Here’s an interesting statistic for you: last year, we saw a 66% growth in the number of Wexer Virtual classes being run around the world, up to almost 10 million in 2019 from 6 million in 2018.
What makes this particularly interesting is that the increase was driven as much by higher usage at existing partner sites as by new Wexer clients joining the platform.
Not only that but – while class schedules were being refreshed far more regularly in response to member feedback, driving higher levels of satisfaction and participation – the growth in the topline number of classes was predominantly driven by on-demand, that is, by the classes members were actively choosing to organise for themselves.
And that’s exciting, because it means the end user – the gym member and fitness consumer – is spearheading the growth. The technology has bedded itself down into people’s exercise routines, becoming a more familiar option to exercisers across the globe and, with it, a more regular ‘go-to’ workout.
In short, the demand for virtual fitness is undisputedly there – and growing. All operators need do is respond.
Step #1 – Make the leap to virtual
If you don’t yet have virtual group exercise at your facility, now is the time to make the leap. As the data above shows, virtual is something members feel increasingly comfortable with. Indeed, with the internet already the first port of call for many of those looking for fitness outside of the gym environment, this sort of convenience is something people actively expect – and they certainly aren’t put off by the instructor being on a big screen rather than live.
In fact, although we’d never promote virtual as a replacement for live classes, by the time you’ve created a darkened space with a big screen, great sound system and lighting, the experience of a virtual class can be incredibly engaging – not to mention a proven stepping stone for those less confident in their abilities to dip a toe in the waters of group exercise.
Step #2 – Maximise the in-club impact
If you do already have Wexer in your club, it’s time to ensure you’re maximising its potential. There will be a balance to strike between scheduled and on-demand classes, which will vary by club, by time period, by member mindset, by familiarity with the system. The Wexer account team will be able to share their experience and advice with you, to come up with a plan that’s tailored to your specific needs.
And if you install Wexer Count, our real-time class attendance tracking system, you can be even smarter in your virtual timetabling, ensuring scheduled as well as on-demand periods absolutely reflect what it is your members most enjoy doing.
Step #3 – On-demand beyond the gym
With the growing interest in on-demand virtual group exercise, ask yourself this: you might already be maximising reach of virtual in-club, but are you harnessing its power to take your brand beyond your four walls?
This is the era of Fitness Anywhere – an era in which consumers expect fitness to be available at the click of a button, any time, anywhere. And that requires a digital strategy on your part, using technology to bridge in-club with out-of-club in such a seamless way that the customer journey is unbroken. It’s about allowing members, when they’re outside your club environment, to instantly enter a world-class online experience that oozes your brand.
And it isn’t hard to do thanks to the white label-able Wexer Web Player, which allows users to stream their choice of hundreds of these same virtual classes – any time, anywhere, to any internet-enabled device. The result: the on-demand GX library they enjoy at the club can be accessed wherever they are, and whenever they want to work out. Your club experience becomes available on-demand – just as members increasingly want and expect it.
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