The fitness facility of the future has already arrived. While the traditional mid-range club market contracts, high-end luxury and high-volume, low-price models realize robust growth.
One trend is consistent: Successful operators embrace the connectivity of mobile smartphone technology to enhance the member experience and increase their share of the 54 million U.S. health club market. Today’s member wants to stay connected and over 80 percent bring their smartphones to the gym.
Wireless Entertainment: Members value convenience and choice. Today there are many entertaining and reliable choices ranging from high-definition, energy-saving screens built into leading cardio equipment, to ceiling and wall-mounted monitors with wireless receivers, and Wi-Fi applications that enable exercisers to listen to their favorite television audio anywhere in the facility. Touch-screen interactive systems provide entertainment and unprecedented opportunities to connect with members and promote club products and services.
Open Platform Communication: In the age of the Internet of Things, millions of applications are downloaded each day to improve productivity. From the security of club front desk check-in to custom workout tracking to equipment maintenance, connected operators employ independent mobile technology to optimize member-staff engagement, marketing and referrals. An open platform involves the seamless integration of multiple applications to enhance control, program flexibility and responsiveness.
Mobile Configured Life: Every club website must be optimized for mobile engagement with content positioned to engage members and extend beyond the facility. The IHRSA “2015 International Fitness Industry Trend Report” affirmed, since 2013, that club mobile apps have increased 168 percent and online virtual training services have increased 163 percent. Virtual group exercise classes are up 129 percent. Virtual self-directed fitness is up 80 percent and the use of fitness wearable devices is up 77 percent.
Extend the Life of Your Equipment: The biggest member complaint is down cardio equipment, especially during peak periods. New Wi-Fi enabled diagnostic systems allow you to manage your complete cardio equipment inventory, monitor usage and service schedules to minimize member objections and maximize the life of every piece.
Fight the Obesity Epidemic: The ability to track workouts, weight, body composition and caloric expenditures — even biometrics like blood pressure — provide valuable information for healthcare providers and club operators.
The obesity epidemic is pervasive and growing. Consider how the health club business model transforms when technology provides the ability to effectively serve the 29 million Americans that have type-2 diabetes and the 89 million who are pre-diabetic. There is no cure for this chronic condition that affects how the body metabolizes glucose, however, it can be managed with monitoring, regular exercise and diet programming. That is the most compelling service opportunity of the century.
Tony Garcia is founder and president of MYE Entertainment, an industry leader in the development and application of fitness technology. For more information, visit myeinc.com.