In recent times our understanding of fitness is being reshaped by the digital world. The 40 percent increase between 2014 to 2016 in digital health and fitness exhibits at the Consumer Electronics Show is exemplary of the growing trend. And so is the recent GfK study which found that in 16 of the world’s strongest economies, one in three internet users tracks health via online apps or other trackers, with a rising trend.
As fitness and technology are growing closer, exciting new business opportunities appear. And one of the many resulting advantages is the possibility for trainers to coach their clients regardless of geographic location. Thanks to mobile applications and cloud software, clubs can implement a flexible online service to allow for 24/7 customer care, expanding their business outside of their walls and business hours.
Expanded Market Share: Adding online coaching to a club’s offering allows for diversification of their potential audience. It remains a fact that for a lot of people, classical personal training is simply too costly. However, relying just on general information that can be found online that isn’t tailored to the individual’s needs — and that isn’t based on the professional knowledge of a trainer — is also not an option.
Remember that online coaching is not an either/or choice. With the proper online tools, clubs can offer hybrid membership models (offline and online) at an affordable price. Semi-regular face-to-face meetings combined with further online support presents the option to offer tailored guidance and supervised training at a reasonable rate, since the reduced face-to-face hours allow trainers to offer guidance to a larger number of clients via their online tools.
Increased Revenue Through Organizational Advantages: Online, trainers can train more than one person simultaneously, while still offering personal attention to each individual. This creates certain economies of scale. After personal sessions, clients can be grouped together according to needs and preferences, and be provided with workout templates and nutrition advice. While this type of hybrid coaching comes at a lower fee, the total revenue will end up higher due to the increased volume in clients which can be served.
Efficient Time Management Through Flexible Schedules: Online coaching gives clubs and trainers more flexibility in their time management. No-shows no longer result in down-time. That time can now be used to provide online services, update workout templates, provide group nutrition advice, etc.
Customer Retention Through Next-Level Personal Training: Increased motivation is one of the reasons why supervised training is so popular. However one problem remains with classical personal training: once clients leave the facilities, it is easy to lose motivation or cheat with nutrition.
But with the help of fitness software and mobile apps, trainers can stay in touch with clients all day. This is the case even when clients are on holiday and are in need of a beach workout or healthy nutrition advice, when they are on a business trip and want to stay in shape after a conference, or when they are in the supermarket, trying to buy groceries for a healthy dinner. The ability to offer this kind of service increases client motivation and satisfaction, and thus has great potential to drive retention and revenue for clubs.
Hugo Braam is a technology evangelist in the fitness industry and co-founder of virtuagym.com, provider of innovative software and mobile apps for health clubs and personal trainers. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.