Whether you were planning to hit the gym consistently (finally) in 2020 or you are the owner of a fitness center who wanted to bring new equipment and classes to your facilities, your plans will now be different. The fitness industry is not exempt from the consequences of the global healthcare crisis and both users and fitness managers are having to adapt to a different reality. What are the opportunities and challenges for the industry during this time when people are doing everything remotely?
In this blog we will explore how fitness managers and industry executives can develop new services for today’s fitness consumers, as well as the strategies and best practices they can adopt.
There are a number of existing factors in customer behaviour that coaches and fitness managers need to keep in mind when providing services during the shutdown. In particular:
As a result, a large number of fitness customers were already familiar with apps to optimize their health before the crisis; thus, fitness companies not investing in digital tools need to create a digital strategy as soon as possible to offer their products and services and harness people’s “digital habits”.
However, if you are the owner of a fitness center, you might want to make some adjustments to your strategy to keep providing high quality services. Let’s explore what fitness studios and big box-gyms are currently doing.
Today, every industry, including the fitness sector is focusing on digital services. In the case of fitness, personal trainers and managers of fitness centers are opting to offer their classes online. A good example of the digitalization of fitness is TS Fitness which is launching one-on-one personal training, online virtual groups and a mobile app. Also, Planet Fitness made its classes available online even to those who don’t have a membership.
Training centers such as Training Mate are offering password-protected workout videos on Vimeo for members, while others like Carrie’s Pilates Plus offer pilates classes via Zoom. Y7, a yoga studio, offers two digital workouts per week on Instagram, charging either $25 per class or $179 per month for unlimited classes. This means that while some fitness centers are opting to offer their classes online free of charge, others have either reduced costs or continued to provide fitness services for members only. The approach will largely depend on the size of the company and the strategies they are creating to survive the crisis. Some studios expect to attract more clients offering free classes, while others focus on their existing members.
Other fitness studios are shifting their business models to focus on renting equipment, which not only enables their customers to have what they need to exercise at home, but also generates new revenue streams. For example, Balance Gym lends equipment free of charge to customers with an active membership while Sweat DC rents weight training equipment, exercise bands, medicine balls and other apparatus for a period of 30 days.
Fitness influencers have an advantage over some fitness centers as their way to communicate with customers has always been online. Instagram has become one of the most popular platforms to share nutrition plans and workouts. However, they are also changing their digital strategies. For instance, the famous fitness influencer Kayla Itsines adapted her workouts to have minimum or no equipment and to be apartment-friendly, meaning people can exercise in small spaces. Also some of the workouts avoid high intensity jumps to prevent people from bothering neighbors.
Adopting a new digital strategy can be hard, particularly if you were not investing in digital capabilities before the crisis. However, by taking quick action, you can reduce the negative impact on your business, and retain and even attract new customers. Here is what we recommend:
If you want to keep exploring what CEOs, managers and coaches of fitness centers are doing to stay relevant amid the shutdown, fortunately there are a lot of resources available. For example, you can explore the MXM idea lab, a platform where you will find strategies and ideas that fitness clubs are implementing to navigate the crisis, how to boost employee engagement, how to collaborate with supplies and partners, and more.
IHRSA is another platform worth exploring. There you will find videos, articles, forums, and webinars with the insights of fitness managers on how to use virtual tools to engage staff and members, sales and marketing resources, tips for going virtual, reasons to keep exercising during the shutdown, and many other resources to keep your business running.
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