Embrace Technology at your Club

By Yvan Miklin

President and CEO at Aquila/On-Site Health & Fitness Management

July 15, 2019

Trends in technology may come and go, but it’s those with staying power that require the fitness industry to sit up and take notice. Smart technology is here to stay, so embrace the movement and stay on-trend starting with this five-step implementation strategy.

Step 1: Stay mobile-responsive

Your web page is the information gateway for your fitness center and more than 50 percent of web page views are on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Check with your web design company to make sure you’re employing the latest mobile-responsive technology and plug-ins. Test the rendering of your web page on various devices regularly and offer short URLs and visually appealing content that’s not text-heavy.

Step 2: Use geofencing for social engagement

Snapchat is popular among fitness enthusiasts. Among social media platforms, it’s the best way to target nearly 40 percent of Millennials. Use your Snapchat account to post video and stories, but also offer customized photo frames based on location using a geofilter. You set up your frame, identify the area in which it can be used and then invite members to use the frame with a push notification when they enter your geofence.

Step 3: Encourage engagement via wearables

The fascination with Orangetheory is that it’s a fitness center that displays participants’ heart rates on a monitor. While fitness trackers improve by leaps and bounds each year, there’s some gym functionality that hasn’t yet been addressed. Personalize your members’ workouts by setting up custom in-app challenges using Fitbit or Garmin-connected apps and sharing leader boards on regularly updated screens throughout your facility.

Step 4: Offer smart equipment

Peloton is hiring in New York City as the company prepares to launch its new Tred smart HIIT treadmill. Consider incorporating equipment that offers customizable workouts via streaming or propriety apps. Some machines allow progression tracking so your members can see real progress toward their goals. Interactive workouts are better than standard television, so invest in some modern equipment that offers a bit of gaming to make workouts more fun.

Step 5: Use apps to your advantage

Fitness tracker apps offer one way to engage members in small-group challenges, but they also integrate with apps like MyFitnessPal or the Nike+Run Club App. Those app communities are active and full of support and encouragement. Set up your own groups and encourage in-app member interaction to maximize community-building opportunities. You’ll be amazed what a little connectedness can do for member retention.

Yvan Miklin can be reached at yvan.miklin@aquilaltd.com