David Lloyd

Transforming David Lloyd’s Customer Experience



David Lloyd, British tennis Star of the 1970s, established David Lloyd Leisure in 1982 as a high quality fitness and leisure chain of clubs.  It was first sold in 1985 and has passed through various owners before being acquired by TDR Capital in 2013. There are 92 clubs in the UK and it also has presence in The Netherlands. David Lloyd is also Britain’s biggest tennis operator and manages 800 tennis courts.

In 2015, a brutal strategic analysis of the business revealed that it had effectively stood still over the previous ten years in terms of membership numbers. In addition, attrition rates (the rate at which people cease membership) were increasing and secondary sales of food and drink had also stalled. The situation was exacerbated by growing competition and the decline in available leisure time. The brand was under severe threat.

Qualitative research we conducted also revealed an image that acted as a barrier to new members; it was seen as stuffy, aloof and expensive, the frontline teams were not engaging with guests and there was an overall lack of awareness of what David Lloyd offered in terms of facilities and the quality of its equipment and environment.  In short, it was perceived as nothing more than an expensive gym that had seen better days.

David Lloyd’s new owners had to urgently reverse the decline if it was to meet its objectives and profitably divest itself of the business in some way in the coming three years.

The Definition Approach


Using the research we had conducted, we developed a new brand vision for the business through a series of workshops with the board and the frontline teams. The vision took the form of a simple positioning, 7 ‘way we work’ values to drive cultural change, 4 brand pillars and a simple brand personality designed to guide all communications.

The vision was then translated into 7 key strategic drivers around which the whole business operation was run. Plans were developed to deliver each driver, responsibilities and measurement criteria were established and resources provided. At all times the strategy was always translated into real, on the ground directional guidance.

A new Customer Experience was developed which aligned with the new vision. This was done through a series of workshops which gave the frontline team ownership and ensured practicality. Brand Basics were identified and we developed some new Brand Amplifiers designed to bring the brand to life in a way that got talked about. These were researched and teams and processes established to make the changes.

The new vision and CX was then launched to the business and embedded through training sessions we ran with key influencers in the business, a measurement programme (The Brand Alignment Monitor or BAM) which monitored change across the whole Customer Experience using NPS methodology and inclusion in the company’s reward and recognition programme.

We wrote the brief and guided the development of a new TV campaign and have continued to advise on CX and communications strategy.


Within four months of the start of the project the new CX and communications programme had been launched and its impact was being felt:

  • The member attrition rate fell by up to 10% inside 6 months.
  • New members rose at rates above budget and total membership passed 500K for the first time in the company’s history.
  • NPS scores improved significantly in the first years as did awareness levels.
  • Brand Alignment Monitor scores for quality, range of facilities and service levels all improved dramatically in the first year.
  • The business met all the KPIs set by its owners in the first year which has subsequently accelerated investment and its plans for the business.

Want to talk about your next project?

We’d love to chat.