Mobile App Sense

Stephanie Hutchings
20-Mar-2017 18:02:34

Smartphones are everywhere and we’re addicted to them. Ofcom reported in 2016 that over 75% of UK adults have a smartphone and you only need to look around on the bus, train, at a concert, in the pub to see how common they are and how much time we spend on them. Lets look at how mobile can add value to Leisure and Club operators.

Businesses are catching on to this fast – just watch TV and count how many advertisers are plugging their apps – banks, betting companies, grocers, travel, everyone is doing it. Mobile apps are a huge opportunity for leisure operators too.

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Mobile apps are a huge opportunity for Leisure and Club operators

  • Retention – mobile is the most personal communications tool – much more personal than TV, radio, print, email… with your app on a user’s phone you have a direct channel to them, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Users interact with the app and you start understanding their habits and likes.
  • Brand – if your users can go to the app stores, enter your brand name and download your app which makes it much easier for them to get the best out of your facilities and services, that’s a very strong brand communication to your users. They’ll reward you for it with their respect and loyalty.
  • Service/Cost saving – Users appreciate and even expect many services to be available 24/7 via a mobile App. This is a win/win for the leisure operator – it improves customers satisfaction and frees up centre staff as many transactions go from time-consuming phone calls and front desk interactions to the app.
  • Acquisition -- leisure operators with our apps find they quickly build up a large audience, typically at least the number of their direct debit users within a few months. And they’re using the app several times a week as they book classes, read news and check schedules. This is a valuable audience and you can incentive them to help you achieve your marketing goals, for example to help you recruit new members. The optional Lead Generation module delivers amazing results, typically adding new members at a rate that not only pays for the app but delivers a handsome return on investment for the operator.
  • New revenue sources –there is huge value in having direct access to an audience in a known geographic locality with a common interest in fitness and wellbeing. In times when funding support is tight and competition from discounters is fierce, mobile presents opportunities to generate future revenue from affiliate marketing and referrals that could add to the bottom line of your business.

I need an app, how do I go about it?

OK, so you need a mobile app, but getting an app developed is an expensive undertaking which will consume major resources in not just money but time and effort, assuming you have the skills for such a project. You need an app that reflects your brand and values and integrates with your existing IT infrastructure and marketing tools, but a bespoke development is not affordable and dilutes your focus on your business.   

The answer is an off-the-shelf solution designed specifically for leisure operators which has huge flexibility and customisation built-in. This makes it affordable and yet allows you to adapt the look-and-feel and functionality to your brand and requirements. All of the content is controlled by you through the web and if the solution is hosted there are no IT headaches.

Better still, if it’s tightly integrated with your member management system it can deliver a personalised experience for your users, showing pricing and availability appropriate to their membership, their bookings, etc. If you’re not thinking about a mobile app now, you should be – check out MobilePro, it ticks all the boxes and is loved by Ops directors, IT teams and Marketing. Over 50 of Gladstone's biggest customers now have apps through MobilePro covering over 400 sites and almost 500,000 of their users have downloaded their apps.

Guest blogger: Tim Williams, Innovatise

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