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Fitness business management archives and news

7 tips for streaming online fitness classes

By Fitness business management archives and news, Gym and studios

Fitness professionals have had to adapt their businesses to the surge in demand for online fitness classes. Live streaming, for example, has opened up new ways of conducting businesses, from product descriptions to tutorials and exercising. With the current pandemic, fitness studios around the world can reach out to their clientele and deliver useful fitness classes through live streams. However, they need to do several things right to ensure success. Here are a few tips for streaming online fitness classes.

1. Dressing code for live instructors

It is essential that you wear clothing that is branded with yours or your gym colours and logo. It helps with brand awareness, recognition and professionalism. Besides, avoid clothing that blends with the background as most users cannot tell your form, yet it is vital when exercising. Although you are excising, you should look presentable on camera. However, there’s no need to call a professional makeup team, as looks are not the primary focus of the show.

2. Video tips

Lighting

Lighting affects the quality of your live stream. You need your audience to see every action in HD quality. Otherwise, those good moves will be of no use to them. You can either have natural or artificial lighting. If you have windows, do your performances facing the source of light. Investing in artificial lighting is a must if you streaming a dimly lit room to avoid negative feedback from clients.

Take Care of Acoustic Noise

Ensure that your voice is clear and audible. You can use wireless lapel microphones strapped to your clothing and connecting to your camera or capture device. Ensure that the room doesn’t have too much echo or noise from other areas. If broadcasting from a home environment, it is essential to warn other occupants that you’ll be live streaming so that there is no disturbance. You may also want to mute all participants in the steam so that they’re not interrupting for others.

Keep Your Set Simple

Only keep the items and props that you will require for your exercises in the live stream. This will avoid you having to run out of shot to pick up a piece of equipment which will make you look unorganised and unprofessional. Also you don’t want anything that might distract the attention of your viewers like cars going past the window.

3. What fitness equipment should you use in your live shows?

Where possible, stick to items that your viewers can find at home. Minimal equipment makes your online fitness classes relevant as your viewers can replicate the same at home. However you can add fitness equipment that can be bought with ease but remember to tell them your clients beforehand what they will need for each home workout. Bare in mind fitness equipment is pretty scarce at the moment due to the current climate so it’s good to be flexible with the requirements.

4. What equipment do you need for live shooting?

Fortunately, live streaming doesn’t require expensive equipment to stream high-quality videos. This can be done by the use of the phone or a USB webcam from your living room. There are also cheap handycam brands that you can purchase for live streaming. When using the phone, ensure that it is fully charged. It should also shoot horizontally so that you can have a wide-angle camera. The camera should be placed on a stable location and at an appropriate height to your type of workout without adjustments.

Gymcatch offers various tools that you can use to schedule multiple sessions and deliver virtual classes through platforms such as Zoom. It enables you to share the link to your online fitness classes with ease and interact with the audience that will be following you online. You can also request payments and manage bookings for online classes with ease.

5. Test everything

Do a test run of your live stream before you go official. Running a free trial or a reduced price while informing your customers there could be technical issues. You could also invite friends and family for test class if you don’t want to push your sessions live until everything is running perfectly, bear in mind they can be biased towards you.

6. Ensure that internet connection is stable

It is vital that your videos are smooth and of high quality throughout the entire session. If several devices are sharing the narrow bandwidth, turn off access for any other device that is not directly used in the workout. This is vital to avoid audio cut-outs and video lags.

7. Deliver the live session professionally

At the start of the session, welcome your clients as you would in an in-premise workout session. Tell them how they can contact you and ask whether anyone would be comfortable being called out in the video. Be careful about the music you play in your videos so that you do not use copyrighted material. There are sync licences to help you use a song in your session. However, you can also get royalty-free music on platforms such as Premium Beat and Artlist.io.

Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the workout experience. If there are glitches (they do happen even with meticulous preparation), do not stress about them; apologise and continue with your workouts. However, be sure to correct them for subsequent online workouts.

Want to find out more how Gymcatch can help you stream your fitness classes online. Feel free to get in contact with us or sign up for a free demo and we’ll get in contact with you.

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.

How to gain more clients through yoga marketing

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

Yoga is quite amazing. People rely on it to transform into better versions of themselves. It helps people to heal. And those are some of the reasons the yoga industry continues to gain more popularity in the UK. However, running your own yoga studio is not a walk in the park. Like any business, the yoga industry has a lot of challenges and competition. Therefore, you need to embrace the best yoga marketing strategies to stay ahead.

Let us have a look at some of the most effective yoga studio marketing strategies that you could employ.

Come up with loyalty programs

If you wish to increase your client base, an easy way to do it is to create loyalty programs for clients who frequent your yoga studio. So, why are loyalty programs important? Well, they will make your clients happy, which means that you will retain most of them. Happy customers can help you sign new clients faster by recommending your studio to friends and relatives.

You, therefore, should make the loyalty programs a priority; they don’t even have to be complicated. Something simple such as a point system could work. This is where a customer earns points every time she/he comes to your studio, and these points add up to some real redeemable value.

Entice your customers with value

Another great way of getting more clients coming to your yoga studio is by enticing them with value. What does that mean? Simple. Come up with viable ideas on how to create special promotions for your customers. For starters, you can offer new clients free trials. If you wish to retain the clients, however, then you’ll have to come up with something sustainable and much better than a free trial.

For instance, you can come up with incentives such as reducing the rate of the first few classes. Additionally, you could come up with a great pricing model that is easy for your customers to understand. That way, your customers will have an easier time selecting a package.

Target your audience

Another great way for you to grow your client base is by knowing your target audience. Once you define the customers you’d want to come to your studio clearly, then you can come up with yoga advertising ideas. Ensure that each ad you put out there focuses on a particular audience. You could even use your current customers to determine the people within the same demographic.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for you to advertise your business. One of the most effective platforms includes social media. You could post Facebook ads targeting different audiences. You could also send out emails to people who seem to share the same interests with your current students. That way, you will be able to reach a wider client base.

Rely on yoga studio software

We live in a technological age. Long gone are the days where you had to stack files to maintain your database. That is why you need to start using yoga studio software to streamline tasks in your business. If you have the proper management software, then your instructors will have an easier time managing your clients.

But that’s not all! Having the proper software in place could also improve your booking procedure. In fact, clients will find it easier to schedule studio sessions because the software provides versatile booking procedures. Additionally, the software will save you and your customers a lot of time, and there is nothing more enticing to a customer than saved time and flexible solutions.

Hire great instructors

Hiring great instructors counts as one of the best yoga marketing ideas. How come? When a client comes to your studio, she/he looks towards bettering themselves. As a result, clients will want to be under a trainer who can help them achieve their fitness goals effectively.

Besides, your staff contribute to the success of your business greatly. So, whenever an instructor takes your clients through a particular structure or yoga style and it works, there is a high likelihood that those clients will recommend your business to others. The opposite also applies.

To get a good instructor, you have to make sure that you are thorough during the hiring stage. Besides hiring the skilled instructors, you should also come up with ideas to promote them. By doing so, you create a good rapport with them, and they will be more likely to take care of your clients as expected.

Connect with local businesses

Yoga studio marketing should involve creating partnerships with local businesses, especially if you set up your business in a small town. You should make an effort to know the owners of the businesses around you, especially those that you can benefit from.

For example, if there is a coffee shop within your location, you can organize an event whereby the coffee shop will serve as the caterers in your studio parties. This will benefit both parties, and that is how other business owners will recommend your business to their clients.

You must ensure that any partnership you get into will benefit both parties. Otherwise, your efforts will be futile. Moreover, ensure that any dealing you have is both time and cost-effective.

Sell products in your yoga studio

Frankly, anyone coming to a Yoga studio is looking to stay fit by embracing a wellness program. Therefore, if you want to gain more clients, then you should try selling wellness products in your studio. That will not only entice your customers but will also help you engage with them much better. Furthermore, you get to boost your source of income.

Apart from wellness products, you can also sell beauty products, nutrition supplements, yoga clothing, and fitness equipment. You can even go a step further and brand these products with your business’ logo to increase awareness.

Host a free workshop

One of the best and most effective ways of gaining new customers in a yoga studio is by hosting a free workshop. However, you must ensure that the workshop focuses more than just your current yogi students. There is a high likelihood that there are people in your locality who have never considered yoga as something they would do. As such, you should tailor your workshop to focus on them as well.

The primary purpose of your free workshop should be to create awareness. Use it as a platform to educate those people who don’t know a lot about yoga and to clear out some myths that surround the practice. Be careful, however, not to make it so overwhelming.

Like any other business, the yoga industry is a competitive one. Therefore, you may want to employ the yoga marketing tactics that we’ve listed above if you want to stay ahead of your competition. Proper marketing strategies will not only get you more clients but also increase your revenue.

To take your yoga offering to the next level check out how Gymcatch can help you. Book a demo today!

How to start a dance studio

By Dance, Fitness business management archives and news

Has the question on how to start a dance studio ever crossed your mind? Or, have you already began researching how to start one. Maybe you have wondered whether you have whatever it takes to start and run it and make it prosperous. Does any of these sound familiar to you? Here is a post for you! Below is a guide on how to open a dance studio, from the first step to the grand opening of your studio.

Track a studio or proprietor you admire

Do you recognise another studio director that you admire or respect? Do you like a local studio in the city or another town? The perfect way to learn how to start a dance studio is to work in it. If there is a local studio that has existed for a while, fix a few hours to visit the studio daily and take notes. Or get a studio owner you like and ask whether he can be your mentor.

While you are there, you can volunteer to stand-in the diverse jobs or roles where they require assistance so you may see the way things work from every angle. This gives you clues to significant challenges in dance trade and the way they are fixed.

More significantly, ensure you enjoy your work! Starting a dance shop is a great way to segment your love for a dance with a wider audience, but it is not for everyone and that is fine.

Get ready for the roles you will take on

In addition to understanding the commerce, you also require a clear picture of the diverse roles you take on being the owner. Past choreography and teaching lessons, you are to manage many fragments of your business. Some of the roles include:

Manager: You will ensure that daily schedules and activities run smoothly. You must have the ability to convey what you need, what you require to improve and make sure your workforce is focused on the objectives.
Mentor: you will represent the attitude and work ethic you presume from staff and students.
• Entrepreneur: your job does not stop at the opening of the studio. You ought to advance and come up with new dance studio plans. Being an entrepreneur, you will also be deeply involved in community outreach, marketing, customer service, event coordination, and more.

Find out from the beginning which of the roles comes naturally from within and which is best subcontracted to another reliable teacher or employee.

Build a title for yourself in the community

Dance studio Holders often go with confidence knowing that they have enough followers to take classes from the start. In case you don’t have enough followers yet, find them in the following ways:

• Offer dance services to the local gyms, schools, and churches
• Offer discounts for individuals who refer the classes to family and friends
• Advertise your classes at close businesses which are not entrants but have a clientele interested in dancing
• Share your approach to dancing on social media and personality so that others in the community can know you better

This is a long step you should accomplish before searching for a location or drawing up the business plan, as it consumes time. Fortunately, you may work on this while performing your other initial dance studio opening tasks.

Make your business plan for the dance studio

Your dance workspace business plan refers to a document that describes your business objectives and how you want to attain them. It lays a firm base for your studios for years ahead. Here are some of the essential sections you should include in the business plan:

• Executive summary
• Business description
• Products and services
• Market analysis
• financial estimates
• Marketing summary

Find the perfect place for your studio

Once you have found out how the business will work and what your monetary position is, you may start finding a good location. At this stage, the question “how much does it cost to open a dance studio” comes to mind. Find out the amount you have for renting and what additional costs come with the site you choose.

Dance studios have their unique requirements. Ask yourself the amount of space you will require. Do you need a room or several studios in your location? Also consider an office, a lobby, storage, commercial space, bathrooms, hallways, and a waiting room.

Also do not ignore things like:

Parking Options: Do space have enough parking space for the number of learners you expect to attract?
• Security: Parents must feel safe and comfortable when taking their children to your place
• Visibility: It might cost extra to be in a visible place, however, it also allows passive marketing

Develop your processes and systems

It is time to come up with a plan on how to run your studio when it opens. This is more detailed and separate compared to the business plan, however, it is very important.

Also note that the more structured your process and system initially is, the lesser the persons you will have to hire. This is the reason why so many dance studio holders use management software for a dance studio. For instance, Gymcatch provides a dance studio management software that helps you manage your payments, classes, customer communications, and bookings. This plays a great role in saving time and reducing labour costs.

Arrange your studio room

Things like mirrors, floors, and dance Barres are an integral part of a ballet studio. Ensure you set up in a really attractive way. Do not stop there. Be sure to set up your dance studio such that it invites movement and creativity.

Employ your dance studio personnel

You may not require a lot of staff, especially if you are just starting. Please note, however, that you may not have much time to teach many lessons when you initially open it. As the owner, there might be many chores on your plate at first. Hence, your first employee might be someone who can train your classes, most likely short term. A different one can help with administrative tasks and front office.

Market your dance studio

You possibly have a great collection of individuals ready to register for your lessons. Still, it is important to inform the public about starting your ballet studio.

For starters, your website is your primary source for recruiting new students. Here, parents see your location info, contact details, positive feedback, teaching hours, and more. With a website, you can link directly to the Gymcatch website which helps you save time, increase revenue, promote communication with clients, and promote customer experience.

In addition to your website, ongoing advertising tasks include:

• Increase word of mouth promotion and referrals
• Build your presence on social networks
• Expand your email list
• Compilation of positive feedbacks on social networks and Google
• Develop partnerships with other local companies and charities

Once you’ve set up the above tasks, it is time to promote your official opening. Here are some ideas:

• Hang a large poster so that people can see that you have completed your “Grand Opening”.
• Keep an open house
• Place ads on social media and in local newspapers
• Have your learners perform at occasions in the community
• Find small commercial events to take part in
• Hang brochures at sociable local companies

Finally, people don’t open a dance studio for administrative tasks. They open for the liking of their profession. Offer yourself the chance to relish the dance studio you start. The above guideline will help you if you still have a query on how to start a dance studio. Go through it and you will never regret.

Book a demo and get in contact with Gymcatch today and see how we help you build your dream dance studio.

How to open a gym

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

Recently, the fitness industry has significantly developed due to numerous campaigns aimed at fighting obesity and the upcoming trends towards health and fitness. Opening a gym can be a great business idea though there is high competition and you need to prepare yourself properly. Starting a gym may not be an easy task but can be extremely rewarding if you get hardworking and committed enough. To be profitable, your gym model revolves around several key elements and the following steps will help ensure that your business is well planned, rightly registered, and legally compliant.

Plan your business

As an entrepreneur, a clear business plan is essential to help you figure out specifics in your industry and discover some unknowns. You need to ask yourself how much does it cost to open a gym, what is your target market, the business name, and how long it might take to break even. Planning will save you in the long run since once you write down what you are going to do, you will know how exactly to get it done. Here are some points you need to consider in your business plan.

The start-up and running cost

The initial gym capital can vary massively depending on your location, size, type of establishment, and facilities. Opening a gym can cost you from a minimum of around £80,000 to £100,000, covering the equipment outlay and marketing expenses. A larger facility may cost more, a franchise may have lower operational costs, but you may have to pay an authorisation fee; thus, it might or might not be a cheaper option. You can also try to minimise start-up costs by buying already used equipment but ensure that they are thoroughly inspected and serviced before use. Consider other ongoing expenses including, labour cost, gym management software subscriptions, power bills, and rent depending on the location and size of the facility.

Your target market

You need to understand your prospective customers, their interests, hobbies, and needs to focus your attention on a specific segment of people who are more likely to appreciate your services. Include necessary demographic details like age, gender, and occupation; also consider their personalities and lifestyles. For a gym, your preferred clients are individuals who want to lose weight or those who require personal training services to meet their fitness goals. Try and target those clients interested in long term gym commitment to protect your gym from early cancellations.

How to make money through a gym

Besides understanding how to start a gym business, you must know how you get paid. The primary income source is collecting membership due; however, you can generate supplemental revenue by offering exceptional services, including yoga, aerobic classes, kickboxing, Pilates or dance classes, among others.

Get an appropriate business name

Choosing the right business name for your gym is very important and is the cornerstone of the success of your enterprise. Try to match your name with the type of gym and your target market to build some brand identity. Make it simple to pronounce and select a great combination of words to make it more memorable. Do significant research on your competitor’s brand names to avoid similarities, and you can even use a name generating software to make your work easier.

Identify a gym niche

Identify a fitness gap in an area and try to fill it by determining what kind of gym best suits your target market. You can opt for a speciality gym to focus on a particular activity like yoga, dances, cycling, or much more. You can also choose to go for the traditional gym which offers varied workout options in one location, including strength and cardio workouts, personal training, and other fitness classes. You may provide additional services like massage, sauna, child career, and tanning at an additional fee.

A medical gym offers wellness services like physical therapy to help clients recover, prevent or manage a health condition. This type of operation requires professionalism, and you need to provide a variety of educational materials to your clients to boost their physical or mental wellness. A family gym centre includes a variety of workout options including group fitness classes and youth-friendly programs like swimming, sports club, and summer camps for kids.

Get financed

Once you have the relevant content about the industry and have selected your right gym type, you need to figure out where you will find start-up funds. Personal saving is the least expensive option since you pay for your equipment without using another source. If you lack access to all the funds, you can also tie-up with an investor, who supplies you with the funds without necessarily getting involved with the gym operations. However, the investor will expect to make some returns from the investment based on the agreed-upon terms.

Bank loans are the most common ways for most people and the best place to seek funding is from your local bank. A standard bank loan for a small business enterprise will have less interest rate than from other financial institutions. However, you need to present a professional business plan to the bank so they can assess the potential success of your new gym and collateral to secure against your loan. Sometimes getting a bank loan can be a bit challenging, if you don’t qualify for one or you don’t wish to get entangled in lengthy legal proceedings, you can seek funds from micro finances.

Get a strategic location

The growth of your gym heavily relies on whether your potential clients consider it convenient and easily accessible. When thinking about the site, find a space on people’s route home or open ground. First, determine how many clients you can serve in your facility to know how much space you need to find a perfect location that best suits your needs. Find out whether the people in your neighbourhood are more likely to drive in your facility, and this means that you will need a sizeable parking space with a convenient entrance.

You can also choose a location in the busiest part of the city where the surrounding dwellers will only need to walk or take a bike over for a gym session. Also, consider the look and feel of your location, whether it can impress your target clientele. It is crucial to avoid choosing a spot next to businesses that conflict with your operations.

Obtain necessary permits and licenses

To smoothly run your new venture, you need to abide by the set rules and regulations. You, therefore, need to do in-depth research or inquire from a lawyer on the necessary permits required by your local authority. You need to comply with the health and safety executive standards as well as the set FIA code of conduct guidelines. Ensure that you undergo safety training before starting the gym business and subject your employees to adequate training. Your staff needs proper coaching to handle small scale injuries.

Equipment should also be subjected to regular inspection by relevant authorities to prevent causing harm over time. If you plan to add other services such as massage and spa, make sure you adhere to the licensing requirements. You will most likely want some music in your gym to keep customers moving, get a license to avoid infringing music copyrights. In the long run, ensure that all your permits are up-to-date and incase of additional services, always consult with the legal counsel. Note that failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines and even business closure.

Get insured

Your employees are also prone to injuries in their line of duty; thus, get an employer’s liability insurance to cover for any compensation claims. You also need to protect your hard-earned money used to purchase the equipment and secure the premise, therefore insure the premise, stock, cash, motor, and premises contents against instances of theft.

Market your brand

Excellent marketing will help your business stand out from others which subsequently results in success. Once you determine your customer base, you can promote your business in various places where your potential clients spend most of their time. Social media is one great medium you can use to generate new membership. Use multiple social media platforms to share video content to showcase the type of workout in your facility. Choose the right platform including Youtube and Twitter but if your target group is generally an older crowd, go for Facebook. You can also use Instagram to send engaging photos of your gym to attract millennial demographic.

Come up with great offers to attract new customers, such as membership discounts. Take an extra step and visit businesses whose employees can be your potential clients and offer them a company discount. You might also consider local advertising by taking out ads in local newspapers or offer free work out days to attract a considerable customer base. Establish a business website that allows target customers to learn more about your gym and the type of services you offer.

Conclusion

Opening a gym can be very profitable, bringing along a sense of life satisfaction. Use the above guideline on how to open a gym to help you actualise your dream and set up a firm foundation for your business. Develop great marketing strategies to increase your customer base by knowing your demographics and getting creative enough to reach out to those individuals. You need to do excellent market research to draw out a profile of your target clients and buy the appropriate equipment that meets the expectations of your customers. With a proper mix of training, skills, commitment, and passion, a gym business can turn out to be a very successful venture.

Don’t forget Gymcatch can provide you with the gym membership management software to help build your dream gym.

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
HFE

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.

Safety

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 hello@gymcatch.com or check out how our online fitness services.

How to create appointment confirmation emails for your fitness clients

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

Clients anticipate appointment confirmation emails from their gyms or fitness instructors. This effort may seem minor, but it signals to them that you think of them and care enough about their experience. It is one of the proven ways for helping you avoid no-shows, and also heightens your credibility in terms of excellent customer service.

Each time a customer makes a booking online, the first personalised communication they receive is your appointment confirmation. You can make it more meaningful and appealing by adding extras such as rescheduling opportunities if needed, a thank you note and relevant links.

A great confirmation email is an excellent first impression and must, therefore, be created professionally. If you are looking for insights on how to confirm a fitness appointment, you are on the right page. Here, we tell you how to do it right and explain what to include and why.

When to send and include in a confirmation Email

Imagine sending out an appointment email to a client and failing to receive their confirmation? On the day of the appointment, they fail to show up, leading to wasted time and money. This time would have otherwise been slotted to a meeting with a different client. This is why the confirmation of appointments matters.

A confirmation email should be timely, informing your clients of your scheduled plan. It should include a summary of the activities, applicable amount and when the meeting will take place. As soon as the clients books an appointment, send the confirmation email.

If the appointment is booked in advance, send a reminder email at least 24 hours before the meeting. Focus on the time, date and place. Consider automating your confirmation appointment email through Gymcatch software.

How different emails might look like

For the new customers, you might want to emphasise on the venue and what they should bring. Attach online forms for them to fill and send back; this will save time. Take time also to send them an itinerary of your services.

For your returning clients, use CRM to track their history. This will help in creating a personalised email. They will appreciate it when you communicate about their skill level and advanced lessons you could offer.

When it comes to marketing, sending out the email right after the fitness lesson goes a long way. This is an excellent way of making them come back. Here is what you should include:

A subject line

This is the most crucial detail in an appointment. Here, begin with the words ‘appointment confirmation’ in bold. Be sure to structure your email being careful to highlight the time and the date of the appointment. This ensures that each time your client opens their email box, they will be reminded of the appointment. Because you want to ensure that these details stand out, take a good look at an appointment confirmation template to get the gist of what great formatting looks like.

The service provider

Who will the client be meeting? Include this in the description area. That means including the name and the title of the staff. Every important detail about the staff member must feature, such as the address, phone number and any other helpful information the client may need to contact them.

The type of appointment

A fitness provider must itemise the booked services. Give enough detail to bring confusion to a minimum. Sometimes, clients forget the details of their appointment and why it was booked.

Location

Even with an address, it is professional to embed a map or link your location to a map. This will make it easy for your clients to find you. If in the past customers have had trouble finding you even with the help of a map, link up to a landmark and request clients to call you as soon as they approach it. If the fitness appointment will take place virtually, link up chats and webinars.

The cancellation policy

Your fitness business should have a cancellation policy. As soon as a client pays in advance, including the fee and your cancellation policy. Make the policy clear to ensure that it does not interfere with your workflow.

When sending out these emails, make them short and precise. Clarity is a signal of credibility and professionalism. Lengthening it leaves the most crucial details in the dark. Remember, your clients don’t want to keep scrolling through long texts with a lot of irrelevance. You could also create your emails with your branding to make the message appear as though it is coming from you and not from an automation system.

Go the extra mile and include a personal message, something like, ‘Hello Mr. Wilson, sorry we are running a little late, not more than half an hour.’ this sounds professional, unlike a message reading ‘your appointment will be late.’

For all your clients, remember to thank them and include a brief welcome note to the new clients. Most businesses forget this part, so remembering to add it makes you stand out.

Make the email part of your branding

When creating your confirmation email, map out your customer experiences. What do they already know about you, and how did they find you? Are there particular links they used to make the appointment and what information might they be looking for?

Every marketer will tell you that sending out confirmations via email is part of marketing and can help you with customer retention when done right. In that case, like in all your marketing strategies, including your brand complete with the logo, images, fonts, and colours.

Be sure that the tone used in messaging matches your brand. In fitness, for instance, your email should communicate fun. Make it vibrant and cheerful just as your website. However, maintain a visual hierarchy. This means ensuring that the most important details stand out. You could, for instance, highlight them or use a different colour to attract the reader to it. Remember to make your content friendly to all versions, including a mobile device. Images and other special elements must be formatted in a certain way to be legible in all devices.

When creating a confirmation message for your clients, always stick to professional communication and the principles of your business. Make it brief, straight to the point, prompt and concise. Your clients will find such an email very helpful.

Gymcatch believes that great things happen when everyone has easy access to exercise. For that reason, we create easy to use, affordable tools that help our customers manage their businesses, allowing them to do more of what they do best- bring exercise to their community. While taking all the effort of creating and a confirmation email out of your hands.

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.