As the owner of a fitness business, it’s no secret that customers are demanding more and more from their services. Whatever your feelings on the matter, the cold hard truth is that this demand is not only here to stay, but it’s only going to increase as the technology and services that consumers use everyday continue to streamline their lives and increase their expectations further.
It’s a self perpetuating cycle where you must always stay one step ahead of the consumer’s expectations, which will then set their expectations even higher. That’s why it’s never been more important to future proof your fitness business and make sure you’re ahead of the current consumer demand trends.
So now that we have that fact out of the way, the real questions are:
What are the current demand trends that are emerging in the health and fitness industry from consumers?
And how can you future proof your fitness business to keep up with that consumer demand?
How The Fitness Industry Has Changed In 20 Years
As a gym owner, the decisions you make in your fitness business can no longer simply be to cover the bases.
Ashbourne Membership Management is proof of that trend in the health and fitness industry. 20 years ago, Ashbourne started as a service which handled direct debits and debt collection. It was set up as a way to improve the method by which gyms could retain more members and collect their memberships more reliably, with less admin on the gym’s end.
A nice, simple and convenient proposition for everyone involved.
Today, Ashbourne Membership Management is a fully fledged, multi-module, integrated service offering everything from member’s apps, turnstile installation, club check-in software, prospect management, online joining, class booking systems, staff scheduling and of course, that same direct debit service as well.
And while this might feel like all of the above is now finally enough for your average gym, it’s that particular error of underestimating customer demands and market trends which has spelled doom for so many gyms and health clubs.
We’ve seen it time and time again when gym owners fail to understand what it means to future proof your fitness business.
That’s why more and more, our focus has turned to business and product development. It’s a fundamental aspect of our continued success in the fitness industry and we’ve learnt this lesson not only from the successful gyms that we continue to manage, but equally from the now non-existent gyms who simply didn’t take their members’ demands seriously.
20 years ago we ourselves and gym owners alike thrived in a fitness business where:
Online joining was just an additional convenience.
24 hour gym access was often too expensive to be viable.
Direct debits were not a necessity.
Extra resources were a pointless extra.
And the smartphone only existed as a concept, with no apps to speak of.
Times change, the customer changes, but one thing stays the same: You must adapt or die.
So what are the next frontiers that gym owners need to be aware of when it becomes time to future your fitness business?
Be Aware of The Trends Your Customers Will Demand
We spend a lot of time watching the market and trying to get ahead of the services that we believe customers will soon demand from their local fitness business.
Improving your services solely for a better and more modern customer service experience is possibly the most important aspect to future proofing your fitness business.
That’s why our current focus is always on improving the user experience, giving members and prospects instant solutions to their problems. But there are 3 key areas in particular that have our focus for the time being.
To start with, 24/7 smart chat bot support is a major advancement in the customer service experience. Bots allow for round the clock support, adaptable prospect marketing, instant missed payment reminders and automated class management – all without the need of human oversight.
To follow that, adaptable prospect marketing is a huge area of growth. Using pre-selected promotions, it’s becoming easier than ever to deliver the deals that potential customers want to see across your email and social marketing. Instead of guessing what your customer wants, you can use automation, A/B testing and social algorithms to deliver the customer’s perfect sales pitch right to them and have them sign up there and then.
And finally, an all in one fitness app is now one of the best marketing/user tools you can have at your disposal. Members are using their mobiles more and more to govern and implement their healthy lifestyles. Our app needs to reflect that, giving them more ways to store their own health data and plan their gym time while on the go, all from one reliable, powerful and simple to use application.
But Is Future Proofing Your Fitness Business Worth it?
On the face of it, these advancements can be brushed off as cosmetic or indulgent ways for your customers to get in touch, these improvements to the user experience often goes hand in hand with profitability as well.
Many experience improvements like a bot and adaptable marketing instantly allow you to automate the entire gym process, saving you time and money throughout every stage of a member’s journey through your health club, from point of sale to general enquiries.
The more you invest in streamlining and improving the ways your member can communicate and interact with you, the more opportunities there are to save money and grow your business. The industry has seen the potential in automation through the sudden surge of 24 hour gyms. It was only a dream for smaller gyms 20 years ago when staff costs were taken into account. But now, it’s almost an expectation and it’s developments in things like automation which have made it possible.
Future Proof Your Fitness Business & Be Part of The Next 20 Years
And who knows where we’ll be in another 20 years. Virtual reality classes? Full biometric integration with your fitness app? Your daily workout in pill form?
Whatever it is, the important thing is that you’re ready for it. But we’re confident that with imagination and a continued finger on the pulse of the industry, that we can stay ahead of the curve and be on the cutting edge of what the consumer needs, before even they know they need it.
And it’s a future that we’d love to see you be a part of.
If you want to know more about our chat bot, or the range of new features that we continue to develop across all of our club membership management services, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today and one of our team will be on hand to help you realise the potential of your fitness business.