Industry experts share the benefits of offering wearables at your facility and how they can engage your members.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), wearable technology has been a top three trend since it was first introduced to their annual Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends in 2016.
While wearables have been around for a while, Craig Eagle, a co-owner of several Snap Fitness locations in Arizona, said they are something to keep on your radar as a gym owner.
“Clubs should definitely be paying attention to wearables,” said Eagle. “The consumer today is looking for fun, engaging digital devices that track their exercise in and outside of the gym. We have committed to using Myzone in all of our seven Snap Fitness locations since 2016.”
According to Eagle, wearables is a service that keeps on giving. Wearables provide your members the opportunity to become more engaged and potentially remain a member longer since they help create community.
“These wearable users having the ability to keep track of their own vitals during their workout is both safe and motivating,” explained Eagle. “It provides them the tools and information they need to see if they are limiting themselves and can go harder. With cardiovascular health being such a prevalent problem, being able to monitor it while staying fit is priceless.”
Greta Wagner, the executive director and executive vice president of Chelsea Piers Connecticut, agreed wearables are a good way to keep members motivated, but you shouldn’t heavily rely on them.
“We all know member results equal member retention,” said Wagner. “Tech allows us to show a member’s progress, so they will continue to be motivated and stay with their trainer or program. Outfitting our clubs and staff with the right amount of tech keeps members engaged without being overwhelmed. Of course, it’s equally important to be watchful of the downside: relying too much on tech and losing the human side of our business. Our members are more than numbers and stats.”
While you may be eager to reap the benefits of wearables, it is important to first have staff buy-in. Eagle said it’s a must to get your employees, trainers and instructors to wear the technology. Snap Fitness’ most successful clubs — when it comes to wearable technology — are where staff is the most engaged with Myzone and using it themselves.
According to Wagner, staff are naturally interested in products and learning. Providing them with the tools they need to experience new technology is key to keeping them selling it to your members.
Plus, members need to be thought of as well when it comes to implementing new tech. “While new items tend to trend initially, there is a vast difference in product use from our elite athletes to our senior members,” explained Wagner. “Of course, tech geeks want the latest, but most members who have found a wearable they love and that meets their needs tend not to upgrade so quickly. User friendly is the key for most members.”
Overall, there are great benefits to offering wearables. But just like any other amenity, you should make sure it’s a great fit for your members before diving in.
“The key to wearables is knowing the goal of your member,” said Wagner. “A trainer wouldn’t start with a new client without doing simple assessments. It’s no different for any wearable fitness technology. Know your members. Remember, like anything else in life it’s easy to go overboard, spend more than is necessary and lose interest quickly if the product is too complicated.”