Beyond the Metrics: The Power of Empathy in Leisure Centre Marketing

What is Empathy?

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It’s a powerful tool for connecting with people but requires self-awareness and an open mind.

How Can Leisure Centres Connect with Members Through Empathy?

Leisure centres can use empathy to connect with members by building relationships, listening to customers and responding to customer needs.

It’s about more than just offering excellent facilities and classes. It’s about fostering a sense of community and connection. By tapping into our empathy, we can meet our members where they are and create a truly inclusive and supportive environment.

Think about it. Members walking through our leisure centres’ doors bring experiences and emotions. Maybe they’re feeling anxious about trying a new fitness class. Perhaps they’re struggling with a personal issue that’s affecting their motivation. They may need someone to listen.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It’s a powerful tool for every aspect of your leisure business, from marketing campaigns to customer service.

Two people shaking hands of different races - showing empathy towards each other

Implementing an Empathy Strategy at Leisure Centres

The first step to implementing an empathy strategy at leisure centres is to create a culture of empathy. You can begin the process by training staff in compassion to inform decisions, such as when hiring new employees or deciding which facilities to invest in next. In addition, management must have the right tools for managing stress to do their best work without burning out.

Measuring the Impact of Empathy at Leisure Centres

Identifying customer sentiment: You can use surveys and social media monitoring tools to understand how customers feel about your leisure centre. For example, suppose you have an online survey asking for feedback on a new program or service. In that case, you can see whether people enjoyed it. Doing this will help you understand what works well and what needs improvement to provide better future experiences for members.

Tracking customer feedback: If there are areas where members would like more information or guidance from staff members (e.g., on classes), then this information can be captured by adding questions to customer surveys or through conversations with customers during visits to reception desks at leisure centres.

The Benefits of an Empathy-Focused Strategy at Leisure Centres:
• Increased customer satisfaction.
• improved customer loyalty.
• increased retention rate of existing members

The Challenges of Implementing an Empathy Strategy at Leisure Centres

Implementing an empathy strategy at leisure centres is a challenging feat. You’ll need to overcome many challenges before genuinely connecting with your members and creating a culture of empathy in your centre.

First: it requires resources. You need people willing to take on this role and help create a more inclusive environment for everyone in the community–not just those historically marginalised by society or other institutions like yours. This means hiring new staff members with experience working with marginalised groups (such as transgender people) or training existing staff members on how best to serve these populations without being offensive or discriminatory towards them.

Second: culture change takes time! Changing organisational culture takes time because we’re discussing changing deeply ingrained habits here (and sometimes even beliefs). Suppose we want people within our organisation–from management down through rank-and-file employees–to think differently about issues such as race relations/discrimination, etcetera. In that case, we need a systematic approach towards achieving this goal.

Examples of Leisure Centres around the world Using Empathy

• The City of Toronto Leisure Centres has a program called “Aging Well Together,” which helps older adults stay active and engaged by building relationships between generations. The program aims to help people connect through activities like walking together or playing board games to build trust and friendship with one another.

Everyone Active, a UK-based leisure operator that manages over 200 fitness centres, has introduced quiet hours in some locations to create a more welcoming environment for people on the autism spectrum. Also, many of their gyms have IFI (Inclusive Fitness Initiative)-accredited equipment to help make fitness more accessible for people with additional needs.


Empathy is essential to the success of any business. It’s not just about understanding your customers but also about connecting with them on a human level. If you can make your customers feel like they matter and know what they need, you can build trust and loyalty, leading to more sales and repeat business. Empathy should be at the core of everything you do if you want your leisure centre to thrive in today’s competitive market.