Newtown Athletic Club’s Katie Mitchell explains how the club uses Technogym’s Mywellness Cloud to drive member visits, engagement and retention.
Welcome to the fitness industry in 2019, where the ability to leverage connectivity, applications, sensors, devices, software and big data have all converged to deliver more insightful and personalized services to our members. As an industry we’ve had difficulty keeping pace with the changing demands and often fall victim to “shiny object syndrome.” At Newtown Athletic Club, we fully embrace the ever-changing ways of the industry and while many are buzzing about digital disruption, the real disruptive threat is experiential.
One of Newtown Athletic Club’s many differentiators are the purpose-driven spaces (clubs within a club) offering unique fitness experiences dedicated to specific modalities of exercise. I oversee a studio outfitted with Technogym’s ARTIS line; the premier and aesthetically pleasing equipment is matched only by the seamless digital experience we’ve implemented using Mywellness cloud (MWC).
Since its launch as the first cloud platform in the industry in 2012, Technogym’s MWC has become the market reference for connected wellness and today features 14,000 connected fitness and wellness facilities around the world with more than 10 million users.
The open platform is key. MWC connects with:
- The largest management software platforms in the market (over 50 platforms including Exerp, Gladstone, and ABC Financial).
- Third-party fitness and health tracking apps and devices (over 30 apps including Strava, Apple Health, Samsung Health, Garmin, Polar, Myzone, and My Fitness Pal).
- Technogym equipment and equipment from other brands.
For any technology to be successful, it’s imperative to begin with the end in mind and really understand who your target market is. While our users range from ages 14-92, over 65 percent fall between 50 and 70 years old, have limited experience with exercise, previous or current injuries or may simply be overwhelmed with the quantity of unfamiliar options at our club.
These boomers and newbies feel that fitness is a daunting journey often pursued with no direction. With this understanding, every change I make is first filtered through this question: “How would this make my mom feel?” Let’s just say she’s an 80 percenter — sorry mom!
Our core customers value an environment that is comfortable, familiar and most of all, not intimidating! They want someone to guide them and be available to assist them if a challenge arises. While the Technogym is the most digitally advanced area in the NAC, we have managed to establish a member-centric environment where service delivery is built around both machine learning and human touch. I always explain Technogym as the “cheers of the NAC,” where everyone knows your name and the social connections are equally as important as the exercise itself.
As early adopters of MWC in 2012, we’ve been 95 percent ahead of the industry in digital adoption. The last two years we really focused on our digital presence and used the tools to enhance our business practices and member experience. I believe that retention is the direct result of usage, so here are some numbers to quantify those efforts (data from year 2018).
- Increased visits and workouts by over 400 percent.
- Increased unique users over 150 percent.
- Total logged workouts in 2017 was 38,364, and increased to 116,299 in 2018 (300 percent increase in visits).
- Designed and prescribed personalized workout programs for over 2,000 members.
- Over 68 percent of our users have adopted the MW App and use it to guide them through the exercises we prescribe.
- Witnessed a 500 percent increase in challenge participants since changing the focus to inclusivity (more weight on number of workouts completed, as opposed to fitness level).
Here’s a brief overview of what the process looks like when a new member comes in for their Technogym appointment at the NAC:
Using an iPad, the member will start with the “Aspiration Finder,” a quick 2-minute quiz we’ve implemented to help discover our member’s “why.” The trainers have since created an expansive library of programs that align with each aspiration (power, shape, fun, move, sport, balance), enabling us to personalize workouts in a timely manner.
Central to our business model is the TGS key that is free to members who don’t want to use their Apple Watch, MW band and/or the MW app to track and guide them throughout their workouts.
Following the intake process, a Technogym trainer will take the individual through each prescribed exercise and program any seat settings, weight, sets/reps, rest time, range of motion and even cues to remember.
Because MWC tracks utilization, I can then monitor end user adherence to the programs we prescribe. This is where data becomes actionable and provides an intuitive understanding of where our members are in their journey, thus allowing us to further personalize their experience.
With MWC, I can proactively interveneif I notice any warning signs or patterns such as routinely skipping the same exercise or changing resistance/work load. I think that’s powerful, and it’s this type of data and insight that have enabled us to prioritize meaningful interactions with people while they are in front of us.
Consider this statistic from the Member Engagement in the Global Health and Fitness Industry Survey Report 2018:”Members who are never spoken to cancel at a rate 2.8 times higher, equating to an extra 21 cancelled memberships each month for every 1,000 members.”
On top of this, our core customers are getting older. There is a growth in active agers and senior fitness as a result of the industry’s greater focus on quality and status as a health provider, which appeals to our target demographic. As a physical therapist assistant, I’ve been using MWC to manage and create a measurable impact on a variety of health issues (diabetes, hypertension, chronic pain, obesity, etc.) — proving value and making interventions simpler, more effective and more accessible to larger population groups.
With the seamless integrations to biometric data, third-party fitness and nutrition apps, GPS tracking, Myzone heart rate data and cloud connected equipment, it’s never been easier to track and demonstrate results. Wellness and preventive care are the future and MWC has proven an effective tool to share results-based information with doctor’s and physical therapists in a click.
Customer experience is specifically where our industry is being tested. People favor the path of least resistance, and the more obstacles we put in the way, the worse the experience. Technology should be a tool used to make our lives easier and more effective; If it creates friction, it won’t last. Instead of adapting our business to the tool, MWC seamlessly adapted to our business model and that’s why the disruptive threat is not digital. The real disruptive threat is experiential.
Katie Mitchell is the Technogym director and member experience manager for Newtown Athletic Club.