25 Jan 2021 World leisure: news, training & property
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Health Club Management
2020 issue 10

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Leisure Management - Upping the online fitness game


Upping the online fitness game

Venueserve Fitness enables clubs to offer white-label content streaming to optimise capacity and member engagement

An impressive 1,700 out of 3,000 members continued to pay membership dues at the Marlow Club during lockdown, to get Venueserve Fitness Prostock-studio/shutterstock
The Venueserve Fitness white label platform is skinned to resemble the Marlow Club’s website
PHOTO: The marlow club

In this ever-changing world, there’s one thing we know for sure; social distancing measures are here for the long-run, meaning even when clubs are open there will be capacity limits.

With 40 per cent of members favouring group exercise classes, ensuring they have access to their well-loved programme has never been more important, and operators are welcoming a new, white-label online fitness platform, offering live streaming of classes at the touch of a button.

Venueserve Fitness is an easy-to-use, low-cost web- and mobile web-based platform, already being used by more than 45 health clubs across the UK, including London’s Roehampton Club, The Marlow Club and the clubs in The Health Club Collection.

Set-up takes just a few hours and includes 70 pre-recorded training sessions, so operators can kickstart their own virtual club immediately, all branded as their own.

Venueserve Fitness’s comprehensive, built-in reporting dashboard allows operators to gather valuable membership data and insight, which can’t be obtained via Facebook Live or Zoom. The back-end reporting and payment system also means Venueserve Fitness can be used by PTs or instructors such as yoga teachers, who can use the subscribe, data capture function as their own membership system.

Strong reputation
The platform is the brainchild of Lee Booth, Founder and CEO of global tech company Venueserve. The company, which has a well-established reputation within the ticketing and sports membership sector, is taking its first steps into the fitness industry.

Booth says: “Venueserve Fitness gives operators the tools to offer a branded virtual membership, whether that’s as a free, ‘nice to have’ for existing members, upsold as an additional bolt-on virtual membership or sold separately as a subscription-based online membership package for those who aren’t ready to visit a gym yet.

“The simplicity of Venueserve Fitness means no one has to miss out, and the pre-recorded content means there’s plenty to choose from for every type of club and every type of member.”

Live-streaming is unlimited and each session is saved to the platform and categorised so it can be played again and again.

Instructors live-stream to Venueserve Fitness’s servers and, from there, the content is sent to the club’s own branded streaming site, which is skinned to match their website. Fresh pre-recorded content is also uploaded to the platform every week.

The Marlow Club
Jon Williams, COO, The Marlow Club

Luxury health and wellbeing club, the Marlow Club, delivers 250 exercise classes a week and has a very loyal community of members, who treat the facility as their wellbeing hub – their home from home.

COO, Jon Williams, reached out to Venueserve Fitness when lockdown first commenced in March; he needed an online offering for his 3,000 members that looked and felt like the club’s own: “It’s all about our members having a positive experience, every time they visit. When we switched to online during the first lockdown it was important this same positive experience happened virtually. Our online content had to look and feel like the Marlow Club.

“We gave our members the choice: to stick with us, to freeze or to leave. Those who continued with us gained access to our virtual membership. It was valuable income for the club, and I was humbled that 1,700 members continued to pay their full membership.

“It’s testament not only to the community and the brand we’ve nurtured over 17 years, but to the engagement Venueserve Fitness enables us to deliver. Our live streamed classes feature our instructors doing the classes our members love. It means the Marlow Club can be accessed anywhere and anytime. It adds value to our offer and aids our customer retention - it’s a service we will never be without.”

Marlow Club members have viewed the sessions almost 28,000 times to date, and since reopening in July, every live class is now streamed.

“You want to work out on holiday – no problem. You want to join in your favourite HIIT session at midnight – no problem. The Marlow Club now operates 24 hours a day – globally!”
Williams says: “COVID-19 restrictions mean our classes run at 50 per cent capacity. Now, when members can’t get into a physical class they can still participate virtually. All the instructor has to do is turn on the camera and stream through an iPad – it’s so simple and so flexible. The platform is also secure. I have a duty of care to my staff and instructors and I don’t want them to feel vulnerable online; and Venueserve Fitness gives me that confidence and peace of mind.”

As a result, the Marlow Club now sells virtual-only memberships, and already has around 100 exclusively online members.

He concludes: “The future uses of this application are limitless. You want to work out on holiday – no problem. You want to join in your favourite HIIT session at midnight – no problem. The Marlow Club now operates 24 hours a day – globally!”

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Originally published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 10

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