Creating an experience

Thursday 10th May - 11:50-12:30

In this social media age of sharing everything we do, it’s no longer enough for a business to sell products. We have to create and sell Experiences with a capital E – something our customers will want to be a part of, share and talk about.

And fitness consumers are becoming accustomed to this sort of innovation, from the proliferation of boutique studios to mass participation events a la Tough Mudder and Spartan Race. People are increasingly seeking new and exciting ways to exercise, in and out of the gym, in groups and as families.

Fitness as we once knew it is dead: if the industry wants to stay ahead of the curve, it must actively seek out ways to deliver the Experience customers are looking for.

Mark Learnihan, Business Development and Partnership Director at Active Nation

Day 2: 11:50-12:30 Business

Mark has over 20 years operational experience in the leisure industry working for a number of the UK’s largest public operators. As part of his role with Active Nation Mark was responsible for managing the team that brought the Active Warrior brand to life and for continuing its development as the charity look at new and innovative ways to engage local communities in sport, exercise, health and wellbeing.

Whilst managing the Southampton contract for Active Nation between 2010 and 2015 Mark was a key driver of a 3 year pilot project to use Sport England Inclusive funds to engage with disabled adults and young people in the local area. This was such a success that the project is now self-funded, has been rebranded as Active Ability and was the winner of the UKActive Healthy Partnerships Award at the 2017 Flame Awards.

As a father of three young children he ensures his family is very active, taking part, as a family, in numerous Obstacle Course Races during the year as well as being a keen cyclist both on road and exploring the more rugged terrain.

Embracing the mass participation mentality

Mark Learnihan, Business Development and Partnership Director at Active Nation

Creating unique fitness experiences

Ariana Alexander-Sefre, Co-Founder and Chief Executive at Sweat and Sound