Latest
issue
GET HCM
magazine
Sign up for the FREE digital edition of HCM magazine and also get the HCM ezine and breaking news email alerts.
Not right now, thanksclose this window I've already subscribed!
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
Follow Health Club Management on Twitter Like Health Club Management on Facebook Join the discussion with Health Club Management on LinkedIn Follow Health Club Management on Instagram
FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS

features

Tech: Digital Futures: progress report

Consumer expectations are rising all the time, but nowhere more than in relation to digital. UK Active’s Dave Gerrish explains how the industry is shaping up

Published in Health Club Management 2024 issue 1
Consumers expect frictionless digital experiences / photo: Shutterstock / GaudiLab
Consumers expect frictionless digital experiences / photo: Shutterstock / GaudiLab
64% of operators have a digital strategy, but only 20% have a digital strategy that’s ‘up to date, complete, ambitious and supported by a roadmap’

Organisations across the UK health and fitness and leisure sectors are at different levels of maturity when it comes to digital transformation and although they’re making strides, improvements can still be made to enable them to reach a wider audience and reduce inequalities by enabling better access.

UK Active has worked with Sport England, the British Chamber of Commerce and a raft of other partners to publish the results of its most recent consultation on digital in its report Digital Futures 2023: The third annual review of the digital maturity and effectiveness of the UK’s fitness, leisure and sports sector. This report provides the fullest picture yet of the sector’s digital status.

About the study
The Digital Futures research programme began in 2021 and participation has doubled each year since, with this year’s sample representing 2,200 sites across the UK serving an estimated 5.5 million customers a year – up from 1,800 last year.

The 2023 consultation was completed by 204 fitness, leisure and sports organisations and saw a 14 per cent increase in the number of private operators taking part, when compared to 2022. Partners included National Governing Bodies for sports and the Active Partnership Network in the UK.

Of the 136 UK operators who took part, 62 per cent were public sector, 26 per cent private and 12 per cent universities. Within the public sector tranche, 55 per cent were trusts and 45 per cent local authorities.

The sample was composed of 76 per cent English, 6 per cent Scottish, 5 per cent Welsh and 1 per cent Northern Irish respondents, while 12 per cent were nationwide operators. 51 per cent had 1-5 sites, 16 per cent had 6-10 sites, 14 per cent had 11-50 sites, 5 per cent had 51+ sites and 13 per cent were NGBs and Active Partnerships.

This year also saw global territories used as a benchmark following a recommendation by PureGym – a member of the Digital Futures Advisory Group – working with AUSactive, EuropeActive, Sport:80 and the GameDay app.

Digital Futures 2023 provides a measure of how well organisations are embracing digital, and highlights the main areas for improvement to digital strategies. It also draws on data from UK Active’s consumer insights work to provide context behind consumers’ preferences that could have an impact on an operator’s digital journey.

The scoring system
A digital maturity and effectiveness score was established based on multiple choice responses from an online survey.

Questions asked in 2023 were identical to those asked in 2022, with the addition of two about emerging technologies and environmental impact.

Organisations were asked 40 questions to establish how they engage with digital. These covered five areas – organisational model, performance and impact, data and insights, digital experience and accessibility, inclusion and satisfaction.

The overall scores (health and fitness operators plus other participants) in these five areas in 2023 showed small changes on the previous year, with scores down 1 per cent in the area of organisational model and digital strategy, up 3 per cent on performance and impact, down 5 per cent on data and insights, up 1 per cent for digital experiences and the same year-on-year for accessibility, inclusion and satisfaction (see table 1).

The 5 per cent decline in the score for ‘data and insights’ suggests that with the constant influx of new technologies such as AI, and the increasing volume of data organisations are collecting, some feel they’re falling behind, even if they’ve been progressing in other areas of digital.

Digital Futures categories
The most established category of operators – called the Digital Futures Cohort – is made up of organisations that have taken part in the consultation for two or three years (58 of the organisations that took part in 2021 also participated in 2022, while 28 have completed all three years. See Table 2).

Members of this group continuously outperform the rest of the overall sample. For example, they scored 65 per cent for ‘performance and impact’, which is 10 per cent above the sector as a whole.

Furthermore, 64 per cent say digital accounts for at least half their revenue (compared to 47 per cent of the sector overall) and 97 per cent say they make operational savings through the use of digital (compared to 84 per cent of the sector overall).

Those participating in both 2022 and 2023 increased their score by 4 per cent on average.

Banding operators by performance
The two- and three-year participants in the Digital Futures Cohort are categorised as either Digital Leaders (if they score 80+) or Digitally Established (if they score 60-79) and together they achieved a digital maturity score of 57 per cent this year (against 53 per cent in 2022).

Five operators reached Digital Leader status – the pinnacle of the digital maturity and effectiveness index – by scoring 80 per cent or more. This compares with three in 2022 and just one in 2021. The highest score was 87.

Being a Digital Leader typically means tech is already driving business performance and setting the benchmark for peers and other companies in the market to follow. However, becoming a Digital Leader isn’t within the scope of all organisations.

One national operator who took part in the survey actually acknowledged it would never reach Digital Leader status, as the complexities of its service offering were preventing it from gaining a higher score. Nevertheless, it still gained from the process, as the programme highlighted that it needed to work on its data strategy.

The index describes those scoring 60-79 per cent as Digitally Established, meaning they’re harnessing digital more than most peers, but have opportunities for greater automation and innovation.

In the next band down, those scoring 40-59 per cent are called ‘Digital Experimenters’, typically meaning they’re making great strides forward, but missing the investment, goal-alignment and rapid advances to yield a really strong performance. Organisations in this bracket scored an average of 51 per cent.

First timers sit in the Digital Foundations (20-39) and Digitally Aware (0-19) categories, scoring 43 per cent on average and when comparing their score with those who’ve participated in all three years, it’s clear this drives progress. The lowest score was 29.

Scores by type and location
Private operators scored highest on average, with 65 per cent attaining the Digitally Established level, trusts scoring 56 per cent, local authorities 54 per cent and universities 53 per cent.

Private operators also scored higher than public operators and universities for most digital categories, but universities scored highest for Data and Insights and matched private operators for Performance and Impact.

As with previous years, organisations with more physical sites scored higher too. Those with 51+ sites scored 64 per cent, 11-50 sites 52 per cent, 6-10 sites 49 per cent and 1-5 sites 45 per cent.

The overall results
The average score for the entire sample this year was 47 per cent across all areas of assessment and each of the organisations that took part also received scores in the individual categories.

This score was four percentage points lower than the previous year, but this doesn’t necessarily mean a drop in digital maturity for the sector as a whole. There have been new participants from inside and outside fitness and leisure and a slightly higher participation from smaller organisations, which tend to score lower.

In addition, the greater the knowledge of digital, the more accurate (and sometimes lower) the score.

The scores for the whole sample for the question ‘Do you have a digital strategy?’ was up 36 per cent on 2022 to 64 per cent, suggesting there’s a more concerted effort to build a digital focus into overarching strategies, although only 20 per cent said they have a digital strategy that’s “up to date, complete, ambitious and supported by a road map.”

This number rose to 43 per cent in the higher-level Digital Futures cohort.

When asked, ‘How does digital influence participation or engagement growth?’ scores were also up by 32 per cent on last year, indicating that investing and using digital processes is having a tangible impact when it comes to reaching and engaging with more members.

However, when asked, ‘What do you do with data you collect from audiences?’ The average score was down by 9 per cent (5 per cent among health and fitness operators), suggesting, as mentioned, that more needs to be done to support operators in using data effectively and the conclusions of the research also highlighted this as a major development area.

Old software
Old systems are still failing some in the sector, with 90 per cent of operators saying at least some of the systems they have hold them back (compared to 84 per cent in 2022).

Legacy systems that don’t integrate seamlessly present a cost and logistical challenge, particularly when multiple systems are required to provide the best experiences and operators are still finding leisure management systems challenging to work with.

There’s a cost and resource impact in changing systems but those who are upgrading to cloud-based versions can better meet consumer needs.

2023 saw the launch of a Digital Futures microsite, which enables software suppliers to support customers in embracing digital transformation, while also allowing operators to see year-on-year views of results with recommendations and resources.

The recommendations
Looking back at the development of the Digital Futures initiative, we see that in 2021, collaboration and simplification were the two key areas of focus – collaboration was about organisations working more closely together with each other, with platform providers and with other third-party providers, such as local authorities, NGBs and Active Partnerships.

Simplification was about reducing complexities, such as the volume of different membership types and products, disparities across different local authorities and multiple versions of platforms.

In 2022, the focus turned to digital maturity and effectiveness, through the introduction of recommendations to deliver organisational excellence and exceptional customer experience.

Three themes emerge in 2023 – data use, inclusion and personalisation.

It’s clear large parts of the sector need more support – even those with higher levels of digital maturity – in the area of data use, where scores have gone down and there’s a significant opportunity to improve inclusivity in ways that would benefit consumers and operators.

Operators need to do more to deliver on inclusion and accessibility to ensure digital transformation doesn’t exclude segments of the population and there’s a need for shared case studies to demonstrate how this can benefit everyone – particularly through the application of personalisation, which can have such a powerful impact on outcomes and engagement.

These themes can only be integrated into an operator’s overall strategy if they’re clearly identified, supported and resourced, but there are huge wins to be had for the sector if this can be implemented, including delivering a competitive advantage, enhancing customer engagement, driving efficiency, fostering agility and promoting data-driven decision-making.

Further reading and insight
Digital Futures 2023 offers tips and guidance to help operators and suppliers establish tailored solutions to ensure the advantages of digital can be felt across all organisations. You can download it at www.hcmmag.com/DF23.

Dave Gerrish is strategic lead – digital at UK Active [email protected]

Digital futures Headline themes

2021 Collaboration and simplification

2022 Digital maturity and effectiveness

2023 Data use, inclusion and personalisation

Steps to improving your organisational model

1. Develop a robust digital strategy

2. Ensure digital is baked into processes organisation-wide

3. Work to improve digital literacy throughout the organisation

4. Invest in systems improvements

5. Implement customer research ahead of development

Who’s backing Digital Futures?
Advisory

• EGym

• Gladstone

• Les Mills

• Myzone

• Technogym

• Xplor

Operators

• Anytime Fitness

• David Lloyd Leisure

• Everyone Actice

• Parkwood

• PureGym

Suppliers

• Endurance Zone

• Keepme

• Leisure Labs

• Perfect Gym

• Xn

• Zoom Media

photo: UK ACTIVE

The UK Active report has been endorsed and supported by the British Chamber of Commerce.

Check your digital score here: digitalfutures.ukactive.com/preview

67% of operators use social media, creating channels for members to use / photo: Shutterstock / RZ Images
67% of operators use social media, creating channels for members to use / photo: Shutterstock / RZ Images
/ photo: Shutterstock / PH888
50% of operators say their people are ‘digitally savvy’ / photo: Shutterstock / Chay_Tee
50% of operators say their people are ‘digitally savvy’ / photo: Shutterstock / Chay_Tee
Table 1: All Digital Futures participants – highest scoring digital areas / SOURCE: Digital Futures 2023
Table 1: All Digital Futures participants – highest scoring digital areas / SOURCE: Digital Futures 2023
Table 2: Whole Digital Futures sample, scores by category / SOURCE: Digital Futures 2023
Table 2: Whole Digital Futures sample, scores by category / SOURCE: Digital Futures 2023
/ SOURCE: Digital Futures 2023
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2024/465547_720589.jpg
New research into the digitisation of the health club sector has found both examples of best practice and room for improvement, as Dave Gerrish explains
HCM magazine
Will Orr has been talking to HCM about the company’s new strategy for 2024, as Kath Hudson reports
HCM magazine
HCM People

Cristiano Ronaldo

Footballer and entrepreneur
Taking care of your physical and mental health is essential for a fulfilling life
HCM magazine
Basic-Fit – which has been scaling rapidly across Europe –  is considering franchising to ramp up growth further afield
HCM magazine
Egym has announced deals designed to position it for growth acceleration, as Kath Hudson reports
HCM magazine
Imposter syndrome about a promotion taught the CEO of SATS that behaving authentically is the most important part of leadership. He talks to Kath Hudson
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
The partnership between PureGym and Belfast-based supplier BLK BOX is transforming the gym floor
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
University of Sheffield Sport has opened the doors of its flagship Goodwin Sports Centre following a major refurbishment
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
The New Keiser M3i Studio Bike brings ride data to life to engage and delight members
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
GymNation is pioneering the future of fitness with software specialist Perfect Gym providing a scalable tech platform to power and sustain its growth
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Nuffield Health has worked with ServiceSport UK for more than ten years, ensuring the equipment in its clubs is commercially optimised
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Operators, prepare to revolutionise the way members connect with personal trainers in your club, with the ground-breaking Brawn platform.
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Epassi, a provider of workplace wellness benefits, is creating a fitter and more productive workforce, one membership at a time 
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
D2F had updated its brand styling to keep pace with business growth. MD, John Lofting and operations director, Matt Aynsley, explain the rationale
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Francesca Cooper-Boden says health assessment services can boost health club retention
HCM promotional features
Latest News
The fitness sector’s pivot to active wellbeing is being discussed in a new weekly podcast, ...
Latest News
Planet Fitness has a new CEO – Colleen Keating. She will take up the position ...
Latest News
UK Active has announced details of its annual health and fitness industry awards ceremony, which ...
Latest News
Social enterprise, Places Leisure, which is part of the Places for People Group, has appointed ...
Latest News
Basic-Fit has signed up to trial Wellhub across its recently expanded Spanish network, giving access ...
Latest News
Having redefined the model of public-private collaboration in Spain, Go Fit is now expanding into ...
Latest News
Planet Fitness has become the subject of a hate campaign by certain groups of consumers ...
Latest News
Recovery, social wellness and longevity were talking points at PerformX recently, tipped by many speakers ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Webinar: Building a new energy future for the leisure sector
As one of the most energy-intensive industries in the UK, leisure facilities face a critical challenge in balancing net zero goals, funding and increased costs.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Panatta to showcase innovation at major fitness and bodybuilding events in 2024
Panatta will consolidate its global presence throughout 2024 by attending a host of major industry events around the globe.
Company profiles
Company profile: CET Ltd
The focus for two decades was low temperature saltwater hydrotherapy, in particular the CryoSpa Sport ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Zoom Media UK
As the original GymTV supplier, Zoom Media has a proven track record of working with ...
Supplier Showcase
Supplier showcase - Jon Williams
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Greenwich Leisure Limited press release: Pioneering project boosts business in Basingstoke
A sports complex might not be your first thought when you’re looking for a peaceful and comfortable, drop-in workspace. However, that could soon change thanks to an innovative new project at Basingstoke Leisure Centre.
Featured press releases
The Health & Fitness Institute press release: The future of fitness education: The Health and Fitness Institute champions digital learning
The Health and Fitness Institute (THFI) is leading a revolutionary paradigm shift in fitness education by fully embracing digital learning.
Directory
Snowroom
TechnoAlpin SpA: Snowroom
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Lockers
Fitlockers: Lockers
Cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Cryotherapy
salt therapy products
Saltability: salt therapy products
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Property & Tenders
Loughton, IG10
Knight Frank
Property & Tenders
Grantham, Leicestershire
Belvoir Castle
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
22-24 Apr 2024
Galgorm Resort, York,
Diary dates
10-12 May 2024
China Import & Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China
Diary dates
23-24 May 2024
Large Hall of the Chamber of Commerce (Erbprinzenpalais), Wiesbaden, Germany
Diary dates
30 May - 02 Jun 2024
Rimini Exhibition Center, Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
08-08 Jun 2024
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
11-13 Jun 2024
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
12-13 Jun 2024
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-05 Sep 2024
IMPACT Exhibition Center, Bangkok, Thailand
Diary dates
19-19 Sep 2024
The Salil Hotel Riverside - Bangkok, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Diary dates
01-04 Oct 2024
REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort Nusa Dua Bali, Kabupaten Badung, Indonesia
Diary dates
22-25 Oct 2024
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
24-24 Oct 2024
QEII Conference Centre, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2024
In person, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Diary dates

features

Tech: Digital Futures: progress report

Consumer expectations are rising all the time, but nowhere more than in relation to digital. UK Active’s Dave Gerrish explains how the industry is shaping up

Published in Health Club Management 2024 issue 1
Consumers expect frictionless digital experiences / photo: Shutterstock / GaudiLab
Consumers expect frictionless digital experiences / photo: Shutterstock / GaudiLab
64% of operators have a digital strategy, but only 20% have a digital strategy that’s ‘up to date, complete, ambitious and supported by a roadmap’

Organisations across the UK health and fitness and leisure sectors are at different levels of maturity when it comes to digital transformation and although they’re making strides, improvements can still be made to enable them to reach a wider audience and reduce inequalities by enabling better access.

UK Active has worked with Sport England, the British Chamber of Commerce and a raft of other partners to publish the results of its most recent consultation on digital in its report Digital Futures 2023: The third annual review of the digital maturity and effectiveness of the UK’s fitness, leisure and sports sector. This report provides the fullest picture yet of the sector’s digital status.

About the study
The Digital Futures research programme began in 2021 and participation has doubled each year since, with this year’s sample representing 2,200 sites across the UK serving an estimated 5.5 million customers a year – up from 1,800 last year.

The 2023 consultation was completed by 204 fitness, leisure and sports organisations and saw a 14 per cent increase in the number of private operators taking part, when compared to 2022. Partners included National Governing Bodies for sports and the Active Partnership Network in the UK.

Of the 136 UK operators who took part, 62 per cent were public sector, 26 per cent private and 12 per cent universities. Within the public sector tranche, 55 per cent were trusts and 45 per cent local authorities.

The sample was composed of 76 per cent English, 6 per cent Scottish, 5 per cent Welsh and 1 per cent Northern Irish respondents, while 12 per cent were nationwide operators. 51 per cent had 1-5 sites, 16 per cent had 6-10 sites, 14 per cent had 11-50 sites, 5 per cent had 51+ sites and 13 per cent were NGBs and Active Partnerships.

This year also saw global territories used as a benchmark following a recommendation by PureGym – a member of the Digital Futures Advisory Group – working with AUSactive, EuropeActive, Sport:80 and the GameDay app.

Digital Futures 2023 provides a measure of how well organisations are embracing digital, and highlights the main areas for improvement to digital strategies. It also draws on data from UK Active’s consumer insights work to provide context behind consumers’ preferences that could have an impact on an operator’s digital journey.

The scoring system
A digital maturity and effectiveness score was established based on multiple choice responses from an online survey.

Questions asked in 2023 were identical to those asked in 2022, with the addition of two about emerging technologies and environmental impact.

Organisations were asked 40 questions to establish how they engage with digital. These covered five areas – organisational model, performance and impact, data and insights, digital experience and accessibility, inclusion and satisfaction.

The overall scores (health and fitness operators plus other participants) in these five areas in 2023 showed small changes on the previous year, with scores down 1 per cent in the area of organisational model and digital strategy, up 3 per cent on performance and impact, down 5 per cent on data and insights, up 1 per cent for digital experiences and the same year-on-year for accessibility, inclusion and satisfaction (see table 1).

The 5 per cent decline in the score for ‘data and insights’ suggests that with the constant influx of new technologies such as AI, and the increasing volume of data organisations are collecting, some feel they’re falling behind, even if they’ve been progressing in other areas of digital.

Digital Futures categories
The most established category of operators – called the Digital Futures Cohort – is made up of organisations that have taken part in the consultation for two or three years (58 of the organisations that took part in 2021 also participated in 2022, while 28 have completed all three years. See Table 2).

Members of this group continuously outperform the rest of the overall sample. For example, they scored 65 per cent for ‘performance and impact’, which is 10 per cent above the sector as a whole.

Furthermore, 64 per cent say digital accounts for at least half their revenue (compared to 47 per cent of the sector overall) and 97 per cent say they make operational savings through the use of digital (compared to 84 per cent of the sector overall).

Those participating in both 2022 and 2023 increased their score by 4 per cent on average.

Banding operators by performance
The two- and three-year participants in the Digital Futures Cohort are categorised as either Digital Leaders (if they score 80+) or Digitally Established (if they score 60-79) and together they achieved a digital maturity score of 57 per cent this year (against 53 per cent in 2022).

Five operators reached Digital Leader status – the pinnacle of the digital maturity and effectiveness index – by scoring 80 per cent or more. This compares with three in 2022 and just one in 2021. The highest score was 87.

Being a Digital Leader typically means tech is already driving business performance and setting the benchmark for peers and other companies in the market to follow. However, becoming a Digital Leader isn’t within the scope of all organisations.

One national operator who took part in the survey actually acknowledged it would never reach Digital Leader status, as the complexities of its service offering were preventing it from gaining a higher score. Nevertheless, it still gained from the process, as the programme highlighted that it needed to work on its data strategy.

The index describes those scoring 60-79 per cent as Digitally Established, meaning they’re harnessing digital more than most peers, but have opportunities for greater automation and innovation.

In the next band down, those scoring 40-59 per cent are called ‘Digital Experimenters’, typically meaning they’re making great strides forward, but missing the investment, goal-alignment and rapid advances to yield a really strong performance. Organisations in this bracket scored an average of 51 per cent.

First timers sit in the Digital Foundations (20-39) and Digitally Aware (0-19) categories, scoring 43 per cent on average and when comparing their score with those who’ve participated in all three years, it’s clear this drives progress. The lowest score was 29.

Scores by type and location
Private operators scored highest on average, with 65 per cent attaining the Digitally Established level, trusts scoring 56 per cent, local authorities 54 per cent and universities 53 per cent.

Private operators also scored higher than public operators and universities for most digital categories, but universities scored highest for Data and Insights and matched private operators for Performance and Impact.

As with previous years, organisations with more physical sites scored higher too. Those with 51+ sites scored 64 per cent, 11-50 sites 52 per cent, 6-10 sites 49 per cent and 1-5 sites 45 per cent.

The overall results
The average score for the entire sample this year was 47 per cent across all areas of assessment and each of the organisations that took part also received scores in the individual categories.

This score was four percentage points lower than the previous year, but this doesn’t necessarily mean a drop in digital maturity for the sector as a whole. There have been new participants from inside and outside fitness and leisure and a slightly higher participation from smaller organisations, which tend to score lower.

In addition, the greater the knowledge of digital, the more accurate (and sometimes lower) the score.

The scores for the whole sample for the question ‘Do you have a digital strategy?’ was up 36 per cent on 2022 to 64 per cent, suggesting there’s a more concerted effort to build a digital focus into overarching strategies, although only 20 per cent said they have a digital strategy that’s “up to date, complete, ambitious and supported by a road map.”

This number rose to 43 per cent in the higher-level Digital Futures cohort.

When asked, ‘How does digital influence participation or engagement growth?’ scores were also up by 32 per cent on last year, indicating that investing and using digital processes is having a tangible impact when it comes to reaching and engaging with more members.

However, when asked, ‘What do you do with data you collect from audiences?’ The average score was down by 9 per cent (5 per cent among health and fitness operators), suggesting, as mentioned, that more needs to be done to support operators in using data effectively and the conclusions of the research also highlighted this as a major development area.

Old software
Old systems are still failing some in the sector, with 90 per cent of operators saying at least some of the systems they have hold them back (compared to 84 per cent in 2022).

Legacy systems that don’t integrate seamlessly present a cost and logistical challenge, particularly when multiple systems are required to provide the best experiences and operators are still finding leisure management systems challenging to work with.

There’s a cost and resource impact in changing systems but those who are upgrading to cloud-based versions can better meet consumer needs.

2023 saw the launch of a Digital Futures microsite, which enables software suppliers to support customers in embracing digital transformation, while also allowing operators to see year-on-year views of results with recommendations and resources.

The recommendations
Looking back at the development of the Digital Futures initiative, we see that in 2021, collaboration and simplification were the two key areas of focus – collaboration was about organisations working more closely together with each other, with platform providers and with other third-party providers, such as local authorities, NGBs and Active Partnerships.

Simplification was about reducing complexities, such as the volume of different membership types and products, disparities across different local authorities and multiple versions of platforms.

In 2022, the focus turned to digital maturity and effectiveness, through the introduction of recommendations to deliver organisational excellence and exceptional customer experience.

Three themes emerge in 2023 – data use, inclusion and personalisation.

It’s clear large parts of the sector need more support – even those with higher levels of digital maturity – in the area of data use, where scores have gone down and there’s a significant opportunity to improve inclusivity in ways that would benefit consumers and operators.

Operators need to do more to deliver on inclusion and accessibility to ensure digital transformation doesn’t exclude segments of the population and there’s a need for shared case studies to demonstrate how this can benefit everyone – particularly through the application of personalisation, which can have such a powerful impact on outcomes and engagement.

These themes can only be integrated into an operator’s overall strategy if they’re clearly identified, supported and resourced, but there are huge wins to be had for the sector if this can be implemented, including delivering a competitive advantage, enhancing customer engagement, driving efficiency, fostering agility and promoting data-driven decision-making.

Further reading and insight
Digital Futures 2023 offers tips and guidance to help operators and suppliers establish tailored solutions to ensure the advantages of digital can be felt across all organisations. You can download it at www.hcmmag.com/DF23.

Dave Gerrish is strategic lead – digital at UK Active [email protected]

Digital futures Headline themes

2021 Collaboration and simplification

2022 Digital maturity and effectiveness

2023 Data use, inclusion and personalisation

Steps to improving your organisational model

1. Develop a robust digital strategy

2. Ensure digital is baked into processes organisation-wide

3. Work to improve digital literacy throughout the organisation

4. Invest in systems improvements

5. Implement customer research ahead of development

Who’s backing Digital Futures?
Advisory

• EGym

• Gladstone

• Les Mills

• Myzone

• Technogym

• Xplor

Operators

• Anytime Fitness

• David Lloyd Leisure

• Everyone Actice

• Parkwood

• PureGym

Suppliers

• Endurance Zone

• Keepme

• Leisure Labs

• Perfect Gym

• Xn

• Zoom Media

photo: UK ACTIVE

The UK Active report has been endorsed and supported by the British Chamber of Commerce.

Check your digital score here: digitalfutures.ukactive.com/preview

67% of operators use social media, creating channels for members to use / photo: Shutterstock / RZ Images
67% of operators use social media, creating channels for members to use / photo: Shutterstock / RZ Images
/ photo: Shutterstock / PH888
50% of operators say their people are ‘digitally savvy’ / photo: Shutterstock / Chay_Tee
50% of operators say their people are ‘digitally savvy’ / photo: Shutterstock / Chay_Tee
Table 1: All Digital Futures participants – highest scoring digital areas / SOURCE: Digital Futures 2023
Table 1: All Digital Futures participants – highest scoring digital areas / SOURCE: Digital Futures 2023
Table 2: Whole Digital Futures sample, scores by category / SOURCE: Digital Futures 2023
Table 2: Whole Digital Futures sample, scores by category / SOURCE: Digital Futures 2023
/ SOURCE: Digital Futures 2023
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2024/465547_720589.jpg
New research into the digitisation of the health club sector has found both examples of best practice and room for improvement, as Dave Gerrish explains
Latest News
The fitness sector’s pivot to active wellbeing is being discussed in a new weekly podcast, ...
Latest News
Planet Fitness has a new CEO – Colleen Keating. She will take up the position ...
Latest News
UK Active has announced details of its annual health and fitness industry awards ceremony, which ...
Latest News
Social enterprise, Places Leisure, which is part of the Places for People Group, has appointed ...
Latest News
Basic-Fit has signed up to trial Wellhub across its recently expanded Spanish network, giving access ...
Latest News
Having redefined the model of public-private collaboration in Spain, Go Fit is now expanding into ...
Latest News
Planet Fitness has become the subject of a hate campaign by certain groups of consumers ...
Latest News
Recovery, social wellness and longevity were talking points at PerformX recently, tipped by many speakers ...
Latest News
Industry experts are gathering in Cologne for today's European Health & Fitness Forum (EHFF), followed ...
Latest News
Jason Worthy has been appointed group CEO of Myzone to lead the 'next stage of ...
Latest News
John Kersh has announced he is leaving boutique franchisor, Xponential Fitness, after eight years with ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Webinar: Building a new energy future for the leisure sector
As one of the most energy-intensive industries in the UK, leisure facilities face a critical challenge in balancing net zero goals, funding and increased costs.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Panatta to showcase innovation at major fitness and bodybuilding events in 2024
Panatta will consolidate its global presence throughout 2024 by attending a host of major industry events around the globe.
Company profiles
Company profile: CET Ltd
The focus for two decades was low temperature saltwater hydrotherapy, in particular the CryoSpa Sport ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Zoom Media UK
As the original GymTV supplier, Zoom Media has a proven track record of working with ...
Supplier Showcase
Supplier showcase - Jon Williams
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Greenwich Leisure Limited press release: Pioneering project boosts business in Basingstoke
A sports complex might not be your first thought when you’re looking for a peaceful and comfortable, drop-in workspace. However, that could soon change thanks to an innovative new project at Basingstoke Leisure Centre.
Featured press releases
The Health & Fitness Institute press release: The future of fitness education: The Health and Fitness Institute champions digital learning
The Health and Fitness Institute (THFI) is leading a revolutionary paradigm shift in fitness education by fully embracing digital learning.
Directory
Snowroom
TechnoAlpin SpA: Snowroom
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Lockers
Fitlockers: Lockers
Cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Cryotherapy
salt therapy products
Saltability: salt therapy products
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Property & Tenders
Loughton, IG10
Knight Frank
Property & Tenders
Grantham, Leicestershire
Belvoir Castle
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
22-24 Apr 2024
Galgorm Resort, York,
Diary dates
10-12 May 2024
China Import & Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China
Diary dates
23-24 May 2024
Large Hall of the Chamber of Commerce (Erbprinzenpalais), Wiesbaden, Germany
Diary dates
30 May - 02 Jun 2024
Rimini Exhibition Center, Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
08-08 Jun 2024
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
11-13 Jun 2024
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
12-13 Jun 2024
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-05 Sep 2024
IMPACT Exhibition Center, Bangkok, Thailand
Diary dates
19-19 Sep 2024
The Salil Hotel Riverside - Bangkok, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Diary dates
01-04 Oct 2024
REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort Nusa Dua Bali, Kabupaten Badung, Indonesia
Diary dates
22-25 Oct 2024
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
24-24 Oct 2024
QEII Conference Centre, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2024
In person, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Diary dates
Search news, features & products:
Find a supplier:
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
Partner sites