For the fitness industry, 2015 is the beginning of the mobile and digital revolution. The most successful clubs will combine excellence in customer service and member relationships with world-class technology that enables member engagement, drives revenue and enhances the club experience.
As operators, you are faced with many challenges every day: staff not showing up, machines breaking, searching for leads. On the surface, adding technology to the mix can seem like just another thing to worry about it. However, when harnessed the right way, technology can become the ultimate competitive advantage for a club operator.
It all starts with smartphones. Nearly 80 percent of online Americans have a mobile phone that connects to the Internet. It’s pretty unbelievable, when it feels like just a few years ago we were all on dial up. This innovation has connected millions of people to a sea of useful and entertaining apps, devices and services that were never available before.
Now, we know that the vast majority of our members are using smartphones. How can we use that to our advantage to drive a better member experience?
1. Go digital: From training videos to virtual coaching to online advertisements, operators must engage with members where they live: online, and more frequently, on their mobile device. Members now demand to access basic club services (like a class schedule) and increasingly enhanced club services (like signing up for personal training) online and from their phones.
2. Think about commerce: For operators, the mobile revolution can be a goldmine, because many people are using all of these smartphones to buy things. We’re talking big numbers here: One out of every four of your members have made purchases from their phones. Imagine if grabbing a protein shake or even a trial personal training session was as quick as a tap.
3. It’s not just the phone, it’s the wearable: People spent a whopping $700 million in 2014 purchasing wearable devices, and now one out of every five Americans are using wearable tech in their daily lives. These devices, like FitBit, Nike+ and Jawbone UP are giving members access to never-before-available data that helps them understand how they are progressing toward their fitness goals. Savvy clubs can use these devices to support their members’ fitness journeys and provide better opportunities for engagement (like club fitness challenges).
4. Know that Internet is everywhere: In the next 10 years, I bet even your toaster will be connected to the Internet. From doors to treadmills, more devices than ever before can be online, and as a result, allow a member to interact. From connected cardio equipment to futuristic iBeacon technology, the health club of 2015 and beyond will have more “smart equipment” that makes workout tracking and personalization easier than ever before.
This article is a preview of Bryan O’Rourke & Netpulse’s 10 Tech Trends for Clubs in 2015. Download the full, free PDF at Netpulse.com. Greg Skloot is the vice president of growth at Netpulse, the number one provider of club mobile apps.