Clubs without walls

The Health Club Collection, a group of boutique health clubs operating in and around London since the early 1990s, collaborated with Venueserve Fitness to develop its live streamed and pre-recorded online content to fulfil its long-term strategy of delivering clubs without walls.

The Health Club Collection includes the Bankside Fit Hub, the River Bourne Club and Rize. Each club has its own unique brand and client base, but all have benefited from using the white-label digital workout platform provided by Venueserve Fitness.

Heidi Blackburn, Operations Director, Health Club Collection says: “We introduced the online platform as a way to connect with our members during lockdown. However, we always had the belief that online wellness was something we wanted to provide; it was inevitable for the leisure sector. The pandemic simply sped up our implementation of this strategy. We needed to be fast to market with our virtual offer, and the content had to be authentic, meaningful and ensure our instructors had online security built in. We wanted to be able to offer our members a round-the-clock ‘lifestyle’ experience, and Venueserve Fitness helped us to fulfil our desire to create clubs and memberships without limits.”

The Health Club Collection’s River Bourne Club, based in Chertsey, has a suburban demographic, and is now creating bespoke training schedules for some its niche markets.  Blackburn explains: “We have a lot of members who are retired. We can provide comprehensive, bespoke training plans for this group online; something that’s costly in person. For our prime-time customers aged 65+, our inspirational instructor, Dee, who is 70 years herself, has created some fantastic lower impact, age-specific sessions.

“At first we wondered if this age group would engage with the online technology, and we filmed some short ‘How to’ instructional videos, but they have tuned in and turned up.  Now we’re creating more content for other demographics, including post and pre-natal. The fantastic thing about virtual wellness is we can provide a vast range of content cost effectively. We’re also considering online teenage/youth sessions, prehab and rehab sessions, weight loss with nutrition programmes and long-Covid recovery support.”

The platform creates an opportunity to grow the business, according to the Health Club Collection’s Group Sales and Marketing Manager, Ian Hassett.  He says: “Virtual provision  naturally creates flexibility and extends our membership offer.  As the Venueserve Fitness platform is white-label, we can customise it to look and feel like our own brands, so our customers feel connected to our clubs. Brand loyalty is important for customer retention. Members can use the online platforms should they be working from home, away with business, on holiday or too busy to get to the club itself. The reports created by the platform show both pre-recorded and live streamed sessions are popular.  What we’ve learnt is that choice and convenience is important to customers.

“We also use the platform as a great sales tool for potential members; turning enquiries into new members by offering a try before you buy seven-day virtual membership. The potential new customer gets a feel for the clubs and gets to meet instructors before committing. They gain valuable insight into the club and, we hope, enjoy the experience.

“There are limitless opportunities to bolt on and add value to our customers experience using the Venueserve Fitness platform. Blended memberships, bespoke wellbeing packages and customer convenience will be at the heart of everything we do.”

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