the most important element of your website. Yes, we may be biased, but what is the point of your site if not for people to book your facilities and courses. OpenPlay’s bespoke booking system provides a streamlined booking experience. People can book on a desktop or via their mobile, meaning that your booking window is 24/7 and accessible from anywhere in the world.

Up to date information

So this is obvious, but make sure that everything a customer needs to know is there. If the last event advertised is for a summer course in 2005, they will assume you’ve closed up shop and will look elsewhere. Include a news section, so visitors can see that you have activities and events happening all the time. Age groups or available course are the first things that your customers will look for, so make this information easy to find. We would recommend having these available on your homepage as well as on their specific TAB so that visitors can click directly to a booking.

Connect your social media

People engage 25% more with brands that are on Instagram. Make sure to connect your social accounts with your website. Whatever platform you engage with most should be featured on your site; whether that is a rolling Twitter feed or an Instagram tile display.

Good grammar

Bad grammer makes you’re websight look amature. Grammarly is a desktop plug-in that will check your text for any mistakes. It is more thorough than the simple spell check of Word or Pages. It will help you with punctuation, turns of phrase, and even suggest alternative words for when it thinks you have not quite nailed your word choice.

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Reducing Paper at Sports Centres

11 June 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System, Marketing, Operations, Technology

Whether it’s the rising threat of global warming, the stress of sorting through mounting documents, or simply a fear of papercuts; in the age of digitisation, paper and printing products are edging towards extinction. People are discovering that printing is an unnecessary expense, with the average small business spending £14K per year, according to research by software developers Reckon. Paper and ink are just the tip of a melting iceberg; hidden beneath the surface are the costs of keeping traditional filing systems, employee time, and machine maintenance.

Switch from paper bookings to online bookings

Paper is fiddly to manage and far from secure. Storing your data through a booking system like OpenPlay means everything is in one place and nothing gets lost. More importantly, no private information can be misappropriated (GDPR alert!). Our venue management software caters to block bookings, recurring payments, voucher codes and lots more. There is no longer a need to scribble or score out mistakes. Quickly alter, cancel, or refund a reservation and issue automatic confirmations to the customer. Unlike manual paper methods, our CRM (customer relationship management) system records your client interactions, so all information is up-to-date, relevant, and personalised. Ditch the Filofax and paper spreadsheets; a quick glance at your OpenPlay dashboard tells you your facility’s usage rates, financial information, and demographic breakdown.

Digital Registers

Digital registers not only reduce your printing needs, but they are kept up-to-date. Any last minute changes to registers are instantly registered in the system, meaning that instructors have an accurate register right up to the moment they begin their class. Bookings are coordinated with registers, so you can sign attendees can sign and out via the OpenPlay app, or instructors can sign them in via the coach app. You can also add notes, such as illnesses or allergies, to a client’s name, so your coaches and staff will be automatically updated.

Read more: Eliminate single-use plastic at your gym

Implement Recycling Bins

Sometimes paper needs to be used. The polar bears will forgive you for the odd printout, but only if you print back to back and only if you recycle. Create a recycling hub behind reception and print out posters to remind employees and guests to recycle… or don’t actually. Scratch that last point.

Other ways you can help the environment…

  • If you sell plastic bottles of water, why not swap to reusable bottles and provide water fountains.
  • Switch from paper towels to hand towels or energy efficient hand dryers.
  • Perhaps instead of music for classes, you can have your coaches sing or beatbox in between instructions.
  • Ban wrapping paper from the company’s Secret Santa; it is never a surprise anyway.
  • Switch off air-conditioning/ heating. Tell clients this aids muscle recovery and hope they don’t know any better.
  • A popular environmental fitness trend straight from LA is to drain your swimming pool of water and hold mock swim classes instead. Students have found that imagining the resistance of the water means that they are not only working their muscles but also exercising their creative minds.

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Managing Peak Times At Sports Centres

5 June 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System, Marketing, Memberships, Operations

Members pay premium prices for peak-times, yet overcrowding often hampers their experience. For many people, psyching themselves up for the gym is a hurdle in itself. Once they have made it through the doors, the last thing they need is further blockades between them and their workout. All too much is the queue for a treadmill, the claustrophobia of a rammed group exercise class and a bruised back from doing sit-ups on a hard floor because there are no free mats. Fortunately, there are a few ways to reduce overcrowding and keep your gym running smoothly and efficiently at these busy times.

Eliminate reception bookings

There is nothing worse than arriving at the gym only to find that the reception is blocked up with customers and all of the staff are either on the phone or clicking away at computers. Priority needs to be given to those seeking access, needing towels or who have a general query. Move your class bookings online with a bespoke system like OpenPlay and increase reception efficiency.

Off-peak memberships

Anyone working 9-5 cannot avail of the luxury of off-peak workouts. However, for freelancers, stay-at-home parents, retirees, students, and children, a reduced price membership could be tempting. An off-peak membership restricts the user’s access to less popular hours, such as mid-morning and late afternoon. Make sure to introduce some off-peak classes, so these members can also benefit from the timetable. With any luck, some of your current members will opt for a quieter workout and new members will be able to join.

Digital sign-ups and registers

It is essential, first of all, that you have some form of a sign-up system for your group classes. People will lose faith in your venue if it is a constant lottery where they must turn up 30 minutes before the class to have any hope of making the cut. Encourage people to sign up online, so at least this booking race is digital. Now that you’ve asked people to sign up, you need to follow through on your system and implement registers. Most clubs print off class lists, which takes up the time of receptionists, adds to printing costs, and creates a general faff for everyone involved. The OpenPlay Pocket mobile app gives each instructor access to their classes so that they can check off students in the studio. No middleman is needed; registers automatically sync with bookings and cancellations, so they are up-to-date and digitally stored.

Enforce Time Limits

Many clubs ask their members to limit time spent on each machine (usually 45-60 minutes max per person), in an attempt to democratise the gym. Time limits are useful to a degree but even waiting 45 minutes for an exercise bike is a big ask. Ensure that PTs and instructors are on the gym floor offering workout advise to customers. They can show people the benefits of less popular equipment and encourage runners and elliptical trainers to increase sprint times, so they train in shorter, more intense bursts.

Efficient Access Control

The majority of fitness centres already use a version of access control; typically this is by way of a membership card. At OpenPlay, we integrate your booking statistics with your access control system. Alternatively, we have developed an access control app that fits seamlessly with your OpenPlay account. Instead of a card which can be forgotten or lost, a barcode system works straight from mobile and operates even in offline mode. This barcode system is particularly efficient for guests or external users who have  a squash court booking. Their unique barcode can be programmed to allow them access through reception, the changing rooms and the squash court they have booked.

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The Financial Benefits of Running a 5-a-side League

29 May 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System, Marketing, Operations

Among adults, 5-a-side is the most popular version of football, because, compared to larger games, it is easier to organise. Everyone can find four friends (however skilled) to cobble together some sort of team. The rise of leagues and high-quality artificial pitches across the UK mean that 5-a-side’s popularity has snowballed. A 2015 Sport England Survey estimated that 1.5 million people play the game in the UK each week. 11-a-side used to be part and parcel of a football enthusiast’s Saturday morning, but it has suffered a devastating defeat against the smaller, nippier game. Powerleague, the UK’s leading mini-league provider, made a profit of 3.7 million pounds last year, proving that there is big money in the little game. Organising a 5-a-side league has its challenges, with plenty of competition out there; but if done right, you will be reaping financial rewards.

Weekday evenings sorted

Monday to Thursday evenings between six and ten will be your bread and butter. These times have the potential to be booked back to back, week on week. Provide a variety of start times as some people will come straight from work while others choose to eat dinner first. Be wary of the Friday night trap. The UK has a *cough* active drinking culture. Many leagues have flopped because players swapped toe shots for tequila shots. This is not to say that weekend leagues won’t have their draw; a Saturday morning can be a success, but it unlikely to be your prime money earner.

Sponsors are keen

If you look at Powerleague or Goals Soccer Centres, the two leading small-sided league providers, their pitches, website, bibs, and goalposts are plastered in sponsorship advertising. Their astroturf may be electric blue (thanks to Lucozade Sport), but they are all in perfect condition and the latest generation rubber crumb. You don’t have to paint your pitch pink anytime soon; sponsors may be able to supply your goalposts or help with your marketing campaign.

Suitable for all levels

For those who have never so much as grazed their knee on a football pitch, requesting to join an established team can be unnerving. That’s why 5-a-side leagues are the gateway into the addictive game. Although many people enter a league to keep fit and enjoy themselves, there is no doubt that the notion of winning is an enticing element. The tighter the match, the more adrenaline and excitement, so be sure to provide divisions for the tenderfoots, the dab hands, and everyone in between.

Space Saving

Larger Pitches can be divided in half or thirds for multiple games, giving you, the organiser, more buck for your bang. Having various games played at once can also create an intimate, sociable atmosphere that enhances the whole experience and keeps players coming back.

People sign up for the season

Most leagues run throughout the term time or seasonally. This means that your pitches are block booked for months at a time. One of the downfalls of this is that people’s enthusiasm may start to wane as the season draws to a close. It is your job as an organiser to keep energy levels up (maybe your sports drink sponsor can help you there). Referees should be on the ball during play to keep the game tight. Send text reminders the day before sessions, so players have no excuse to back out last minute.

Selling a package deal

When running a league at your premises, you are selling more than just a patch of grass; you are providing the whole game. So long as the experience is top notch and the players come away satisfied, people will be prepared to pay more than they would to rent a pitch. Of course, you must factor in referee costs and your fee for the organisation, but the numbers add up.

5-a-side is profitable; the success of it can be seen by the many triumphant leagues and by the plethora of high quality, artificial pitches that are sprouting up in almost every town in the UK.

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How to get your members online

23 May 2018 openplay Leave a comment Marketing, Memberships, Technology

Generally it is the retired generation who are most reluctant to embrace online booking. With small print, confusing tick boxes, and ad banners, it is completely understandable. Self-service checkouts received a barrage of complaints when they first arrived. There is less human interaction, glasses need to be put on, and for goodness sake I already put it in the bagging area! But self-service checkouts have massively reduced business costs and increased service efficiency. 90% of shoppers aged 18-39 find self-service checkouts easy to use and appreciate their speed. Only 50% of those over 60 feel the same. At OpenPlay, we understand the reservations some of your customers may have when it comes to digital. That’s why our online booking process is straightforward; with no unnecessary pop-ups and easy to follow steps.

Those who dislike change are unlikely to abandon you for another club or venue… They dislike change, remember?

Plan for the future…

Forward thinking and future planning needs to start now. The upcoming generation of retirees are already online and digitally adept. They are not going to revert back to paper the day they clock off for the last time. OpenPlay makes the online experience as smooth and streamlined as possible. It is easy to navigate with minimum clicks involved. The sooner you get your bookings online, the quicker your current customers will get to grips with the system and embrace the world wide web.

Cash loving…

There’s always someone who whips out a fifty when buying a round, counts coppers at the newsagents, and tuts at the beep of an oyster card. Yet, e-commerce is booming, causing “heartbreak on the high street”, and is expected to increase by 23.3% this year alone. You may keep the cash till for energy bars and coffees, but your big sales need to be accessible online.

Consider a dual system…

You are likely to have someone at the facilities for a duration of the day who can take bookings from those that are not ready for online booking. Even with this dual system, their membership, payments and data can be logged into the same OpenPlay system as the rest of your clients. This is still much more efficient than manually logging everybody’s bookings. As other members basque in the ease of online booking, word will spread and others will be encouraged to join in. This is an investment that will increase in value as online sales continue to grow.

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