The Start of the 2024 Tennis Holiday Season

The Start of the 2024 Tennis Holiday Season

The 2024 Season begins!

I can’t believe it’s Tennis Holiday season again! It seems just 5 minutes ago since I was flying home from Kos in October 2023 with a huge smile on my face. We’ve been incredibly busy innovating in the last 6 months, so it’s certainly flown by. I’m now back on the EasyJet flight from LGW – KGS and ready to go again.

Have a read about what’s been going on and what there is to look forward to…

Jamie Murray Programme

It’s no secret that we signed Jamie Murray as our brand ambassador. This has been one of the biggest developments in Active Away’s 18 years of history. We feel that Jamie fits the brand perfectly – he plays doubles, has previously worked with Louis Cayer and is a genuinely good person.

The work on the new Jamie Murray tennis programme started in December 2023. My colleague Matt Allen has put a huge amount of work into making sure it’s a serious innovation. Matt recruited Simon Wheatley, another esteemed tennis coach, to also cast his opinion on what he felt could work. Putting Jamie, Simon and Matt together is fundamentally a world class team. I would go as far as to say that the Adult programme we offer has had more time and expertise involved in it than most high performance programmes. This was actually Simon’s comment – he couldn’t believe the level of detail we go to!

Matt termed the new programme an ‘evolution’ not a ‘revolution.’ With the idea being that we built on a lot of the brilliant ideas of our previous programme. We’ve got some brand new sessions – with my favourite being the ‘planned poach’ – which I think is a game changer for Adult doubles.

This then resulted in being part of our ‘Jamie Murray Media Day’ at St George’s Hill in March 2024. We were able to record some ‘key takeaways’ which are absolutely brilliant. These are shared with our clients after a clinic or a holiday – and are Jamie talking you through the things you’ve done in your session.

Employee Area

We’ve been very focused on the front end of Active Away but last November we made the decision that we needed to improve the back end of our processes for our employees and contractors.

Our tennis team are exceptional at delivering on court but not so good at the admin side! In the past, we’ve tried to overcomplicate this – asking for coaches to create their own invoices, sending PDFs to download and things being a little ‘everywhere’!

We created employees.activeaway.com  which is our area for our team to access everything they need. Here’s just a few examples of what our team can do from the employee area:

Health & Safety – Complete risk assessment and incident report forms directly from their mobile.

Invoices & Expenses – Create an invoice or expense request which can then be approved by our team, all from a simple form.

Tennis Programme – View the videos on ‘how to’ for our tennis programme and download lesson plan PDFs.

SOPs & Brand Standards – View SOPs for key areas of our business and brand standards for anything client facing (e.g WhatsApp communication).

This has been a ‘game changer’ for scaling the business, meaning that our processes are now much more efficient, onboarding new team members is easier and, most importantly, people getting paid is quicker!!

Padel Holidays

I have completely fallen in love with Padel – it’s such a brilliant sport. I love how it combines the skills of tennis but with a whole new challenge – the wall. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the popularity of our Padel trips, with over 100 people currently booked onto our trips to Oliva Nova this year.

Partnering Game4Padel has been brilliant. I’ve personally thoroughly enjoyed working with James Rose – who is a fantastic ambassador. Combining their expertise in Padel with our hosting skills has been a match made in heaven. Fundamentally we are tennis people – not padel (but are learning)! Therefore choosing to work with people who really know the game inside and out has been a great step in the right direction.

As I’m writing this we’ve delivered 2 Padel holidays in February and March. These were expertly hosted by Connor Johnsen, who has been a star at only 20 years old. Connor has a bright future with us and we’ve been able to get access to a PadelMBA course to help him take his next steps in coaching the game.

Ikos Resorts Management

In my opinion Ikos Resorts are the best All Inclusive resorts in Europe. They are a business I look towards when talking about ‘standards.’ One of my favourite expressions is ‘the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.’ Ikos epitomises this – every member of the team strives to be the best.

We were fortunate enough to sign a contract with Ikos to manage the tennis at 3 of their resorts in 2024; Ikos Aria, Ikos Dassia and Ikos Odisia. I flew out to Ikos Dassia in March to set everything up there with our coach – Achilleas Aronis.

The season can’t have got off to a better start out in Ikos Dassia, with every single feedback form so far scoring 10/10. We want every guest who has a lesson at Ikos Resorts this season to have an exceptional experience and look forward to reading many more positive reviews.

Royal Mare, Paloma Orenda & Liberty Lykia

The Tennis Holiday season was off to a flying start at Liberty Lykia, Paloma Orenda and Royal Mare. The initial feedback on the programme has been excellent and it was especially brilliant to see the family week go so well out in Liberty Lykia.

We revolutionised our family offering 18 months ago to include the team taking the time to look after the children outside of the tennis programme. This has proved super successful, with some superb online reviews – my favourite being:

“My family and I just had the most incredible experience with Active Away. We are still buzzing from it now. The programme was excellent and the energy from the coaches was incredible. The coaches were first class, super approachable, down to Earth and friendly. Made everyone feel extremely welcome. The quality of their advice / tips / execution and strategy was exemplary. Every aspect of the week has been planned from meeting at the airport, itinerary, food, games. I don’t think I’ve been on a holiday where the attention to detail has been so good. The course itself was fantastic. We were fortunate to have such a superb group of people and learnt so much. And this is just referring to the adult part.

Onto the kids – they just lived their best lives. They had coaching at the same time we did. And how good it feels to be a parent and not just dump your kids into kids’ club but give them a skill and be part of something you yourself can join in with. Our youngest loved it so much he has no interest in kid’s club ever again! Again, the coaches were amazing. Their patience, fun and kindness with the children was wonderful.  They really spoke to them at their level and with good humour. Not only did they do the coaching, but daily took the children for an hour to the water park / beach / pool. And during the evening sat with the children. It was great to hear the laughter and see them grow in confidence.”

– Sara, Google – 2024

Steve, Alex & The Team – This is simply incredible feedback, well done!

Pickleball

I wasn’t quite sold on Pickleball until I went to the US in March 2024. It’s such a fun game! We all know that tennis takes some time to develop a basic level of skill and it’s a very level dependant game. Pickleball is completely different – you can pick a paddle up and be reasonably competent from your first game!

Many of the Active Away family are enjoying playing Pickleball – with courts popping up all around the country. One of the big benefits has been the ability to play in indoor sports halls – meaning no expensive new court costs.

We’ve developed our first Pickleball Clinic, starting in summer 2024 with our first Pickleball Holidays starting in 2025.

If you haven’t played Pickleball yet then come and join one of our clinics. They are a great way to learn the game and fall in love with another brilliant racket sport.

Host & Coach Training

With over 80 coaches working with us on our Tennis Clinics and Tennis Holidays in 2024, we want to make sure everyone is aligned.

In March 2024 we had our detailed host and coach training – delivered by Matt Allen and Simon Wheatley. I think this will be a game-changer for the tennis holiday season. We have a team that has been trained on every facet of our offering – from how to send a WhatsApp to the key coaching ‘nuggets’ we want everyone to convey during the coaching sessions.

The training was well received and delivered to our ‘High Performance’ values. It was brilliant to see the buy in from so many people – with a highlight being Ollie Kirik who travelled at 03:00am just to be at the training.

We often work remotely and it can be difficult to bounce ideas off each other but the training was a brilliant developmental opportunity for both our coaching team and leadership team.

Are you ready?

We are so very excited to welcome so many members of the Active Away family away with us in 2024. We’ve prepared to our highest ever standard and can’t wait to share the new Jamie Murray programme with you.

We hope you’ll notice the improvements in many ‘hidden’ areas of the business – we want to make sure every part of your trip is a 10/10.

To all of my colleagues – thank you for all your hard work so far. You are incredible and are delivering unique experiences that align with our core values. We will, of course, face challenges but I have no doubt that we will overcome them as a team.

As always – if you need anything or would like to reach out, feel free to email me directly: josh@activeaway.com.

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