5 Ways Smart Equipment Can Increase Your Bottom Line

Health clubs are finding that connectivity and data can drive engagement and improve operational efficiency.

Equipment suppliers have been aggressive in meeting member demands for entertainment options on cardio equipment. Whether powered by third-party apps or a club’s proprietary software, these machines provide members with a menu of options to keep them motivated and entertained while training.

But what some club operators overlook is just how much value connectivity can have in providing data-powered improvements in everything from member on-boarding to equipment maintenance. When facility staff, trainers, and members are connected in a single seamless system, clubs can deliver more ancillary services while operating with greater efficiency.

These systems could become even more critical to building membership as the integration of healthcare and exercise increase in the future, as many industry leaders predict. One study noted the potential of “high-tech tools for exercise motivation” for improving the health outcomes of patients with type 2 diabetes. Equipment that can track and store member data and access specialized training programs may be part of the solution for those who are prescribed exercise for chronic ailments.

IHRSA’s e-book, Turn Your Health Club into a Smart Gym, addresses some of the other advantages cloud-connected equipment provides health clubs. Let’s look at five of them.

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An IHRSA 2019 attendee tries out TRUE Fitness equipment.

5 Reasons to Upgrade Your Equipment Technology

  1. On-demand workouts. Both your trainers and members can benefit from the ability to call up workouts from the club’s database. If you have a robust enough cloud system, your trainers should be able to create customized workouts that can be shared with clients. Access to virtual workouts is becoming more popular, and clubs should make every effort to provide them. If not, your members may seek these options elsewhere. It’s better for you to own this space in your club than an online competitor.
  2. Greater equipment efficiency and less downtime. This is known as “predictive analytics.” Equipment downtime remains a significant complaint by members, and smart equipment can alert staff when there’s a problem so repairs can be made quickly. Smart machines can provide self-diagnostic reports to alert for routine maintenance or possible malfunction. This is a key element in asset management for clubs with a busy cardio floor.
  3. Improved personalization. Consumers have been using wearables and apps to measure their activity levels for years and that’s not slowing down. Members want to be able to track their progress and connect their personal data to equipment to get an accurate reading on their energy expenditure and other biometrics. Machines that allow members to sign in with a password or PIN give clubs a great way to keep members attached to your club’s equipment.
  4. Improved member communication. Cloud-connected systems enable clubs to maintain stronger communication channels with their members. As it says in IHRSA’s smart gym e-book, this technology provides a rich opportunity for operators to market the club, its programming options, and other services; to introduce new equipment, classes, and personnel; and to announce special promotions and events. Notifications and reminders help members stick with their exercise commitments. You can automate these systems to make it easier for staff to maintain.
  5. Improved asset management. Tracking equipment usage is a key benefit of cloud-connected technology. Customer preferences and usage-pattern reports help operators rotate and reposition equipment for maximum efficiency. This extends the life span of machines and tells you how often and how long members use particular cardio units. This can be a huge advantage in determining overall capex needs. According to Mike Feeney, the executive vice president at New Evolution Ventures (NeV), a Lafayette, CA–based private equity firm: “Having real-time data on equipment life cycles makes ongoing planning much easier, and, more importantly, helps us to make much-better-informed decisions with respect to spending.”

The benefits of smart equipment scale to your operation, and is especially valuable to those club owners who oversee more than one location. The best cloud-connected systems can generate reports that give you an accurate collection of data to control costs and provide a stronger member experience. It’s cost-effective for the long term.

Revolutionizing Smart Technology

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The latest evolution in smart equipment technology comes courtesy of TRUE Fitness. TRUE recently introduced COMPASS, a new software system that provides solutions to improve member experience, facility management, and trainer engagement. The software’s state-of-the-art asset management system helps club operators track usage and compile data that’s organized in customized reports that provide utilization patterns, programming, messaging, and equipment maintenance information.

COMPASS also delivers a premium member experience. The COMPASS console lets members store their entire training history and migrate their preferences to other TRUE equipment. The software tracks and customizes workouts and connects with wearables and third-party apps via wireless Bluetooth technology. With its Envision16 COMPASS LCD touchscreen, COMPASS consoles deliver a premium viewing experience as well, including HDTV and web browsing.

Club operators can communicate more directly with members with promotions, messages, contests and more, all from a single login. TRUE continues to improve and expand their technology capabilities, so look for COMPASS to have more exciting features in the near future.

Club managers will love the easy-to-read reports and analytics that make data more actionable. Because this information output is customizable, clubs will be able to drill down to the details that are more important for their specific operation. And because the entire system is integrated, staff can gain a better understanding of the issues that require attention and improvement. It’s a top-to-bottom asset management software built for today’s complex club ecosystems.

To learn more about COMPASS, visit the TRUE Fitness website and request a demo. Also stay up to date with TRUE by following them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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Jim Schmaltz

Jim Schmaltz is a contributor to IHRSA.org