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Fitness Centers Must Stretch Their Business Models: Member Retention Strategies To Use Now

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Gyms offer a lot of equipment, from weights, to machines, and bands, but the most powerful of all—are mobile apps. With a custom branded app, fitness centers can elevate members’ fitness journeys with a built-in community and resources that extend beyond their physical spaces, even when they’re open. 

We don’t know when we’ll see the inside of a gym again. But one thing is certain: when we can, they will look very different. COVID-19 forced the closure of fitness studios to reduce the risk of infection and, as a result, there has been a surge in online classes and virtual coaching sessions. But going digital isn’t temporary, it is necessary and should complement the experience of members. How can the fitness industry reinvent itself as the pandemic forges on? Here’s what to know to plan for the future.

Firstly, it’s understanding that this intermediate shift to all-things-online has catered to gym-goers’ convenience, and they’ve gotten accustomed to information on-demand. In fact, some online fitness programs and trainers are reporting increases in engagement ranging from 30% up to as high as over 300%. Meaning? While this reliance on online channels may have started from necessity, consumers are used to this type of access, and will expect a tailored experience when studios reopen.

In short, a digital hub will help create a 360-degree relationship with members, versus passing scan-and-go interactions. For example, let the app hold members accountable—using push notifications they can set to remind them to workout or pay dues. Give them a space to stay connected to their yoga buddy between classes to share progress and tips. Create a channel where their personal trainers can send workout tearsheets to advance their regimen between in-gym sessions. A digital platform can even up sales without bothering busy members, such as pre-recording a sales pitch for a new suite of services that members can watch on their own time, versus being approached in-person.

Another big upside? An app can relieve unnecessary traffic flow to help abide by persisting social distance rules, such as flagging if a spin class has been canceled, so people don’t show up on-site and learn that from a sheet posted on the studio door. 

By creating another channel of communication to and for members, they can use online activity to enhance what they do offline. A gym then becomes less of a place where they simply workout, but an integral part of their wellness journey as they can customize content, interactions and more to make the most of their membership. And operators? They’ve cemented their loyalty. 

Today there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to an individual’s fitness needs. But one thing gym-goers are after is a personalized experience—and that’s whether doors are open or not. Having a custom branded app can help owners and operators achieve this, while building up your community. 

At CatalystXL, we want to help you increase communication and education to members. Interested in learning more about how we can build a custom branded app to better engage your audience? Schedule a demo here.