Where did the idea for MoveGB come from and when did it launch?
MoveGB was founded by Alister Rollins following the sale of his company, The Retention People (TRP), the market leader for loyalty and customer experience solutions to the industry.
After seeing the success of new industry models like iTunes and more recently Uber, we were convinced there was a better model for our industry, one that could more closely align the behaviour of exercisers with the commercial models of fitness operators and generate life long relationships between consumer and provider. If customers are worth more, businesses can afford to spend more keeping them active, which further increases their loyalty and value. We are seeing this vision materialise with 100s of our health club partners as we roll out across the UK.
We launched in Bristol in January 2013 and now have over 10,000 users joining every month and are doubling the profits for most of our partners.
What does MoveGB offer consumers?
We offer a universal fitness membership, allowing our customers to ‘move’ anywhere under one simple monthly plan. Venues in our network include a diverse range of operators such as gyms, leisure centres, climbing centres, boot camps, yoga, golf, bike rental, paddle boarding, sports massage, personal training etc. So it’s a unique proposition for our members, most of whom want diversity in their exercise regime to keep them motivated. Our model also works well for commuters and travellers, as well internationally (MoveUSA is already live in NYC).
How does the scheme work?
We offer all new users a free trial to try out our partners. If they decide to continue, they can purchase one of our monthly Passport Plans based on how often they prefer to move each week.
What’s the price point?
Our payment plans vary regionally but are always priced above our partner clubs, so it’s just a bit more than the average gym membership in any city. We’ve also recently launched a Premium Passport, which includes high-end operators like The Park Club and several 5-star spas.
How many sites/activities are you affiliated with?
We are close to a thousand providers in the network and hundreds more join each month.
We are live in NYC, London, Bristol, Southampton, Plymouth, Bath and Lincoln. Our roll out plans will see a further 20 UK cities live this year. We’re working with major brands such as Fitness First, Total Fitness and Everyone Active, through to independent chains like Soho Gyms and many single sites.
Why should operators partner with MoveGB?
We are like a large corporate account to our partners, bringing them totally new and committed members at zero cost of acquisition. We’re effectively a free marketing service for them. As well as paying our partners for our members to access their facilities, many of our trial users go on to convert to direct members of our partners.
What other benefits do you offer to clubs?
There’s no fee for partners to join our network and there’s no contractual tie-in, so partners can pull out with just 48 hours’ notice.
It’s a risk-free proposition for them. We believe strongly that all relationships should be based on mutual value not legal contracts.
What other services do you offer?
We resell partners’ additional services including PT, massage services as well as activities or courses that some of our specialist activity partners may provide.
Can you tell us a little more about your coaching division?
We offer a proactive concierge service to our members to help keep them active. We also use a lot of smart technology like TRP to monitor our members and engage with them when motivation is needed.
One of the problems the industry suffers from is a bad reputation for service. We’re determined to create a culture and model that places us as one of the best customer service companies in the world. So we’ve studied and visited companies like Amazon, and believe we have something pretty special to offer.
Our coaches are empowered to do what they can to delight our members and have a weekly budget to spend to make sure it happens. We recently ordered a pizza to be delivered to a member who we charged on the wrong date. The charge caused them to go overdrawn....and hungry! Needless to say an angry customer suddenly turned into one of our greatest fans!
Have you done research on exercise adherence and the MoveGB formula?
Yes, our model is based on the insight from over 15 million member records and 10 years at TRP. Our current business performance shows that the average length of stay is almost twice the fitness industry average, but we are still not satisfied and are obsessive about improving this.
How would you describe your company culture?
We’re a young, purpose driven company. We only recruit people who are genuinely passionate about the health and fitness industry, and in turn we offer them great benefits like unlimited annual leave, flexible hours, and a work environment with bean bags, free fruit and stand-up desks!
We are currently on the look-out for offices as we are expanding so fast, the team has almost tripled since I joined the team five months ago.
Where do you see MoveGB’s position in the future of fitness?
We face an inherent dilemma in the industry. We’re all driven to get ‘more people more active, more often’ but if everyone exercised for the recommended 5 x 30 minutes every week, then most health and fitness clubs would need to be five times bigger. We need to fix this if the industry is going to do more than just survive.
By uniting traditional, low cost and boutique operators, MoveGB offers a way to spread members evenly, keeping the customers active and growing the size of the market for all.
But you can see why the market has anchored fitness to be worth such a low amount… because they don’t actually use the service!
As an industry we should be as powerful financially and politically as the pharmaceutical industry. We have a far better product for most of the same ills, we just have to get people using it.