ProfileTree’s award-winning Business Leader collection has released its latest episode, this time featuring Pitchbooking COO and Co Founder, Fearghal Campbell. Sharing insights into his professional background and the journey behind his sports facility management business, Fearghal’s contribution to the series can now be accessed via ProfileTree’s official YouTube channel.
As the latest interviewee in the Business Leader series, Campbell’s insights are now part of a prominent online collection which was recently awarded at the inaugural Irish Content Marketing Awards with the Best Content Marketing Award for a Video Series. The discussion with the Pitchbooking founder now joins a series packed with expert advice from sectoral leaders in real estate, tourism, hospitality and more.
Like many entrepreneurs, Campbell began his professional life at a distance from the world of business. After completing a degree in Law, the future business founder made a marked change in direction with his decision to complete a Masters degree in Software Development – a move he describes as being driven by a passion for technology. After moving between various start-ups in Northern Ireland, Campbell joined friends Chris and Shea to establish Pitchbooking in January 2018.
Put simply, Pitchbooking is a scheduling and payment solution for sports facilities, which allows facility users to easily browse and book spaces whilst granting facilities managers with the tools to manage payments and other assets. Despite being only two years into its existence, Pitchbooking has secured lucrative contracts with bodies including Oxford City Council, who have recently entered their third year in partnership with the company. Indeed, what started a pet project between friends has evolved into a fully-fledged business.
Casting his memory back to the earliest days of the business, Campbell talks about some of the initiatives in Northern Ireland which assisted the friends in developing into budding entrepreneurs. “There was the Propel programme, which was launched out of Ormeau Baths by Invest NI. That gave us some of the money to pursue it full time, which was a huge help,” he shares. It came after this point that Campbell and his fellow founders realised that sports facilities of all sizes faced the same problems as smaller, independent clubs dotted around the country.
“This lack of communication around what’s being booked, who’s booking it, who’s paying for it – these problems are massive and are faced by all facilities. In the tourism and hospitality sector, you would never visit a hotel or a B&B that didn’t have some kind of online booking system. The sports industry is definitely lagging behind in that respect,” suggests Campbell. “We offer people the ability to deal with all of these things in 60 seconds – no more Excel files, Google Calendars or chasing after deposits. We are streamlining and standardising processes,” he adds.
Removing those barriers to booking sports facilities is transforming the industry, according to Campbell. “We have noted that since using our system, bookings have increased by 56 percent against the previous year. So, we have a reduced time in booking facilities, as well as significantly reduced admin time for those who would have normally processed the booking,” he shares. According to the entrepreneur, local councils have been welcoming of such platforms, with bin collections and other services now displayed online. Indeed, Campbell suggests that a system for sports facility management represented the next logical step.
Campbell is relieved to have moved beyond the initial pressures and stresses of overseeing a start-up business. Whilst “the grey hairs have started to show”, steady investments from angel investors have provided Pitchbooking with the tools to expand their base far beyond the confines of their native Northern Ireland. Now the firm are beginning to reap the benefits of brand awareness, meeting many potential clients who are already familiar with the platform.
“There are a lot more sports facilities around the country than you’d imagine, and we have 500 on our platform across the UK and Ireland. To find out more about our business, check out our website or our social media channels on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.”
ProfileTree are an award-winning Belfast-based agency specialising in web design, digital marketing and content marketing. To enquire about participating in the Business Leader series, get in touch with the team today.