The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.



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Entries in new media (3)


A Dying Breed: Mobile vs Desktop

This is an associate feature post, sponsored by Netpulse.

Consumer behavior is changing. Not too long ago desktops and laptops were the only way to stay connected to the online world. For clubs, that meant creating websites that were optimized for desktop consumption. Members had to be at home or work to log online and register for classes, update their account information, or email their club.

But all this has changed...

Mobile Has Taken Over Desktop

With nearly two-thirds of American owning smartphones, consumers are shifting away from desktops and trending towards mobile phone usage. According to a 2014 report by internet analytics company comScore, time spent on mobile apps has risen over 50% while time spent on desktops has remained relatively flat. In fact, this rise signals that today's consumers are spending more time on mobile than they are on desktops.

Furthermore, when looking at which device sees the most internet usage on a per-day basis, mobile has significantly overtaken desktop, 51% to 42% in 2015.

With consumers spending more of their day on their mobile devices rather than on computers, it is forcing businesses to optimize their services for mobile. Many functions and activities that were previously considered to be more fitting for the desktop are now being shifted towards mobile.

For example, the Local Search Association reported that in 2015 mobile has overtaken desktop in searches for local information and 60% of adults now typically choose smartphones or tablets over PCs to find information before buying. Whether to make dinner reservations or purchase the latest best-selling novel, consumers are more regularly turning to their smartphone over their computer.

In the future, BIA/Kelsey, a media and advertising agency, is forecasting that mobile search will continue to increase exponentially while desktop search will actually decline. It's more clear than ever: the future is mobile.

Continue reading A Dying Breed: Mobile vs Desktop.

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IHRSA 2016 Coverage to Include Live-streaming Video on Periscope

One of the many reasons IHRSA 2016 is such an exciting event is the abundance of innovation—in educational sessions and on the Trade Show floor, groundbreaking ideas are proposed and state-of-the-art products are released. 

In the same vein, we’ve decided to add an innovative element to our Convention coverage: live-streaming video on Periscope. Since live-streaming is an emerging media, we created a brief FAQ to help explain what Periscope is and how we’ll be using it March 21-24 in Orlando. 

What is Periscope? 

Periscope is a Twitter-owned app that allows users to record and stream live video from their smartphones. The Periscope app has more than 10 million users, and countless more view Periscope videos through Twitter (in app or in browser). 

How can I view IHRSA 2016 Periscope videos? 

There are two ways: You can either follow us on the Periscope app, which will alert you when we are streaming, or you can keep an eye on our Twitter account, where we will tweet announcements when we go live. You don’t need to download the Periscope app to watch our videos. 

If you aren’t able to catch the broadcast live you can watch the video later, but don’t wait too long—Periscope videos are only available for 24 hours. 

What sort of things will you be broadcasting? 

We’re not totally sure! Part of the fun of experimenting with emerging media is figuring it out as we go. 

As of now, our plan is to broadcast exclusive, behind-the-scenes content and interviews with health club leaders. We’re hoping to capture moments that will be of interest to both attendees and those who can’t be in Orlando with us. 

What other coverage will you be providing? 

We’ll be covering IHRSA 2016 from start to finish across our digital platforms, including our blog, Twitter feed, Facebook page, Instagram, and the IHRSA 2016 app. And don't forget to keep an eye on our event hashtag, #IHRSA2016.


IHRSA 2016 Session Spotlight: New Media Marketing

There are several reasons health club operators often don’t take full advantage of new media—maybe they’re intimidated by it, or they don’t think it’s important, or they dabble in it, but don’t use it regularly. Whatever the reason, health clubs who don’t have a thorough new media strategy are missing an opportunity to engage current members and recruit new ones. 

“I’ve seen so many of the great clubs that have found the right person to [execute their new media] for them, that put a strategy in place to make it happen, and realize the benefit of social media,” says Frank Furness, author and consultant, Frank Furness & Associates. “A lot of clubs don’t understand the benefit of using new media, so they give it to someone who is doing it as just a part of their job, and it becomes less and less important because they’re doing their own job as well.” 

Furness will outline how new media can benefit health clubs in his IHRSA 2016 session, “New Media Marketing.” The Wednesday, March 23 presentation will help attendees:  

  • Discover how to dominate the first page of Google to attract new members
  • Learn how to develop a 10 touch plan to retain members
  • Learn how to use Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube to build and sell your club
  • Gain an understanding of how to use social media as a marketing tool
  • Explore what makes a great website and how to attract members and keep the interest of existing members  

Since the majority of prospective members begin their search online, it’s critical for health clubs to have a well-designed, engaging website that clearly outlines member benefits and drives visitors to a next step, such as visiting the club or requesting more information, Furness says. 

But having the best website in the world won’t do much good if it has poor search engine optimization. 

“I’ll teach attendees how to get on first page of Google, because if you’re not there, your competitors will be,” Furness says. “Being a part of the Google family—Blogger, YouYube, Google+—helps a lot with search engine optimization.” 

Furness will also discuss several other new media outreach efforts clubs might employ to engage new members, improve member retention, and reach out to prospective members, such as video email, online forums, Periscope and live-streaming video, and webinars. He will draw on several case studies to demonstrate the results new media strategies can achieve. 

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