Eleni Plakitsi is the founder of Esquared, a unique new on-demand fitness app that is helping gym owners make the most out of their under-utilised assets by connecting busy fitness enthusiasts with two-hour gym sessions and one-off classes in real time. A former city accountant in London, Eleni has since devoted her life to fitness following a new year’s resolution to get healthy. Regularly seen on the covers of numerous fitness magazines, Eleni is an IBFF and WBFF Figure Pro athlete and winner of the Fame and WBFF Fitness Model Awards.
We spoke to Eleni about:
- How gyms can maximise their dead times,
- The potential revenue opportunity available, and
- How apps like Esquared can help boost revenue
What times are the slowest times at most gyms?
Typically, the slowest time is between 9 am and 12pm, just after the morning rush. During that time, the gym can be really empty. While many workplaces now allow their employees more flexibility during the day to go to the gym, there is also another dead time between 2pm and 5pm, and again after 8pm. This is typical across most London-based gyms. Most gyms aren’t busy 100% of the time.
What can operators do to make the most of these dead times?
Historically, most models are membership-based and therefore, most operators haven’t done anything to address this issue. However, there is tremendous potential if gyms can find ways to effectively make use of their underused assets. When gyms have extra capacity, venues are more than happy to welcome new users, and in doing so, showcase their facilities to potential new members as well. That’s why I created Esquared. Today’s gym goer wants more flexibility. They don’t necessarily want to be tied to a contract. An app like Esquared gives them the opportunity to use the gym on demand. This is not only convenient and cost-effective for the user, but a potential revenue opportunity for the operator to fill the space during off-peak times. It’s a win-win.
What is the potential revenue opportunity if operators can capitalise on these slower times?
The downtime in an average gym is huge. It could be more than 6 hour/day. If capitalised effectively, this presents a huge revenue opportunity. For example, when I work with a gym on Esquared, they control the price and the hours in which their venue is available. For anyone that books time in their facility using the app, we take a simple 20% (net) commission, and the rest goes to the gym. It’s an easy way to maximise their dead times. A good example is the Chelsea Health Club. As one of the first gyms to join Esquared, they have seen an uplift in use during their slower times. Equally, the cost of a membership at Chelsea Health Club is higher than the average London-based gym, so many new people who would not otherwise become a member are now using the facility on an occasional basis.
How difficult is it to implement something like E2 into an operators existing timetable? Is it a lot of admin work?
It’s easy for operators to list under-capacity classes and gym times on Esquared. The Esquared software is plugged into the venue’s existing booking system and is totally integrated together. Right now, we have 80 gyms live on the app with another 50 signed and going through an onboarding process. There are also 48 boutique studios and on average 1,700 group exercise classes available each week. And since launch, we’ve had more than 3,000 downloads of the app.
For many people, committing to a time or a specific gym can be a challenge, but sometimes, that no-commitment single session is all that’s needed for someone to get hooked on pilates or Barrecare and commit to a membership.