When it comes to talent, how is your health club operation faring since the pandemic?
If the answer is ‘not so great, actually’ – if you’re finding it much harder to hire quality individuals these days – well, you’re not alone. Over the last two years, we’ve seen a veritable talent drain from our sector as experienced professionals have left health and fitness in favour of more pandemic-resilient careers. The result: a global shortage of well-qualified instructors.
Based on our many conversations with operators around the world, it seems the repercussions have been particularly evident in group fitness, where instructor availability – or lack thereof – has caused major disruption to class schedules.
Yes, we’re seeing positive return rates to our facilities as members seek out the social aspect of exercising together again. We’re seeing interest from new audiences in what we have to offer. But around the world, clubs’ delivery of their product has certainly been – and continues to be – impacted by instructor shortages.
Finding the budget for high-quality live instruction when fewer members get to benefit from each limited-capacity class, and club coffers have been drained by months of zero income, has only magnified the challenge.
The value of Virtual
That challenge is being met head-on by Virtual group exercise, which now has a greater relevance and role to play than ever. We’ll come to that in a moment.
Let’s quickly backtrack first, though, because Virtual group fitness has long been a go-to for clubs around the world: a way to maximise the value of any studio space by allowing clubs to cost-effectively deliver group exercise around the clock, complementing live instructor-led sessions with high-quality, off-peak classes on the big screen, led by top instructors.
With more than 1,500 regularly refreshed classes available in our library – including many specialist classes you may not otherwise be able to offer your members – Wexer Virtual gets your in-club studios buzzing with as many hours of world-class group exercise as you and your members wish, all with a consistent guarantee of quality.
Little surprise, then, that Wexer Virtual has long been recognised as a vital part of the jigsaw: an invaluable resource for off-peak scheduling, reliable cover for instructor absence, and provision of world-class instruction where there’s no local talent to meet member needs and interests.
An even greater relevance
But let’s come back to our observation that Virtual now has a greater role to play than ever.
With the considerable – and occasionally crippling – talent shortages being faced by operators… well, it doesn’t take a huge leap of the imagination to understand the incredible value and relevance that Virtual group exercise now holds.
We’re talking cost-effective provision of round-the-clock GX to ensure every member who wants to do a class can, in spite of capacity restrictions. We’re talking high-quality cover when instructors are off sick or isolating – and, of course, a safe pair of hands while instructor shortages remain an issue.
But there’s more.
We’re also talking Virtual Connect, Wexer’s new in-club solution that moves Virtual fitness and wellness provision into a whole new, loyalty-building sphere – not to mention directly addressing today’s staffing challenges.
Already live on the Wexer platform, Virtual Connect – which is FREE to all Wexer Virtual customers – allows clubs to upload their own self-produced content onto the platform. Think in-club Virtual classes starring your very own loyalty-building superstars, streamed directly onto the big screen of your group exercise studio.
How’s that for giving your members more of what they want?
The power of Connect
The power of Virtual Connect can be illustrated in one very simple example: how to look after the regulars – those who attend the Monday lunchtime yoga class, say, every single week, without fail – when their favourite instructor has COVID, is isolating or is otherwise unavailable.
This instructor is the reason for their loyalty; if they’re missing, and the class is either cancelled or cover is brought in, the member experience is negatively impacted. Multiply that by the other classes in the week that any given member regularly attends, and then imagine that the worst happens and some of those instructors are off at the same time…. You can see how the member will quickly become disillusioned.
Now imagine you have your Virtual Connect library stocked up with classes you’ve recorded with all your most popular instructors. You don’t even have to have filmed special digital classes – you’ve simply filmed the classes they’ve already been instructing each week.
Now, when one of them is off sick, you can offer your members a Virtual experience with exactly the right instructor – the instructor they’re loyal to. Not another cover instructor who might (but also might not, especially in these days of depleted talent pools) keep members satisfied. Now, members can be 100% guaranteed a workout with their favourite instructor.
Not only that, but you can run the Virtual class in other slots too, catering for those who – even when live classes are running as normal – can’t make it to the club at the scheduled time, or don’t manage to secure a spot in the capacity-restricted live class.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the power of Virtual Connect to give your members exactly the experience they want, and even more of it. When combined with the strength in depth of the Wexer Virtual content library – 1,500+ classes from over 60 of the world’s top content providers – you can rest assured that your members’ needs and expectations will, even amid today’s many challenges, be well and truly met by your Virtual fitness offering.
To find out more, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.