Why is technology playing such a prominent role in the success of health clubs in 2021? Quick answer: COVID-19. The pandemic drastically changed the ways consumers could safely pursue better health – and they no longer mind getting it done at home. Bloomberg reports that:
- By last September, when more than 87% of fitness clubs across the U.S. had reopened, 60% of members still didn’t intend to return to in-person gyms.
- Of these respondents, 57% cited a lack of confidence that the pandemic was sufficiently under control to warrant returning.
Now that gyms and health clubs in many areas are open and members are slowly returning, gym managers will still have to adapt to their members’ new habits and expectations in order to survive. While the fitness industry has traditionally lagged behind other industries in embracing technology, club management now has to focus on running their operations as efficiently as possible in order to increase membership growth and retention.
The driving factor behind all of these efforts is technology. Here are the tools most directly affecting the success of health clubs and gyms today, no matter their size.
Even before the pandemic, fitness wearables were becoming the norm – and their use skyrocketed in 2020. Your gym members now expect that your machines will integrate with their wearables, tracking data like heart rate and calories burned. Machines that sync with members’ smartphones are no longer a nice-to-have, but rather an expectation.
Ensuring these integrations are available and functional with your tech-based fitness equipment demonstrates the value of your membership, showing visitors your facility is once again their best option for getting a great workout. If you can integrate their data with their member card or key fob, they gain another option for tracking their long-term progress; this supports their individual needs, builds engagement, and increases member retention.
As referenced above, another legacy of the pandemic is that your members have learned how to get a good workout at home. If they don’t have the time to get to the gym, they know they can easily stream the latest on-demand fitness content from a wide variety of apps, selecting just the right class for their goals, fitness level, interests, and time available. As the concept of “fitness as medicine” becomes more widespread, they can also access not just traditional fitness content, but holistic wellness content like yoga, Pilates and meditation sessions.
In fact, Bloomberg reported that 75% of consumers surveyed said they will eventually return to their in-person gyms, but many indicated they will retain a virtual component. The lesson for fitness club management is to offer their own on-demand and livestream workouts – and 72% of managers responding had already taken that step.
Bring this trend into your gym by offering remote personal training, group workouts, or specialized wellness consultations. These sessions can be live, on-demand, or both. Your platform could be as basic as Zoom and YouTube; larger chains may want to look into building or expanding their membership app. Whatever your choice of tools, taking this step provides additional opportunities for your members to stay engaged while personalizing their experience with your brand. It also provides a new channel for building relationships and providing member information.
Highest Hygiene Standards
Another result of the pandemic is that we no longer take for granted that it’s safe to go out in public and stand next to other people, let alone exert ourselves alongside them. Your members are now hyperaware of all things sanitation and hygiene within your facility, regardless of your local public health restrictions. Providing hand sanitizer, distanced machines and classes, or extra self-service cleaning items merely establishes a baseline. Every shift at every facility in your health club chain must also follow a strict, well-documented cleaning and sanitation schedule, not just for high-traffic areas and equipment but for your entire facility including staff spaces.
While requirements to document cleaning procedures aren’t new, a digital, mobile solution is available that will revolutionize and optimize all your operational processes. No more paper checklists and clipboards or dusty, unreferenced binders in the manager’s office. Every checklist, every form, every audit – even every set of instructions and best practices – can be built into an app customized to the needs of your chain and available on any smartphone.
When it’s time to take action, any employee simply opens the app and documents what they did with a few swipes and taps or even photos and videos. The app saves their actions, along with identifying information like time, date and location, and clearly displays it in the app’s dashboard in real time. Anyone on the management team can see exactly what’s going on in any facility at any time and from anywhere. Employees no longer have to wonder if they took the correct steps, and managers no longer have to wonder exactly what got done or when. The right actions get taken on time, every time, during every shift.
How MeazureUp Helps Today’s Gyms
Streamlining and documenting your daily checklists isn’t all MeazureUp can do to support your business operations – which is important, because a recent survey of fitness industry club managers reported that your most urgent post-pandemic needs include real-time data analytics, both within facilities and across your organization. You need this information to know where your staff’s process execution is deficient, in what areas your teams and contractors need more training, and exactly how each facility is doing in upholding the brand standards that ensure your members always receive a strong, consistent experience.
MeazureUp collects all the data from every shift in every facility, as well as all the data from your audits and employee training activities, and makes it available through a range of robust, customizable reporting capabilities. No one needs to spend hours compiling and crunching data by hand; it’s already collected in your app and easy to distribute. Your management team can use this in-depth, real-time data to uncover new opportunities and to support the decisions that will help your business thrive – even in a paradigm-shifting year like 2021.
To learn more about how MeazureUp can be the key to your gym’s operational success, visit https://meazureup.com/gym-assessment-app/.