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Apr 8, 2015 12:20 PM ET

Archived: PlayEnable: Booking.com for fitness: An online hub for visitors to find & book fitness classes around them

iCrowdNewswire - Apr 8, 2015


Booking.com for fitness: An online hub for visitors to find & book fitness classes around them.

London, United Kingdom



PlayEnable is an online marketplace and fitness studio management solution (SaaS). We make it easy for people to discover and book fitness classes. Fitness studios can use our Studio management app to manage their schedules, bookings, customers and payments.
PlayEnable is a two-sided solution for fitness combining the functionality of a lead generation platform as well as a SaaS. These two sides of the business feed into one another in a virtuous cycle – Via the SaaS, we leverage consumer data to feed the marketplace and via the marketplace, we generate leads for studios.

Currently we have 1000s of customers searching and booking fitness classes daily and several studios also use PlayEnable’s SaaS. We offer 100s of fitness types including Zumba, Pilates, Kickboxing and Fencing at over 200 studios.
PlayEnable sits in the fast-growing fitness-classes industry having launched in 2013.



There is a profound market failure where fitness enthusiasts cannot discover and book fitness classes around them in real time in UK and elsewhere. While it is easy to book flights, hotels and restaurant tables, the fitness industry is completely opaque.
At the other end, Fitness studios are difficult to manage, customer acquisition and retention is difficult. PlayEnable aims to change this.

PlayEnable is on a mission to make fitness accessible to everyone by making it easy to access all local fitness classes within a few clicks and to enable fitness studios to manage their business and reach out to customers easily.
PlayEnable solves the market failure by providing a simple online platform that enables customers to find and book classes and a booking system solution for studios. This combined solution benefits both consumers and studios in the following ways:

– One platform for consumers and studios: PlayEnable gives consumers access to a wide variety of classes and for studios the ability to manage their business and market their free spots.

– Discovery: People love to discover new fitness options to keep themselves motivated. With 1000s of fitness classes across 100s of varieties from at over 200 locations in London and UK, PlayEnable is perfectly suited to meet this market need.

– Marketing & Operations (for studios): PlayEnable’s SaaS has a number of functions to help solve the operational issues that studios face on a daily basis. It includes a class scheduler, payment manager and CRM to manage customer relationships.

– Analytics for studios: The booking system gives studios the necessary reports that help these businesses get a useful overview about their operations.

PlayEnable’s impact in the fitness and wellness market would be immense as it is one of the only platforms that provides a complete solution that solves the needs of both the Fitness enthusiasts and Studios.



PlayEnable has accomplished a significant amount since its inception. Among our more notable achievements are:


– 250 bookings/month
– 1500 bookable activities per day across 100+ fitness categories
– 670 locations across 200 studios
– Distribution Partnerships: Expedia/Hotels.com; TimeOut; YPlan; Huddlebuy; Vivalavita.com; Daniel’s fitness


– Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah International Prize for Entrepreneurship at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Nov. 2014)
– Runners up at the Annual Global Sports Symposium in London, UK. (Oct. 2014).
– Winner Deloitte Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award 2012-13 in London, UK.
– Finalist at the London Business School Business Plan Competition in 2012 in London, UK.
– Grand Finalist at the European Student Startups in 2012 in London, UK



PlayEnable earns money in the following ways :
1. We charge studios a 20% commission on any fitness class booked through our marketplace. This means that if the class is priced a £20, we make £4.
2. We charge studios £8 per studio manager per month in subscription if they use our booking software.This means that if a studio has three managers, we make £24 per month.
3. We charge for some fitness events that are managed by us and have relationships with the likes of Yelp and TimeOut.



We intend to use the proceeds of this fundraising round to finance our online marketing efforts and for general working capital purposes. Our expenses are expected to be roughly broken down as follows :

– 35% team salaries
– 35% marketing
– 25% platform development
– 5% other

Our objectives with the round include :
– Increasing the number of bookings to more than tenfold by end of year
– Growing the marketing and customer service team
– Investing on mobile and web platform upgrades and features
– Increasing sales efforts to bring 500+ studios to the platform


PlayEnable targets two markets, fitness enthusiasts (consumers) and fitness studios as follows:


We are focused on urban fitness enthusiasts, employees at various small/medium businesses and budget hotel patrons.

– Fitness enthusiasts: This includes urbanites who love the convenience of online bookings as well as people who like to constantly motivate and challenge themselves by trying out different and new fitness options in their neighbourhoods.
– Small/Medium corporate employees: As per the UK Govt.’s Department of Business Innovation & Skills (2012), 99.9% of all businesses in the UK fall under the Small, Medium and Micro category. An overwhelming majority of these businesses have no fitness plans for their employees. We aim to provide fitness cards to the corporate employees so that they can find and book fitness classes around them.
– Budget hotel patrons: Most budget hotels don’t have studios or gyms. PlayEnable would aim to reach their patrons via relationships with these budget hotels chains/independents.


We are focussed on small/medium studios as well as independents at the moment. This includes :

– The independents: These are typically small studios managed by 1-2 people or independent instructors who hire spaces at different locations. These businesses are usually experts in their field and provide high quality teaching but do not necessarily have the capital to market out their classes or to use expensive booking systems.
– The small/medium studios: These are businesses that typically have have one/two locations and are managed by 3-10 people. They have a number of instructors working for them and offer a variety of different class options. Examples include Ihuman Fitness in Maida Vale, London and Egoist Body Studios in Fitzrovia, London

In future we will soon look to target larger fitness chains as well as leisure halls.



Both sides of our market are vast in scale:

– On the consumer-side, based on the KeyNote UK,the estimated market-size for fitness and sports participation in UK is expected to increase to £3.55Bn in 2015. Also, according to Marketline, 7.2M people are members of fitness studios.

– On the studio-side, based on Marketline, there are 6000+ fitness studios/gyms in UK as of 2012. It includes a large number of small/medium players and the competition is intense.

While we have no firm basis on which to predict how much of the market can actually be captured, there are some very strong trends in our favour:
– There are 340k online searches for various fitness types in London
– eCommerce/online bookings continue to grow.
– The market for fitness participation in UK is split at 53% for subscription activities and 47% for ad-hoc bookings – increasing at 4% YoY.

In future, we would consider expansion into the largest EU markets; Germany ($5.6B), Spain ($5.2B), France ($2.6B).



We use different marketing techniques to reach our consumer and studio markets.

We segment our consumers into: Nomadic, Regular and Employees/patrons of businesses/hotels.
– Nomadic consumers:These are people who don’t want to be tied to expensive studio contracts and love to motivate themselves by sampling various local fitness options. We would reach them via online PR, fitness events and affiliate relationships. We have partnerships with YPlan, Yelp and TimeOut to target this segment.

– Regular consumers:They may be members of studios but are looking to find other options. There is a churn rate of 30-40% in the industry i.e. many consumers are looking to leave their existing fitness studios for other options.

Our core marketing strategy to them is:
– Active outreach through localised fitness events. We’ve already done a few events with Yelp and London Chessboxing.
– Targeted PR, focusing on popular fitness blogs and magazines (E.g. MindBodyGreen)
– Digital Marketing to improve the website’s SEO and to increase outreach via Social Media and Email marketing campaigns.​

– Corporates employees :99.9% of UK businesses are Small and Micro with little/no employee fitness plans. We aim to reach them via our relationships with Daniel’s Fitness and Huddlebuy, a platform that provides corporate employee perks.

– Budget hotel patrons: Most budget hotels don’t have fitness studios for their patrons. We have an affiliate relationship with Expedia to target this segment.

We market to studios using a pyramid approach by focussing on good studios in specific locations with a trickle-down effect on the rest. The studios at the “top” of the pyramid are the ones that serve high-demand fitness categories and the ones that have a large variety of classes.

We reach them studios through:
– Direct sales and online ads.
– Events at fitness forums and teacher training institutes: E.g. OM Yoga Show, BASI Pilates.
– Partnerships with fitness product companies.



We understand that we are currently one of the only two-sided platforms for fitness in the UK and the world.
PlayEnable’s competitors offer services that are unilaterally targeted at either consumers or fitness studios and usually fall into one of the following categories:

– Search Engines and Deal sites including the likes of Google, GroupOn and Living Social
– Booking/Appointment systems including the likes of MindBodyOnline, Legend, BizeeBee.

PlayEnable is one of the only platforms that combines the functionality of all the above verticals and provides complete end-to-end solution.

We will beat our competitors because we provide:
– better quality of information for consumers: The class schedules on the platform are in real-time unlike our competitors. This is possible because several of the studio customers use our booking system to manage their own operations and bookings too.
– better prices: Class prices on PlayEnable are lower or never more that what the consumer would pay at the studio directly.
– a larger variety and number of classes: 1000s of classes across over 100 fitness categories at over 200 locations in London/UK.

Going forward, we recognise that new competitors will emerge that provide a service to consumers and studios that is similarly professional to ours. However, we will beat them through our commitment to constant innovation, our hunger for aggressive growth and the power of the network effects we are creating.



Abhishek Garodia
Andrus Maigre
Cherie Valley-Garrett
Sales Director
Contact Information:

Abhishek Garodia
Andrus Maigre
Cherie Valley-Garrett

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