Kings College London is one of the top 10 ranking UK universities in the world. With over 31,000 students and 8,000 staff from over 150 countries, it is a leading university in providing access to a flexible sport and fitness through cutting edge technology.
This goal is driven by King’s commitment to support health and wellbeing, as evidence shows that being active is highly beneficial for mental health, sense of belonging and social inclusion.
With a shared belief in the importance of using technology to increase sports participation and an ambition to do things differently, King’s Sport and OpenPlay have formed a close and innovative partnership over the last eight years.
King’s Sport – Strand Gym.
This journey started with the creation of King’s Sports pitch booking system in 2012 and evolved into a pioneering and comprehensive leisure management software system, which has totally transformed King’s Sports operation and how students and staff engage with sports and activity.
“We have always liked the way OpenPlay challenges existing systems and is disrupting the industry; we share this desire to innovate and improve,” explains Anthony Currie at King’s Sport.
With a strategic goal to grow the number of students engaging with sport and provide higher quality experiences, OpenPlay and King’s developed a new software system to simplify pitch bookings, which proved ground-breaking.
“It really improved the relationship with our customers and also freed up staff time. The way we used to manage things was very labour-intensive. Unfortunately, across the industry something as simple as booking a sports pitch has long been a challenge, and remains so for many,” explains Anthony.
Stepping up Activity
On the back of this success, Kings and OpenPlay extended their work together to create the infrastructure behind BeActive, a free social sport and fitness activity programme. Aimed at making sport accessible to all students, particularly those keen for more variety and flexible physical activities, rather than traditional sport, digital was placed at the heart of the engagement strategy.
OpenPlay and King’s Sport worked together to design and build a state-of-the-art management system and app to support BeActive, which fast became one of the most successful university programmes of its kind. Now over 2,500 students attend BeActive sessions.
From this King’s set its sights on using technology to further widen participation, by encouraging even more of the student population to get active through King’s Move, an online activity reward programme. Over 13,000 students and staff are now signed up, creating a powerful digital platform that has huge reach across the university community.
On the back of this success, King’s Sport expanded its gym facilities across three new sites, gaining 6,000 members. In 2018 OpenPlay was chosen to create a powerful CRM software system with the capability to manage a complex range of activity bookings, memberships and studio timetable and class management.
Collaborating closely with King’s, OpenPlay built a bespoke and flexible system that could not only handle a high volume of data, but also offer a competitive digital experience for tech savvy consumers, alongside a simple interface for staff.
The new CRM system now not only enables the smooth running of operations and supports commercial performance, it also delivers valuable data insight and the opportunity to integrate other core systems together now and in the future.
King’s Sport – Strand Gym.
Through its close partnership with OpenPlay, Kings is now recognised as the leader in higher educational physical activity. Its programmes have scaled to engage over 15,000 students and staff in 2019 and it has gained awards from the likes of UKActive.
As Anthony concludes: “Our work with OpenPlay has always been based on continued partnership. There has been a mutual feeling that we want to innovate, take risks and launch new products – not just to benefit King’s but the market more broadly.”