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Going Mobile


How to create the best mobile experience. 

According to Statista, 218 billion mobile apps were downloaded in 2020 — 26 billion more than in 2018 and 78 billion more than in 2016. The COVID-19 pandemic left people stuck at home with nowhere to go except the apps on their phone. Now, although things are on the mend, consumers aren’t willing to let go of the virtual connections yet. 

While many clubs have had mobile apps for years, members are now demanding a more user-friendly experience and extensive capabilities.  

GoodLife Fitness launched its mobile app more than seven years ago. Originally, it provided club information, hours of operation, phone number and contact details. The company has been growing its usage and capability since then.  

“Today, we see the mobile app more as a tool that provides a digital experience and augments a member’s club access,” said Jonathan Fagg, the senior director of digital and technology for GoodLife Fitness. “The GoodLife app offers schedules for group fitness classes at the nearest club, along with the ability to book classes and add them to their calendar. It also includes more than 500 self-guided workouts, instructor-led group fitness classes, and workout plans that are tailored to each member and how they use the club. The app also enables members to track their fitness goals and metrics, as well as manage their membership and edit their personal information. Members can also check into the club using their mobile app and a securely generated QR code.” 

The first version of the GoodLife app was built internally. Since then, Fagg said they have partnered with external companies to expand the capabilities of the app. They currently work with a partner company that has helped them integrate the app with their member management systems and on-demand streaming platform. 

“This white-label solution enabled us to capitalize on a range of functionality and experience that was ready to go and get it to market quickly,” explained Fagg. “In using a white-label solution, we can take advantage of the continual improvement, optimization and new features as they are added to the platform.”

Hockessin Athletic Club launched its first mobile app in 2012 to communicate schedules. Members wanted an easier way to access the schedule versus visiting the website. 

Today, Hockessin Athletic Club’s app is powered through Smart Health Clubs. Lisa Maguire, the marketing and advertising director at Hockessin Athletic Club, said previously they used another vendor and have also created their own, but decided to move forward with Smart Health Clubs due to its robust offerings. 

“Smart Health Clubs has been spectacular about making updates, upgrades and listening to clients about development requests,” said Maguire. “It has many features we’re currently not using but look forward to implementing in the future.”

Hockessin Athletic Club mainly uses its app for reserving space in group fitness, aquatics, yoga and small group classes, as well as instructor management. Instructors can request a sub right from their scheduled class in the app and other approved instructors can either offer or decline to cover it. The department director can then approve the instructor they’d like to cover the class. 

“We also use the app for push notifications for club updates and closures, as well as an easy way for our members to let us know when something is broken or if they’ve had a positive experience with a staff member,” explained Maguire. “We typically receive a few ‘Wows’ about staff a week, and maybe one ‘Fix It’ request per week.”

Like any other facet of your clubs, issues will arise when it comes to mobile apps. GoodLife launched the current version of its app right at the start of the pandemic, and the team had to pivot quickly to leverage the app to support members as well as possible. 

“The GoodLife team launched our on-demand platform in a matter of weeks and needed to integrate with the app very quickly,” said Fagg. “Looking back, it would have been better to have more time to get everything right before launching, but we didn’t have that flexibility given the challenges to our industry based on the pandemic.” 

While you may have quickly pivoted digital offerings due to the pandemic and didn’t have time to curate the experience desired, now you do. Members are craving a seamless digital experience from the palm of their hand. Now is the time to reassess what benefit your mobile app brings to your community and how you can go above and beyond their expectations. 

Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is the assistant editor for Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com

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