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Nowadays, it seems as though we see advancements in technology on a daily basis. In the past several years, I’ve seen some amazing changes in the health club business and today I want to talk about how technology can be used to boost engagement with the modern member.
For many members, they arrive alone, workout alone and then leave alone. Although some grow accustomed to this, the majority will soon lose motivation — and you soon lose a customer. However, properly implementing already existing technology can help you to engage these passive members a little more, so they get more value out of their membership and you retain a happy member.
Sure, this sounds great on the outside but how does it work? In truth, technology can be utilized in several different ways.
Mobile App: The average person spends 51 percent of their time online or on mobile devices, so it’s no wonder members seem to have lost direct communication with their fitness facilities. To bring it back, you need to reach your members where you’re most likely to gain their attention — their phone. A mobile app can allow members to receive automated messages, register for classes, adjust their membership, track their workouts, and even receive special offers.
Social Media: With social media, your members can feel a part of something special, inside and outside of the facility. Your trainers can engage with members directly to create value beyond their time spent in the gym. Consider setting up social media groups and use hashtags to develop a sense of community among members to discuss all things gym-related. Post pictures and videos to inspire members and non-members alike.
Virtual Group Fitness: Sadly, it appears our free time is becoming more restricted as each year passes. For your members, they lead busy lives, which may require a late-night or early-morning visit rather than at peak times. For the longest time, this has meant missing classes and working out alone with no assistance. With virtual group fitness, that’s no longer necessary. Now, any member can partake in a variety of classes without the time restrictions that normally come with them.
Schedules: Integrate your class schedule with your website or even mobile app. By offering a regularly-updated digital schedule, members can plan their week, and learn about the classes you offer. In an era of e-commerce, your members want to research your offerings and plan their schedules in advance. Offer an RSVP feature for a modern way to track attendance and gain valuable insight into your members’ habits and class performances.
Entertainment: For clubs today, entertainment is a key part of the experience. Most members would prefer not to workout in a silent room, and even perform better when surrounded by some added stimulus. From personal TV screens on cardio equipment to club TV audio apps, this technology keeps members engaged longer while they’re at the gym.
Fitness Trackers: Digital forms of training, such as wearable fitness trackers, extend the consumer’s fitness experience beyond the health club. Gone are the days of sheltering or barricading such products and services from the commercial facility. Capitalize on the built-in functions of fitness trackers to hold contests among members and create a friendly competitiveness inside and outside the gym.
As consumers are looking to stay connected and demanding instant access, prevailing brands will seek opportunities to integrate with unconventional products and services to engage with their members and harness new market opportunities.
Andrew Evenson is the brand manager at Fitness On Demand, a leading provider of virtual group fitness solutions. For more information, visit fitnessondemand247.com.