The American Sports and Fitness Association® is pleased to announce its new partnership with Gymcatch. By providing great value booking and customer management software for fitness and wellness businesses from $10 per month, ASFA® recognizes Gymcatch’s commitment to making participation easier for all.
As a leading Personal Trainer & Fitness Certification provider, ASFA® recognizes and appreciates the need for companies like Gymcatch who create easy-to-use, affordable tools that help our customers manage their businesses, enabling them to do more of what they do best: bring exercise to their community. We are delighted to offer our community 20% off their first 12 months on the service with code ASFA20. You can find out more about the service and register here.
Additionally, we are excited to proudly display Gymcatch’s logo on ASFA’s Partner Page with other leaders in the industry such as MyCPR NOW™ – the leading online CPR and First Aid Certification provider, Human Kinetics – the leader in fitness texts and manuals provider, Berxi – a Berkshire Hathaway company and more than 100 gym chains and fitness institutions.
Launching an online fitness business is a super effective way to scale up your operation quickly and reach out to more clients. However, this can be a daunting prospect for most as they can feel a little overwhelmed trying to catch up with this ever more popular online revenue stream.
Many fitness professionals are still attached to costly group-ex format licence fees that do not allow them to invest in their own online tech stack. Others may lack the know-how or confidence to run online fitness classes as an effective business proposition. And many don’t have the flexibility to choose how or where they teach as their current programme’s limitations.
Technology today means you can download an app to help you structure your classes and deliver a killer workout from anywhere in the world, whether that is live, virtually or on-demand.
“Creating premium digital content takes time and can be very expensive. We are on mission at SH1FT to make digital first solutions for fitness instructors looking to launch or expand their business online. SH1FT instructors are fully supported to create their digital presence and teach where, when and how they want,” says Will Brereton, Founder of SH1FT.
How to use tech to improve your fitness services
With the environment now stabilizing, fitness instructors are breathing a welcomed sigh of relief as they have had to adapt to so many changes fast in the past few years. There is a number, however, perhaps the most engaged online or who have been running that online experience for longer, who are now looking at how they can use tech to access data to improve their services and take their business to the next level.
In his latest podcast, Will says “your customers expect to be able to use your products your services in a variety of ways, both offline and digital. So we know that digital fitness is here to stay, and that it will form part of what your consumers are looking for.”
However, if you’re one of the many instructors that’s found maintaining momentum with your digital teaching difficult, you are in good company.
SH1FT is working with Gymcatch to provide group instructors with the tools they need to take bookings, payments and manage their business in the most cost-effective way.
What is SH1FT?
SH1FT is the brainchild of Will Brereton who wanted to build a global community of Group Fitness Instructors that strive to create ‘fitness for life’ so that their class goers can feel great at any age, with anybody. SH1FT is founded on three main values:
TRAIN SMARTER, NOT HARDER: Hard work doesn’t have to be hard on your body. We use smart, safe and simple progressions to ensure that all levels of fitness can be catered for in a single group. FITNESS FOR LIFE, NOT JUST FOR SUMMER: We believe fitness is about feeling great in your own skin…for the long term! FOR ANYBODY, WITH ANY BODY: We create workouts that are non-intimidating, simple and inclusive (not to mention fun!).
SH1FT has created a collection of Group Fitness formats that Instructors use to teach live, online, and blended classes. Each workout is taught using their own market-leading App which automates the boring stuff (saving huge amounts of time and money) and gives Instructors an easy and fast way to customise workouts that are unique to them. Instructors are empowered to deliver engaging, personalised fitness classes where, when, and how they want – with zero restrictions.
For many of us, international travel is a means to escape, wind-down and de-stress by the beach (maybe with a good book in hand, or a cocktail or two). But there are other ways to recharge and return home revitalised.
Getting active is a fun and easy way to boost mental and physical wellbeing, so why not incorporate it into your next holiday? Sporting holidays are a great way to improve — or learn — a new skill, leave with a sense of achievement, and perhaps more adventurous holiday snaps to share with family and friends.
We looked at how well equipped the 50 top world holiday destinations are for hiking, cycling, skiing, water sports and yoga. We then considered weekly budgets and the number of tourists to find the most accessible and affordable ‘active holidays’ for your next big trip abroad.
The world champions
The study reveals that Australia is the top destination for an active holiday, scoring in the top 10 for all the sports other than skiing. Australia offers the most hiking trails per tourist, with 9653 different hiking routes on offer (or 1,095 routes per 1 million tourists). With beautiful coasts, rugged outback, mountain ranges and tropical rainforests, there’s a diverse range of landscapes to explore on foot. Australia is also the 4th best destination for water sports, the 8th best for yoga and the 10th best for cycling.
You may know Brazil as the world’s football capital, but the Latin country is a haven for sport lovers of all kinds. Coming 2nd in the study, Brazil scored particularly well for cycling; with the 4th most routes per tourist. The country came 11th for water sports, and 12th for yoga retreats and number of hiking trails, although — like Australia — the tropical destination is no skiing hotspot.
Norway came 3rd in the list. An alternative to the ski-season favourites, France and Switzerland, Norway offers the third best skiing option for international travellers when considering the length of ski slopes on offer.
Completing the top five were Switzerland in 4th place (which came top for skiing options per tourist) and the United States in 5th position (which came just behind Australia for hiking trails per tourist).
Best countries for cyclists
When ignoring data per tourist, it’s no surprise that Germany, Italy and France have the most listed cycling route options. But looking at the number on offer per tourist, there are plenty of alternative and attractive destinations to explore by pedal-power.
Even when taking in the amount of visitors per year, Germany is the ultimate cycling destination, with at least 1,500,000 routes listed. In second place — a trip promised to make you sweat — is Switzerland (although there are plenty of easier lake-side routes for beginners). In third place Poland offers the third most routes per tourist, thanks to a large recent investment in biking infrastructure. Cyclists can expect forest and river-bank trails, mountain trails and newly built city cycling lanes — check out the GreenVelo route to get started.
The most ski slopes per tourist
It’s no surprise that looking at the sheer length of ski slopes on offer, the United States and France both have over 10,000 KM of ski runs to race down. But if you don’t want to be squeezed into a ski-chalet, Switzerland, Austria and Norway offer more slopes to ski on per tourist. Switzerland is also the second most expensive destination on our list, so if you’ve wanted to try your hand at skiing but have been put off by the price, then Austria and Norway are excellent places to begin.
But not everyone wants an adrenaline rush on holiday. To reap the mental benefits of physical activity in a more chilled environment, why not do as celebrities and influencers do and try a yoga retreat? India is the home of yoga, and our data only fortifies its title as the ultimate yoga destination. With a whopping 797 yoga retreats — by far the most per tourist too — choosing the perfect retreat will be a stress-free experience.
With the tenets of Buddhism and Hinduism being central to its culture, Indonesia is a worthy runner-up. Whether you’re into eco-yoga, hot-yoga or something more luxurious, there’s something for every type of Yogi in Bali and beyond.
But you don’t need to travel across the world to downward dog. Portugal has over 221 listed yoga retreats and offers some livelier options which combine sports like surfing and yoga.
Top places for water sports
Again, it’s no surprise that bigger nations, like the United States, win on sheer volume of facilities. But per tourist, Egypt, Vietnam and Indonesia are refreshing options for a water sports holiday.
Egypt topped the list and has been gaining interest with water sports enthusiasts over the last few years. The coral reef in Sharm el-Sheikh is considered to be one of the best diving spots in the world, and elsewhere, visitors can expect to snorkel alongside turtles and dolphins.
Vietnam and Indonesia, in 2nd and 3rd position, are both great destinations for adrenaline junkies. These south-east Asian spots are great places to try kitesurfing, parasailing or water-skiing, with Vietnam offering slightly more choice per visitor.
Which destinations are most popular?
But where are Brits searching for their active holidays the most? By using Google Search Trends analytics, we can see that, likely due to travel restrictions, most Brits have been searching for active holidays in the UK and Europe.
The most searched European destination for an active holiday is Greece. Greece is an obvious choice for a sea-soaked Mediterranean adventure, but it is also the 7th best country in the world for choice of Yoga retreats.
Croatia was the next most searched for destination (and is the 6th best world destination for water sports facilities), and France, famous for cycling and skiing, was the 3rd most searched for spot.
Considering the recent anxiety around travel, it’s clear that European destinations are currently more appealing. Rather than heading to Greece or Croatia, our research suggests the top sporting destinations in Europe are Norway, Switzerland and Germany.
After a difficult few years, we all deserve a break. We hope this study inspires you to plan your ultimate, active holiday and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Swap your flip-flops for trainers, your book for a bike, and explore the world one adventure at a time.
Pilates is the exercise discipline that showed the most resilience throughout the ups and downs of the Covid pandemic. Our research shows that the public stuck with, or turned to, Pilates when other exercise disciplines were experiencing tougher trading conditions.
Formed by Joseph and Clara Pilates in the 1920’s when they opened Body Conditioning Gym in New York City, Pilates has evolved through the years while sticking to its original philosophy and principles.
Today over 12 million people enjoy the benefits of Pilates, establishing itself as the top wellness and fitness trend in the UK throughout the pandemic, performing even more robustly than Yoga.
The popularity of Pilates
When assessing the popularity of Pilates the main factor was consumer attitudes to the discipline. Pilates enthusiasts, more than in other areas of fitness and wellness, considered Pilates to be an essential part of their routines, rather than a hobby.
Moreover, in a period where people were particularly keen to avoid using health services, we saw consistent feedback that the low-impact, low injury risk reputation of the discipline saw consumers turn to Pilates rather than disciplines that they perceived as riskier.
Finally, Pilates has proved to be a more convenient form of exercise during the past year, as lower intensity and simpler forms of Pilates were perfectly suited to participation at home.
Pilates in numbers
Lower impact exercise saw a 2556% increase in bookings between January and July 2021 on Gymcatch. Pilates alone has seen a 25% increase from 2020 to 2021, despite the incredibly challenging backdrop. In the UK Pilates is a truly national discipline with participation levels slightly higher in London and southern counties but distributed throughout the country with almost half of English counties searching for a Pilates exercise class.
Virtual Pilates classes are here to stay
Many consumers have fully adjusted to online classes and are now seeking the perfect blend of face- to-face and virtual sessions. But this does not mean that face-to-face delivery is going anywhere. The majority of consumers have returned to in-person delivery and in most cases virtual sessions appear to be supplementing, rather than replacing the in person experience.
Following the end of the national lockdown in the UK in April 2021 we’ve seen a steady recovery of in person delivery. In May 25% of classes were still online only. During June and July 2021 85% of classes were delivered in-personGymcatch expects about 10% of pilates participation to permanently switch to virtual.
In March 2020 our everyday lives changed drastically, with most Brits being stripped of their favourite fitness routines. The pandemic made us homebound, but how did the fitness industry adapt to this new way of living, and where do we stand now? We’ve analysed the bookings made through our app and search volumes to help you understand how the pandemic changed the fitness landscape.
LOW IMPACT TRAINING GAINED THE MOST POPULARITY
Low Impact Training (LIT) for older adults was the highest relative gainer during the pandemic. LIT classes saw a 2556% relative increase in bookings between January and July 2021 compared to the number of bookings from the same period of time the year before, reaching the highest number of bookings in March 2021 with exercises such as Active Aging and Paracise to the fore.
Besides LIT, gymnastics, and martial arts classes also saw big increases in bookings in 2021, with classes being held virtually from January till April, and then in person after the easing of the lockdown measures.
Perhaps surprisingly, the gymnastics lovers were eager to carry on exercising during the pandemic as the sport had the second highest relative increase with bookings for classes going up by 308% during the first half of the 2021 when compared to 2020. Martial arts also bounced back strongly in 2021, with Karate, Jiu Jitsu, and Kung Fu bookings seeing a 203% like-for-like increase on the Gymcatch platform between January and July 2021, placing martial arts classes in third place.
DANCE AND RHYTHM: THE MOST POPULAR WORKOUT CATEGORY OVERALL
Fun dance and rhythm related exercise classes such as Zumba, Pole, Clubbercise, and Boogie Bounce accounted for a third of all exercise classes booked through the Gymcatch apps in 2021, dubbing the category the most popular form of exercise for the third year running.
The classes gained even more relative popularity over the pandemic as 20% of all our booked classes in 2019 were dance and rhythm related, whereas during the pandemic the category saw a 10% increase and accounted for 30% of all classes in 2021.
Being one of the Brits’s all time favourite exercises, boxing has remained as the second most popular exercise for the past 3 years. Between 2020 and 2021 the third most popular exercise has changed from Aerobics to now highly popular Low Impact Training.
MENTAL HEALTH VALUED MORE IN LOCKDOWN
Lockdown periods have taken their toll on mental health, with feelings of uncertainty increasing anxiety. Therefore it comes as no surprise that 5% of all classes booked through Gymcatch in 2021 accounted for emerging wellness classes.
To help manage negative emotions, Brits have been actively looking to book online Meditation classes and Thrive Approach which promotes children’s positive mental health by helping parents to understand their child’s mental state also gained popularity.
The highest number of these type of wellness class bookings were recorded between March and July 2020, and January and April 2021 when the UK was still under national lockdown. Like-for-like, they were 50% more popular in April 2021 than there were in April 2020, indicating that people had looked for ways to maintain and improve their mental health to get through the uncertain times.
Lockdown undoubtedly caused a rise in virtual workouts and socially distanced outdoor activities, and following the end of the national lockdown in April 2021, this trend continued, with people still hesitant to attend in-person classes. In May 25% of classes were still online only, reducing to 15% in June and July 2021.
PERSONAL TRAINER DEMAND IN 2021
Personal trainers were in demand after the UK’s gyms reopened in April 2021. The number of personal training sessions booked through the Gymcatch app saw a 70% spike in April compared to the demand just a month earlier in March. All in all there were 10% more personal training sessions booked between January and July 2021 than there were during the same months in 2020.
PRE AND POST NATAL CLASSES: 2021 SAW A RISE IN BOOKINGS
In 2020, Pre and Post Natal classes accounted for a smaller share of the overall class bookings than they did pre-pandemic in 2019. However, in 2021 the number of bookings saw an uptrend and the classes made up 3% of all places booked using the Gymcatch apps. The number of Pre and Post Natal class bookings increased by 135% between January and July 2021 compared to the same period of time the year before in 2020.
THE MOST SEARCHED FOR EXERCISES IN THE UK
The Brits seem to disagree on their favourite exercises, as most of the English were looking up for local Pilates classes with the Scottish showing more interest in yoga and core workouts over the past 3 years. Like the Scottish, the Welsh were on a journey of a balanced lifestyle with yoga being the most searched for exercise. In Northern Ireland people were keen to work on their abs with most searches being for core exercises.
Even the English were divided over their favourite exercise; the South preferring Pilates, whereas the North preferred Yoga and Gymnastics. Overall, the most searched for exercises were Pilates, Yoga, and Martial Arts.
Things might not be as they used to be quite yet, but for what it’s worth at least gyms are open now, and most exercise classes are running as they were before the pandemic, providing many with a much needed sense of routine and community.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We love this fitness article, as it identifies the current consumer drivers of change in the health and fitness industry. Even though it’s now a couple of years old it’s on point. Millennials, with their focus on experiences, are having a real impact in driving class-based activity and increased potential industry earnings.
We hope you enjoyed the above. We certainly did, and look forward to bringing you more business driven fitness articles in the upcoming months.
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. Check out the full range of features Gymcatch have on offer.
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