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Ollie Bailey

How to take payments online for fitness classes

By Fitness business management archives and news

Following the movement restrictions, lockdowns, and social distancing regulations in different parts of the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most businesses are basing their operations online. Fitness service providers are some of the companies that have had to operate online. Online transactions are quite convenient, but only if you have the right tools. Failure to do so could result in the collapse of the business and a lot of losses. For instance, you need a reliable tool for taking payments. Here’s what you need to know to take payments online.

1. Choose a tool that is easy to use

The first factor you should consider when choosing an online payment system is the ease with which both you and your clients can use the tool. Several companies are offering online fitness classes. You want to make sure that your company stands out from the rest and offers different payment options. Clients will always pick a company that provides the most comfortable and secure payment methods. Make sure to make the task easy for both your clients and your employees.

Complicated tools and software may result in a lot of losses both because of poor administration and loss of clients. For instance, Gymcatch’s software gives you access to a simple Stripe integration means. This online payment system allows customers to book and pay for fitness classes easily via debit or credit card.

The amount of time it takes clients to make the payments should also be as minimal as possible since clients tend to get bored and leave lengthy card transactions without achieving their goals. Your goal for your business should be to attract new clients and to maintain the loyalty of those who are already working with you via recurring payments.

2. Simplified billing systems

The billing systems should also be simplified. As a business, you should be able to send statements, track balances, and receive payments within the same methods. Group transactions for families and other companies should also be tracked under the same account. You want a system that allows you to send bills to clients directly from the calendar. It should also allow you to send invoices and statements via email. In other words, you want to accept payments online. It also wouldn’t hurt if you could schedule, bill, and receive payments on a single platform.

3. Make sure clients get their receipts

Receipts are very important because they are a proof of payment. The fact that they are given in different kinds of stores, including supermarkets and retail stores, is proof enough of their importance. Therefore, you don’t want to be the only company that does not provide receipts immediately after payments. A software that gives automatic receipts would be the best option. You also want to make sure that the receipt is not dispensed until the money is received in your bank account. This will help you avoid unnecessary losses.

4. Flexibility

You also want to pick a method of receiving payment that is flexible. For instance, your clients should be able to make payments on any device like computer, iPhone, Android, or Tablet. This will help you attract all kinds of clients hence earn you more money. Also, make sure that the tool is easy to use on whichever device.

5. Global scale

You also want to pick a method of taking payments that can help you work with clients from different parts of the world. This is especially important for an online fitness business because you can accept clients from different parts of the world. A payment processor that can be used by clients from different parts of the world should come with algorithms that can process different currencies and payments made from different parts of the world. This feature will help your business stand out from others in the market.

6. Additional features

Tools for taking payments like Gymcatch software provide a wide variety of features. Using the stripe method, the money is sent directly to your bank account without any deductions like commission and other transaction fees.

Gymcatch also allows you to create blocks and courses of classes that clients can purchase and get booked on the relevant sessions. It also enables you to set time-limited drop-in bookings. This will help you maximise your revenue by automatically switching customers to another available session if they can’t make the class they’re booked into.

You also want software that will help you to create a flexible discount code. Examples of such codes include early bird codes, intro, exclusive and promotional offers. They can be applied to individual sessions, packages, courses, and customers as well. They allow you both control and flexibility with your pricing.

Picking the right software

The tool you use for taking payments is the backbone of your business. The simpler and more efficient the mobile payment tool is, the more successful your business will be, and the more profits you will make as well.

With the Gymcatch software, you can create passes, bundles, and free trial classes. Your clients can also pay for the services with customisable terms and conditions. Gymcatch also allows you to cap, place time limits, and allow flexibility and convenience for your clients. If you would like more information on how Gymcatch fitness management software works, feel free to get in contact with us or book a demo online.

How to price your fitness classes online

By Fitness business management archives and news, Fitness marketing and social archives and news

The global pandemic has changed the way most of us do everyday things. People have been introduced to Zoom meetings, podcasts and grocery delivery slots, and online exercise classes have become part of the norm. Virtual exercise has welcomed a different group of people into the fitness community – those seriously pushed for time, folks with caring obligations, the self-conscious and the gym curious.

For fitness providers, now is the perfect time for offering online tuition of all kinds. But if you’ve never held a virtual class before, or you’re adding to your repertoire, you’ll need to know how to price your service.

Here are 5 things to consider when you are working out what to charge for your fitness classes online.

Class size

Think about how many participants you want to teach. If you offer one-to-one classes then the costs will be passed onto a single client, but smaller group classes would lower the cost per person and potentially give you more income.

How does that work? Well, for a personal 1-2-1 class you could charge £40 as an example, but if you offer small group sessions for just 4 people at a time and ask £12 each, each client pays less and you earn and extra £8 a time.

Large classes with limitless participants can be offered at a lower cost per head, but think about how many you’ll need to make your target income? You could think that being cheap will encourage larger numbers, but is it really worth it to you? If you have 20 people logging in at £4 each, it’s the same to you as 16 logging in for £5 per head but you need 4 fewer clients each session which might be easier to achieve. So you need to consider if you’ll be able to fill the class at your selected price to get the profit margins you want.

Check your competitor prices

Sounds like a basic thing to do but checking out your competitors is key. Make sure you understand what others charge for the same service. Make a comprehensive list so you can make a good comparison, don’t just stop once you find one. There are no set rules when it comes to online classes – you will probably find a wide range of prices but you’ll notice a trend to give you a ball-park figure to work with. Take note of what others offer for their price such as the length of class, frequency, number of sessions a week and if there is a cap on the number of participants.

Block booking and packages

Consider whether you want to offer courses or block bookings at a discount. To get clients to pay upfront for a package of 5, 6 or 10 classes will help you with your finances but be aware that this comes with some complications.

Will your customers have to use their sessions for the same class each week or can they log in for your full programme of sessions? How much of a discount will you offer for booking multiple classes at a time and will this still give you the income you need? Clients will want to have the option to miss a session due to sickness or have a refund if they cancel.

Your cancellation policy must be clearly displayed and carefully thought out before you choose this option. There is no reason that discounts like this won’t work well, they simply require some planning.

Uniqueness and popularity

Be aware of the uniqueness of your classes. Straightforward HIIT sessions are more commonly found online so, without an unusual hook, you can’t charge much more than your competitors. But if you specialise in Kundalini Yoga, for example, then you are offering a niche product and can charge a premium rate.

Setting the price

The last thing to be aware of is that people will make an opinion of your classes based on the price. Offer your services too cheap and it will be considered an inferior product. Set your fees too high and clients will expect much more from you, and the extra cost will put off a large group of clients. There is a sweet spot – you just need to find it.

Luckily, you don’t need to think of everything by yourself. Gymcatch has made life easier for online fitness class providers with software that is simple to use. Take class bookings, manage waiting lists and collect payments with ease. If you’ve decided to use promo codes, passes and bundles to get things off the ground, then you can set all of these too – you have complete control. Get in touch for a free demo.

Social media marketing tips for fitness professionals

By Fitness marketing and social archives and news

Social media is an essential tool for fitness professionals looking to grow their fitness businesses. As things stand, social media users already have a massive appetite for all content related to fitness routines and general well-being.

As a business owner, you can’t, therefore, afford to ignore this particular channel when creating your marketing, advertising, and branding strategy. The following is a look at some of the social media marketing tips that you can use to enable you to market your fitness business.

1. Inspire, entertain, and inform

One of the leading reasons why individuals sign up to social media platforms is to get entertained. Other reasons include to be informed about global happenings and to interact with their friends. You have to realize that social media users don’t register to these platforms so that businesses can sell to them.

As such, businesses that are always posting content that has too much “salesy” language will often end-up being bypassed. The key to attracting a sizeable following on social media is to make certain that your content is based around the following three (3) main principles:

I. Inspire: Use social media to share motivation content sourced from other pages or use your pages to showcase the transformation undergone by your members.
II. Inform: Try to educate your audience using valuable details related to nutrition and fitness. You should aim to provide them with advice clearly and concisely so that it becomes easier for them to implement some of these routines at home.
III. Entertain: At times, social media users just want to enjoy themselves. You can provide some entertainment by infusing some of your personality into the content. Aim to distinguish your brand from the serious nature demonstrated by other brands in the fitness industry.

2. Focus on mobile

In your quest to learn how to get popular on social media, you will have no option but to focus on mobile. For many industries today, the main channel of communicating with their target clients is through the use of mobile phones.

According to a recent study commissioned by Smart Insights, tablets and mobile phones were the main devices used by people in the hours outside their normal working days. Business owners need to engage with their target clients during these particular hours. The study also established that a majority of users spent a large chunk of their time on different phone applications.

Your brand needs to be active on Instagram and Facebook. The two social networking platforms have been seen to be the most efficient when it comes to advertising a fitness business. In addition to this, you can also consult with your web developer to ensure that the brand’s website is properly optimized for mobile. You also need to look into how you can integrate a fitness business booking and management system. Integrating this type of system will help you save time by reducing the overall amount of time you spend on repetitive tasks. You also get to boost your revenue stream, enhance customer experience, and communicate much more easily with your audience.

3. Exercise patience and post frequently

A common reason why many fitness business owners don’t succeed in digital marketing is that they lose hope easily. Many business owners start to give up after only having tried marketing their business online for a couple of weeks. The reason for losing hope is because the brand owners expect to start seeing results as soon as they have launched an advertising campaign.

However, what you need to understand is that the process of growing your online presence isn’t a sprint, but is more similar to running a sprint race. What’s even worse is that some brands opt to purchase fake followers on platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. Anyone who has ever tried this will tell you that it doesn’t end well for the brand.

Buying fake followers means that in theory, you will have hundreds or even thousands of people viewing your posts; but not all will engage with the posts you make. This is because the audience isn’t organic. Your posts will, therefore, end up with very few clicks and shares. There’s also the possibility that you could get into trouble with the platform administrators
Instagram and Twitter have been actively cracking down on individuals, influencers, and fitness brands that have resorted to purchasing fake followers. So instead of choosing the ‘easier’ route, you should aim to at least post 3-5 times each week on all the platforms your brand has an active presence.

The following is a quick guide on what your brand should post online:
• Post nutrition advice which can be in the form of an image, blog post, or video
• Share an article or newsletter that is relevant to the fitness industry
• Post a workout tutorial that can again be in the form of an image, blog post, or video
• Post two pictures or videos of your weekly classes
• Share your timetable for the week

4. Don’t underestimate the power of an advertisement

Instagram and Facebook Ads are the most recommended marketing and advertising option for small fitness studios looking to advertise via the internet. The two methods are highly recommended because they are affordable compared to other forms of traditional and online advertising.
Also, a large percentage of the population today spends most of their free time on the two platforms. Look at it this way, Instagram has more than 800 million active monthly users, while Facebook has more than 2.2 billion active monthly users. A major benefit of using the two platforms is that you can create custom ads targeted to a specific audience.

If you would like to target different market demographics, you could also choose to run a wider selection of advertisements. Ensure that you have a separate creative copy as well as a copy that is customized to your specific demographics. Doing this provides you with a considerable advantage as opposed to relying on the one-size-fits-all criteria.

Whenever you are creating ads for use on Instagram and Facebook, make sure to keep the following in mind:
• Only use high-quality images and video: Digital marketers have predicted that video content will make up around 80% of all internet traffic by the year 2021. It is, therefore, important that you start looking into how you can implement video advertisements into your online digital marketing strategy.
• A/B Test all your social media Ads: A/B testing should continue until you have fully determined which combination of creative and copy provides the best results. It’s possible to do this using the official Facebook Ad Manager. The manager has also provided users with an easy-to-follow guide on how to go about the testing.
• Create a dedicated landing page: This is probably the most important aspect of running any social media campaign. You need to provide your audience with somewhere to go once they are done clicking through the fitness advert that you have provided. Your landing page should also have a clear CTA (Call to Action) inviting users to sign up for that particular promotion.
Come up with a promo for your advertisement campaign that provides value: A good example of this could be something like ‘Sign up by 4 pm on Tuesday to get 3 Free Introductory Classes.’
Remember that lead generation is an important factor in achieving success for any business in the fitness industry.

5. Good images and high-quality video is key

Whether you’re creating content for use in paid adverts or to help you generate organic content, you will need to make use of high-quality images and videos. Below is a look at what you have to do:


Make sure that all your images are as visual as possible. Any text used with the image should be kept at a minimum. When it comes to paid adverts, platforms such as Facebook often implement a 20 percent rule. This is because it favors ad images that don’t have a lot of text. The aim here is to ensure that the users have a high-quality experience.

When the ad image has too much text on it, Facebook will typically show the image to as few people as possible. In the long run, this means that your ad will not be as efficient as you would have liked. The Facebook Text Overlay Tool will help you ensure that the text you have used in the ad doesn’t surpass the 20% rule.


All your fitness videos have to be short and straight to the point. Research from Facebook suggests that when it comes to paid advertising, forty-seven percent of the true value of a Facebook Ad is seen in the first three seconds of a video. The same research goes ahead to note that 74% of its value is seen in the first ten seconds.

When it comes to the audio aspect, you are encouraged to assume that many users (85% to be precise) will opt to watch the video with no sound. What this means is that your fitness brand has to look for ways to help it pass its message along without necessarily having to use audio. You can think about using captions in the place of audio.

6. Build online fitness communities

When it comes to social media marketing, your fitness business should aim to create a fitness community. It’s possible to achieve this by implementing two simple, but highly efficient strategies:

I. Create Groups: Facebook comes in handy for fitness businesses looking to create closed groups for their gym or studio members. You can then proceed to create a page where members can interact with one another and get to build relationships that extend beyond the gym.
II. Using a Hashtag: Hashtags are quite effective when used on Instagram. You can come up with a hashtag that is specific to your fitness gym or studio and which will assist you to spread the word about your fitness routines and brand. Often, people share social media pictures of them attending a specific gym in a bid to show off to their followers and friends on these platforms.

Hashtags assist in increasing the visibility of your content. Any person interested in that particular topic will be able to view it with ease. The most popular types of hashtags used by fitness businesses are the brand-specific hashtags, trending hashtags, and content hashtags.

Once you’ve got all the client enquires coming through, you’ll want to make sure you have a good fitness management software. That’s where Gymcatch can help you, get in contact with us today.

Gymcatch partners with HFE to deliver booking and management tools to their instructors

By Fitness business management archives and news, Fitness industry archives and news

Gymcatch is proud to be partnering with HFE to provide their instructors industry-leading booking and management tools.

HFE is the one of the UK’s leading providers of personal trainer courses and fitness qualifications including exercise to music, yoga, Pilates and sports massage. For them, it’s less the qualification that maters, but more what their instructors become in the process. They challenge each and every student to ‘become more’, to go out into the industry and truly change lives. 

To make this to happen they run practical training at over 35 nationwide venues including London, Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff and Birmingham.  This is backed up by unlimited support from a dedicated tutor and access to a bespoke online learning system which includes exclusive video lectures delivered by leading doctors, physiotherapists, nutritionists and dietitians.

Speaking about an exciting new partnership with Gymcatch, HFE’s Marketing Manager Josh Douglas-Walton had this to say:

“We never have a shortage of companies and organisations wanting to work with us and because of this we have the luxury of being able to handpick our partnerships. One of the most important things for us is that any potential partner embodies of ethos of helping our students and graduates become more. What’s clear with Gymcatch is they can do just that. They have the ability to cater for our wide spectrum of graduates, from personal trainers to group exercise instructors, and with an incredibly impressive feature-set, it’s going to be a very exciting a few weeks, months and hopefully years working together.”

Ollie Bailey, Gymcatch CEO, commented:

“We’re delighted to be parting with HFE. It’s been clear in our discussions that they really care about their community and focus on offering a holistic approach to entering and thriving within the industry. We look forward to supporting this approach and their members in the future.”


Delivering virtual gym classes: It’s so much easier than you might think

By Corporate, Fitness business management archives and news, Fitness marketing and social archives and news

From a cycling class to a high-intensity class, virtual gym classes give customers the flexibility they need to workout whenever and wherever they are, making them more accountable for their own fitness progress. Virtual gym classes have been a fixture for many fitness and wellness businesses for some time. But with isolation rules being imposed across the world, many health and fitness professionals are exploring virtual and online classes for the first time. 

The good news is that demand for virtual workouts for all fitness levels is absolutely enormous!

For some fitness businesses, virtual gym classes will provide a practical stop-gap to continue to provide fitness classes through the challenges of social distancing when studios have to close. 

For other studios and professionals Coronavirus will mark a watershed and virtual yoga, Pilates, dance and other group fitness classes will become a fixture in fitness business’s schedule. We predict that while virtual training will never replace in-person sessions, for certain disciplines, the convenience of being able to join sessions from your living room means that demand online health and fitness will be here to stay. For exercise businesses, this is a fantastic opportunity. 

The great news is that most of what you need to deliver a virtual fitness studio are free or very inexpensive, and it can all be done using equipment you’ve already got. 

How virtual classes work

Broadly speaking there are two options: 

  1. You can deliver pre-recorded online sessions
  2. You can deliver live-streamed classes

Pre-recorded virtual workouts

Pre-recorded virtual sessions are perfect when you’re delivering one-way content. You can’t react to your clients but what a pre-recorded workout class does mean is that you can be really precise. You can record your content and use simple editing software to edit and refine your content so that when it’s made available to your clients it is perfect. So if you teaching something that requires real precision this might be the way to go. 

There is also the time and efficiency benefit of creating a pre-recorded session. Once you’ve done it you can make it available and it can be used (and sold) multiple times. So if you are teaching a course and you want clients to be able to consume the content in their own time, this might be the way to go. 

Suggested video technology:

Suggested editing suites:

Live streaming workouts

In other scenarios, there is no replacement for that live experience. Whether it’s virtual personal training or tuition or online group exercise classes or boot camps there is simple, inexpensive technology to stream virtual workouts.

This solution means that you deliver live classes over the internet to an invited audience who can join in from wherever they are. 

These virtual classes can be one way: whereby you get on with delivering the exercise and your clients follow your instructions. You can also set up two-way online sessions where your client or clients turn on their cameras and you can provide real-time feedback. 

Suggested technology for live virtual classes:

Online bookings and payments

You’ll need a booking system for virtual fitness classes. Because you can’t run the register or take payment in person, online payments are going to be necessary. For some exercise businesses, this might mean using a fitness booking system for the first time. 

Make sure your system has specialist tools for virtual fitness classes. This means that only clients that have booked will get access to the log in details for the virtual gym class. This will keep your classes secure and protect your revenue and also save you a huge amount of time because you don’t need to contact each client individually to give them the log in details. 

Taking online payments though a booking system for your fitness business is simple, safe and secure for you and your clients.


Give some consideration to any safety issues that might arise if you are giving virtual exercise. Do you need to alter and collect variants of your normal waivers and consents? Are there any practical instructions that you should be asking your clients to take before they join one of your online fitness classes? If you need to collect new waivers, your online fitness booking system should have the facility to help you collect this in the booking process.

Whether it’s a short-term fix or a long-term strategy, virtual gym classes are a fantastic opportunity for yoga, pilates, group exercise and personal trainers to show resilience through this challenging time.  

Community value 

If it is possible for your fitness or exercise business to deliver virtual or online classes this will not only help your business through a difficult time but it will also make a huge contribution to the health and wellbeing of the population when people need your expertise, energy and support so acutely. 

If you have any questions on how you can take your classes online our team here at Gymcatch will be very happy to help. Just drop us an email at or check out how our online fitness services.

How to grow your fitness business

By Fitness marketing and social archives and news

The fitness industry has changed over the past years as it gains popularity and global expansion. Competition is also increasing at an alarming rate; thus, the possibility of acquiring new and retaining regular clients is higher. However, you can learn how to grow your fitness business if you follow the guidelines below.

Provide high-quality fitness content

Are you so concerned about how to grow your fitness business? Start by offering your clients things that they didn’t expect when they signed up. It’s time to market yourself by delivering exceptional value. Offer them free and relevant fitness educational content through social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook. You can also create instructional YouTube videos and avail the links to your clients or include health and fitness blogs on your webpage. Be as creative as possible, to over-deliver and surprise your clients; it will help you market your expertise.

Create excellent service with better experiences

You need to create transformations in your client’s lives who come to your fitness enterprise seeking change. If you sell a positive outcome, you will get more loyal clients, revenue up and total transformation for your firm. You must offer excellent personal training services by dedicating your time to creating the best possible solutions which offer great value to your clients.
To acquire and retain customers, you need to find out their wants and needs, then use your expertise and knowledge to deliver. You can opt for semi-private training sessions to meet your client’s requirements since their transformation is a clear representation of your work and can market you effectively.

Build networks

If you focus on building excellent relationships, by striving to change lives, your business will grow naturally. You need to reach out to others both on and off social media since building networks and supporting other fitness personnel can amount to substantial success. Also, attend fitness conferences locally and interact with other trainers in the industry.
Be smart and committed since the more you interact, the more you reach more potential clients. Outsource as many things as you can from others by joining the online fitness networking groups to link with many experienced and like-minded personnel.

Opt for social media marketing

The most frequently asked question by many well-being trainers is how to improve fitness business. Today, people spend most time logged into their social media accounts; thus, this is the key to your business’ growth. Establish your presence as an excellent fitness trainer using great tools to maximize your linkage through Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.
Build loyal followers base on these platforms with robust actions and high-quality photos. You need to remain extra active on your social media accounts by participating in relevant discussions, providing training tips, and following up on recommendations from existing clients.

Advance your knowledge

Take care of yourself first by advancing your skills as a professional fitness trainer and get certification from your local organisations. It will help you offer better services and boost your brand, since investing in your education will record tremendous growth. Be consistent in seeking knowledge; today, you can learn too much from other fitness websites and YouTube channels to obtain significant value. Remember that you must remain constant in seeking fitness skills and the moment you stop learning, your business stops growing.

Show off your results

Come up with strategies to ensure that other people know of your great results, by selling out what you can do for a client. You can use testimonials; for instance, show your clients an example of a person similar to them who has obtained success from your firm to gain credibility and trust. Word of mouth campaigns remains to be the best way your fitness business can increase brand reputation. Come up with a program, which will entice your happy clients to give referrals to their friends and colleagues. You can give them incentives or reward them when they refer a new client.

Come up with a clear website

If you didn’t develop a website when starting your business, come up with one now. Ensure that it is easy to manoeuvre with precise details of your services, contact information, price packages, customer reviews, and fitness images where possible. Make sure that your logo and any industrial affiliations are well displayed to make it memorable and to build trust. Also, utilise search engine optimisation techniques to increase the visibility of your website to generate more traffic. If new clients use Google to look for fitness places, then your business will come on top, and they will also enjoy the user experience as they browse on your site.

If you don’t have the time to create a site, Gymcatch can also provide you with a web page which you can use to promote your business on various platforms.

Build a strong brand

You probably have a logo, colours, and brand identity to your business, but that is not enough to stand out among your competitors. Think about what your customers are saying about the services as this is the authentic branding of your venture. Ensure that your clients receive value for the money and time they have invested, and they will remain loyal. You can try and personalise training plans by catching up with them on some sessions, and this will make a difference compared to other ventures elsewhere.

Put your clients’ needs first

Every business looks at its profits at the end of the day, well, for a fitness venture, you have to make your clients’ health and happiness the priority to achieve that goal. Make your customers experience the core of your business, and your clients will spread the word. You may have vast experience as a trainer, but through excellent service of making your customers healthier and fit, they will see the impact in their lives. Your clients will see the advantage of choosing your services, and they will end up marketing your business on your behalf.

Track your progress and make adjustments

Keeping in mind that you had a well laid out plan before you ventured into the fitness business, check if there are any noticeable improvements. It helps you to ensure that you are hitting the numbers to accomplish your goal before it’s too late to recover. It is, therefore, vital to come up with an excellent plan and do a weekly recap instead of waiting till the end month. Whenever you find gaps, implement a contingency plan early enough and avoid more errors.


It will be helpful if you implement the above tips to increase your customer base and achieve high retention levels which will result in business growth. It’s good to note that the success of your enterprise doesn’t entirely depend on generating more leads you need a combination of the above factors to create realistic strategies and to create a powerful growth system.

To help push your business to the next level don’t forget to check out Gymcatch fitness management software.

How to appeal to experimental and millenial customers

By Fitness marketing and social archives and news
fitness class software

Carry out a quick analysis of health and fitness industry trends, and you’ll be forgiven for thinking the industry had polarized:

– High volume, low price (HVLP) chain operators continue to grow, making up the largest private segments in US and UK markets.

– At the same time, specialist studios and boutiques with singular specialties such as cycling, small group training, boot camp, pilates, yoga and barre continue to see growth.

– 1 in 5 fitness consumers in the US now have two or more fitness-related memberships.

Changes in taste apart, economists would traditionally explain this away by arguing that in competitive, mature markets, pricing moves ever closer to marginal cost (the amount it actually costs to provide services) and price protection is achieved through differentiation, with niche players catering for smaller, ‘connoisseur’ segments.

This is definitely something we’ve observed, but to ascribe these changes solely to the price sensitivity of the health and fitness consumer is to miss other important underlying drivers.

What this analysis fails to take into account are the rapid proliferation of the hyper-local fitness sessions in parks, town halls and churches, for which there is no overarching data but where anyone can benefit from pilates, yoga, barre, HIIT and bootcamp offerings at a reasonable price. Similarly, those HVLP operators are now putting on ever-expanding class timetables. It looks like the price sensitive buyer is also a ‘connoisseur’!

So what’s going on? We think there’s two things at play here:

1. Advancing preferences and the consumer’s love of choice.

As people become more health conscious and increase both the time and percentage of disposable income they spend on fitness, it makes sense that they will want variety in their exercise methods, both in intensity and experience. This is a sample size of just one, but 10 years ago I went to the gym 3 times a week. I now go to Pilates, HIIT, spin and run twice a week – and this costs me £20 less a month to do so. My grandmother’s generation never went near exercise at a senior age, while my mum goes to Pilates twice a week and plays tennis regularly. I know my story is common.

You don’t have to look very far to see this trend. With increasingly low barriers to enter the sector as an instructor, it’s easy for health and fitness consumers to find and book fitness that was previously unknown to them or out of their price range.

2. The millennials

It’s this segment that’s supercharging the drive for more choice and better fitness experiences. With the generational tendency to prefer experiences above material possessions, the variety of workout, social and community feeling of group exercise have become increasingly important factors in millenial buying decisions.

So, where’s the opportunity?

Some fitness providers will be able to cater for these wider tastes with an ever-expanding array of classes and in-facility experiences. If you can deliver on this, fantastic. It can be difficult to manage when your business goes past a certain size and difficult to justify entailed cost on a smaller scale, but it is possible – and we see a number of operators doing it well.

When you can’t do everything, focusing on where you can meet wider riser demand represents a real opportunity for growth. The willingness to spend on fitness is increasing, and if you can tap into the wider exponential growth then you have far more to benefit from than to lose by overstretching. This may well mean you don’t monopolize your customer’s fitness spend, but accepting that in lieu of greater wider earnings is a preferable alternative.

Meeting this need may require more of an open, tailored, marketing approach and a drop-in, flexible, pricing option if you don’t already have one, but it also represents great opportunity – could you be the HIIT option for a regular pilates goer, or the spin option for the yoga fanatic? We see incredible retention across bookers and see this drive for choice as potential for industry earnings rather than threatening existing spend. As a group instructor or specialist operator, perhaps there are partnerships with other fitness providers you can look at to grow earnings together?

Sources: IHRSA Global Report 2016, Leisure Database: 2016 State of the Industry Report, Changes in the fitness world, Business Insider, June 2016

For more information on Gymcatch group fitness management software, and how it can help with your booking, admin and marketing. Get in contact to book a demo or start a free trial.

Fitness marketing tips: 5 steps to boost your fitness business

By Fitness business management archives and news, Fitness industry archives and news, Fitness marketing and social archives and news

Whether a gym, studio, group instructor or personal training business, tried and trusted marketing campaigns can be transformed with digital support. Here we examine 5 well-established campaigns and look at how digital can enhance your marketing returns.

1. Publish your schedule

Ok, so we’ve started with a bit of an obvious one. It’s one thing getting your name out there, but if you don’t tell people what’s on when and make it easy to book, you’re not helping yourself (or your customers).

Knowing that schedules change, we know that this process can be difficult.

Gymcatch helps here by providing one digital source of truth for what’s on when. You can refer people to one web page, or one in-app ‘What’s On’ tab to give them a clear picture of what’s on when. With our unique ‘Appointment Windows’, you can also add one-to-one availability in a flexible way, enabling bookings within a wider time slot rather than having to give a rigid structure that may not work for existing clients or potential customers.

2. Run a referral program

This is a well known strategy, but it is indeed very likely that your best source for new customers are your existing. They’re already buying into your services, so it’s highly likely they know other people with similar backgrounds who would also be interested in what you have to offer.

Nonetheless, referral programs are often poorly advertised and aren’t exactly easy to act upon. If you ask some of your customers, I’m sure they’ll say they’d be willing to recommend your business, but actually getting them to sit down and write that email, send that text or make that phone call is difficult, and you don’t want to be ‘that person’ who keeps asking for something…

The solution here is two-fold. Firstly, keep the referral program front and centre. This can be done easily with posters, emails and verbal reminders. None of this is ‘in your face’ marketing, and it doesn’t put your customers under undue pressure. The second key is to make sure referrals are easy. The best way to do this is to make the referral personally and contextually relevant.

We achieve this within Gymcatch with our prominent session ‘Share’ function, which customers see whilst browsing sessions but also at the completion of a booking. This makes it easy for a potential referee to share specific session details via email, SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter etc. with a personalized message suggesting their friend gets in on the action.

3. Offer a free trial

So you’ve secured your referral, but then how do you make it easy for that person to come for their first session? You don’t want to create any barriers or additional admin for them – any extra effort creates an opportunity for them to give up. Making the booking possible without the customer having to put much effort in is key.

Every business will have their own experience and point of view regarding free trials. Some think one visit is enough, but we’ve seen as high as a five-session free pass to encourage an initial habit formation. It may also be that you want to limit which sessions the free pass can be used for. Whatever your strategy, you need to make it as easy as possible to book.

With Gymcatch, you can create a free pass, assign specific sessions to the pass, and set a time limit on the pass itself. You’ll always have complete visibility of who’s redeemed the pass, so you can give them specific focus and give yourself the best possible chance of converting them into a customer.

4. Group wellness programs

We’ve all read the well trodden marketing campaign targeting local business owners to set up a bespoke wellness programs, whether it’s a discounted membership or a value group/bundle discount for class or one-to-one training.

Whilst certainly worth exploring, once established you’ve still got to find a nudge within the business to get them to take advantage of the scheme. One option is to target businesses where your current customers are working – this way you have an internal advocate ready to go. The downside here is there’s no guarantee the client in question is going to be comfortable with pushing your services internally.

Another option is to try and link a group activity or cause to starting your sessions. Matching up a program to tie in with half marathons, ToughMudder (or similar) or a custom challenge you design with your wellness program is a great idea as it can create an initial buzz and motivation to sign up in the workplace, as well as a communal commitment to training sessions.

Gymcatch can help to enable the program and create the training community. With Gymcatch’s custom packages, you can put the discounted program directly on sale to let employees find, book and pay for the package right away. Alternatively, if you don’t want it shown to your existing customers, you can take payments offline and gift the package to enable bookings into your specific corporate sessions.

5. Host an event

A well established marketing idea that applies just as well to gyms, studios, group and personal training marketing is hosting your own event. Whether this is an anniversary or seasonal party, a BBQ, or anything else – an event is a great opportunity for customers to enjoy a little downtime with their fitness community and invite their friends to tag along, which means potential referrals and customers for you.

This marketing idea neatly applies to all of 1-4 above. Making sure the event is published early and promoted regularly on your booking system is a no-brainer, as is seamlessly enabling any referrals that come out of it.

The Gymcatch event share functionality lets business admins post to the Gymcatch Newsfeed (and to other social networks, as well as email and SMS) to continually promote events to the community. All posts include a push and email notification, so you’ll be able to grab your customer’s attention.

We’re all for the traditional fitness marketing campaigns and ideas – they’re well known about for good reason. We just think that they can be optimized with the right technology, and we built Gymcatch to do just that.

For more information on Gymcatch group fitness management software, and how it can help with your booking, admin and marketing. Get in contact to book a demo or start a free trial.

Give your customers a better mobile booking experience

By Fitness business management archives and news, Fitness industry archives and news

In this post we explore some key mobile-first enabled features that can help your business.

When you think of the apps you use to buy things, the first ones that come to mind likely have to do with taxis, takeaway, music and shopping. Think: Uber, Spotify, Apple Music, Just Eat and Amazon. We’re willing to bet at least a few of these are on your home screen.

What about your business? Do customers have to text, email or go to your website to book? If so, do you think customers would book more if it was easier? We understand that up until now making mobile convenience available has been prohibitive, with the entry level market-leading full gym booking system costing a painful £65/$75 per month. In a world where your Spotify subscription, business email or social media management tools cost you about £9.99 per month, that’s a lot to ask for. The fact that one of those offerings promotes offers within their app from your competition is also a bit of downer…

We see 70%+ of all bookings being made outside of standard working hours. It goes without saying that giving customers a mobile experience with a better class, studio or gym booking app will increase their willingness to book and improve customer satisfaction. On top of this, it’ll also save you the time you spend manually confirming and tracking bookings.

With Gymcatch, any fitness business can now give their customers great mobile convenience. Customers can find, book and pay for your services on iOS, Android and web in as few as three taps.

fitness booking software

Over and above a great booking experience, Gymcatch’s features focus on reducing no-shows, improving cash flow, helping with attendance and payment management, and improving referrals and retention.

Reducing no-shows:

  • Cancellation policies, wait lists and auto-refunds: You can pick from one of our standard cancellation policies or set your own. With clearly displayed policies during the booking process and the ability to take payment upfront, chasing payment for no-shows can become a thing of the past. Automatic waitlists maximize your chances of filling your class. We’ll notify anyone on the list as soon as a place becomes available, and spaces are allocated on a first-come first-serve basis. Auto-refunds enable you to set credit backs in line with your cancellation policy, making time-consuming refund processing a thing of the past.
  • Calendar sync and reminders: Bookings (including joining instructions) can be automatically synced to personal calendars. Reminders are sent 24 hours before a class or an appointment and can be edited by the user in Settings > Notifications.
  • Places available: We know that displaying low attendance numbers can put people off. We therefore display ‘Places Available’, ‘Last Few Places Available’ and ‘Fully Booked’ to make sure this is never an issue.

Easy attendance and payment management:

Track and manage: You can track and update attendance and payment records for sessions either through the business portal or via the iOS and Android apps. We also provide on-the-go business event creation, cancellation and posting functionality in the iOS and Android apps.

Payments: To take payments, you create an account with Stripe via our business portal. Stripe is one of the world’s largest payment providers. They have industry-leading security features, offer custom branded receipts and integrate with many accounting software packages. Gymcatch does not store your (or your client’s) payment details.

Payment charges: Gymcatch does not take a commission on bookings. Stripe only takes transaction fees and these are taken from the listed price at which you sell your classes or packages to your customers. The timing of transfers to your bank from Stripe can be customized, with most users choosing to maintain the standard daily transfer.

Attendance only: If you’ve set your members up on recurring billing and don’t want to move your direct debits, you can still use Gymcatch for attendance tracking – simply gift the package to your members. You can still charge drop-in fees for non-members.

fitness class booking software

We’ve built Gymcatch instructor up, rather than chain down, so whether looking for an instructor, personal trainer, studio or gym booking system, Gymcatch has you and your team covered at the right price.

For more information on Gymcatch  fitness class booking software, and how it can help with your booking, admin and marketing. Get in contact to book a demo or start a free trial.

Best 3 fitness articles to help you grow your fitness business

By Fitness business management archives and news, Fitness industry archives and news, Fitness marketing and social archives and news

As we’ve been working on starting our own blog, we’ve been paying attention to fitness articles we’ve bookmarked. Here are three of the favourites we’ve read as we’ve been busy researching and writing.

9 models to build a profitable fitness business

A comprehensive rundown of traditional fitness business models, their pros and cons and how to assess which is right for you – written by Sean Greeley. Whether you’re considering starting a fitness business or looking to add to or change your model, this is a great overview.

Charging the right fees for your personal training services

This fitness article in The Entrepreneur highlights traits we see in many of our customers. It’s a good analysis of how to think about unit economics and what makes a viable business model.

Changes in the fitness world – Business Insider

We love this fitness article, as it identifies the current consumer drivers of change in the health and fitness industry. Even though it’s now a couple of years old it’s on point. Millennials, with their focus on experiences, are having a real impact in driving class-based activity and increased potential industry earnings.

We hope you enjoyed the above. We certainly did, and look forward to bringing you more business driven fitness articles in the upcoming months.

For more information on Gymcatch group fitness management software, and how it can help with your booking, admin and marketing. Get in contact to book a demo or start a free trial.

personal training session