Gyms faced a tough situation in the wake of the global pandemic. Lockdowns, restrictions and so many people turning to digital-first fitness solutions meant retaining members was difficult. Top-rated gyms needed to ensure they were providing an experience above and beyond expectations. In this article we take a look at the things that made gyms stand out from the crowd as well as what you can do to meet future expectations.
A recent survey of gym members habits during the pandemic found that there were three primary factors that determined whether their gym-going experience was a good one or not. These were:
- Controlling crowds effectively
- Level of cleanliness
- A competitive fee structure
During the outbreak, the majority of people were keen to avoid crowded areas at all costs. Beyond personal preferences, many countries had specific regulations around how many people were allowed to be in an enclosed area together. Gyms had to walk the tightrope of meeting these requirements while also ensuring that members could work out when they wanted to.
Many that were able to control numbers effectively used some kind of gym management software to track members and manage access. Resamania is a great example of cutting edge gym management software.
Cleanliness became a big problem during the outbreak. People who favoured going to the gym before the pandemic to those who enjoyed it after the epidemic reported this as the most prevalent reason for their preference.
Gyms must keep their facilities immaculate at all times to ensure the well-being of its patrons. Cleaning all of your equipment once a month isn’t enough of a regime. Equipment is now expected to be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.
Additionally, there must be sanitizer stations in and around the gym doorway. When it comes to making a difference, hygiene may be the easiest and most cost-effective thing you can do.
A factor that was tangentially related to the pandemic was whether people felt they were paying a fair price for their gym membership. People are always price sensitive, but the pandemic made people scrutinise how much value they felt they were getting. Those that remained happiest with their membership are instances where the gyms were seen to provide extra services and value.
You may do this through ensuring you have the latest equipment, or providing additional courses or even providing space for extracurricular activities to the community. The key is still to keep your members happy and returning by going above and beyond what they expect.
The fitness industry has changed forever, and there’s no going back. If you want to ensure your members stay happy, and keep coming back, the following are five areas that are worth investing in.
- Cleaning should be thorough but not disruptive
- Make more time for clients
- Booking shouldn’t be complicated
- Provide a space to build community
- Embrace technology
Even though many people expected high levels of hygiene through the pandemic, there was also a point where comfort turned to annoyance. When people felt that gyms’ cleanliness routines disrupted normal operations, they reacted with frustration and annoyance. It’s essential that you find this balance to keep members happy.
We mean this literally. Increase your operating hours so that people can go back to working when and how they want to. Restrictions are being relaxed, and you should let people know that they can return to their regular routines.
Gym goers and members expect a seamless and easy booking system. People should be able to see what classes are offered as well as book easily online. This is one area where it is essential to place time and attention to get it right.
A gym can be the perfect location for many community gatherings and events. You want to become a central feature on the community calendar so that people have a bigger attachment than just a place to pick up weights.
The biggest change that the pandemic forced on the fitness industry was in the embrace of digital-first solutions. Now, while people are returning to work out in the gym, they’re still keen to keep technology integrated with their workouts. You can provide a space for online workouts as well as ensure wearables can integrate with your machines.