Originally posted 18.10.19
Updated on the 07.08.19
There’s a shifting landscape in the fitness industry in which personalization, a sense of community and unique member experiences are truly valued by consumers. A workout is no longer just a lone silent sweaty session with the likes of SoulCycle, Rumble and Pure Barre becoming increasingly popular. Over 1 in 5 Americans belong to at least one health club or studio.
In today’s world, more and more people are gravitating towards a class-based, group fitness model where the most successful gyms go above and beyond. The boutique fitness industry looks to create a unique and memorable experience while adding value at the same time. In this article, we will discuss the nine things that the most successful gyms have in common.
Successful Gyms Create Unique Member Experiences
Building a successful gym is about creating an ethos that values every individual that walks through the door, helping them to progress and feel important. This ethos is then something that is felt at every touchpoint by the customer. Gym owners understand the importance of a unique and personalized experience.
Exceptional customer services help to provide a memorable experience. Customer service can be at the core of your business, it supports solid brand loyalty and builds long-term relationships. By improving member experience and customer service, you should boost member retention and referrals at the same time. It’s a win-win scenario.
A warm greeting by name goes a long way when a member walks through the door so make sure you know who your members are. Support and empower your team so that you can provide the best customer service. Make your members feel special, listen to feedback and leave a lasting a impression.
4 Gym Businesses Killing It with Member Experience
The U.S. health club industry serves 70.2 million consumers, according to the IHRSA, a record-high since IHRSA started tracking health club consumer stats in 1987. There are thousands of gyms and fitness centers out there, whether you’re looking for a intimate yoga studio or fitness hub, here are four examples of different types of successful fitness businesses that provide a unique customer experience.
Yoga Studio: Om Factory, New York
New York is a hub for yoga. Om Factory delivers a range of classes and styles including Vinyasa, restorative yoga, and aerial yoga core. One of the studio’s biggest focus is on community and building a strong and vibrant support network.
Fitness Hub: NEOU, New York
NEOU has a beautiful facility with three studios, a cafe and lounge where you get can post-workout smoothies. Classes include yoga, HIIT, boxing, dance and more. You can visit the fitness hub in real life or enjoy the classes on-demand through their app.
Gym Chain: Equinox Fitness Club
The upscale chain has some great locations in multiple cities with high-end equipment and personal trainers. The club gives you the option to train alone in the gym or to join group fitness classes, similar to those that you would find in specialized boutiques.
Spinning Studio: SoulCycle
On a typical day, some 6,000 people head to their nearest SoulCycle studio across the U.S. to sweat it out for 45 minutes straight. The company keeps customers coming back again and again and has created a cult following and lifestyle brand. With devoted fans, SoulCylce has revolutionized the inside cycling world with its part boutique class and part dance rave workout.
8 Ways to be a Successful Gym Owner and Grow Your Business
Owning a gym or fitness business is a fulfilling endeavor where you get to help people be healthier, fitter and ultimately lead better lives. Here are nine things that the most successful gym owners have in common.
1. Know Who You Are
The success of a gym can often hinge on the very core beliefs of the business. Real game-changers in the industry have put a lot of time and effort into understanding who they are as a gym and what value they can bring to their customers. They understand exactly who they are and who their members are. By knowing what your potential clients value the most, you can integrate that into your business. This part begins at the initial research stage of your business before it’s established.
Come armed with an incredible business plan and carry out thorough research on your target audience and competition so that you can stand out from the crowd. Key elements of a great business plan include your mission statement, executive summary, industry analysis, and customer industry. Your business will no doubt grow and develop but your core beliefs will likely remain the same so make sure you’re committed to them from the beginning.
2. Engage with Members and Build Relationships
Much of your business’s financial success will depend on your members coming back and keeping cancellation rates low. This means you need to keep your gym members engaged. Member engagement is crucial to client retention and building a solid base of loyal customers. Relationships equal engagement and people want to speak to someone who takes a real and genuine interest in them.
There’s always time to start building a strong community and boosting member engagement. There are several ways to increase gym member engagement and really drive retention including:
- Build group exercise programs
- User-friendly website
- Strong analytics system
- Great onboarding program for new members
3. Create a Strong Community
A strong community is critical to a gym’s success and is one of the most important aspects of a gyms long-term success. As humans, we all have a desire to connect and feel part of a community. According to the Gallup-Healthways Happiness report, the happiest people in the world are those that interact with other people face-to-face upwards of 6-7 hours every day.
Community gives us a sense of identity and makes us feel like we are a part of something bigger. Group fitness is rising in popularity and helps to motivate people to come back and keep going. There are a few simple steps you can take to start building a strong community at your gym such as:
- Set the culture – as the business owner you set the tone for the rest of the business and members and staff will follow your lead. Be open, fun, supportive and create the right type of culture and atmosphere.
- Find connections – find similarities with your current members, ways to connect and interact with them on a personal level. This will help to develop relationships between individuals as well as the gym population as a whole.
- Manage the number of clients – control the number of clients you have, smaller groups tend to form stronger bonds and relationships. If your aim is to build a thriving community then overpopulation at the gym can be detrimental.
4. Use Technology
Creating a unique member experience means investing in technology and using a digital infrastructure that provides an entirely streamlined user experience. Technology has revolutionized our lives and the fitness industry is no different. It’s not usually the first thing you notice when you walk into a fitness club but it does have a big impact on a gym’s success. From wearables to apps, technology is always changing the way the fitness industry works.
Today, you can transform a club with technology and utilize it to its fullest potential. Technology has already transformed a simple treadmill into being able to track a user’s heart rate, suggest incline adjustments and store pre-made workouts. Technology has the power to help your clients reach their goals, enhance results and improve member retention.
Tech can help improve your gym’s performance in a number of ways such as:
- Track member activity, progress, and outcomes
- Offer wearables and video content to your members
- Create winning marketing campaigns
5. Seamless Member Experience
A seamless customer experience is the simplest way to pinpoint the source of excellent customer service. It shouldn’t matter whether a client talks to one of your team, visits your website or uses your app, the journey should be easy to follow and provide the client with whatever they were looking for. Innovation in technology now means you can utilize it to create a smooth experience.
Customer experience needs to be embedded at every level of the business, after all, you need a loyal base of members to run a successful gym. Create a culture that cares with passionate team members, whether they deal with member check-ins or training sessions, a great team contributes to fantastic customer service and producing a member experience that’s easy without any confusion.
6. Expand Your Online Presence
Technology not only helps to build the framework for the best customer experience but it also means you can connect with members in a way that you couldn’t before. Your online presence is crucial in today’s modern world with a need for consistent branding across your website, social media channels and branded app.
Connect your social media and start to build an online community. A great way to build relationships with members is by creating a closed Facebook group where your clients can post workout results, share information and generally keep the sense of community going outside of class hours. A number of successful gyms use social media to further build a strong community.
Create hashtags to link back to your business and use your members to spread the word. For example, Crunch Fitness uses the hashtag #CrunchGetsPersonal on regular videos where a personal trainer describes one type of exercise in detail. They give small doses of helpful and valuable information to their audience that they can easily takeaway and implement into their gym routine.
If you’re looking to integrate more social media strategies into your business, here are a few resources to get you started:
- Likeable Social Media, Revised and Expanded: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Amazing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn by Dave Kerpen – this book provides clear instructions and insights on how to build brand popularity by engaging with customers on social media platforms.
- Social Media: Strategies to Mastering Your Brand by David Kelly – this best-seller is great for both beginners and pros and tells you everything you need to know about social media marketing.
7. Add Value
Add value to your business by providing information to your members. Whether it’s in the form of blogs, videos, photo sharing or quick tips to help them stay in shape, adding extra value to your membership is a great way to keep clients engaged.
There are other ways to add value as well without discounting memberships. You can provide value-added incentives like personal training sessions or free fitness assessments. Look for methods that require little cost but are perceived as having high-value to further deepen member engagement and drive loyalty. Other ways to add value also include free water bottles, giveaways like branded bracelets and gym bags.
8. Have a Member Management System
One way to provide the best customer experience is by implementing the right member management system. Member management software allows you to track and set up payments, manage membership and leads, manage class bookings and make it easy for members to book classes.
By integrating your processes into one solution, all in the same place, you can save time and run your business much more efficiently. If you’re thinking about upgrading your current member management system, there are a few features that you should look out for such as:
- Streamlined dashboard
- Membership management
- Insights and real-time reporting
- Social media and website integration
- Branded mobile app
The fitness industry has undergone significant changes over the past several years. Industry leaders understand the importance of unique member experience, engagement, and community. Like many other businesses, the fitness industry is expanding past traditional services to favor consumers wants, needs and ever-growing demands. This transition is crucial in becoming a members’ favorite brand and place to work out.