COVID-19 has hit the gym sector hard; the latest stats indicate that, around the world, 64% of the world’s fitness sites have temporarily closed their doors, either by decree or by voluntary arrangement.
But closing your doors physically need not mark the end of operations. There are measures you can put in place to continue providing fitness services to your members – and even cater for new members – to drive revenue even in these challenging times.
The Wexer Web Player is a great example: a tool that will not only support your business through the immediate crisis, but that will also allow you to meet member demand for a seamless physical/digital fitness experience moving forward – a demand that was already growing before the current global crisis and that, after months of home workouts, will likely be even further embedded into people’s fitness behaviours post-crisis.
Why Web Player?
The Wexer Web Player is a password-protected, white label web portal that allows users to stream hundreds of world-beating virtual classes to any internet-enabled device, any time, anywhere. Granted, at the moment ‘anywhere’ means streaming to people’s homes. But that’s precisely what people are looking for, with on-demand fitness usage spiking over the last few weeks of the crisis.
To enhance this offering still further, launching this month, Web Player Connect is a new feature that’s being rolled into the Web Player. It allows your superstar instructors and personal trainers – wherever they may be during the current lockdown – to film, edit and upload fitness content through their mobile phones. From the cloud, this content is then pushed into your Web Player, for the exclusive use of your membership base.
It’s the perfect solution for at-home fitness: hundreds of top-quality, on-demand classes from the world’s most popular programming providers, complemented by familiar faces delivering a fresh stream of workouts on a daily basis. Unparalleled variety, convenience, 24/7 flexibility, fresh new content all the time to stay motivated, and the expertise of people’s favourite instructors streamed direct to their living rooms. These are the boxes it ticks for your members.
For your business, what it means is revenue in a time of unprecedented uncertainty. With no way of predicting when this crisis will end, this is an opportunity that has to be explored.
Create digital memberships for revenue now
Right now, with members unable to access your physical facilities, you will likely want to offer the Web Player service for free, packaged as a digital membership. It gives a reason for members to continue paying their membership, or potentially a slightly reduced membership, so you continue to generate revenue throughout the crisis.
Meanwhile – not only in the short term but also long-term – there’s an option to sell digital-only memberships to a broader audience. Whether people’s barriers have, up til now, been geographical or related to time pressures, confidence levels or price, there remains a large percentage of the population who would like to be active, but to whom gyms have never been the go-to solution. Many of these people are already looking online for fitness solutions, especially now they’re stuck at home.
For this group – those for whom in-person attendance, even when clubs re-open, is either not possible or not appealing – a digital membership, priced slightly below full membership and offering 24/7 on-demand fitness, could be the key. A key that in turn unlocks a significant new revenue stream for your business, both now and moving forward.
Continue with digital memberships for future revenue
But the revenue-generating power of digital memberships goes further than this digital-only group, especially post-crisis; this strategy should be seen not just as a quick fix, but as a long-term play for your business.
For example, once members are allowed to return to your facilities and a hybrid digital/physical model is once again an option, you might consider putting your virtual class offering behind a paywall. Members could then pay a small fee to access the service on whatever basis they choose: buying a pass for a day, a week, a month or a year.
Alternatively, you might want to continue offering it for free, especially if you want to justify a higher price point in a market that’s become accustomed to low-cost operators. As a value-added service, it allows you to offer your members more, at no additional charge, to drive perceived value to new heights and maintain member loyalty – in itself a great boost to revenue, as it’s far more cost-effective to keep existing members than to attract new ones.
Similarly, you might use your Web Player as a temporary FOC add-on to help re-engage at-risk members, or – if you allow people to suspend their memberships – to keep those frozen members warm. If you already have this digital option available, extending it for free to select groups of customers is a relatively low-cost retention tool – especially when weighed up against the potential future revenue from continued membership fees.
A hybrid membership can be a good prospecting tool too. Whether you’re talking to those who aren’t convinced of the value of gym membership, or those who want a club to embrace activity beyond its four walls, offering complimentary Web Player access to all new joiners can be that all-important nudge that will encourage them to sign on the dotted line.
Focus on digital membership for future loyalty
It’s also important to recognise that, with so many people now exploring online fitness solutions – something to do to fill their days during COVID-19 lockdown – there’s a risk people will question the need for a gym membership in the future.
As a fitness operator, you have to future-proof your business by pre-empting this. You have to create and embed your own digital offering in people’s lives now, while they are actively looking for it, so it is your brand that’s seen to have got them through the crisis in the best possible physical and mental health. So you own the digital member experience, the data, the customer loyalty and the chance of long-term revenue. So you have the chance to link it all together into one seamless digital/physical member journey that supports your members however and wherever they choose to tap into your services.
To find out more about the Wexer Web Player, please contact email@example.com