The Global Pandemic Has Shaken Up Gyms And It’s Time For Gym Operators To Become More Flexible Than Ever

Covid-19 has shaken up the fitness industry across the globe but now is the time for recovery, taking stock and building the gym of the future. But what does that look like and what adjustments will gym operators need to make in order to convince gym goers to come back through their doors?

Resamania recently commissioned Decision Architects to conduct research with thousands of gym goers to understand the impact on their habits and perceptions when it comes to fitness. We’ve all become experts in home workouts and making the most of government approved outdoor exercise slots. Now gyms are reopening, can we entice members to come back? The fact is, fitness addicts enjoyed more than the break from monthly membership fees during lockdown.

35% bought home fitness equipment during the pandemic and almost half (47%) started exercising outdoors. Little wonder so many of the high street sports retailers sold out of fitness bands and dumbbells!

51% said that health and fitness is now more important and 63% said that they didn’t have a gym membership pre-pandemic. The real opportunity for gym operators is that 33% said that they are likely to join a gym now lockdown is easing – but there are conditions!

Competitive pricing, pay as you go (PAYG) options, state of the art equipment and revamped class timetables to cater for new lifestyle patterns are just a few essential flexible options to consider.

And changing lifestyles is a huge element for consideration now that working from home and flexible working is becoming the norm. Over half of those surveyed stated that the commute to work influenced their decision on which gym to join and where. Many gym goers are now looking for options closer to home.

Members now expect online and in-gym self-serve capability when it comes to booking classes and PTs and this means operators need to consider their gym management software capability. Can it cope with real-time access control and bookings and how does it integrate with payments and CRM?

The key to retention is in building confident members with engaging induction programs embracing digital communications, automated if possible, plus 1-on-1 beginner sessions. Extend these out and deepen relationships and loyalty by offering refresher sessions to existing members.

Gym management has always been challenging and that is true for large network national gyms and single boutique gyms alike. Not many gym operators got into the health and fitness business to become accountants, marketers or software experts. Most got into the business because they are passionate about fitness and enjoy working with the public.

The good news is, being more customer centric than ever and being more flexible with your offerings is the answer to building the successful gym business of the future – and that’s why you got into the industry in the first place!

Having a detailed understanding of your members’ wants and needs and real-time behaviour – coupled with the ability to react to these insights, is the key to long term success.