Here is the first in a series of roundtables we recorded from our recent virtual conference Glofox Connect.
Brittany Welk, Performance Consultant at Loud Rumor & Co-Founder of LadyStrong Fitness in Illinois, Jack Thomas CEO of BASE Bangkok, and Coby Van den Ende, Founder and Owner of UberShape in the Gold Coast in Australia are now all back open for business.
Hear how they got there.
Kevin: How is it going everyone? Welcome to The Fitness Founders Podcast. I’m Kevin Mannion, VP Marketing here at Glofox. If you missed our recent conference Glofox Connect we are replaying some of the best discussions of industry experts here on the podcast.
Reopening your gym is a hot topic, Brittany Welk, Coby Van den Ende, and Jack Thomas spoke to me about the challenges they faced and how to do it right. Let’s have a listen.
Our first session of the day is with Brittany Welk, Jack Thomas, and Coby Van den Ende. Katie Daniel sends her apologies. She can’t make it, but we have a great session here. It’s all about reopening your gym safely and securely. Let’s kick off. We’ve got Australia covered, we’ve got Southeast Asia covered, and we’ve got the U.S. covered so this is going to be a lot of nuggets from all around the world and different experiences. Let’s kick off, if you guys would like to say hello and introduce yourselves. We’ll start with Brittany.
Brittany: Hello everybody! My name is Brittany Welk. I am a performance consultant at Loud Rumor and also the co-founder of Lady Strong Fitness. We are in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois here in the U.S. I’ve been running Lady strong for about 4 years now with my business partner Marciea. We have about 240 active members right now in our studio. We are an all women fitness studio so that makes us very unique. We cater mainly to women. I’ve been in the fitness industry, not as long as some of you guys, for about 7 years now. Got my start as a client loving group fitness and just kind of grew into that entrepreneurial side of it. Happy to be here.
Kevin: Great to talk to you again, Brittany. Coby, it’s the first time I’ve spoken to you. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Coby: Hey guys! Coby from Queensland, Gold Coast in Australia. Awesome. Welcome to everyone who is tuning in tonight. We have a fitness facility here and it is called… We have all, both male and female, and then a big FitKIDS component that we call it. We are almost about 50/50 in terms of… maybe around 80 to 100 FitKIDS and adults has just blown up this week. Yes, that’s been an interesting times, but we just had our biggest day ever today so it’s been exciting since we’ve opened. It’s different times.
Kevin: Jack, welcome back. Tell everyone a little bit about yourself.
Jack: Good stuff. Yeah, good to see you, Kevin. I hope you are doing well over in Ireland. My name is Jack Thomas, I’m the founder and CEO of BASE. We have three studios in central Bangkok. The other hat that I wear is as the host of the Fitness Business Asia Podcast, so that speaks to fitness business owners, coaches, investors, fitness managers and the like in the Asia region but we do have listeners elsewhere. We touched on many topics that will be helpful for anyone really in the fitness industry anywhere. We are in a good place in Thailand now. We’ve had 60 odd days with no COVID cases. We have been open for about two months and trying to work our way back to pre-COVID level, so very happy today to share some of the things that have worked for us. Yeah, just honored to be part of the first ever GloCon so thank you for having me.
Kevin: Well, thanks for coming on. Okay, let’s just start with a brief summary from each of you of when you opened and what it’s been like so far. We’ll start with Coby.
Coby: We opened pretty much exactly four weeks ago to the day. It was a transition where we went from online, a little bit some outdoor stuff, a little bit of carpark stuff behind me. And then from the 1st of July, maybe it was 1st of June, I can’t remember. But it’s just been a huge exponential growth. We’ve had to transition very fast. People just literally firing in the door and leaves. At that rate we sort of knew that there would be a certain amount who would come back but it just really didn’t come as strong, but it’s been really positive. We are just seeing… so we had no cases in our state. But there has been a big scare down South and it’s just creeping up over the border which tomorrow they shut the borders, and they are just giving us a bit of a warning just to keep it calm. But, yeah, interesting times for us. We’re running very smooth and very well. As I just mentioned we had our busiest day today which is pretty cool for us.
Kevin: Awesome. Cool. We’ll maybe comeback to some of the challenges you faced. But just love to hear from you, Jack, just your initial experiences of being back open.
Jack: Things have been very positive. Obviously, we are very happy to open the doors again. Maybe not quite as good as Coby. It sounds amazing there. People have been definitely happy to comeback but some have had reservations. I can’t say people have been firing through the door like they have been on the Gold Coast. But, obviously, really great to have the doors opened again after two months. We are very fortunate that it was only two months after seeing what’s happening around the world. We had pretty much outstanding start so we had about 24 hours’ notice from the government that we could open up. We couldn’t do any hype. We couldn’t do any midnight workouts that they’ve been doing in London. Unfortunately, that looks pretty cool. It’s like, tomorrow you can open, boom let’s go. That meant we couldn’t really prepare too much for it and that meant a little bit of a slower start. We started with very small class numbers just to make sure that everyone would be comfortable and we slowly been building that up as people have got more comfortable, as we’ve had more conversations with our clients. Very interestingly, personal training has been pretty much pre-COVID levels from Day 1 which is very interesting. We are 97% June this year compared to June last year.
Group classes are definitely more of a challenge. I think people have a perception that it’s a bit more of a dangerous environment, more chance of catching COVID. I assume that’s one of the reasons. That’s been more of a process in building that up. First month was about 50% of last year. This month 60% or 65% for group class, so we are just now in the process of building that back up. We are actually having a shift towards semi-private PT as well to maybe get some of those group class client’s that don’t feel comfortable to take on the semi-private PT. We are in a good place. We are building up step by step but we are aware that there are few cases in Bangkok could reverse some of the progress that we have made in the last two months quite quickly.
Kevin: Nice one. Before we go across the world, just a note, to all the audience there is a question box at the bottom. We’ll do questions towards the end of the session but definitely start asking some questions as we go and we’ll keep an eye on them on the box there. Around the world then to Midwest America. Brittany, tell us about your experience so far.
Brittany: We closed our doors on March 19th and we were closed for about 3½ months so that was really scary. It was a 24 hour like we were open limited capacity and then closed, so that was a really, really scary time. I don’t think anybody goes into running a fitness business thinking that they are just going to be shutdown. We were coming off back to back record months for membership in January and February, so that was a really, really hard hit for us. We opened for outdoor classes. We were allowed to open for outdoor classes in early June. We took advantage of that. We did outdoor classes for 2½ weeks, and then we were allowed to reopen at limited capacity on July 6th. We did have an opportunity to get our members excited and get them back in. We’ve been running limited capacity. We have about 75% usage on our classes week over week. So far it’s been really good. We still have virtual classes everyday too that our members take advantage of so we’re doing both. We do obviously have some people that are just not really ready to come back.
Things in Illinois have been decent. Some of the states to the south of us are kind of creeping up to the southern side of Illinois so that’s a little bit nerve racking, but things have been holding steady here compared to other states, so membership has been on and off. We went through COVID and did well. There’s a lot of people that continue to pay but didn’t really used the virtual service and now that we’re reopened and our memberships are coming up for renewal they are like, “I never used it and I don’t want to keep doing it so…” We are kind of like gaining and losing in the same amount through this month so my hope is that we’ll kind of slough off some of those in July and then really stride in August. But it’s going well.
Kevin: Great to hear that. Okay, so we are going to start with a couple of the harder questions now. Coby, what unforeseen challenge did you face when you opened up and how did you overcome it?
Coby: One of the biggest challenges probably I think, I don’t want to say it, but it hasn’t been any challenges for us. As far as the hardest challenge was initially at the start when they shut us down which was probably the same feeling that we all felt. And then I suppose it was the excitement to adapt rather than a challenge, so it was more the excitement to adapt to see what we could do to try, and captivate, and keep our audience engaged through this to the opening to get them to come in and start showing up again. I suppose our environment is quite confident where we live so we didn’t have too much of a negative effect. It was quite a strong drive to jump back into the gyms with basic sort of safety measures.
Kevin: Is the experience for your visitors now dramatically different than it was before?
Coby: Yeah, 100%. That was a good time for us to really sharpen up what we do here. We did spend that time, obviously we could research and figure out exactly where we want to take the business. We had good momentum in March before the shutdown and then we sort of had time and prepare and get away on marketing really. As I spoke to Caroline we spend that time when we were shut down to really prepare to open up well. We just launched our 8-week challenge which just started on Monday which we planned during COVID. It’s been our biggest challenge here, just dropping the seed and being consistent with that marketing during COVID. But we’re getting ready for it and then we could line everything up trying to do all those things that you sometimes struggle… We had that time to prepare very well so when we have to kick start we’ve done all the backend, all the marketing, emails, the right sequence, all the social media story is ready to go and stuff. We didn’t miss any areas so that actually gave us some good head start to launch something because weren’t having to do so much training.
Kevin: Yeah, that makes sense. Jack, what sort of unforeseen challenges did you come across?
Jack: I think it is probably worth saying that the whole thing is an unforeseen challenge. When you are reopening it is not something that we’ve ever had to do before. This is a one in a hundred years pandemic, so everything is new, everything is different, and pretty much everything is a challenge. I think before you kind of look at the challenges it’s good to see what’s kind of being expected or kind of heartwarming. The biggest thing for me is seeing the clients complying with all of our regulations, all of our measures. We have a concept whereby you stay in like a zone or a station for 5 minutes, and then during the 2-minute break you clean up all of your equipment. And just seeing all of the clients cleaning up everything. Do think that some of our members have never cleaned anything in their life because they don’t quite know how to do it. In Thailand, we have a lot of domestic help. But it’s really nice to see everyone trying nonetheless.
In terms of challenges for us, one is we saw a big drop in our online training program when we reopened. And that has continued for the two months as expected, but I didn’t quite foresee the dropping numbers that we have seen. For me that is good news way to come back, to be part of the community, to use the technology that we’ve developed to connect with the coaches and everybody else. I didn’t really see that as like a bad thing but it is a little bit unexpected and we were looking to invest more into that platform. How we have overcome that? We’ve kept that platform, we tweaked it, we made it a little bit cheaper. We aren’t putting out as much content on there but we still have that platform so people can use it if they don’t feel comfortable coming back, if they are away on a holiday, or they are away on business, and of course we can switch that back on if we need to at a later date which of course I’m hoping doesn’t happen.
The other challenge we’ve had to overcome is just restructuring some of our offerings. It’s a unique opportunity now so do some of those things that you wanted to do in your business but you weren’t quite sure what the right time to do it. The example I gave before of introducing semi-private PT. We actually had to cancel a few of our classes that were a bit more specialized. Whilst that was a great thing for the business and I felt very good doing it, for the longer term sustainability of the company it has been met with some resistance from some clients. It’s difficult conversations. Maybe refunding some money we’ve had to do in a few cases but we know we are doing it for the right reasons. We know it’s best for the business. But that’s just been something that we’ve had to kind of deal with. As long as you know you are doing the right thing for your company, your concepts, and staff members then that kind of makes it all a little bit easier.
Kevin: I know we spoke way back when things had just hit. I think you are really doing a lot of online and going down that road. What did you learn about online say since the end say in the last two months or so?
Jack: In the last two months, I’ve learned that people would rather come into the gym which is a good thing. I think if people have stayed at home just using your online services then have something that’s lacking in your in-person experience that maybe they feel they can just get that at home. What have we learned? I think it’s very important to have it I think. Something we have talked about for a long time doing at BASE, the online one-to-one coaching component went turned on pretty much overnight. And that has continued for some members who still doesn’t feel comfortable coming back. I think I’ve learned it whilst it is not going to take that some people thought. I believe long term it is still a very important thing to have and keep it part of your offering. It does of course offer that extra revenue stream when clients can’t come in. We still have 10-20% of people that don’t feel comfortable. It is around that number. Of course, giving them extra options to train at home is obviously huge for them. It is important for them and it helps us to bring a bit more money into the company as well.
Kevin: Yeah, that’s great advice. Brittany, what was your biggest unforeseen challenge?
Brittany: I think it was more for us that was adjusting our staff. As business owners and entrepreneurs we are versatile. Even though this is crazy like we’re prepared for the crap that we go through. This is just something that we always know comes with entrepreneurship. But when you have staff who that’s not their mindset, or they are young, or this is all new to them, it is a challenge to get them ever more bought in to you as a leader. I think that was one thing that we really wanted to make sure with our staffing was that they believe in us as leaders, they believe that we are going to take care of them, they believe that we are going to take care of our members, and we are going to lead them through this. There were business challenges, yeah. We kept our members through COVID. Our net new was zero, so like we didn’t lose anybody through COVID with our virtual and in-studio.
I think the biggest challenge was really staffing and just making sure that they were trained and that they felt that we are giving them the best information possible that they were being led through this thing, that they had all the tools that they needed to go virtual. Many of them haven’t ever taught a virtual class or they have never worked from home virtually, or made a membership sale over Zoom, or made a membership sale over a phone call, like, that’s all new stuff for them. And to have to grow and develop your staff from at home and then at home is a whole new challenge in itself. I think that’s one of the biggest challenges that we faced. But having a really solid team and always being in communication with them and being very vulnerable with them was something that we found a lot of success. It was just really having that open communication, always making sure that they understood that if they had questions or were feeling concern or weren’t sure about something that they could always come to us and we would make sure that they were taken care of. I would say that by far was one of the biggest challenges that we faced.
Kevin: Yeah, that’s a good one. How much has your team, say, from a sales perspective like how much of that now would be over the phone versus where it might have been in person before? How was that balance changed?
Brittany: We have an area that we could do sales at. The table is pretty big. We’ve been doing in-person membership sales but during COVID when we were selling our virtual my studio manager was doing it over on Zoom. Everything was over Zoom and doing like demos of our platform, how they sign up virtually, and what we offer with our virtual platform. I feel like when your staff learns how to sell over the phone and over Zoom, they should have no problem selling in-person memberships because it’s hard to sell to sell to somebody over a computer screen. Now we are still selling in person. We have new members coming in we don’t mind having a conversation with them. We require masks to come in to our studio and to exit our studio. I feel like they feel comfortable doing that in person right now.
Kevin: You are finding that if somebody is somewhat interested or wiling to visit they need some…
Brittany: Absolutely. 100%. I feel like for as many people as there are in the world that don’t want to come into your gym, there are equally the same amount of people who want to come into your gym. It’s a matter of how you are marketing, how you are presenting your message, what are you putting out on social media, are you asking for referrals from your members who are coming in. Typically, people are coming are surrounded by other people who are going out to eat and they are going shopping, and they are doing things, and they are travelling. I feel like as gym owners and business owners alike we have to look at this as a glass half full scenario and not a glass half empty. We have to really go after the people who do want to come into our gyms.
Our virtual hasn’t really dropped off. We are still averaging about 25-30 people daily on our virtual classes. We only run one a day. That has gone really, really stayed steady for us, and now we’ve just added it as a hybrid into our membership. I think that you have to just figure out a way to be versatile with your marketing and go for the people because there are people out there that want to come into your gym. And 35% of fitness studios have closed since COVID happened, so that’s more clients for us, better trainers, that’s better front desk people. There’s just so much opportunity out there, you just have to go out there and find it I think.
Kevin: That’s great insight. Back to Coby, you spoke about your fitness challenge that you put together and it has gone really well. Do you want to talk a little bit more detail about that? I’m sure there’s loads of people on the line here who are trying to come up with some sort of offer or something to kick start business, so just tell us in a little bit more detail what you did.
Coby: I suppose it’s one of the challenge. It’s nothing new to us. In my mind I was like, “Ah, another challenge.” As coaches we don’t get super excited every challenges… It’s really exciting myself to be like people want them and it wasn’t until all my staff members said, “Come on do a challenge, Coby.” I’m like, okay. We start to drop the seed. I suppose the foundation of marketing like making sure you’re, like, we never stop emailing the mailing list during the time when we still haven’t. We actually picked that marketing during COVID because we had more time and we’ve maintained that now. For example, to promote the challenge, every Thursday we ran 20 minutes coaches check where spoke on a topic which could be anything fitness, a lot of it around nutrition, but then we would always lead it back to, “Alright, we’ve got our 8-Week Challenge starting soon…” We’d engage people with some catchy pop outs. 20-minutes coaches check, spread it out, do it live on Facebook because people are far more engaged to tune in on lives after COVID. That’s a big one where is I think you then going back to using Facebook Live is very, very effective for marketing, giving some free content, and then checking the stuff at the end. Then, a couple of big things we do is just SpotLive review. Actually SpotLive has done really well during COVID, and then using this as our marketing. And then have it integrated, had it all make sure we had it set up so it’s already go in the app, some are Glofox, jump in, purchase, bang, bang so it was done. That made it very smooth for the customer to go on purchase whether it is spoken to them or not. There’s still percentage of people that will just buy now with the 8-Week Challenge. We tend to capture more of that market than we normally would. We had a few more ‘buy nowers’ that we’ve never met. We’d still get them in and process them to make sure they were the right people for us. But, yeah, just having doing the marketing, doing the emails, the social, the free content and then adding your offer at the end of each one. We are not forcing it, just adding lots of good value, being honest, and then having that system, jump on there, download it, you’re set to go. Just keep ticking along very nicely. And also for the current members, it was an easy opt in for them because they already, they are a lot better at using the app after having the community section on the software that made it bit of… People are just buying a lot more stuff from the app, so to select the 8-Week Challenge was much easier as well. Yeah, just all those little things put together make it successful.
Kevin: Sounds like people were into market for something and a lot of just putting it on the shelf so there is something that enables them to get back in business.
Coby: 100% yeah. And simple, just a normal 8-Week Challenge, nutrition, nothing crazy about it. All the normal wording. Nothing we’ve call anything different. We just call it an 8-Week Challenge and it’s that simple stuff that’s just working.
Kevin: Cool, okay. Just a note to the audience keep those questions coming in. They are stacking up here which is great so keep them coming in. I’ll going to get them in a few minutes. I think Brittany offered a consultation offline, one-to-one consultation. I’ll give that to the best question so keep the questions coming and we’ll get there in a few minutes.
Back on the topic, maybe we’ll move to Jack. One thing I’m really interested in is preparing your staff for opening up. What is it you have to do to make that work?
Jack: I think you have to really first have them understand just how important this is, so whether that’s the coaches, whether that’s the front desk staff, of course the cleaning staff as well, just have them acknowledge, recognize and understand this is pretty important that clients do really care about this and we just go to be absolutely on point. BASE is a studio that’s leading the industry here in Bangkok and one of the leading studios in Asia, so we knew that all eyes are will be on us. We had to do things right and we had to do things well. So just kind of relaying that message to the team, inspiring them, getting them onboard, and just having them understand, “Okay, this is an important situation that we must deal with right as an industry leading studio.” Then it’s basically lots of training, so you have SOPs, our standard operating procedures cleanliness related and just training, hammering that with the staff making sure that they understand exactly what they need to do, just how important it is all of the processes going through training with each of the staff individually and just making sure that the cleaning staff are onboard on that as well.
As I mentioned, we did have pretty much outstanding start. We only had 24 hours’ notice so that first day we’re actually closed. We did not open straight away even though we are itching to get started. We opened the next day and we just had a full day of training with everyone just to make sure that everyone was onboard. And then, of course, management was there first day or first few days pretty much whole day just making sure that things were done as they should have been. Especially in the first week just making sure the standards were good, making sure that people felt comfortable is just so incredibly important. That first week. The way that we framed it was that first session when people come back is just incredibly important. They’ve been at home for two, three, four months, maybe six months by the time some studios have opened. They were nervous, they were worried, they were quite clearly a bit scared. It had quite a little bit of sketchy atmosphere those first few days. But if they came in and they could see the face and everyone at BASE was taking it seriously, we knew we could win them over, then they would be telling their friends, they would post on social media about how clean BASE is and how good out standards were and that kind of help us to get back on track. And then we did some interviews with our members, just ask them a couple of questions. Well, two questions, “How does it feel to be back at BASE?” “It’s great! Love being back here, love being back in the studio. Good to see the coaches.” “How are the cleanliness measures that we have in place?” “Super happy with everything they are doing. I feel so safe. I was nervous about coming back but now I feel great.” And then we just put those out over social media over the first few weeks. I think that really helped us to win kind of the thoughts and minds of our clients and let them know that BASE is safe place to come to, you get back as soon as possible.
Kevin: I think I read you on the lines that every time to have the owner, the manager really with their eyes open and they are in the premise while you are opening up. That first experience of coming back people are watching to see how well you are actually set up and, yeah, that can leave a long impression on people.
Jack: Another good thing about that as well is you can have those really important conversations of clients how you are feeling, how is the training being. And if they see the fitness manager in there or if they see the founder in there seeing how things are going and having chats with clients they feel good about that, but then also you get this incredible feedback which is hard to get day to day. As the owner you are often drawn out to the studio after a certain amount of time and you are kind of more in the office and whatnot. To be back in there and getting that firsthand feedback really is invaluable especially at this time.
Kevin: Yeah, got it. Brittany, what thought have you got so training staff and getting them ready to open up?
Brittany: We had about a week’s notice so a little bit more than Jack had. He didn’t have as much time. We had about a week so we had an all staff meeting at our studio. We have an all women staff and the girls are really, really good about cleaning anyways like even before this. They were always diligent about cleaning because we really hammered it home because having an all-female fitness studio is we wanted to make sure cleanliness was top priority for us always. So coming back it was like they took it 10x. I mean, those girls, they already knew what they needed to do. We just made sure that they had the supplies to do it. We put 30 minutes in between our classes. We let them know all the things that needed to be wiped down. We credit some protocols around handing wipes out to members and making sure they were wiping everything down and that after classes we are rewiping everything down. I think just making sure that we’re diligent. Same thing like Jack said just making sure everybody is really diligent about what you are doing and taking it very seriously, and making sure that you are taking the time like letting your staff know you need to take your time to do this and giving them that time.
A lot of times I think we find that with coaches because our coaches do the cleaning in the studio is compensation. You always want to make sure that if you are asking that they go above and beyond things like you are giving them something for that. I know a lot of people just pay their trainer their trainer rate and then don’t pay them anything else. We did pay them additional time to clean because we know that does take additional time on top of their classes. Now it is taking 45 minutes, a half hour or 45 minutes, just to get everything clean especially like after your shift is over between midday. They are taking an extra hour to clean. Obviously, making sure that you are giving them the protocols to follow but you are also giving them something in return to let them know because that will just ensure them that, “Okay, my owner is taking this seriously. They are going to make sure that I’m taking care for this so I really want to make sure I do my best work as well because I want to keep everybody safe too.” I think it is a two-fold thing. Obviously you want to train them but you also want to make sure that if you are asking them to go above and beyond the normal call of duty per say that you are making sure you are taking care of your staff for that.
Kevin: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Coby, I’m just going to pick a couple of questions here but while I’m doing that, what did you learn about your staff and getting them into line and what challenges did you faced?
Coby: I think just really keeping everyone together, keeping community, just our staff, so we were in touch every day when we had to transition. Much like Jack we were given 12-24 hours’ notice. We always sort of try and keep everyone always connecting so when we do need to change they are already they can jump so knowing that there were changes coming like keep my effort up and still do as always. But just to make sure I was continually giving to them so when I needed them to jump they were ready. They didn’t have any sort of… they didn’t stutter at all. They were just ready to, “Okay, cool what do you need me to do.” Lots of [unclear – 30:46] changed a bit which has been good. But it is just, I think, never back off on any of that… for the staff so when we do want them to jump they are ready.
Kevin: That’s really useful. Okay, so I’m going to jump in to questions here and about half of the questions are about how you price online, and offline, and membership. Obviously this is a big topic, so who wants to jump on that one?
Brittany: I can.
Kevin: Go Brittany.
Brittany: When we were doing just virtual obviously during COVID and when we were shutdown we had reached out to members and asked if they were able to continue to pay their memberships during that time. We would do everything in our power to make sure that they were taken care of. Did a lot of free challenges, a lot of free stuff with them, a lot of free giveaways with them during that time. But we priced our virtual anywhere from $50 to $99 during COVID, so when we were getting virtual members in it was between $50, $99. We felt that was a good pricing point because [unclear – 31:47] In our Facebook Group we are allowing them to do our challenges so they were getting a lot of added value. It wasn’t just a platform they were going out to follow workout. They were really becoming part of our community so that was one of the reason we priced it that way. Now that we are post COVID all of our members get the virtual as part of their membership. That’s just kind of a hybrid in their membership now. But we still have it $99 if somebody new wants to come into virtual, or if maybe one of our members wants to convert just to virtual then it’s $99. That’s our price. That’s what it is. Because, again, they are still able to do any challenges that we have. We do live Zoom cook along classes which we did a lot of in our Facebook Group. All that stuff. They are integrated in all of that stuff so we feel the value. As long as you’re building value or you’re stacking value in your virtual and you’re giving them more than you are taking from them they will pay a higher premium price for it. Some of the studios that I worked with at Loud Rumor are charging $200 a month for their virtual because they are doing so much extra stuff. Again, if you are value stacking in your program and you’re adding that value to your program you can charge whatever you feel is what you’re giving value. I think I’ve seen it all but we charge $99.
Kevin: Okay, so two questions, and maybe I didn’t fully understand. For in person and online is that the one membership?
Brittany: Yeah. Let’s just say they were already an in studio member pre COVID and they are still an in studio member now, now it is just like part of their package. They get both. They can do hybrid so they can do virtual, they can do in studio, they can do both. If they are travelling they can use the virtual to do their workouts wherever they are at. It is kind of integrated in their membership now and that anybody who signs up for an in studio membership now automatically gets that virtual platform as well.
Kevin: Got it, okay. Just to explain to people around what you mean by adding more value. What will be some examples of adding more value?
Brittany: When you think about adding value to your memberships you want to think about things that aren’t costing you more money or tons of extra time. Some of the things that we have done would be let’s just say we did cook along with a coach during COVID. One of our coaches would get on Zoom and she would pick a recipe and she would share it with everybody and you could cook along with her on Zoom. We did a macro challenge where we had an accountability group on Slack and they did it for free and they all had to purchase Avatar Nutrition and we helped them understand how to count macros. We did that for two months straight for free with I did their accountability on Slack. I had one of my coaches in there too where we’re just answering questions but they were engaging with themselves on the group. All the girls were engaging with themselves. You just want to add value in things that are not going to cost you extra money. Or maybe you give 20-minute or these check-ins once a month. You can check in with a coach maybe once a month or whatever. You want to think about things that are costing your business more money and that you essentially more time. Those are the kind of things you want to think about. Not necessarily like adding tangible items in but things that make it feel you are getting more for less.
Kevin: Got it, okay. Basically, the eye opener there is there is there is more to offer than just a workout session or an online session.
Brittany: Yes, 100%. Yeah, you just got to get creative.
Kevin: Get creative. Entering in group sessions. Now the second half of all these questions is around the fear of closing down again. The question seems to be in two categories. One is, how do you talk to members about selling them a membership if they are afraid you are going to close down again. And then, secondly, how do you think about yourself and your own business and how do you mitigate the risk of closing down. Maybe with Jack, have you had any difficult conversations where you’re selling a membership, but, what if we’re closed in two months’ time? How does that conversation go?
Jack: We haven’t had many refund request. When we have those during lockdown we just thought as hard as we could to stop the refund so just offered online sessions, extending out packages, extending out the expiry. Basically doing whatever we needed to do to keep that member and that was largely successful so that was good news. Obviously you don’t want to lose money during a difficult time when you are not really brining all that much in. In terms of conversations with clients now, yes, absolutely we have seen that. People are quite worried to buy the bigger packages, so for us that would be 12 months, six months, 100 sessions. People are buying smaller packages.
One way that we’ve kind of got around that is just to be very flexible. We let clients know that if there is any lockdown we’re absolutely happy to extend. You’re not going to lose your sessions. We were very flexible when we reopened, maybe a little bit too generous actually. We give clients an extra two months be on their closing time just to say like, “Hey, you can come back whenever you want. Make sure that you are 100% comfortable.” I’m more generous than most studios but I think that was actually good because a lot of members said they liked the fact that they didn’t have to email in. They liked the fact that we respected their safety and their health. We weren’t going to rush them back into the studio and so I think that worked well for us and kind of gave our members the level of trust on how we are going to deal with these things.
Ultimately if they are concerned about that they might buy the smaller packages and we have seen that. But if they know and believe that you’re going to look after them, you’re going to extend the packages, you’re going to do whatever you can to make sure the package works for them, I think you do have the chance to sell those larger packages. They will of course look at how you dealt with the first closure and if that was dealt well then you should be fine for future closures as well.
Kevin: Yeah, that’s excellent. And then Coby, this is probably our last question, the time has just flown a bit too fast. But when you think about the future, Coby, how do you… Victoria close down there a couple of weeks ago. How do you think about how you protect your business from future closures?
Coby: 100%. I’ll show you guys something soon. I think really… when people are coming back… The way we are signing up people is no matter what happens if we end up having to shut down or transition nothing changes. Out service still stays where it is. We give clients that trust that, “Hey, look, things might turn around. They might go this way, back in trouble we won’t give up on you. We will jump straight back into if we have to go outside, online, carpark, back to doing whatever we have to do.” Give clients confidence that if they do need to stop or the situation turns you’ve got their back. They have now trust and no worries in signing back on. And in years we are putting in plans for a second shutdown. I think as a business owner you should, and we’ve just implemented a… I don’t know if you can see it but it is a face tracker which scans your [unclear – 38:43] also is a tracker because we need to know if someone does come in here with an infection that we can trace track everyone in the area because I think that’s definitely… I think we need to be set up for the future too with some equipment like this because they may be other strains or who knows. I’m not really interested into it but I think we should always cover our back and know that something like this may come again. And if we are prepared with certain software gives people a lot of trust so we’ve implemented this face scanning thing. It has given a lot of trust and a lot of confidence, and also a little bit of excitement. When they come in so they get a scan of their faces, measures their temperature. I don’t know if you guys want to see it because I find it cool.
Kevin: We are almost out of time. Is it there?
Coby: Yeah, I can let you see right there. It’s just this little thing here so when you come in… It’s indicated 37° but that actually tracks to the first time they can put their details in there and it tracks them in and out of the gym, so it gives in a lot of safety to know if there was a case. They can easily be tracked. I feel that will be the software that does become part of the gym normally around the world eventually. Just like we have like the Glofox that also works in that way, but that just does that health check on the way in. I think that needs to be compulsory in gyms. Because before COVID we never like coming with a flu because as the coaches get sick then business just goes lots of fun for the owners. But I think you need backup plans and just start to picture out, alright if something was to happen what are we going to do especially the business owners. You don’t have to have it written down or anything but you just got to process it so you know if you have to jump where you’re going to go to with everybody.
Kevin: Okay. I don’t know if everyone can hear me because my internet is coming and going a bit but I’m going to stay on time or I’m going to get in trouble. I got some really good questions so please keep the questions coming. For the price, there is no fair way to do it so I’m going to give it to the first question which is from Holly Kalam. We’ll hook you up with Brittany there for that consultation. I want to say a massive thanks to Brittany, and Coby, and Jack for coming on. You guys are so helpful. I really appreciate your time. We’ll share your details, and your social media with everyone who has attended today. But for now, stay safe. The best of luck with your businesses and we’ll talk again very soon.
Coby: Awesome. Thank you.
Kevin: Thank you.
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