In today’s growing fitness industry, where new facilities are popping up constantly, how can you add value
to your memberships? One answer: merge technology with fitness.
With various forms of technology rapidly spreading into countless fields, it’s time for the fitness industry to reap the benefits.
From your website to software to interactive workouts, technology that helps facilities manage their business, assess members and plan exercise programs increases retention and revenue. That being said, make the most out of current technology, but not at the expense of personal touch. Technology should serve as a tool to simplify aspects of facility management so that you have more time to spend on what truly matters—personal relationships with members (Florez 2006).
Your website should target potential clients as well as existing members. The ultimate goal is to attract as many viewers as possible, reaching out to prospective clients and providing current members with another connection to your facility (Eason 2007).
Potential Members. Your site is an opportunity to make a positive first impression on would-be members. By the same token, it is an opportunity to lose them if the site is not done right. How do you use your site to attract new members? Use it to generate leads. Capture contact information by implementing an opt-in feature where visitors enter their names and e-mail addresses for your mailing list. Of course, you must provide an incentive for people. Offer valuable discounts on products and services when visitors opt in. Then, when they redeem their discounts, you get trackable marketing results (Eason 2007). Additionally, remind visitors that you don’t sell or give out personal information.
Existing Members. What about your present members? Make your site a place where they go to find current health information and to register for activities. “Company websites have come a long way, but on 7 out of every 10 that I visit, people can’t register for classes online or get complimentary passes or buy a membership online,” notes industry leader Michael Scott Scudder, whose eponymous company is based in Taos, New Mexico. Don’t let your club fall into this trap—keep your members connected to your facility through your site.
Improving Your Website. When creating or revamping your website, you can design and host it yourself or hire an outside firm, such as Health Club Sites or Ultravision Technologies Inc. On the most basic level, your site must be easy to navigate and well organized with attractive graphics and intuitive formatting (Scanlin 2006). See the sidebar “7 Tips for Designing Your Website” on the sidebar below
It’s safe to say that the majority of facilities today employ some form of billing software to manage budgets, membership accounts and billing schedules. Using this software is beneficial. It enables gyms to track financial data and predict trends for planning purposes (McDonnell 2007). But what about tracking nondues revenue, such as earnings from pro shops, food and beverage sales, and childcare?
It is becoming increasingly difficult for facilities to be profitable with dues revenue alone. Profit centers offer an opportunity to collect additional revenue from existing members, which is more cost-effective than securing new members (Peavey 2006). The key to keeping profit centers successful is in the tracking data, which can determine long-term viability. For example, an exercise class that your facility launched last year may not be truly cost-effective; however, without appropriate data to reveal this information, decid
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