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Run on behalf of Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, a charitable not-for-profit organisation in Kent, tmactive is made up of four separate facilities and caters for around 5000 members. Chief Executive Martin Guyton talks us through his need for a virtual solution and how he plans to incorporate it into his long-term strategy.
After being forced to shut their doors for the nation-wide lockdown in March, tmactive’s income dried up overnight. All direct debits were frozen and the majority of staff furloughed. Like all leisure centres and gyms across the country, tmactive took a significant financial hit.
With centres closed for months, some staff began livestreaming various home workouts themselves, but as this couldn’t be regulated it was clear that this wasn’t a feasible solution.
Even since reopening in July it’s clear that things aren’t just going to bounce straight back to how they were pre-lockdown. Although regaining an impressive 75% of direct debits by September with new sales coming in each month, Martin comments that a large proportion of these are younger members with older and vulnerable members more hesitant to return to centres.
‘COVID-19 will change the world for some time to come. There will be a percentage of people who will not come out of that Covid fear for a year or two or more I suspect. So, we realised that but also, we understand that people are busy – they have all sorts of reasons why they can’t make it to the gym.’
With the added threat of additional lockdowns across the country, it became clear that it was time for a change of tack for tmactive.
That’s where MoveAnywhere comes in…
‘Even after this struggle, you realise that there’s still a community out there that wants you.’
Serving the community is still a top priority for tmactive – but for this to be possible they had to alter their methods and keep an open mind as to how best to achieve this crucial community connection in these uncertain times.
Since reopening centres, tmactive has been using MoveAnywhere, Gladstone’s interactive livestreaming platform, to stream a selection of classes to their customers. This virtual platform has allowed them to maintain that connection with all members and provide them with an alternative to physically visiting a centre for a class.
‘Variety keeps customers 3 x more active and doubles retention rates’ (ukactive Member Choice study)
Currently streaming about a dozen classes per week, Martin says that the ultimate aim will be to reach 20-30 classes. Discovering which classes stream the best was a learning point for tmactive, with yoga, pilates and HIIT classes proving particularly popular.
Screenshot of a livestreamed class from tmactive using the MoveAnywhere service
And the result?
‘This is a natural evolution that we probably would have found our way to, but COVID-19 has just accelerated that’
As tmactive has found, a blended approach really is the way forward for the fitness industry – it allows operators to stay connected to customers whilst also creating the option for an additional revenue stream.
‘I like the flexibility of MoveAnywhere and how it allows us to put our own instructors on screen’
By adapting to a hybrid fitness model, class numbers can remain high. With restricted numbers in-studio due to social distancing measures, livestreaming classes overcomes this by allowing an unlimited number of virtual places.
Not only a handy tool to have in place in the event of further local or nation-wide lockdowns, but also extremely well suited to busy lifestyles and the increased proportion of people now working from home, MoveAnywhere provides an unparalleled flexibility for your customers.
How to get started with MoveAnywhere?
Getting started with MoveAnywhere is simple. Available either as a standalone product or for the smoothest member experience, MoveAnywhere can be set up with Connect for a small setup fee – this option means that your customers will simply use their Connect username and password to login to the platform.
And it’s easy to offer your customers access to even more content beyond your centre’s classes – operators can choose to give customers access to 3rd party livestreams and on demand workouts if they wish. Customers simply pay for the livestreams through the wallet function. And they will have access to 15 free on demand workouts and thereafter will pay extra.
Costing you just £1 per active user per month, it’s simple to utilise the service as an additional revenue stream. Let’s say your average gym membership is £24/month. Bundling the service into subscriptions for an extra £5 a month isn’t going to break the bank for your customers, and it will provide them with this added flexibility. And this would give the operator a nice additional income - even if 20% of members of a 5000-member organisation took up the offer this would result in an additional revenue stream of £5k per month.
And the platform isn’t only available to members – fully available to PAYG customers as well, MoveAnywhere puts the operator in control – you can charge what you like for your classes. And with any PAYG classes purchased, you will receive 90% of the revenue from these. This also allows you to extend your reach further afield, as geographical location is no longer a limitation.