The fitness industry just got a big shot in the arm and we’re not talking about vaccines. SIBEC, one of the undisputed leading networking events for leaders in fitness brought more than 200 in-person attendees back for face-to-face learning this month – and FitnessOnDemand was there with a ringside seat to the action. Here’s what we heard and saw:
It’s like the Oscars (almost)
We didn’t see any Hollywood stars, but the event went without a keynote this year in a change of format that worked really well. It made for a less formal kick off and a schedule of 10 one-on-one meetings a day to talk business developments, hear club owner needs and talk trends.
Two Big Trends
Two of the biggest things we heard from club owners and facility managers: the desire for consistency in the virtual fitness and on-demand content world, and the desire from members that digital offers remain a key part of the club mix. In the early days of the pandemic (and for a good portion of 2020) the club owners we spoke to report using too many platforms to knit together a digital experience for remote members: Zoom streaming, Facebook live, YouTube, Instagram and others. There’s a desire for consistency, organization and curation going forward as well as feedback from members that both the physical and digital club offerings continue to work hand-in-hand for a more complete member experience in the club – and wherever members go.
Clubs Figuring out Content Mix
One thing is certain. In 2020, while clubs looked for content options, many started to shoot, produce and provide their own adhoc branded fitness content. The challenge for clubs has since become how to continue funding and managing content production to meet ongoing – and growing – member demand while also doing the day job: running time-intensive fitness operations. As 2021 and beyond unfolds, we’re seeing, on the back of this trend, a recalibration by clubs and a gradual blend of occasional and select own-brand, localized content with a curated library of classes, content, workouts and wind-downs from content partners.
Goodbye to Zoom!
The best takeaway? It was a delight to meet customers in person, to shake hands, to see reactions in real time and in the real world. We’re not saying Zoom is entirely dead for connecting with customers and partners (especially when many are nationwide and overseas) but we are celebrating and waving goodbye to it as the only game in town.