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David Stalker, CEO of ukactive, reports on the growth of ukactive’s operator-driven benchmarking tool and encourages Health Club Management readers to get involved with the next stage of the project of the project


dentifying the areas in which your business is performing, and the areas that need developing, is a constant and

crucial part of running any organisation in any sector. A key tool used by all of the major sectors in the UK is benchmarking – a process by which businesses can compare themselves against their competitors across the key performance metrics that directly affect the running of their business. Te reports are anonymous and

the data confidential – your strengths and weaknesses will not be exposed to your closest competitors – but the tool is recognised by business leaders as invaluable for the evaluation and contextualisation of organisational performance. It helps to formulate and frame the right questions, enabling greater focus on priorities for further assessment and better use of scarce resources.

Free benchmarking tool Te fitness sector has historically trailed other sectors in the effective use and sharing of data. One of ukactive’s key objectives is therefore to enable the sector to use data in a more sophisticated and intelligent manner, and to equip business

leaders with the knowledge and insight they need to make informed decisions. Speaking to colleagues working in other

parts of the leisure or business world, the thought of not having a benchmarking tool would be completely anathema to their management culture. When I used to run clubs, the benchmarking report was the first thing my board wanted to look at, and one of the key factors I used in identifying the sites that needed more support. In the past, the cost of a benchmarking

report tended to be prohibitively expensive, precluding all but large multi-site operators from participating. Following a consultation with the industry, ukactive has therefore developed a free benchmarking tool that can be used by any of our members, whether large or small, public or private. Te first metrics to be measured

(attrition, total membership, joiner rates, membership yield and average membership length) were devised by our operators, for our operators. Starting with around 15 operators submitting data just for one site, the project has gone from strength to strength: around 300 sites up and down the UK were involved in the

most recent round, from the biggest multi- site operators through to independent single site gyms and leisure centres. So what sort of insights can the sector

glean from the benchmarking tool? Well for instance, the data suggests that November is a particularly lean month for joiner rates and monthly memberships, but any member leaving in November will on average have been a member for longer than those leaving in other months. We may have anecdotally been able to predict this, but each participating fitness operator can now understand the different trends, measure whether it’s performing above or below the average, and adjust its efforts accordingly.

By operators, for operators With the number of participating operators growing with each report, we’re now looking to make the tool an entirely digital platform. Tere will be extra functionality to allow operators to set the parameters of who they want to compare themselves against and in which specific business performance areas, with the number of metrics also increased. Tis is absolutely invaluable insight for

any operator looking to better understand its own business and have an idea of the wider context within which it operates. We want the tool to be driven by what

is crucial to our members’ businesses, so please do get in touch with the team and get involved. If you have any suggestions regarding further metrics, or how you would like the tool to develop, I would very much value your input.

For further information

Visit: policy-insight/ukactive-market- intelligence/business-performance- Or call the ukactive team: +44 (0)20 7420 8577

The tool looks at factors like attrition, joiner rates and average membership lengths 24 Read Health Club Management online at March 2013 © Cybertrek 2013

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