Great read here from Les Mills and it really echoes my and the opinions of the team here at Volution. The digital-hybrid gym model isn’t new, it’s not the outcome of COVID. It’s been around for years and as the article states, some 85% of people have been exercising at home as well as in the gym for some time.
I am lucky enough to work and talk with some of the leading fitness operators across the world and it’s always interesting to hear the different opinions about digital. Some are cautiously monitoring it, hoping it’ll go away, some don’t believe it will stick / stay long, while others are frantically trying to embrace it, and some are doing well at implementing and offering it to their members.
For the foreseeable future, fitness clubs will likely have fewer members attending their physical premises. That’s why it’s never been so important to use data to make better, smarter, real-time decisions to increase the lifetime value of each remaining member by as many months/years as possible – while also driving secondary spend – to maintain and increase revenue. The key to this is a strong digital offer which is engaging and results driven for your members. .
Virtual engagement, like offline engagement, is the sum of many parts. It’s not simply creating killer email campaigns, liking your members’ posts on Facebook or having your superstar coaches deliver incredible group training sessions online. It’s all of those things, and so much more. And just as every fitness brand or club is different, so too should its digital platform. In the pre-Covid world, operators mainly used ‘off the shelf’ products to manage their member engagement, but in the post-Covid world, there’s a need for something more sophisticated. Something bespoke. Something that fits the unique identity of the brand/club, its members and your commercial goals.
To achieve this, there’s no need to throw away all of your existing systems. Far from it. We want you to keep them. What we’re actually suggesting is that clubs need a solution that brings all of these systems together to maximise them all, driving acquisition, engagement, retention and revenue. Something that plugs gaps, bolts on, generates opportunities and is quick, effortless and cost-effective to integrate.
A digital platform gives your members access to the superstar coaches and trainers they’ve built relationships with at your facility over the months and years they’ve been members. With additional opportunities for member-trainer interaction through online training, coaching, classes, and support, this can significantly boost customer engagement, satisfaction and retention rates, driving people back towards your gym (the online to offline model).
Although many people will have experimented with all kinds of virtual classes and trainers during lockdown, most would still prefer to be coached by someone they know, like, and trust. Not providing this opportunity to your members could mean they look elsewhere. Using a digital platform stops this happening and brings your community closer.
Coupled with the above, data insights can be used to set KPIs that encourage your staff to be better and help to make them accountable for their decisions and actions. Giving staff real-time visibility on progress towards KPIs keeps them on track, with a positive knock-on effect for member engagement.
The digital-hybrid model is here to stay. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be seeing the likes of Apple planning to launch the Apple+, Facebook looking to commercialise fitness live-streaming or a 360 per cent increase in Peloton shares since March this year.
We urge operators to act now to look at how you can evolve and adapt. As this article states – “Silicon Valley’s biggest players are sizing up the fitness market – and they’re coming for your members”. We can help. We have bespoke solutions that can enable you to get up and running with a strong and bespoke digital offer in less than six weeks. We can demonstrate the impact and drive commercial growth. Please, reach out today for an informal chat and I can show you how our systems work and the best thing is; digital solutions don’t break your budgets!
Andy Hall, Sales Director