4 Tech Trends Health Club Owners Need to Know About

By Pieter Verschuren

Published 14 June 2016

Exciting things are happening in tech these days. While the days of virtual reality and robot overlords haven’t arrived yet, there are several trends that are significantly impacting the fitness industry. For health clubs, these trends offer great opportunities for improving your service level, increasing retention, and growing your bottom line.

1. Cloud Software Is Here to Stay

Over 90% of US business already use some form of cloud software. Why? Because cloud software comes with several benefits over the classic on-premise software which is installed locally on your pc. Cloud software is cost-effective, offers increased flexibility, and provides you with access to your data anywhere.

How Clubs Can Adapt to This Trend:

Fitness software comes in various flavours, both on-premise and cloud-based. While on-premise software is not reliant on an internet connection, cloud-based fitness software comes with many benefits that empower your business, at the price of a decent WiFi signal.

Read more about the benefits of cloud software.

2. Social Media is Unavoidable

Some eye-opening numbers about social media:

  • 80% of consumers are more likely to evaluate solutions from the brands they follow on social channels.
  • 65% of Internet users see online search as the most trusted source of information about people and companies.
  • 85% of consumers use the internet for research before making a purchasing decision.

Social media isn’t just a place to post pictures of your latest meal or share selfies. Engagement via social media can have a real and very significant impact on your bottom line. So if you’re not active on social media yet, consider starting now.

How Clubs Can Adapt to This Trend:

When it comes to marketing, social media is an invaluable tool these days. It will allow you to strengthen the branding of your business, engage with prospective clients, and offer an extension of your customer service. You can get started with Facebook pretty easily. We have some quick Facebook marketing tips for you here.

Fitness software can help you with your online branding as well, through social media integrations, for example.

Read more about how fitness software can help you with your branding

3. Wearables Are the Future

A recent IDC forecast predicted that worldwide shipments of wearables will grow with a staggering 38.2% in 2016 alone – coming to a total of 110 million shipments. This number is expected to double by 2019. It appears that wearables aren’t a fad, but a lasting trend.

In fitness, wearables are closely related to the Quantified Self movement: measuring as much as you can about your body and making subsequent adjustments to your behavior based on those measurements and analysis in order to live a healthier life.

How Clubs Can Adapt to This Trend:

Quantified Self is typically an individualistic movement – people measure and analyze themselves, and modify their behaviour on their own accord. But integrating Quantified Self in your coaching services will provide coaches with access to a wealth of data which they can use to give expert advice to their clients. Moreover, wearables allow progress tracking from a distance, which means more effective time-management, flexibility, and a greater client experience.

Read more about how Quantified Self impacts the fitness industry.

4. Going Mobile is Essential

Fitness apps are in demand. Usage time of fitness apps increased over 50% in 2015. Similarly, a recent study on user loyalty showed that retention figures for fitness apps outshone any other app category, with average first-month retention rates of 35% for iOS and almost 50% for Android. Compared to barely 10% for mobile games, that’s a huge lead. And with download percentages increasing year after year, fitness apps are only going to become more embedded in peoples’ daily lives.

How Clubs Can Adapt to This Trend:

The answer is simple: a club mobile app. With club mobile apps, your clients can gain access to workouts, progress tracking, nutrition tracking – all the features they use in consumer apps, but integrated in your club’s services. Besides providing your clients with a great user experience, having a club mobile app gives you more and better options for client communication, coaching, scheduling, and more.

Read more about how club mobile apps contribute to business success.

Conclusion

Technology is playing an increasingly large role in our daily lives. We have come to expect a certain level of technology in all services we use, and it appears that fitness is not an exception to that rule. While clients (perhaps to their dismay) won’t be able to find tech that will do their workouts for them, there are many developments that make fitness easier, more efficient, and more fun. As a club, it is first and foremost important to adapt to these demands in order to appeal to your audience. And as technology offers unprecedented options to optimize business processes, increase revenue and reduce costs, fitness technology is all but a gimmick.

Pieter Verschuren

PR professional and content specialist. Formerly Communications Manager at Virtuagym.

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