Virtual Programming: Now What?
Matthew Wright, a partner and general manager of The Fort Athletic Club, shares five questions to ask when evaluating your club’s virtual programming.
The honeymoon phase is over for virtual fitness. Members are making their way back to the club. Virtual sessions are seeing much fewer participants. Staff are feeling screen fatigue. Creativity is starting to slow. But what does that mean for health clubs?
To say virtual has served our industry well would be an understatement. I believe it’s what has kept us in the position we are to bounce back stronger than ever. It also taught us a lot — as we were very slow to make the transition — and to view this as a new avenue to serve our members and drive revenue. But does your health club need it to be successful?
When evaluating your club or studio’s use of virtual, I suggest digging deep into the below five questions. The answers to these questions will guide your decision making and in turn, how you serve your team and your members.
1. Does offering virtual programming align with my business model?
2. Have my members provided feedback that they want virtual? What exactly are they looking for?
3. How does my team feel about virtual and our ability to use this avenue to impact our members?
4. How successful was your virtual program during the shutdown and what’s it like now? What are your costs versus your benefits?
5. Is it another check on the value stack or is it truly a differentiator when enrolling and retaining new members?
As you evaluate how to best utilize virtual, know this: You do not have to “check the box.” If you check the box, it will likely cost you more than it will benefit you. Perhaps you see that offering virtual personal training is great for you, however studio fitness is too much of a burden. Maybe you have a handful of staff who love virtual and want to lead the way for you. Or you can partner with someone else to supply the programming for you.
At the end of the day, virtual is here to stay. It’s up to you and your team to decide how to make it a staple of your fitness operations.