When one conducts a close survey of the apps environment, it’s clear that two distinct trends are emerging which will affect the club marketplace:
- There will be increased personalization of health and fitness apps and an even greater degree of social interaction;
- Apps will produce a wide variety of new, related revenue streams.
Hyper-customization the New Norm
Driven by powerful and increasingly pervasive technology—think of artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality, and machine learning—apps are evolving incessantly, their capabilities compounding daily.
One of the things that this makes possible is what tech-maven Bryan O’Rourke refers to as “hyper-personalization.”
“Hyper-personalization involves creating an engagement experience that’s customized for, specific to, a given user,” he explains. “It’s about convenience, about reducing the number of steps a person has to take to get what they want.
“Take a look at Amazon, Netflix, Airbnb, and Uber—they know what you like and steer you toward your preferences.”
O’Rourke, the founder and principal of Fitness Marketing Systems, LLC, based in Covington, LA, also is the president of the Fitness Industry Technology Council (FIT-C).
Emmett Williams, the CEO of Myzone, which manufactures a popular heart-rate monitoring system that features a mobile app, predicts that, at some point, AI and sophisticated algorithms will utilize the data they generate to begin to “coach” users proactively.
“Based on the user’s established goals and behavior, AI will start giving them ‘nudges,’” he suggests. “So, if your goal is to lose weight or keep your blood pressure down, that information would become part of the equation. The app would then recommend appropriate behaviors, letting you know, in real time, steps you should take or changes you should make to reach your goal.”
Josh Lloyd, the co-founder and chief technology officer (CTO) of FitMetrix, a software firm that creates branded apps for clubs, points out that AI and algorithms are already playing a key role.
“For example, if a member needs a little push from a personal trainer, we make it possible for the trainer to provide them with reminders, encouragement, and customized workouts—all with the click of a button,” he says. “If a member is interested in group classes, they can use our Visual Workout Builder to view one on a computer screen, and begin participating in the class, virtually, then and there. For the individual who wants to work out on their own, but needs a plan— content from our mobile app takes care of that.
“And everything is based on the member’s persona and data.”
Keeping abreast of technology can sometimes allow you to meet members’ needs before they’ve even recognized them.