The long-term future of in person activities

In person activities simply refers to the ‘normal’ live interactive classes, clubs, camps, parties etc that providers have traditionally offered to customers and based their business model on. The term ‘in person activities’ didn’t exist until earlier this year when lockdown commenced and many providers were forced to move their services exclusively online. Of course, online classes and learning did exist long before lockdown, but there didn’t tend to be any grey areas or hybrid models that we are starting to see develop now. Activity providers tended to prefer the face-to-face services for greater engagement, social interaction (for both child and parent) and to simply follow the already well trodden path.

Now, it seems, the rulebook is being rewritten to some degree. The emergence of technology over the past two decades or so has led to greater opportunities in online offerings and while some have tried and failed to shoe-horn their services into an exclusively online offer, many have successfully pivoted and adapted to the situation with relative ease. While some providers have recommenced their in person services for customers, the threat of a second wave of Covid-19 and widespread lockdown measures across the UK possible, continues to be a threat and therefore suggests online services will continue to be needed for activity providers for revenue generation purposes.

While we recognise the relative ease of scale to online classes and services (alongside healthy profit margins with less overheads for providers), our current feeling is that there will be significant latent demand for when providers resume in person activities. Early sign up rates for those who have run holiday camps or classes during the summer period appear to confirm this. We also acknowledge parents and children will potentially be more fatigued by online activities, leading to greater urgency to get outside and interacting with others, favouring nature over technology.

The long-term future of in person activities (beyond Covid-19) while unlikely to significantly swing to favouring online activities, does appear less clear than before. We certainly anticipate more online exclusive activity providers with venture capital backing to enter the UK market, which will potentially see a more critical shift away from the norm. It makes sense for future proofing reasons that activity providers continue to look at how they strengthen their model and approach should a similar scenario, such as a global pandemic, occur again.

By becoming a member of ICAP you’re joining a community of like-minded professionals and business owners in the children’s activity sector working towards excellence

Pip Wilkins

Pip Wilkins is the Chief Executive of the British Franchise Association (bfa). With 25 years’ experience in the franchise sector, Pip has worked her way up within the Association, gaining insight from all areas of the business and the franchise industry. She is well-known and highly regarded in franchising for her dedication and depth of knowledge. Pip regularly speaks at conferences and seminars both domestically and internationally, as well as writing on franchising matters for national, local and franchising trade press. Pip is also a regular judge for the annual bfa HSBC Franchise Awards, the Franchise Marketing Awards and Global Franchise Awards. Pip represents the UK at both the European Franchise Federation (EFF) and World Franchise Council (WFC). The bfa has grown to be one of the largest franchise associations in Europe, and one of the most successful associations in the world.

Theo Millward

Theo Millward is a graduate of Lancaster University with a BBA in Management. In 2016 Theo purchased UK swim school, Swimtime from the founders which teaches 20,000 children a week. Following a multi-award- winning digital transformation, during the global pandemic, Theo and his team founded Franscape, a saas that digitally transforms Franchise brands. FranScape won New Business of the Year at the UK Business Awards.

Andy Georgiou

Andy is the Founder of ICAP and a leading UK Franchise Business Consultant. He is fiercely committed to helping children’s activity providers build successful and profitable businesses. With qualifications in Business Management, Digital Media and Marketing, he has helped build, advise and grow leading 6 and 7 fiqure children’s education, sports and activity brands in the past 17 years.

Frank Sahlein

Frank has been active in the Children’s Activity Center industry as an athlete, coach, business owner, consultant and business broker. He is a native of San Mateo, California and graduated from San Jose State University in California (USA).
Frank was a pioneer of the Children’s Learning Opportunity Center concept from 1976 – 2016 at the Wings Center in Boise, Idaho (USA) – a blend of Sports Instruction, Arts, Education, Entertainment and Outreach programs.
As a business management innovator, Frank has delivered over 1,000 presentations for a variety of Children’s Activity Center industries such as gymnastics, swimming, cheerleading, dance, martial arts/ninja and child care/education.
3rd Level Consulting is a Business Development and Service Provider Partner for private industry companies, associations, and organizations in the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Panama.
Two-time recipient of the National Business Leader Award from USA Gymnastics, Frank is the author of “Building Your Business Potential” and “Designing Your Empowered Life”. He is the creator of the SmartEDGE™ Business Applications and Management Certification Courses. He is the co-founder of LEAP Learning and the MetaSpheres Corp, and is the founder and Executive Director of the International Association of Child Development Programs.
His passions include his beautiful wife Lourdes Gonzalez, family, friends, fitness training, transformational reading and travel.