Gearing up the Best Virtual Cycling for Members
Are Some Manufacturers Pedaling Clubs in the Wrong Direction?
We’ve all seen the (sometimes infamous) ads, endless Instagram promotions and full-scale marketing campaigns designed to get us to do one thing. Buy into this or that piece of shiny, exercise hardware, latest smart cycle or other fad workout technology. Peloton. Mirror. FlyWheel Home, NordicTrack, Echelon Smart Bike and more. But as Club operators look ahead at 2020, is the industry being soft pedaled a bad, or at least, ultimately restrictive, deal?
Ride the Boom: Spin isn’t Going Anywhere
The first thing to know as you consider, or reconsider, your club’s cycling class needs is that nobody is saying ditch spin or virtual cycling classes. Far from it. Globally member participation in some form of spinning, fixed bike or virtual cycling class has outpaced just about every other fitness trend in 2019. The indoor cycling class category is one of the fastest growing trends globally. But not all classes and equipment are created equal and with so much competition now in the category, getting it right is critical to creating exceptional member experiences.
Truth about Cycle Hardware
There are some truly beautiful pieces of smart fitness hardware on the increasingly cluttered market with marketing campaigns to drive incredible brand awareness. Some brands have succeeded in capturing consumer awareness and imagination to the point that members are asking for exercise bikes by name at their clubs. Peloton is probably the easiest recognizable example of this trend. It’s important to consider that not every buzzy main street brand is certified for commercial use. And machines can take a beating with riders of all different sizes and physical ability over hundreds if not thousands of classes a year. That all takes a toll, means maintenance and repair or replacement that ultimately can be disruptive to class schedules. Ensure all studio bikes are commercial grade every time.
Opt for Versatile Virtual Experiences
When it comes to class programming, just like real riders on the road, members want a cross section of different riding and training experiences. Content from a variety of world leading expert brands and trainers that can keep them guessing and ensure they’re motivated every time they sit in the seat. Truly large screen format classes with a broad portfolio of on-demand virtual content for instructors to draw from, can take classes into the Tour de France peloton, across the French Alps or let them try the very latest cycle class trends as content updates, keeping the class fresh and full. There’s nothing wrong, per se, with classes built around single fitness brand experiences where members are tied to one provider, but in the race for total, immersive and engaging experiences variety is the only king.
Filling the Floor with Off Peak Content
Most clubs experience the off-peak slump. Mid to late afternoons after the lunchtime rush and before workers hit the gym on their way home. But dead space and empty studios are just overhead for club operators. It looks bad to club managers and looks bad to members. As you plan your studio schedules and fitness content needs for the remainder of 2020, consider the value on-demand systems bring to these lulls in the fitness schedule, creating opportunities for small group rides and catering to workers with non-traditional schedules like teachers, nurses and doctors.
Cranking Up Custom Experience
According to , there were 39,570 health clubs in the United States in 2019 and even more today. Often multiple competing brands in the same cutthroat, competitive markets. As you seek to differentiate your club experience with everything from revised floor plans to healthy eating options, consider the importance of offering a truly robust cross section of not just live but digital class programming. If a member can show up to your club at any time day or night and dial in to a specific workout or class, it’s going to go a long way to creating personalized experiences for every member.
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