Group X: The Opportunity in Technology — Part 1
A you know one of my favorite topics is the connection between technology and awareness for the health seeker. One of the ways the fitness industry gathers to share on these types of thoughts is via the Fitness Industry Technology Council — a group of forward thinkers dedicated to creating a standard for innovation in fitness technology.
I recently did a very informative podcast for the Fit-C on using technology with your group fitness classes to increase revenue, and I’ve got tons of ideas on this energizing topic that I’d love to share with you.
Last month I talked about how technology can impact the group fitness space, my plan is to expand on that topic over the coming months and share with you on the topic.
Smart technology can help fill group classes in both peak and non-peak hours. Simple, yet effective, techniques can enhance your club’s Group X experiences, help you retain extremely loyal members, and drive customer demand for even more classes.
But, what REALLY matters for group fitness in clubs when it comes to tech?
One thing (maybe the only thing!) that has not changed in the fitness industry is people. Group fitness classes are the top way to get your members excited about continually coming back to your club. Over 90 percent of recurring memberships are for Group X enthusiasts — a loyal member stays for a number of reasons, but above all else, it’s the connection to a community and the personal relationships that are made inside the group exercise room. There’s already a really high level of dedication and engagement for those members attending your classes — and when you add the power of gamification via fitness wearables, a whole new experience is created.
Almost everyone these days is wearing a FitBit, Apple Watch, Spire or other fitness tracker. Group class attendees are also highly likely to congregate in the same patterns, very dedicated to their “spots,” next to that guy or this lady, and love to enjoy a little internalized competition. Imagine a Group X room featuring a leaderboard tied into everyone’s wearable, where everyone could see real-time fitness data, see how they are progressing through the workout, and how they compare to everyone in the room. Intrinsic motivation and your members’ competitive edge creates an exciting new dynamic and a deeper level of camaraderie. The gamification in synchronicity with group fitness environments can really help unlock a memorable new experience for your members.
Another vital yet easy enhancement for your Group X offerings is making small but impactful changes to the fitness room itself. Simple changes in lighting and music can make a huge difference. Think about lowering the lights, getting rid of those fluorescents, adding some natural light, or adding more of a dance club atmosphere with ultraviolet lights or a disco ball even!
Adding slightly more bass to your music mix can also go a really long way to improving sound quality in a Group X classroom and dialing up the live class experience. As always, encourage your instructors to make a bespoke, personalized mix for each and every class, with a wide range of music genres. These low-cost and subtle ways to use technology to enhance your fitness classroom environment have a small initial investment, but can provide a huge return.
Keeping your Group X participants happy is vitally important for member retention, especially when compared to the cost of new member acquisition. It’s crucial for club owners to slow down and consistently evaluate member happiness — remember, there’s power in the pause. Owners and managers might be always on the lookout for the newest Group X trends, but frequently your loyal group class members just want to keep it simple, see and be seen, and have a great workout. Be sure you are using the best CRM software and social media practices to stay completely in tune with your member satisfaction levels.
I’ve got to run for now, but I have so many more ideas to share with you, so stay tuned for Part 2!
Lindsey Rainwater, also known as Lindsey RainH2O, is a sought-after business consultant, leadership coach, writer and presenter to the fitness and wellness industry. For more information about Rainwater, follow her on Twitter@LindseyRainH2O.