Once gyms are fully open again, online will be a complement to – not a replacement for – in-club services. This is the reassuring finding of numerous surveys around the world, in which members have passionately explained how keen they are to get back to their gyms.
Indeed, where lockdowns have been eased, this statement of intent has been borne out in reality; some gyms even reported lines of members waiting for their doors to open.
Yet it’s important to acknowledge that things have changed. Members will return, but they will do so with new exercise habits forged in the fires of this crisis.
More specifically, thanks to all those streamed classes they enjoyed while stuck at home, they will return to your club with new digital group exercise habits.
So, what does all this mean for you?
We know members are actively seeking out group classes on their return to their club, not only for the workout itself but for the sense of community – something so longed-for after so many months of isolation.
Indeed, in markets that have been allowed to offer classes in re-opened clubs, Wexer customers have experienced a significantly increased demand for their virtual classes, up from typically three or four participants per class before lockdown to an average of eight to 10 participants (this new headcount in many cases the maximum allowed due to social distancing).
This is a challenge for those markets where classes still haven’t been allowed, but ultimately, member demand will ensure group exercise comes back strong.
Yet things will still have changed – and those changes make virtual classes more relevant than ever.
Here’s why a virtual class set-up should be top of your ‘must-have’ list this year.
- New behaviours
After months of lockdown, with online the only option for fitness content and guidance, people are now used to doing virtual classes at home. Members will therefore be familiar and comfortable with a virtual class format when it’s offered to them in the gym environment.
- Commercial viability
If your studio can only cater for six or eight people at a time once social distancing is factored in, you may not feel able to justify the cost of a live instructor-led session just yet – especially if, given limited studio capacity, you have to dramatically increase the number of classes on your timetable to meet member demand.
Wexer Virtual is the perfect way to keep all your members happy without breaking the bank. A flat monthly fee gives you unlimited usage of all our world-class content, which means you can cost-effectively deliver round-the-clock classes.
In turn, you max out the number of group exercise fans who get to enjoy a class, in the much-craved company of others, even when each class can only cater for a handful of people.
- Meet member demand – instantly
Our user-friendly interface, including simple drag-and-drop scheduling, allows you to quickly and easily adjust timetables to meet demand for popular classes.
And with 1,500+ different classes available on the Wexer Virtual platform – and new ones added all the time – there’s not only something for everyone, but also strength in depth in every category to keep even regular class-goers inspired with fresh new content.
- Social distancing
While restrictions remain in place, the level of choice in the Wexer Virtual library also means gyms have plenty of scope to cherry-pick and create a special timetable – one that focuses on classes that can be conducted safely and in line with social distancing guidelines.
Think pilates, yoga, stretching, bodyweight strength… Classes in which individual, socially distanced workout spaces can even be marked out on the studio floor.
- New expertise
As we all ease ourselves out of lockdown, you might consider focusing on different styles of class from the ones usually offered. Your new focus: helping members mentally and physically recover from the after-effects of this crisis.
In class terms, that might mean less HIIT – immune systems may not be ready for this – and more mental wellbeing, muscle loss recovery and weight loss.
Once again, the variety of classes on offer through Wexer Virtual – all led by top instructors from around the world – means you can create exactly this sort of timetable, even if you don’t have the relevant expertise in-house.
- Rebuild confidence
Confidence-building is another big plus for virtual classes. Research has already shown these to be an important stepping stone for many new members, giving them a chance to familiarise themselves with a new discipline before taking the plunge and attending a live class.
And even existing members – now returning to the gym but potentially feeling their fitness has taken a hit – might actually prefer to quietly do a few virtual classes first, just to get themselves back in the groove.
- A seamless member experience
Alongside our in-club Virtual platform, the Wexer ecosystem features a number of world-class Mobile solutions: our ‘any time, anywhere’ Web Player, for example, and our SDK menu (which allows you to extract the class library from the Wexer app and embed it directly into your own member-facing app).
With many of the classes on Wexer Virtual also available on our Mobile platforms, it means your community gets to enjoy the same world-class workouts wherever they choose to be active.
Even better, if there’s a class going on in-club that a member wants to do, but it’s already at capacity, they can simply scan the QR code on your Virtual kiosk and do the class elsewhere in the club – or indeed at home.
How’s that for a seamless experience – all delivered under your brand thanks to our white labelled technology.
To find out more about Wexer Virtual, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org