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Entries in Mike Kline (2)

Tuesday
Mar142017

3 Tangible Ways Cloud Computing Can Benefit Your Health Club

You don't need to be an aerospace engineer to appreciate air travel—and you don't need to be an IT expert to grasp the possibilities of the cloud at your health club. Here are three examples of how cloud technology can boost your bottom line.

1. It makes basic functions like renewals, class signups, and member purchases more efficient and cost-effective.

Continue reading "3 Tangible Ways Cloud Computing Can Benefit Your Health Club."

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Wednesday
May112016

Enhance Health Club Member Experience with Cloud-based Mobile Apps

Cloud computing technology can help health clubs save time and money, as well as increase data security, but the benefits don’t stop there. The use of cloud-based mobile apps help health clubs to enhance the member experience in a number of ways.

Much of the cloud’s present potential is being exploited by mobile apps, which access data from various cloud-based services. This avenue is one that introduces promising new opportunities for clubs and their members. Clubs may continue to rely on their websites, but, today, apps seem to be where the action is at.

Cloud-based Apps Support a Mobile-first Strategy

“It’s irrefutable that a ‘mobile-first’ strategy is emerging, which means that you may need to rethink some aspects of your business model,” said Bryan O’Rourke, the president of the Fitness Industry Technology Council (FIT-C), based in Covington, LA. “For example, you’ll have to figure out how to align the functionality of your mobile offerings with your programming, while making sure that both meet your members’ needs.” 

O’Rourke pointed to SoulCycle, LLC, based in New York City, as a brand with a well-honed mobile strategy. Its mobile app, accessed via the cloud, allows members to reserve specific bikes in specific cycling classes, access instructors’ playlists, and even purchase the same sort of apparel that their instructor is wearing. Apps can also make it easier to offer different pricing levels and to develop new revenue sources.

“It’s not about technology—it’s about the user experience,” O’Rourke said. “It’s about making things easier for your members; it’s about creating an affinity with your brand.”

Increased Convenience and Cost-savings

That sort of functionality, now fairly common in the case of chains and larger club companies, is quickly percolating down through the industry’s other strata.

The Gainesville Health & Fitness Centers (GHFC), a regional, three-facility operation in Gainesville, FL, is currently working with two cloud-based providers—MINDBODY, Inc., for its personal training and premier groups programs; and Mercury Systems, for its smoothie bar and other in-house retail sales—as well as a third one for its rehab center.

Once members have created their own MINDBODY account via a mobile app or a web browser, they’re able to review schedules and fees, make purchases, sign up for training sessions, and check to see how many they have left.

One extra benefit: “We’ve noticed that our costs have come down,” said Mike Kline, GHFC’s CFO and CIO. “Our credit card fees are a lot less than when we had to run cards through machines manually. We’re also able to track things much better.”

The cloud propagated by Mercury allows members to prepay their accounts online and, then, access their balance when they come into the gym—a convenience both for them and club management.

“We don’t have to have servers,” Kline said. “Mercury backs them up, and they worry about the data.”

Read the full article on cloud computing for health clubs in the May issue of CBI.