All Posts By

Ollie Bailey

‘Experiential’ fitness and the millennial customer

By | Marketing & Social

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, and how it can help with your booking, admin and marketing: Gymcatch.com/business.

5 marketing activities to boost your fitness business

By | Business Management, Industry, Marketing & Social

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, and how it can help with your booking, admin and marketing: Gymcatch.com/business.

Give your customers a great mobile booking experience with Gymcatch

By | Business Management, Industry

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.

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.

Referrals and Retention with Rewards:

Rewards: We’ve partnered with great brands to offer customer rewards, giving them another reason to book via Gymcatch and keep coming to your sessions.

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, and how it can help with your booking, admin and marketing: Gymcatch.com/business.

3 fitness articles to help you grow your business

By | Business Management, Industry, Marketing & Social

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.

http://www.ptonthenet.com/articles/9-models-to-build-a-profitable-fitness-business-4047


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.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/233983


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.

http://uk.businessinsider.com/changes-in-the-fitness-world-2016-6?r=US&IR=T

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, and how it can help with your booking, admin and marketing: Gymcatch.com/business.

Getting going with digital: Why make the switch?

By | Business Management, Industry, Marketing & Social

In this article, we examine how implementing a digital strategy and the right management software for your fitness business can save you time, improve cash flow and increase revenue.

Creating a digital presence

It’s natural to assume this means a website. A well-designed, mobile-optimized website with clear information, booking options and a strategy to boost SEO can be a great way to generate and convert leads.

Your website and your social channels can be great for your business. If they’re poorly designed or outdated, you can do yourself more harm than good.

If you have a website, this should be viewed as your base. You want to drive people to the website to book new sessions, stay up to date with your business news and read or share interesting articles. This means consistently investing time and/or money into your site to make sure that you are delivering content to your customer.

We’d recommend looking at your website as a progression from a base digital presence that includes a booking and payment system. You should be very aware that your site is not a one-off investment – you still have to drive traffic and keep it current in order for it to be a value add. A Facebook page with a link to a good, fitness-focused booking platform can be a good first step to a full website.

Automate booking processes

Our research shows scheduling issues cause 57% of fitness buyers to renege from their purchase, whether that’s for classes or memberships. Ensuring you’re doing everything you can to provide customers with convenience, flexibility and the information they need and want is key.

Specific features such as automating payment, waitlists, cancellation policies, calendar sync, and reminders can also help you to maximize revenue from existing customers. No-shows are costly, especially at peak times.

Offering improved convenience through app and web booking are also proven techniques for increasing consumer willingness to buy. At Gymcatch, 80%+ of bookings are seen on mobile and over 70% are made outside of normal working hours.

Use packages to increase spend and improve cash flow

Having one set class price or one straight membership price doesn’t increase your customer’s ‘willingness to pay’.

Customers are willing to commit more cash upfront if there’s an incentive to do so. Incentives can come in a price break for bulk buys or a pricing table highlighting the middle option as the best value.

Creating pricing tiers and using block purchasing discounts can incentivise increases and ‘trading-up’ in total spend with your business and drive improved cash-flow through upfront purchases.

Applying deeper discounts to underutilized sessions is also a good strategy and gives you a way of communicating additional value to your customer base.

Keeping track of payment and attendance for these sessions can be seriously time consuming, and many booking systems have nowhere near the functionality needed to help (let alone a consumer-friendly buying mechanism), so be sure to scope implementation thoroughly before introducing this feature.

Keep your customers coming back

This sounds obvious, but churn within the fitness industry is a serious problem. For premises-based businesses, the rate can run as high as 40% per annum. The easiest way to maximize revenue is to plug that leak.

Chances are you got into fitness because you know about fitness, so the game-changers are likely to be the things that you find less natural or especially difficult. You don’t know what you don’t know, right?

Our research shows that only 27% of people who want communications from their fitness provider ever receive any at all. Having fitness business software that gives relevant, up-to-date schedules and information (either automated or otherwise) is important.

Creating a community around your fitness platform by enabling social interaction before and after workouts can also be a great way to create habit-forming behavior. 37% of fitness consumers we surveyed said they find themselves more engaged when there’s a social element to their fitness routine.

Rewarding your customers with unexpected gifts (like a free class, for example) and wider loyalty schemes are also proven techniques to increase retention.

Tap into the power of referrals

After location, referrals are the second most powerful influencer when it comes to fitness consumers buying decisions. Tapping into this is an incredibly effective way of driving new revenue.

This can be difficult though. It’s not easy to remember to ask for a referral, and on top of that it can feel awkward or unprofessional – especially if you’ve asked before.

It’s important, therefore, to look at ways to drive this process naturally. Initiatives such as ‘bring a friend for free’, or referral schemes in which successful referrals bring about prizes (free sessions, etc.) can help to align incentives.

It’s common to look at Facebook check-ins and newsfeed posts to drive this. We find ‘tag a friend who may be interested’ on a post tends to work better than staged check ins or post shares.

Using a fitness booking system that embeds the ability to share sessions across different platforms (email, SMS, own, Facebook, Twitter etc.) is a good strategy as it can create time and location specific context straight away.

For more information on Gymcatch, and how it can help with all of the above and more: Gymcatch.com/business.

5 ways to deliver effective fitness marketing

By | Business Management, Industry, Marketing & Social

In this blog post we look at creating a marketing strategy and the place of digital within the mix.

Spend time building a strategy

The best investment you can make in marketing is in the time you spend planning it.

Start off by being clear on what you want to achieve.  Are you focusing on new customers?  Increasing sales to existing customers?  Retaining existing customers?  If you are looking for new customers, who are you targeting?

We’ll deal with retention in a follow-up piece, so let’s focus on new customers.

Key questions here include: Who are your target customers?  Where are they based?  What are they interested in? How old are they and where do they spend their recreational time?  What are their health and fitness goals?  Are they seasonal or all-year round?

The answer to these questions will likely be right in front of you: your existing client base.

Find out what brought those people to you in the first place and not through the door of your competitor across town.  There is no better insight into what will work best, it is immediately available and doesn’t cost a penny.

This research will inform what content you create through the channels we discuss next. Depending on your services and target client, you may find that success stories, wider wellness education and other benefits work well.  Our own research, indicates that simple communication of location, timing of service combined with some level of peer advocacy score well with motivated buyers.


Don’t ignore traditional marketing

When thinking about channels in which to deliver your content, don’t forget traditional local marketing.  With your target customer profile and messaging established, remember that location is the primary driver of fitness purchaser’s choice of provider.

Coffee houses, school networks, business parks and other local small businesses can therefore be great places to leave material or partner to promote your services.  If people do other things locally, it’s likely that they’d do their fitness locally.  Focus on making it easy to discover you.  Let the locals know you’re there.

Marketing materials like cards and posters still work.


3 digital channels

When it comes to digital, for a small fitness business there can be many digital enablers and keeping them all active can be time consuming.  We recommend that you focus on 3 to both ensure you don’t spread yourself too thinly but also to ensure you are constantly testing and iterating.

We lean towards referral marketing tools, Google and Facebook as the areas to look at first.  Referral marketing is powerful, cost-effective and often overlooked, and with 80% of internet traffic driven by Google and Facebook they are simply too important to ignore.

Referral marketing
There are two sides to this. You and your customers.

Our own research and a big body of marketing work shows your existing customers are your very best source for new leads, so be sure to focus on them.

Clearly you can email or text requests and materials they could share.  This can be hard work and, at times, slightly awkward to ask for direct, so thinking about tools you can use (codes, introductory offers, referral schemes) and regularly refer back to in order to build awareness is a good idea.  Asking for shares/tagging friends in Facebook posts can work wonders and cost you nothing.

Other than our own tools (obviously!), we like InviteReferrals and Ambassador as digital options to assist with this.

Google 
Google ad spend can be expensive and really means you need a website.  If looking at this, the first thing to do is to make sure your website has what it needs to convert.  There is no point driving traffic to a site that doesn’t convert clicks into contact.

Boost your Google results organically – better than having to pay for ads, is being found organically from search.  The key to this is that it is a medium to long-term commitment.  So many businesses start with good intentions but, after a couple of months of not seeing results, give up.

Patience is key here: there is no magic bullet.  This is a long-term commitment.  Creating valuable content through blogs, linking via social and ensuring clients use your website regularly can naturally help you to move up the search rankings. Given location is the number one driver of service purchasing, focus on ensuring you rank well for fitness in your area.

When your website was built (and on your admin console if you have a WordPress site) there should also have been initial SEO keywords used and, if you employ an agency, tweaked regularly.  It’s worth checking that this has been done and finding out what they are and how they are being supplemented with your social media and blog posts. Free SEE plug ins, such as Yoast, can really help you with this too.

Facebook
Once you’ve created a Facebook Page, to do Facebook ads it used to be that you needed to get into Facebook Power Editor (requires Chrome browser).

You’ll now see, however, that boosting posts or ads from your business page is possible.  Setting up campaigns, audiences and ad sets in Power Editor is very easy and intuitive.  The audience features is extremely powerful, with a ready ability to define a hyper-local audience with custom interests.

Ensure you’re messaging on the ads is clear and that anyone clicking is really likely to want your service – you most likely don’t want to be paying for clicks that aren’t motivated buyers. You can test whether this is going to work for you with just a few £100 pounds of testing.

If you don’t have access to a graphic designer to make the related images, online marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork can be a good source of cost-effective resource but ensure you spend some time thinking about what you want the add to convey and research ads that work well, and test ideas with existing clients, so that you can provide a detailed brief. Sketch is a great, easy to use graphic design tool which you only need to pay for once if you don’t want the on-going updates.

We’d recommend:

  • Starting small with a defined local geography and low daily budget
  • Testing 3 or 4 different ad variations
  • Then doubling down on what works


Make buying easy

It’s one thing generating leads, but how are you converting them to paid customers?  If you have the scale, can afford it, and have the digital know-how, using tools such as Infusionsoft, Pipedrive or Salesforce to create detailed sales funnels is a great way to nurture and convert leads.

The reality is, most people don’t, nor want the cost.  Making it easy for customers to learn more and buy is, however, something that is in your control.

If you have a website or can create landing pages, ensure that you’re marketing, whether on or off line, is directing people to a place where there’s a logic to the information and a clear call to action – whether that be to fill in a contact form or make a booking.

Don’t forget about the final stage too – giving the customer the convenience they experience when booking a taxi, restaurant or hotel is important in converting a sale, particularly a new one.  This doesn’t necessarily mean you need an expensive website – simplicity and ease of use trumps form and there are now cost effective tools available to take bookings online and on mobile.

Track your results

Whatever marketing activity you run, it’s a good idea to keep a record of how many leads you generate, from where they came and how many convert to paying customers.  Building a timeline of activities and checking back on your website analytics (if set-up) or direct enquiries via email can give you great insight into what works and what doesn’t.

In terms of more complex digital tracking, setting up events and goals in Google Analytics as well as custom links in emails that can be tracked to linked pages is a good idea.  If you have the know-how, Google Tag Manager is a great tool to use, enabling you to add Facebook and other pixels without having to constantly update your website.

Tag Manager can enable your Facebook ads to be reported in your Google Analytics page, which helps in keeping things in one place (!), but Facebook Power Editor will also give you good insight into how any Facebook campaigns are performing.

Marketing needs patience, attention to detail and data.  There is no magic bullet: your strategy and tactics will evolve over time as you learn what works and what doesn’t.

The best marketing is often simple and focused but it’s easy to jump into the tactics before thinking through the why.  Is it worth reviewing your strategy?

For more information on Gymcatch, and how it can help with your booking, admin and marketing: Gymcatch.com/business.

Personal Training and the booking experience: How to differentiate yourself from the competition

By | Business Management, Industry

Hypothesis: Most personal trainers that are open for business can’t actually be reached.

The test

In researching this article, our team decided to conduct a small test. We called 50 personal trainers we’d found on Google between 9-5pm on a Tuesday to try and make a booking. If we got through to them, we came clean around why we were phoning and congratulated them on having excellent customer service. If they didn’t answer, they went straight into our data-set.

We’re not a team of data scientists, and as such we’re well aware that a test pool of 50 isn’t always statistically significant. That said, our small test still managed to show some startling results.

Straight to voicemail

How many PTs do you think we were able to get hold of right away? Here’s your answer: 9 out of 50. That’s less than 1 in 5. 80% of PTs could not be reached. 12 had a web form to book one-to-one sessions. 100% had email addresses or contact forms on their websites. We could have chosen to follow-up if we wanted to.

Why is this important?

As a potential new customer looking to start a client relationship in my area, I can easily find PTs on Google, but I can’t actually speak to anyone or purchase anything when I need or am ready to. So in theory, over 50% of the PTs in our mystery shopper exercise technically lost a client.

But…you’d phone back, right?

Consider the customer’s initial decision to establish a trainer-client relationship. A potential customer thinks long and hard about whether personal training is right for them, and then they make the decision based on an intangible reason – like a moment in time or a sudden burst of motivation. They don’t want to send an email, they want to lock in their free test session now.

Customers searching for a service via Google are not choosing you based on personal referrals. They’re making decisions based on who looks the most credible.

Of course, some potential clients will try again, leave a message and be happy to drag out the purchase process with a series of email or texts. But in today’s world of instant gratification where the click of a button can get you a taxi, order your takeaway, or purchase your clothing, your customers might expect to be able to book a training session in the same amount of time.

Why should we make them wait to get access to our premium services?

We’re not advocating that every PT has a receptionist answering telephone calls and fielding customer questions, but there should be a level of self service accessibility that allows your future customers to get in touch directly.


Point made. So, how can Gymcatch help?

Gymcatch you lets you advertise your free appointment windows and allows prospective customers to book in sessions via the web, iOS or Android.

All appointments and reminders sync to their personal calendars and cancellation policies ensure no-shows won’t hurt your wallet.

Our custom packages for classes and appointments also allow you to offer bespoke free trials and bundled sessions, automating the admin tends to be a drain on your time.

In our experience, it’s amazing to see how a bit of innovation goes a long way in helping customers. It’s free to register and take drop-in payments, and we’re the best value management software on the market. Worth a try?


For more information on Gymcatch, and how it can help with your booking, admin and marketing: Gymcatch.com/business.

What’s driving fitness consumers’ decision to buy your services?

By | Business Management, Industry, Marketing & Social

In this post, we’ll discuss the health and fitness consumer, trends in their buying habits and how the industry can meet them head-on. We surveyed over 400 buyers and prospects and here’s what they told us…

1. Location, location, location

With increasing health and fitness options and improving delivery, consumers are increasingly treating fitness as a commodity. Of course, this is not to say you can’t differentiate in delivery and build strong relationships, but understanding how most buyers initially choose their fitness provider is important to maximizing lead generation.

Our industry research revealed that location was the number one driver for choosing a fitness provider. Conducting a high level analysis of your local community, researching what times to provide sessions for customers, and making your details and schedule easily accessible will be key to your success.

2. Referrals

The second biggest driver in choosing a fitness service is peer recommendation. Ensuring you are enabling referrals (and making them easy to do) is important, both through incentives such as free sessions and with a booking system that readily allows for information to be shared.

3. Convenience

Health and fitness consumers now spend more time on mobile than desktop and are increasingly used to making bookings for services such as taxis, hotels, restaurants and takeaway through via mobile apps. This trend has been growing for some time, and it doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.

Providing the level of convenience consumers experience elsewhere in their lives is important. 27% of our survey participants said they struggle to find important information from their fitness provider, even when looking for it.

4. Social

Our analysis revealed a clear trend towards customers wanting to integrate a social aspect into their fitness regime. In today’s busy yet increasingly health-conscious environment, fitness consumers would like to use their workout as a means to connect with friends, meet new people and maybe even find that special someone:

– 37% are more engaged when they’re able to workout together with friends

– Over 10% are hoping to meet that special person when they workout

– 13% would like to work out but don’t because they don’t want to go alone

Offering and encouraging a way for customers to bring a friend along for a workout, and allowing them to easily refer sessions to friends is therefore important. Delivering non-fitness events for your community is also a good idea.

5. Rewards

Loyalty programs in retail, hospitality and your weekly grocery shop have proved that they can drive increased purchasing frequency and customer retention.

The downside is that creating and managing schemes can be both expensive and time-consuming. Thinking laterally around how you can provide value through discounted packages is one approach. In those instances, try to clearly communicate the saving aspect against the pay-as-you-go alternative. While the up-front payments can be helpful to your cash flow, you don’t want to create a future expectation for deep discounting.

Occasionally, gifting a free session to a loyal or infrequent customer can also have profound effects, with the unexpected nature of the gift generating a deeper psychological impact and overall better relationship between you and your customer.


The bottom line

Location may or may not be in your power to change but what is for certain is that you have the power to influence criteria 2-5. Gymcatch is here to help.


For more information on Gymcatch, and how it can help with your booking, admin and marketing: Gymcatch.com/business.