Sandwell Leisure boosts membership by three-quarters with online and mobile sign-ups

Sandwell Leisure Trust says it has increased membership by 74 percent and reduced membership set-up costs with the help of an Omnico leisure management system.


Sandwell Leisure Trust says it has increased membership by 74 percent and reduced membership set-up costs with the help of an Omnico leisure management system.

Sandwell Leisure Trust (SLT) has 400 employees and an annual turnover of around £8 million, serving a population of around 309,000 people. It maintains nine leisure centres and a golf course for an annual fee from Sandwell Metropolitan Borough council.

The trust wanted to deploy a system that would support its facilities and underpin its goal to maximise membership at each one, providing an effective return on investment and good value for money to end users and the council alike.

The trust recognised that by using mobile and online joining it could give control and convenience to potential members, allowing them to sign up in their own homes or on the move. In practical terms this meant the trust could handle a much larger response to their marketing campaigns than if they were to direct people to the centre to sign up, avoiding "mind changing" queues at the facility.

Sandwell found Omnico’s Clarity Live software to be the most competitive. Mark Wildman, Sandwell Leisure Trust marketing and business manager, said: "We were confident that the Clarity Live solution would help us achieve our objective to increase the number of online sign-ups.”

He said: “We found Omnico’s tender refreshingly straightforward. Clarity Live was relatively new to the market back then, but equally it was very modern and user friendly, and we could see further progress on the product development front.”

Sandwell Leisure Trust purchased the eJoining module alongside the core Clarity Live platform. eJoining gives customers online self-service facilities reducing the need for manual intervention.

Sandwell Leisure Trust has seen a 74 percent increase in membership in just one year, with 81 percent of members opting to join online as opposed to in person.

“Adopting eJoining has also reduced our costs on the printing of membership related documentation, application forms and so on – we’ve easily saved several thousand pounds on this alone,” said Wildman. “By enabling customers to join online, we’ve done away with the need to run dedicated membership desks at our leisure centres.”

Previously, Sandwell Leisure Trust found that front desk hold-ups caused by manual membership applications impacted business. It discouraged repeat visits, caused customer complaints and reduced service standards on other important service tasks such as answering the phone.

By deploying the software on tablet devices, Sandwell Leisure Trust has also mobilised the sales function. Staff attend events like community days, school and corporate events, proactively signing-up members on the spot. “We go out into the community and let people join where they are,” said Wildman.

"This mobility has also proved effective at induction sessions for casual gym users, where the convenience of having joining facilities available on a PC has accelerated sign-ups."