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Wellness begins at Home: Why Practitioner Experience is key for Urban
Community experience is something Urban, wellness company, aren’t just talking about – they’re living. Find out how it’s working, and why it’s so important to their success.
Urban was founded in 2014 by Jack Tang and Giles Williams, originally to provide on-demand massage to people’s homes. All they needed was an online platform, and a team of skilled massage therapists. But here’s where it got more complex: they discovered that the industry was letting practitioners down. Practitioners typically took home 20% of the revenue from a booking, meaning they were having to work long hours to make enough to support themselves. This wasn’t a model that the duo was willing to follow.
Six years on and Urban is thriving. They operate across four cities and partner with over 2,000 wellness practitioners. Elsa Favario heads this community. As expected from her title, the practitioners – and their job satisfaction – is of the utmost importance to her. She attributes a lot of the company’s success to this focus. As Elsa puts it, “We strongly believe our partner-practitioners won’t be able to do their job and make people feel better if they, themselves, aren’t well in the first place.”
At Urban, practitioners take home about 70% of the treatment price. You don’t need us to tell you that seems much fairer! As Elsa shares: “We want to help them positively impact their bottom line as much as we can.” But aside from earnings, part of the strong practitioner community is built on inclusion. Urban involve their practitioners in the business decisions – this even goes as far as helping make product improvements, price changes and policy design.
Of course, this fits into the bigger, industry-wide picture. “The way we’re shaping the industry for practitioners is by empowering them to grow their own business in all the ways possible: in making sure they have the flexibility they want, in making sure they’re paid well, and in having the right partnerships with key providers to help them succeed. It’s really something that’s important to us.” It’s all part of Urban’s therapist community offering as an employer – or as they put it, “the power of well”. And as we’re seeing from their success, it’s clearly an effective power.
Solving everyday issues
Solving everyday issues
Part of community experience is, of course, helping practitioners solve the everyday challenges and barriers to work. Elsa shares that travel and transport can be problematic for the community: “The main challenges a practitioner might have in trying to reach a client is travel, of course. We’ve all had that issue of the Tube being down, or not being able to find parking – parking is a huge thing.”
When it’s your business, or clients that you might not be reaching, there’s a lot at stake. To make the whole thing a lot easier, Urban decided to partner with Zipcar. For practitioners, like Carlos Illera, it makes a huge difference. As a massage therapist, he feels the benefits of Zipcar. “It’s great – especially when you need to move around London with a massage table. It’s very convenient and you don’t need to book ahead of you time, you can just book last-minute and the car will be there ready”.
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