A bit late for this past quarter, but we have been busy adjusting to the Coronavirus crisis as we have been helping the endurance community find solutions to postponement, cancellation, going virtual, and finding ways to make money and save money. But we want to make sure we continue to record what is happening as it is important to learn from what is happening. That is why we decided to share all of the internal decisions and actions we made in the first 7 weeks.
This was a strange quarter. Thru March 6, we were doing very well – up roughly 29% vs the same quarter of 2019, we had held our first Winter Symposium was a sell out and had rave reviews for the educational value.
Then the bottom fell out. Transaction volume dropping over 80% during some weeks. Our employees all went on 50% pay effective March 13. Our customers were at major risk with little new revenue coming in, and obligations to credit card holders who had purchased event experiences that they would not be able to deliver on as usual. Things are looking a little brighter now since customers have rebuilt reserves, and have switched to virtual races, and we got the PPP loan and our employees are back to full pay for 8 weeks. Our team will return to the level of pay that reflects the level of our business – this past week that was 56%, and hopefully the growth continues. We will talk more about the future in a separate Market Analysis in the next day or two.
A strange set of numbers. Here is the raw data from the full quarter:
This chart shows more accurately what happened in March:
Here is a view using Google Analytics and the Pageviews:
We were actually up 29% thru March 7 compared with last year, picking up market share and with growth in our new GiveSignup business. Since then, as the above charts show, things have been down considerably.
We have documented what has happened overall since the Coronavirus struck on a weekly basis on our series of blog posts.
We have been busy coming up with tangible solutions to the real problems and the real opportunities this crisis has generated.
We have created 3 websites that have become the “go to” places for information for the endurance industry with tangible real discussions of the challennges, potential solutions, and examples:
Refund & Chargeback Reserves
We instituted new policies to build appropriate reserves automatically for customers. In addition, we removed the $1 processing fee charge for refunds and are eating those costs ourselves.
Postponement / Cancellation / Virtual Changes
We introduced a tool to help clearly communicate the new policies of a race the second week of March. It has been used by 3,000 races to help them clearly communicate with their participants.
Virtual Races are real. As our Week 9 recap highlighted, the transaction volume on RunSignup is down 44% since the same week last year. However, most of that 56% is from virtual races.
We have added about a dozen improvements for virtual races over the past several weeks. The biggest was the elimination of an extra fee for Virtual TXT Service Bot.
We are moving into a new phase in our country. The first was denial that COVID-19 posed a threat to the United States. The second was acceptance of the situation and an accompanying feeling of helplessness. We are now starting to move into a third phase. The topic of when and how things open up again is becoming the dominant topic rather than death rate and overwhelmed hospitals.
Each local community has a desire to reopen and find their own new normal in safe ways. If the endurance industry can develop sound practices based on local health guidelines, we have a chance to be one of the first ways that communities can regather – at safe social distances.
The endurance community is made up of tens of thousands of micro communities – races, clubs, stores, timers, nonprofits, race organizations, sponsors, volunteers and more. This diversity brings strength to our community because passion drives much of the efforts to put on races. These communities are spread across this huge country and have access to amazing resources.
The diversity will result in creative ideas. Our industry’s sense of community will help spread ideas that make sense and work. Just as races have rapidly adapted to virtual events over the past weeks, races will learn how to put on safe events and allow the micro communities putting on those races to regain momentum.
We put together a living document called “Looking Forward: Guidelines for Races” to provide ideas for a suggested path forward for races in the post-coronavirus environment that different groups in the endurance industry can tailor for their specific location and needs. We expect that different governing bodies, race organizations, timers, and other industry partners will create official industry policies and guidelines, and we hope that this living document with crowd-sourced information can help to inform that.
As you may have read in our recap of what happened inside RunSignup, things were very tough and somewhat uncertain for a while. We are on the other side of that. Our employees were amazing – working hard in spite of a pay cut to 50% of what they normally earn starting March 13. With the PPP in place, we are able to return them to full compensation for 8 weeks. If we return to the transaction levels we were at last year (we were at 56% last week), then we will be break even with our employees at full regular salary (although there will be no profit sharing). We are preparing to be at partial salary until the September timeframe. We are hopeful that between virtual races, the emergence of at least some volume of smaller races, and the fact that we are picking up market share at 29% growth per-Coronavirus, we will be able to bridge that gap and get back to last year’s volume.
Being an employee owned company gives us the real commitment to work with the endurance and nonprofit communities to come back together. Our leadership technology is helping our customers Make Money and Save Money. This will be our mutual road back to long term success.