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Turn Your Health Club into a Digital Supergym

Today’s consumers want it all, from on-demand entertainment options to one-click transactions. Here’s how to give them the variety they look for.

To the traditional health club market, boutique fitness studios have proven to be both innovator and disruptor. Membership in the boutique studio segment has grown by 121% over the past five years, compared to a still good 18% growth for the bigger commercial fitness facilities. Despite this disparity, the niche studio fitness movement has been a positive for the traditional health club sector as a whole. As IHRSA’s report states, “…the emergence of the boutique fitness facility segment has been an important engine in the growth of industry membership.”

Emerging HIIT disciplines brought in a functional fitness model that introduced many consumers to weight training, and many of these exercisers have subsequently found their way into mainstream clubs. Same with yoga, cycling, Pilates, boot camp, and other exercise trends that first gained momentum in studios. They’ve all been leveraged by mainstream fitness centers and multipurpose clubs.

While independent studios have served as an entry point for many consumers to join the fitness lifestyle, they’ve also created a hypercompetitive market that has forced many clubs to make significant upgrades in programming, equipment, and design.

But studios haven’t just altered how clubs approach their programming mix and equipment inventory; they’ve also changed consumer expectations. Today’s health club member wants more. More variety. More social interaction. More personalization. More coaching and motivation. And they’re often willing to pay more to get it.

“Today’s health club member wants more. More variety. More social interaction. More personalization. More coaching and motivation. And they’re often willing to pay more to get it.”

This is arguably what’s behind an interesting trend uncovered by IHRSA researchers. As reported in The 2018 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report, more members than ever belong to more than one fitness facility to satisfy their exercise needs. IHRSA’s report says, “The number of commercial club members who report using multiple facilities has increased by 13%.” And those multiple facility users tend to be Millennials.

Members seeking a different training experience shouldn’t have to leave your facility to get it. But your club can’t be all things to all people. So how do you serve all these diverse programming needs?

A ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Culture

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Part of what’s driving these demands for more variety in fitness programming is the trend toward personalization. We’re living in a “choose your own adventure” culture, where consumers are accustomed to on-demand entertainment options and one-click transactions. Fitness tech expert Bryan O’Rourke calls this “hyper-personalization.”

“Hyper-personalization involves creating an engagement experience that’s customized for, specific to, a given user,” says O’Rourke, president of the Fitness Industry Technology Council (FIT-C). “It’s about convenience, about reducing the number of steps a person has to take to get what they want.”

Technology is the path to personalization. In the fitness sector, consumers use wearables and other digital tools to monitor their own biomarkers. While they like the social aspect of group training, they are able to measure their own progress apart from the crowd. It’s the best of both worlds—for consumers, not club owners.

That’s because a lot of health and fitness apps can take your members out of your digital ecosystem, something you want to avoid. Your members want “connected” experiences. They don’t want to hop from one silo to the next when dealing with a single brand. Once they leave, they may not return.

According to a survey from Salesforce, “70% of customers say connected processes—such as seamless handoffs or contextualized engagement based on earlier interactions—are very important to winning their business. Customers are 3.7 times more likely to view seamless transitions between channels as important versus unimportant.”

You need to keep your members in your club both physically and digitally. The sweet spot is being able to offer a variety of training formats while keeping members connected into your club’s digital ecosystem, where their personal progress is tracked and stored.

Seamless, hyper-personalized digital experiences combined with multiple fitness programming options—that’s what today’s health club member wants.

Bringing Diverse Programming Under One Roof

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Health clubs looking to expand their range of fitness programming while delivering on the demand for personalization will find the perfect solution in Technogym’s CLUB 4.0 concept. This comprehensive program includes digital service, connected equipment, and training contents in order to offer the different type of fitness programs that are most in demand by today’s clubgoers. And Club 4.0’s immersive training experience allows for personalization options through Technogym’s revolutionary Mywellness digital platform, the only digital platform in the industry allowing club owners to create their own digital ecosystem and connect to their members inside and outside the facility. Club 4.0 offers operators complete solutions—including equipment, interior design, digital apps, visual merchandising, and training protocols—to deliver different experiences for different passions and goals, such as:

  • Biocircuit class
  • Skillrun class and Bootcamp
  • Skillrow class
  • Skillathletic class
  • Skillbike class
  • Skillmill (HIIT) class

Club 4.0’s comprehensive platform allows trainers to schedule and manage classes, and even offers music selections for the classes. The training library offers pre-set parameters that can provide all the variety you need to keep your members in-house and engaged with your brand.

To learn more about the Club 4.0 concept and other Technogym services and products, visit their website and select your region.

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Jim Schmaltz

Jim Schmaltz is a contributor to IHRSA.org