What does your No Risk, Performance-based support package entail?
It’s something that’s unique to Alliance Leisure – you won’t find it offered by any other company. We bundle all our products together – anything from training courses to e-marketing software – and the client benefits from a huge amount of resources, which represents a great saving.
The package we offer to leisure sites is a true partnership where we take all the risk upfront, meaning there’s no upfront costs for the operator. Also, we are in the partnership for the long haul – usually around five years. It’s certainly not just a question of sending a sales team into a facility for a short while or doing some one-off training.
But of course, we’re not just there to create savings for them, but to actively grow their income.
Why should a leisure site employ your services?
In the current financial climate many facilities, especially local authorities or trusts, simply don’t have the budget to develop their businesses. Even if they did have a budget to begin with, marketing and training budgets are the first things to disappear in a cost-cutting exercise.
We only take an income when we hit and exceed the target that we’ve set within the partnership with the client for income growth.
It sounds perfect – so why wouldn’t a business want to take up this kind of offer?
Obviously if a site is performing well they wouldn’t want to bring us into the mix. But the reality is that most of these businesses need some help. Also, it’s not just a case of us coming in to bring revenues back up to sustainable levels, but about creating fresh income sources that the site would never have achieved on its own.
Apart from your complete bundle of products and resources, what else do clients receive?
The first thing we do once the contract is agreed is to assign them a dedicated account manager who becomes like one of their permanent members of staff. This account manager might attend the site or sites several times a week or several times a month, depending on the scale of the contract and the requirements of the client.
It’s important to note that our representative is certainly not a threat to the existing staff or there to make any cuts to the current operations.
They’re there to coach staff and mentor them, and to co-ordinate and ensure the correct implementation of our marketing strategies and the required training, etc.
What percentage of Alliance Leisure’s business does income share represent?
As we work with many local authority leisure sites, just about half of our business is now conducted on an income share basis. We don’t currently work with any private operators in this way, but that’s not to say we wouldn’t consider it if approached by an appropriate client.
Can you give us an example of successful income share project?
Birmingham City Council approached us. It had 10 constituencies where all the leisure sites across those constituencies were operating quite independently, and the branding also needed refreshing across all their leisure offers. The council decided that it needed to change that culture, as well as boost its income. Three years after Alliance first became involved, we’ve now grown that income by 130 per cent.
How did you achieve this?
We used a variety of methods, which of course included drawing on our whole portfolio of resources.
Our starting point was to go in and thoroughly train all 800 members of staff over a four-month period.
We also gave them an impact sales team consisting of four people, not just to assist with sales in the early stages but also to facilitate ongoing sales training where it was needed across the organisation.
To boost marketing, we ran five big city-wide campaigns over a year, using local radio and press, banner advertising and social media. These types of large campaign may typically cost around £10,000 a time to run, but they were all included in the contract. Alliance Leisure’s in-house designers also worked with Birmingham City Council’s central team to come up with refreshed branding.
The whole contract has been a great success, and the client is delighted with the sustained rise in income.