Andrew Evenson, the senior director of operations and brand strategy at FitnessOnDemand, shares why the days of analog fitness are over.
Imagine growing up in the fitness industry of yesteryear. You selected a space, installed cardio equipment and free weights, and waited for members to sign up. Today, running a best-in-class club is a vastly different endeavor, requiring high-touch member experience and one now-critical element of the modern member experience: technology. From apps that give members instant access to everything they need to on-demand content platforms in both the club and at home, the days of analog fitness are over. If your business is to survive in an industry that IHRSA says sees an annual member loss rate of 30% a year, success comes down to adopting and embracing the tech-led club experiences consumers demand. Here are three ways to do it.
Create a 360-Degree Immersive Fitness Experience
Some clubs still believe fitness is an either-or experience for members. You either workout at the club or you “make do” with on-demand classes at home. But in today’s industry where more than 83 million people use a fitness app — an increase of approximately 15 million since 2020 — technology is now a member must-have.
Of course, many clubs have adopted apps, but it’s time to embrace broader technology to create a fully-immersive, 360-degree member experience that includes a club app to book a class, schedule the spa, and hold a digital membership or wallet for the juice bar, but also a lot more.
In addition, create an immersive, digitally-integrated experience for members with things like: web recipes and nutritional tips as well as downloadable workouts and tips; social media channels that stream instructor sessions; and a fully integrated on-demand system offered both at your club and online. The smartest club operators are now using one-stop-shop platforms where members can access on-demand classes and short-form daily exercises to invigorate their daily workouts in the club or at home. Instructors can stream their in-club classes to a broader club audience of on-the-go members, or recommend content to live class participants to help with technique.
Bring On-demand Fitness Out of the Studio
The average footprint of a club today is 42,000 square feet, but many facilities report underutilized floor space that could be optimized to create better member experience. Think about bringing your high-engagement, on-demand platform out of its dedicated studio space, freeing up that area for more live classes and integrating it into the club environment to create multi-functional spaces. Many clubs are now hanging easy-install, ultra-mobile and plug-and-play systems in areas alongside free weights and mat exercises, and creating opportunities for members to try adding short-form digital workouts or pre-made, on-demand exercise circuits into their daily activities without having to go to a dedicated studio.
Make the Whole Club Digital-Friendly
Digital fitness content and solutions can and should be brought to every corner of the club to enhance experience. Companion apps are now available for members using stationary bikes, ellipticals and treadmills, enabling the addition of fun, instructor-led classes and challenges to otherwise simple equipment-based sessions. Encourage members to use their phone or tablet anywhere in the club and conduct their own on-demand stretch, wind down or focused muscle group exercises anywhere in the club.
Embrace all of these tech advancements in your club and you’ll soon have a membership that values the convenience, engagement and vibrant environment your club offers wherever they workout.