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Mobile Apps: How Many is Enough?

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Mike Alpert, the COO at Smart Health Clubs, shares why it’s best to consolidate the number of mobile apps your club uses.

As we all know, today most people use their mobile phones to access almost everything and that is certainly true in our industry. But in order to engage your members with information of interest to them, and, or to drive revenue from profit centers, most clubs have had to subscribe to as many as six to 12 softwares. You need mobile apps for the following: bookings and reservations, e-commerce, virtual training, fitness plans, hiring a trainer, nutrition programming, contact tracing, CRM, website hosting, two-way video conferencing, member rewards, and instructor substitution.

With each mobile app your member must sign-in with a username and password; remember them and often toggle back and forth in order to access the information they are interested in. It is confusing and time consuming, and for the club operator, it becomes very costly and likely labor intense. Bottom line, it creates a disjointed member experience.

At the beginning of 2020 the health club industry was thriving: membership growth was up; cash flow was strong and net income for many was at record highs. Then COVID-19 affected the world and changed everything. Not only were health clubs closed for almost one year, but the restrictions put on them as they have been allowed to reopen has changed the way they must operate in the future.   

The good news is that we now have a vaccine and hopefully, by summer most people will be able to receive it. And in several states elected officials are beginning to accept the fact that health clubs are safe and that they should be deemed essential businesses. Data is showing the percentage of people admitted to a hospital or having severe complications or dying from COVID-19 are almost nil for someone who exercises and leads a healthy lifestyle compared to someone who does not. This should strengthen the case that being fit and having a healthy immune system are key factors in fighting off chronic illnesses.   

Never before has it been more critical for you to stay connected to your members and to be able to make their experience with you as seamless as possible. Access to your products and services, both at the club and virtually are essential. And remember that their timely access to what they are coming to the club for is going to be more important than ever to them. Make it as easy as possible. And the proper use of technology and mobile devices should also help you reduce labor or to shift labor to other areas that need attention.        

My recommendation is to do your best to consolidate the number of mobile apps you use and choose only those that are of the most significance for your members and for your operations.

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Mike Alpert

Mike Alpert is the chief operating officer at Smart Health Clubs. He can be reached at (951) 205-1136 or Mike@Smarthealthclubs.com.

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