“For several years, our personal training provision was ticking along nicely,” explains Darren Rossiter, Gymstar Group GM, leading énergie Fitness operator and current `Business Leader of the Year`. “Across the three clubs, our site based teams of 5 or 6 personal trainers were paying us rent which was generating a steady monthly income. However, I always felt we were not exploiting our personal training potential to the full or supporting our personal trainers as well as we could.

“Although our personal trainers are all self-employed, they play a critical role in our member experience. We need to work as a united team and that means creating a working environment and business model that works effectively for both parties. Under the rental model, I just did not feel we were providing enough support for individuals to for them to be able to make a successful business out of their professional services. My concerns were reflected in the fact that we are experiencing a high turnover of personal trainers. So, I started to look for an alternative way of doing things.

“I had been introduced to fisikal previously, whilst working with another highly commercial fitness operator. Fisikal was responsible for the implementation of a group exercise booking solution and online personal training which revolutionised the management of the services. I contacted the CEO, Rob Lander, and outlined our intent to digitalise the personal training aspect of our business.”

In November 2018, Rob and the team of developers built a personal training management solution for Gymstar that we implemented across all three énergie Fitness clubs. The system moved away from a rental system to an income share model which would see Gymstar collect 25 per cent of each session fee, enabling the personal trainer who delivered the session to retain a 75 per cent cut.

Rossiter, continues: “This model has completely transformed the way we manage our personal training business. Members now book personal training sessions directly, through our bespoke mobile app. They select the trainer they want to engage and make their payment via the app rather than direct to the trainer. Each month, the fisikal software collates a report detailing all redeemed sessions and calculates the percentage payment we need to pay to each personal trainer. This is then paid directly into their bank account. The system is completely closed. All monies are accounted for and traceable. The need for cash is completely removed.

“Only paying out for sessions completed also focuses the personal trainers on creating a fantastic customer experience to ensure loyalty and fulfilment of their personal training commitment.

“The fisikal app also enables personal trainers to send automated push notifications to clients providing an efficient and professional means of maintaining communications even when clients are not physically in the building.  This helps maintain a personal connection and extends our brand influence into daily lives.

“Moving this aspect of our business online means we have real time visibility of performance – by site, by trainer or as a collective, 24 hours a day. At the push of a few buttons, we can create reports  that detail a whole range of performance indicators from sessions booked versus capacity to month on month financial comparisons. This helps keep a close eye on the direction of travel and enables benchmarking and immediate operational adjustments to maximise efficiencies and revenues.”

The fisikal personal training solution also enables the creation of online training plans and assessments removing the need for paper records, helping to ensure full GDPR compliance. Clients and trainers can access training plans, two way chat and a wide range of fitness content anytime, anywhere, via our mobile app. This creates a complete, wraparound support service not possible previously.

Rossiter continues: “Since the introduction of fisikal, our personal trainers are staying with us, on average, twice as long. This is down to the fact that they are now able to run a much more professional service for clients, plus, if they work hard at selling their services and using the online tools available to maintain client contact and promote loyalty, they are well rewarded financially.  

“Moving to this model has resulted in a net increase in revenue for us of 300 per cent in 2019. This achievement has far exceeded our expectations. For a relatively small initial investment and ongoing monthly subscription with fisikal, we have created a sustainable model which works for both us and our trainers.”

Fisikal has also enabled individual clubs to offer members’ added-value through the creation of a loyalty scheme engaging local community partners.

Rossiter, explains: “We identified the local services we felt our members would employ on a regular basis like hairdressers, coffee shops, dry cleaners, car repairs etc and approached local providers about offering our members a discount when they make a purchase. Partners and discount offers are promoted to members via our app – giving the community brands great exposure. If a member wants to redeem an offer, they simply show a voucher hosted on the app, at point of purchase.”

“Fisikal delivers a big brand feel with a personal touch. The service provision and the product’s ability to deliver against our objectives is second to none. Rob and the team have been on-hand to support us at every stage of our journey. Based on the success of our online personal training solution, I look forward to an ongoing relationship, with potential to develop more functionality to support other aspects of our business.”

Rob Lander, Founder and CEO at fisikal, says: “It is fantastic to see our platform having such a profoundly positive impact on this business. Darren is a forward-thinking, switched on operator. Some might have been content to maintain the status quo and accept the offline personal training rental model as sufficient. Not Darren. He spotted an opportunity to enhance the service for the member, the trainer and the business. We are very pleased to have been able to assist him in activating the transformation.”

Gymstar operates énergie Fitness franchises in Leighton Buzzard, Bethnal Green and Old Street and is actively looking for opportunities to open further clubs.