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Health Club Management

Health Club Management



The ability to buy online has become a necessity for many consumers. Gladstone looks at how gym memberships are offered in this environment

Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 7
Younger consumers, in particular, are comfortable buying most things online
Younger consumers, in particular, are comfortable buying most things online

Over the past two decades the rise of the internet has changed the way we spend our money. And although it’s now 21 years since the first web-based transaction took place, our appetite for online shopping shows no sign of waning – according to the Office for National Statistics, almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of British adults bought goods or services online last year.

The message is simple: whatever today’s consumers need – clothes, music, groceries, concert tickets, flights – they expect to be able to buy it online. And thanks to groundbreaking software products such as Gladstone Health and Leisure’s Join@Home, they can now add gym memberships to their online shopping baskets too.

Personalised experience
Since its launch three years ago, Join@Home has revolutionised membership sales in gyms and leisure centres across the country by allowing customers to sign up from the comfort of their own home (or indeed anywhere) at a time and pace which suits them. As well as being more convenient for the customer, the product has the added bonus of easing pressure on the in-house sales team, while also boosting sales and potentially cutting costs.

The flexible design delivers a quick and user-friendly process for people to either purchase memberships upfront or sign up to a direct debit. Customers can even simply register their details for pay-as-you-go, in order to benefit from online bookings.

Nor is Join@Home just a great way to attract new business: it also offers operators an easy way to manage membership renewals and upgrades for existing customers.

The software can be adapted to offer a personalised customer experience, look and feel that blends seamlessly with each operator’s website, while the fully responsive design means it works well and looks great on both mobiles and tablets – making it ideal for use with Gladstone’s smartphone app, MobilePro.

And although Join@Home is primarily for remote use, it can also be made available on site, meaning that even customers who come in to sign up can use it. The result? Even more reception time is freed up for customer care.

“The internet is now so prevalent in our everyday lives that many people expect to be able to run their lives online 24/7,” says Tom Withers, sales and marketing director for Gladstone. “With this in mind it’s imperative we offer our clients technologically advanced products, such as Join@Home, that allow their customers to do this.

“But it’s not only prospective members that benefit from Join@Home. By providing an additional sales channel that reduces rather than increases pressure on staff, the product has the potential to make a significant contribution to the success of any gym or leisure centre business, in terms of both customer service and the bottom line.”

TEL +44 (0)1491 201010?



Frances Durkan,

Data and information officer,

Calderdale Council

Since implementing Gladstone’s Join@Home, online sales of Calderdale’s memberships have grown to 25 per cent of total sales
Since implementing Gladstone’s Join@Home, online sales of Calderdale’s memberships have grown to 25 per cent of total sales

After the opening of our two newest sites four years ago, the membership population at our five leisure centres doubled, but our staff numbers did not. As a result our leisure centres were soon overwhelmed by demand at reception, both in person and by phone and email, leaving some of our customers unsatisfied with the response that they got from us. Gladstone’s Join@Home – along with its online booking system Connect – has provided us with a great, cost-effective way of dealing with this challenge.

Since introducing these solutions two years ago, we haven’t looked back. Both systems take care of run-of-the-mill transactions that would otherwise tie up valuable reception time, enabling our staff to concentrate on more complex enquiries and customer care. It’s also much better for our customers, as every online transaction is one less phone call or reception visit they have to make. It can all be done from the comfort of their own home or during their work commute, and at any time of day – there’s no more standing in line or listening to the phone ring.

From an administration point of view, both systems are really straightforward: for example, price fixes, promotions and dealing with unpaid transactions are all more or less self-running once set up. The results speak for themselves. Just looking at Join@Home, from 20 May 2013 to 30 April 2015 we sold 1,803 memberships through the system, and about 25 per cent of our monthly membership sales now go through online

“Every online transaction is one less phone call or reception visit customers have to make”

Since implementing Gladstone’s Join@Home, online sales of Calderdale’s memberships have grown to 25 per cent of total sales
Since implementing Gladstone’s Join@Home, online sales of Calderdale’s memberships have grown to 25 per cent of total sales

Debbie Reay,

memberships officer,,

Brio Leisure

When Join@Home became available, we were very keen to adopt it as we could immediately see its potential to ease the pressure on our reception staff, enabling them to better focus their time and energies on upselling and dealing with customer queries.

It was also important for meeting the needs of our prospective customers, who increasingly expected us to offer an online sign-up process, just like some of our competitors.

To ensure a seamless customer experience, our web designers ‘skinned’ the Join@Home pages so they completely blended into our own website, and we introduced the product on 26 February 2014 at all 10 of our membership-based sites. We are very pleased with the results: within 12 months of launching the product roughly 12 per cent of all new membership sales were being made online, and by May of this year 929 people had signed up via Join@Home.

We’re now investigating the possibility of installing computers in our public areas so customers who wish to do so can join online in-club.

“Our prospective customers expected us to offer
an online sign-up process”
The ability to buy online is key for consumers – so how should membership sales be managed in this context?
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