What the Trends are Telling Us
Looking at the ACSM’s top fitness trends, it’s interesting to dig a little deeper and see what factors are really at play and how, as an industry, we can amplify these to help reach a wider audience and continue to be successful.
As a mix of types of training, demographics, tools and applications, what factors influence and link these trends together?
First, you have evidence. This is the data and feedback loop provided by wearable and other technologies enabling the self-knowledge required for progression and development. Interestingly, evidence is also about empowerment, according to David Minton, founder of The Leisure Database Company.
He shares that consumers are driving the experience and personalization they want, in order to achieve more in a shorter period of time. Wearables also provide an element of education — they reinforce what someone is doing and what results they can expect from doing it in the way a gym instructor or personal trainer might also provide this feedback and encouragement.
However, one thing technology has yet to measure or replace is experience, which brings us to our second factor behind the trends. Experience is so important because of its ability to create the positive feelings that in turn drive behaviour, according to Keith Smith of Excelsior Development.
Experience is also very individual, with different training preferences, abilities and motivation across a variety of different demographics. So tuning in to what customers are looking for in a facility experience is absolutely key in its successful delivery.
Experience goes hand in hand with the third driving element: engagement. Measured by Dr. Paul Bedford, retention guru, the simple truth is if a staff member speaks to a member once a month, they are 20% more likely to visit the next month. Speak twice and the figure rises to 50%. Speak four or more times over four visits, and this rises to 80%.
So if engagement drives retention, this makes it an important factor in staff education, which is our fourth and final element behind the top trends. Staff education supports creating the unique experiences we have heard consumers are seeking throughout all these points.
With so much fitness content available free online, the creation of competence and confidence is where instructors can really differentiate in the future, according to Smith. This creates the self-belief required for members to keep coming back for more.
When we stop to think about what the trends are telling us and look at the roles evidence, experience, engagement and education play in creating these trends, we have some solid ways in which we can look to drive and determine success, now and in the future.