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Technology in gyms is good for business
In the tighly competitive fitness sector, operators increasingly see technology as a means of staying ahead of the game.
Whether a chain of fitness centres or an independent studio, retaining existing clients and attracting new ones requires effort, perseverance and inventiveness.
Kevin Norton, a professor of exercise science at the University of South Australia who also runs a gym in Adelaide explains “fitness is a tough industry to operate in.”
Professor Norton, owns Adelaide Fitness Solutions, a small gym in the Adelaide suburb of West Lakes, explains “the fitness industry has always been required to look for new angles.
“25 years ago it was pump and step classes, then it was boxing, circuit training and boot camp.
“Technology is part of that evolution.”
Technology for the fitness industry includes software to makes it easier for gym-goers to interact with their health or fitness centre, whether it’s to access information, book classes or manage payments. But it is also a way for fitness organisations to better understand their clients’ needs and tailor their services accordingly.
IBISWorld’s 2014 report on Gyms and Fitness Centres in Australia (IBISWorld Industry Report R9111 Gyms and Fitness Centres in Australia, January 2014), noted many fitness centres have been looking to improve their customer database systems in order to enhance communication with clients and in turn increase customer retention and cross-promotion potential.
This has seen the adoption of new computer hardware and software for database management and mass direct communication.
Jonas Leisure’s Envibe software is just one example of the technology that is available to fitness centres. The software includes functions that make it easier and quicker for new members to sign up, and for gym-goers to enrol in classes.
Envibe also helps businesses manage their inventory, with a Point of Sale (POS) system that offers real-time stock tracking and other features to make selling products easier.This software has the capability to generate reports that analyse the health of a fitness organisation, providing information to help inform decision-making.
Better understanding members, what makes them come to the gym, and what makes them renew their membership, can make all the difference to a business’s profitability. The software is useful for members but most of all it is valuable to businesses looking to remain profitable. More than gaining new clients, what matters is holding on to existing ones.
Professor Norton adds “member retention is pretty important.”
Speaking of his own gym, he says “we’ve had people join, pay $1,500, and never show up. But when the time comes for them to renew their membership, they sign up for another year.
“Meanwhile, others use the gym 300 days a year and want reductions because they are such frequent users.”
“Having the technology to track members’ habits means you can model changes in fee structures.”
To find out more about Envibe click here to contact Jonas Leisure via their Australasian Leisure Management Supplier Directory entry.
Lower image shows Professor Kevin Norton. Courtesy of the University of South Australia.
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