Let’s fast forward four years to 2020. Technology will become the backbone of the new health club model, allowing members to connect more than ever before. Offering the ability to connect members to club technology will no longer be a differentiating factor but an industry standard; how your health club personalizes the member experience is what will set your gym apart from the competition.
Chopt is a chain of 30+ fast-casual restaurants that offer highly customized, made-to-order salads. Imagine the ultimate salad bar: every type of lettuce, dressing and possible combination of fresh veggies and garnishments that one could dream of. There is a reason why Chopt has grown so fast: it’s because we are in the age of personalization. More than ever, consumers want to create their own items as opposed to being bound by restrictive menus and someone else’s rules. It’s not just salads that we crave to make our own -- it’s every experience from vacations to fitness. This trend is going to become exceptionally important for high performing health clubs by 2020.
The key to enhanced personalization is the availability of data. As we use more smart devices (wearables, apps, etc), we are producing a tremendous volume of data. This data can be used by clubs to create highly personalized experiences, tailored to the specific tastes and preferences of a member. Consider the evolution from the basic member profile in today’s billing system (gender, age, etc) to the member profile that includes data generated from a club’s referral program, mobile app, CRM, social media, etc. The growth of wearables piles even more data into the equation. By 2020, we should expect new tools that give club operators easy access to this mountain of data, making it actionable for better business decisions and customized member experiences.
The smartwatch is just scratching the surface of new devices that can use data to offer a more personalized experience. We’ve seen the cardio machine quickly evolve from a “dumb” treadmill into an internet connected workout experience, complete with access to virtual scenery, music videos and data syncing to the Club Mobile App. By 2020, expect that these machines are going to be able to do a lot more, especially when it comes to driving revenue. Members will be able to make one-tap purchases from the cardio screen, giving them access to impulse buys (e.g. discounted personal training) and regular purchases (e.g. their favorite smoothie), all while completing a workout.
The availability of data and new methods of providing it in a useful manner will empower staff to understand club members in a much deeper way than they do today. By 2020, staff will be able to access simple and colorful dashboards that provide them with nuggets of real-time information about who is in the club, enabling them to cater the member experience to match their needs best. More personalized greetings, offers, equipment access, class recommendations and more will all be results of the wider availability of member data.