Goodlife gets business ‘in shape’ with real-time analytics

Australia’s fastest growing gym network set to deliver a ‘real-time culture’

Goodlife Health Clubs’ move to adopt real-time analytics and souped up business intelligence has delivered rapid transformation for the fitness firm.

Goodlife’s 77-strong club network became part of the Fitness and Lifestyle Group in October, after divestment from Ardent Leisure. The overarching brand, owned by private equity group, Quadrant, has been on an acquisition spree over the past 6 months, also picking up Hypoxi (small studios attached to the Goodlife Clubs), Fitness First Australia (61 clubs), and Jetts in Australia and in New Zealand.

The raft of acquisitions triggered an overhaul of IT operations, said Fitness and Lifestyle Group CIO Adam Skinner, who was formerly with Goodlife.

Now considered one of the fastest-growing Australian gym networks, with more than 200 clubs, 7500 staff and nearly 650,000 members, Skinner told CMO the company needed enhanced analytics and business intelligence across its marketing, operations, finance and information technology pillars in order to reveal historical and current business trends.

The group opted for Domo’s platform because it was important to get access to data anywhere, anytime and on any device, he said. “That has ultimately changed the entire dynamic of how we collaborate and how we view data and business intelligence across the business,” he said.

“Anyone from the CEO right down to the receptionist working in any of our clubs has access to Domo and the data warehouse.”

Formerly, 1.4 billion rows of data sat virtually stagnate in a physical data warehouse, and reprocessing the queue of the data warehouse took between four to six hours. Additionally, to access data, Skinner said employees had to connect to a server via a VPN, limiting decision making.

Domo’s technology enables spontaneous decision making, reducing reprocessing times to 15 minutes across every single record in the data warehouse.

“We are now able to give new employees access to Domo and they can see historical conversations, budgets and membership trends to expedite their new-hire training and provide a foundation for success,” Skinner said. “Domo has enabled us to become a real-time culture. We no longer have to sit down and review tables of data to work out what’s happening. We can glance through cards and instantly come up with trends based on a large range of different metrics. That’s really powerful and changing the way our business works.”

Single view of the customer

Digging deeper, Skinner said the ‘single view of the customer’ has always been unique and important to the fitness industry. Goodlife marketers can now map different touch points across member acquisitions and better gauge the prospect journey.

“Domo has enabled us to take traditional acquisition methods like Web, paid media and map that across unconventional acquisition methods, such as social, and then get a true member acquisition lifecycle around different touch points that have occurred in order to acquire that member. That is valuable for our marketing team,” he said, explaining the cost per acquisition in the fitness business is costly and arduous.

Domo Asia-Pacific vice-president and general manager, Paul Harapin, said Goodlife now has the ability to ‘truly understand’ what’s happening in the business, as it is happening, and “tie it all together” in order to understand key decision making metrics.

“What most businesses are faced with, small or large, is they have so much data coming at them from so many different sources that trying to tie it into a format that makes sense, from a decision-making perspective, is a challenge,” he said.

Goodlife’s use of the vendor’s predictive toolkit makes this even more powerful, Harapin said. “The team is also able to get insights about what could be happening in the future and try to take action to address that from a customer retention perspective,” he said.

Strong foundation

The data analytics platform is the icing on the cake for Goodlife. Skinner said the group’s overall IT and business transformation has been monumental, and in the first instance, required a sound foundation.

“A builder doesn’t go and build a house without putting a sound concrete foundation. Nor do they go and waste all of their money on the roof when you have a poor concrete foundation because everything is going to come crumbling down,” he said.

As part of the foundational tech changes, the fitness firm has transitioned its IT footprint and assets from physical infrastructure into an AWS cloud (hosted) environment. With change coming so fast and furiously, Skinner said change management work has been paramount throughout the process.

The company has also migrated from Microsoft Office 365 to the Google G suite. Skinner said this highlights the fact the company is not only deploying innovative solutions, but that there’s large-scale operational change taking place.

Admittedly, transformative change has come slowly to the fitness world, Skinner said, likening it to the hospitality industry. “The hospitality industry was very manual, very slow to adopt technology in terms of point-of-sale and tracking. But something happened about five years ago, which now has completely revolutionised the hospitality industry,” he commented.

“That’s exactly what’s happening now in the fitness industry, and we are seeing an absolute influx of technology, especially around software-as-a-service packages, like Domo, and membership management systems, like Excerpt. It is all off the back of that consumer driven hunger for people getting access to their data.”

Certainly, the explosion of applications tracking a consumer’s physical journey, like FitBit and Apple Watch, is further driving gyms and health clubs to disrupt themselves or risk being disrupted.

“We need to be in a position whereby we are future proofing our business so if there is a disruptor that comes into the marketplace, we are ready to respond and pivot on that using our innovative technology stack,” Skinner said.

Next steps: Predictive modelling

Looking ahead, Skinner said the group is heavily investing in machine learning and predictive analytics, working with US company and Domo partner, Big Squid, to use scientific predictive modelling to better understand things like club visitation.

“One example is predicting weather patterns, which might cause an increase in group fitness class attendance,” he explained. “Then we can start to roster and predict how many instructors we need for that day. We know if it’s a 40 degree temperature outside or if it’s going to rain, then our group fitness class is going to raise by x percentage.”

Scientific predictive modelling could also predict when someone is going to say goodbye to the gym and determine appropriate steps and measures to counteract that move.

Another priority on Skinner’s list is rolling out Domo across all business divisions including Fitness First and Jetts. “Instead of having to build it four or five times throughout all of the different businesses, we can build it once and all businesses will reap the benefits,” he said.

“The brands will remain distinct - there is a hell of a lot of value inherent in each of those. But what won’t stay siloed is the technology we deploy into those brands.”

Additionally, the opportunities with the Internet of Things (IoT) are huge, Skinner noted, explaining fitness clubs could offer holistic connected experiences off the back of this emerging technology. One idea is building a consolidated health portal that could track people’s fitness goals inside and outside the gym.

Skinner is also interested in beacons or tracking devices onsite that allow information or questions to be transferred and answered via self-service kiosks.

In addition, the Fitness and Lifestyle Group is working with Domo to extend analytics and insight to the member.

“Members want access to their data. There might be visitation data, workout data, or data that they are utilising on their wearable devices inside of our gyms. They might be using the treadmills or the cross trainers inside our gyms, that have IoT-related devices in them,” he said.
“All this data existing out there around the member is quite valuable to that member. So how do we work with Domo to provide a personalised dashboard? This type of stuff is unseen in the fitness industry at this point in time. This is what we really want to be on the forefront on with Domo.”

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