2020 Vision for Digital Fitness Planning
Early Strategies to Optimize Your Fitness Programming for the New Year and Beyond
Sorry for even mentioning this. It’s only just November, let alone the holidays, but we all know it’s coming. The New Year Rush. The rapid influx of new members, horrified by their holiday excess and motivated to be their true, new selves in the New Year. This is preceded, of course, by the onset of winter and many current members coming in from the cold to adjust their workout schedules to mostly indoors. What all of this means is club overload and rising stress for managers and operators.
So, before all of that happens, let’s take a breather and look at some simple strategies and new ideas to optimize club operations in 2020.
Last Quarter Must-Do’s
An IHRSA survey of gym member sign ups in 2017 suggests more than 10 percent of new memberships occur in January. That may not seem like a lot, but it’s more than any other month in the year and coincides with a renewed effort by current inactive members to get back to the gym and workout more. Studios become crowded, equipment takes more wear and tear and class schedules become strained.
Q4 is the time to begin big picture planning for all of this. October is the start of a new fiscal year for many club operators, so it’s a perfect time of year to not only finalize budgets but to consider all data. Review your member usage patterns to determine which instructors, classes and studios are busiest. Do the most popular instructors have bandwidth to add more classes? Can we cater to every member 24-7? It’s quite often not the case financially or logistically.
November and December – Prepare New Tech Solutions
The last few months of the year bring change before the January spike in activity and new memberships. As current members bring more of their workouts exclusively indoors and member needs shift with darker nights and changing schedules, it’s a good time of year to try introducing digital content into club programming, for several reasons. Digital on-demand classes can help optimize class schedules. Empty or underused studios in off-peak hours can become individual or group digital fitness classes, and club operators can provide digital versions of spin, HIIT and other popular classes in both live and digital formats as scheduling allows.
FitnessOnDemand’s content portfolio includes a library of short form workouts too, focusing on key muscle groups, meditations, stretches and wind down content that can help members receive a fuller, more total wellness experience in the club. Because members automatically get access to content on their mobile devices while on the club premises, it’s easy to scale your digital fitness programming. So, if a member is looking to do a private guided workout in a corner of the club on their schedule, or complement their personal training session with some stretching or core work, it’s an instant member benefit you can offer for all.
January – Introduce, Survey, Adjust
As the surge of new sign-ups and workout resolutions occur in January, ask yourself and your club management team, how do you delight and immediately engage those new members? And just as importantly, how do you keep current or long-term members engaged and energized when the club is busier.
Think about conducting all-member surveys and perhaps incentivize responses. Determine which amenities and class offerings are appreciated. What’s missing in the member experience and how can you meet those new needs. It’s also an excellent time for engaging with current members and promoting new virtual classes and workouts or fitness disciplines they may have heard about but not tried before. A fresh perspective on fitness for the New Year.
February and March: Resolution Re-Set
All the studies across the industry, show February and March bring drop off. Some, and sometimes many, members fail in their fitness resolutions. They frequent the club less often, or they stop coming all together. Perhaps they set a bar too high or goals were unrealistic with their work/life schedules. Ask club personnel to engage members and work with them to find flexible schedules through 24-7 digital programming. Try suggesting alternate workouts to meet fitness goals or trending new classes available on-demand to re-engage and motivate them back into action.
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