Ramblers mobile walker registration app

What was the issue?

Several ‘blind-spots’ were identified in our data.  Probably the most significant of these was who walks with us, where and how often. This blind spot meant that we had a number of issues including:

  • Difficulty in shaping our walking offer
  • We don’t know what kind of walks would attract non-members
  • We don’t know if the 3 free walks then membership rule is working for us
  • We can’t target effectively
  • The walk experience may not be optimum (grade, day, time etc.)
  • We are limited in our ability to provide evidence of our impact

To help us understand who walks with us, a Mobile walker registration app was created and a proof-of-concept trial was run in March/April with three groups in Swindon, Scotland and Essex. A total of 27 registers were taken and 563 walkers took part.

Learning

Concept feasibility - was the app feasible and would walk leaders use it?

Out of 31 walk leaders running the walks in the participating groups over the 5 weeks period we found 74% (23) were willing and able to participate in the POC. 

Yes it was feasible. The app was a proof-of-concept so a bit clunky and at this stage we did not expect everyone to be willing or able to take part. This has been improved with the pilot version of the app.

Walk leader experience – did the app detract from the walk leader enjoyment and what was their experience of using the app?

We got 30 post-walk survey responses from our 23 participating walk leaders On a scale of 1 to 10; how was your mobile walk register experience? The average score was 7.2 on a scale of 0 (rubbish) – 10 (brilliant).

This result was in line with what we would expect. The main issue was that it took too long to register walkers and this will be address in the pilot with an inbuilt QR code reader to speed up the process. Membership cards will now include a QR code.

Technical feasibility

The app was simple to develop and affordable. 

Walker experience

Over 70% of the walk leaders felt the majority of their walkers were ‘OK with the process’.

Asking the walkers themselves confirmed this and revealed more polarisation.

  • 10 out of 40 respondents didn’t like it.But almost as many (8) said it was ‘fantastic’.
  • The majority were ‘I didn’t mind’ or slightly more positive (22).

In the main we do not feel taking a register detracts from the walker experience. However we acknowledge that people may not feel comfortable with the process. Registering is not compulsory to join a walk; people can choose not to and still take part.

With the pilot registration will be quicker and it will be unobtrusive and, in time, will be accepted as part of joining a walk.

Does the data captured give us useful intelligence?

Yes and the intelligence will help the Ramblers, areas and groups to get more people walking.

Ramblers Head of Engagement said   ‘For the first time we’ll be able to extract headline figures for how many people are walking with the Ramblers across the country. This will really help us demonstrate the value and impact of our charity, and give us the sort of stats we know the media love.’

A Proof-of-concept walk leader said: ‘The registration app has been a real boon.  In fact, we’re really missing it and would like to be using the POC version until the new version is available.

I think there’s a lot more that can be done with the data and, ultimately, I think that this will save us a lot of effort.  In the past we’ve spent a lot of time analysing our walk data, which has been carried out by one or two IT-savvy individuals.  In the future, I’m hopeful that anyone will be able to drill into the data with a few clicks.’

Benefits

It will help The Ramblers grow and achieve its strategic aims

The data collected via the app can be used in the following ways ‘for the greater good’:

  • We will be able to identify who has been on three walks and recruit them as new members.
  • We will be able to see how many members participate in the led walks (and how many don’t). It will help us get our membership offers right and appeal to our members different needs.
  • We will be able to see what groups require more support.
  • As an organisation we will be more able to quantify our impact on the nation’s health (extrapolated from walking habits).This will help us prove Ramblers relevance, make bids backed up with evidence, etc.

Area

  • Spread best-practice amongst groups.
  • Identify ‘hot-spots’ with great demand.
  • For evidence of impact, this could help the Area get local funding, or have ‘clout’ when it comes to access or path issues.

Groups

  • Create programmes which are relevant to the greatest number of members, and attract non-members to the Ramblers.
  • See how they are doing against other ‘sister’ groups in the area.

Members

  • Benefit from more walks of the kind they like.
  • If they don’t like group walks they can targeted with other benefits.

Frequently asked questions

We have put together a list of frequently asked questions for walkers and walk leaders regarding use of this app.

What next

The walker registration app (version 1) has now launched and is being piloted by a small number of groups in Wiltshire, Essex and Scotland. We are looking for more groups to take part, if your Ramblers group would like to involved in the pilot them please email trailblazers@ramblers.zendesk.com

Groups who are outside the initial pilot areas are very welcome to test the app. Not all members will have cards with QR codes but you will still be able to register them by entering their details. If you would like to join the pilot then please email trailblazers@ramblers.zendesk.com