In the Spotlight: Rochester Athletic Club
A regular look at the global trend-shapers and experts that help FitnessOnDemand keep our customers on the front edge of what’s happening in fitness. This month, Sarah Cima, Group Fitness Director, and Matt Remick, President, from Rochester Athletic Club.
FOD: Rochester is probably one of the largest clubs we’ve ever seen. Tell our readers a little about your club and business
RAC: When RAC was in the conceptual phase in the very early 90s there were a lot of smaller clubs around that were struggling to stay open. Our partnership team decided to invest in a club that would serve the local residents of Rochester but also have the kinds of facilities and square footage that would bring in teams and leagues and state championships in all kinds of sports. We’ve continued to invest over the years, including multi-million upgrades with an architect partner known globally for their work in fitness facilities. We also rebuilt a new, state of the art competition swimming pool and really broadened our live fitness class offerings. On-demand, digital fitness is really just the latest tool to help us cater to what our members really want.
FOD: How have members taken to on-demand, digital fitness?
RAC: Our members love it. We made the decision to add it to our live fitness offerings about four years ago. Members had started asking for new classes and other specialty workouts during times of the day when it just wasn’t possible to find, or schedule, an instructor. Mid-afternoon is a really popular time, we’ve noticed. We’re located close to a private high school and we see a lot of teachers, and even some students, taking digital classes after the school day ends at a convenient time that works well for their schedules. So it’s really becoming a win-win for members and our management team. We’re able to increase our offerings for members – getting them access to the kinds of classes when they want it, and we’re optimizing our club scheduling. To date we’ve scheduled some classes to run around our live programming, but as we’ve got FitnessOnDemand in three studios, we also deliberately leave free, unbooked studio time, so individual members can tap into the content they want.
FOD: How are members engaging with the virtual classes and content?
RAC: In all kinds of ways. It’s a great tool for those who are new to group fitness or want to participate in a kind of class activity we currently don’t offer. It’s important to us to cater to all of our members and their needs. So those who are unsure about a particular workout or class can try it digitally before making the jump to a live setting. That’s really helpful for more technical classes where members need to learn as set of moves, a routine or understand terminology.
Digital content is also an incredible motivator for our other members too. They can dial up a work out or class and use it to cross train and mix with their live, in club workouts. And it really excels in things like cycle-studio, where members are more familiar with digital content as part of a live class.
FOD: Is digital content popular across all of your membership.
RAC: It’s happening across our membership, for sure, but at varying speeds. Millennial aged members don’t need very much orientation. They’re making up an increasingly larger part of our member population and they’re very accepting if not demanding of digitally available content. Our older members are not as tech-ready, but once they’ve been introduced, they’re fans, especially for things like functional training, stretch and guided exercise that helps them stay strong and fit.
FOD: What do you see for your use of FitnessOnDemand going forward?
RAC: We’re invested for sure. In the fall, we will open a new concierge desk to consult with any member on digital content and classes. It’s likely we will see a little more integration in the future: instructors who recommend digital add-on workouts, cool downs and other classes. One of the greatest benefits, and we know this will only increase, is that we’re able to provide members with classes, workouts and guided content from the world’s leading fitness experts and gurus, or introduce them to the latest, trending workout coming from other parts of the world.
FOD: Any other benefits you’d care to share? Mobile?
RAC: Yes! Mobile is a great add on feature. The vast majority of our classes and content are served in studio, but as soon as members walk into the club, mobile delivery is unlocked. So, if you want to use your phone and follow a guided class in your favorite corner of the club, have at it, it’s all there for you.
Impact of Virtual Fitness at Rochester Athletic Club
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