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Peloton Value | Buwaneka Arachchi Puts Members First

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“When I came to Peloton, I had a mindset that my area is all about growth and acquiring new customers. It’s been a mindset shift for me to think about it as members first, to work backwards from what our members really want and to what’s impactful for them,” says Buwaneka Arachchi, a Manager on the Business Development team in Peloton’s new Australia office.

Turns out he just had the order swapped. Meeting members’ needs acquires new customers, so Buwaneka learned to change tack.

“Putting our members first is the best way to grow our business,” he says. “If we focus on creating as much value as possible for our existing members, building as engaging an experience as we can, then we should trust that they’ll be our greatest advocate and tell other people about what an awesome experience they have with Peloton.”

This is a new way of working for Buwaneka, who comes to Peloton from management consulting. He worked in an advisory role, dipping into a client project, making a few recommendations, and then moving on to the next one. 

“That was a great way to start a career, and I think I’ve built up some kind of basic business skills from that. Coming into Peloton, I was really keen to develop an operational skill set and get my hands dirty with end-to-end ownership of not just what the strategy should be, but the actual delivery of the outcome.” Beyond that, he was looking for an environment where leadership trusted employees to take ownership of the work and try new things, and a collaborative environment where he could learn from colleagues.

He signed up at the right time. Buwaneka joined in the first weeks of Peloton’s presence in Australia, and he’s been instrumental in bringing the business there.

Buwaneka works in two areas: with Peloton’s corporate partners like hotels and offices to put bikes in their locations, and with partners like banks, airlines, and health insurance groups to put forward Peloton-related offers to their members. 

“In the commercial part of our businesses, putting members first is about adding value to our  members by making sure that we can meet them when they’re away from home,” he says. “In the partnerships part of our business, it’s about, number one, making the membership as accessible as possible for new members, and number two, adding as much value as we can to the membership that our existing members already have.”

When we launched in Australia, the business development team had the advantage of an abundance of data about Peloton’s global member base. We know that our members look for Peloton when they’re picking a place to stay on the road, and bikes at hotels and short-term rentals get a lot of use, so that’s where they started.

They’ve launched partnerships with some of the biggest chains in the country, and now they’re expanding. Next, the team is exploring verticals like offices, members clubs, YMCAs, and universities. 

“The company is incredibly responsive to what our members are asking for. I think we do a really good job of listening to what product features, what changes to our products that members want, and then going away and adjusting our products and offerings to meet that.”

His favorite example is Peloton’s Hotel Finder. “We saw members on social media creating their own lists of hotels that have Peloton bikes, so our team built them the Hotel Finder, which provides an interactive map of locations around the world that have our bikes. Even recently, the business development team has been improving this tool by enabling users to filter by their favorite hotel group or loyalty program."

Buwaneka is always thinking about what members have invested in the company. That’s what drives his decisions. “We’re asking people to contribute to an expensive membership and to invest their time and money with us. We owe them the responsibility of building the coolest experience possible.”

Written by Peloton

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