A Handful of Ways AI & Automation Will Help Your Leisure Organisation Thrive in 2024

Keepme's Director of Sales for EMEA, Jon Dickson, gets into why there's so much noise around how operators in the UK leisure sector are using AI to future-proof their revenue and service delivery. Jon helps break down the difference between background noise, and when we should be tuning in.
Jon Dickson
Jon Dickson
April 5th, 2024
A Handful of Ways AI & Automation Will Help Your Leisure Organisation Thrive in 2024

A lot has been written and spoken about relative to AI and its undeniable role in pretty much all of our workplaces. It’s fair to say there’s also a lot of noise too, be it ‘endless AI-powered’ prefixes, or bold statements from every marketing team in software wishing to shoehorn the abbreviation into their product messaging. With some of these mixed messages often built on hot air, it can be hard to tell what solutions truly add value to your leisure organisation and which ones are merely adding to the 'buzz'!

Despite this noise, to loosely coin one of my favourite Jürgen Klopp quotes, this past 24 months at Keepme has seen so many ‘doubters turned into believers’ that it would be remiss of me if I didn’t share some of the insights gathered along the way.

Let's take a look at some of the ways AI is being used to fine-tune how operators in the UK leisure sector are future-proofing their revenue and service delivery for a whole cross-section of communities and stakeholders.

It’s injecting 95%+ accurate, predictive certainty about future membership growth

After the unprecedented uncertainty that followed March 2020, it’s fair to say the sector is finally feeling robust and fizzing with innovation again. No AI model on the planet could have told us exactly what the world and our sector would have to contend with during the pandemic. That being said, a major positive is that leisure operators are more discerning than ever about knowing ahead of time what the future holds for their organisations. Staying one step ahead of threats to vital revenue, such as membership churn, is where predictive AI and machine learning in particular are essential tools for any recurring membership model.

It’s also invaluable to be able to understand which leads are genuinely looking like they’ll sign up and which ones have only tentatively enquired about joining, which can be made easy with smart lead scoring. This, coupled with highly personalised and consistent messaging with automation, is an incredible combination!

Need a little more context on how this clever data modelling works?

This short video is really useful for giving operators the inside track on our 'random forest' algorithm and how it achieves unrivalled predictive accuracy.

Automation drastically improves member communication relevancy

This leads us nicely onto the subject of the member communications journey.

Leisure operators are unlocking innovation by embracing a multitude of communications channels including but not limited to email, SMS, WhatsApp, push notifications and conversational AI assistants. It’s a phrase we’ve heard for a long time in the sector but the ability to meet the member exactly where they are (as opposed to just battering the promotions tab of their email) is a real competitive necessity when going up against digitally-sophisticated, private sector operators.

The end result is infinitely better gym membership sales and retention performance.

Just ask the team at BH Live Active.

It frees up fitness and leisure teams operationally to consistently do what they were hired for

Having now completed a number of Keepme implementations in UK public leisure, a consistent theme across the board has been the way AI grabs the mundane, time-sucking admin tasks and makes light work of them.

The very same tasks that often leave leisure teams straightjacketed from delivering exceptional in-person service to members. Traditionally this involves manually following up with every single membership enquiry or cherry picking the members people subjectively are at risk of churn.

Some of the ‘noise’ would have you believe that AI is all about robots taking jobs. But as Keepme CEO Ian Mullane recently explained on stage at PerformX, AI will play a pivotal role in assisting teams and even drive new headcount in some cases, to realise its full potential:

My belief is artificial intelligence will see our sector add roles not see roles go. Here’s why, we have a penetration in the market place of 15%, give or take 1 or 2 percentage points. It never really changes to any great degree. For that to change you need a significant catalyst...Artificial intelligence will be that catalyst. Why? We’re going to be able to produce better products. We’re going to be able to personalise our offerings better to our consumers. We’re going to be able to increase accessibility to a wider audience. And we’re going to have the capability to be stronger when it comes to delivering the customers end goal and progress.

Ian Mullane, Keepme CEO & Founder

It’s measurably improving the retention of every membership base it is trained to learn about

Platforms like Keepme do more than simply replicate human conversation through advances in generative AI. They provide an advanced early warning system that eludes the majority of operators. Having sufficient runway available to your team to change the outcome (e.g cancellation) is the missing piece of the puzzle. Not only this, being able to identify the existing members who are primed for heightened ancillary spend and engagement with your other services is another way AI acts as a prediction machine. So you can improve the length of stay of your members by serving them with smart recommendations about the things they love within your club.

It helps leisure teams create and execute content creation in an unprecedented way

Thanks to the evolution of libraries like ChatGPT, breakthrough tools like Keepme Creator are designed to be trained on your brand voice. Think of it as an incredibly clever digital marketing employee who never takes a day off and completely understands the tone your leisure organisation employs to increase social value and participation locally.

By utilising Large Language Models (LLMs), leisure operators are now 10Xing the production and circulation of engaging content to members in a fraction of the time.

So whether you need to increase the persuasive communications you send to drive more membership sign-ups or simply improve engagement among existing members, this is a simple way of getting started!

Ready to unlock innovation and discover how instrumental AI could be for your team this year?

Find out more about how UK leisure teams are unlocking innovation with Keepme.

Ready to find out more?

Book a discovery call with Jon for a no-obligation chat about how Keepme's AI can help you.