Why Technology Should Be Embraced, Not Feared…

Wexer Blog

15 January 2016


Why implement a new dimension to your business if you don’t fully comprehend or understand its potential?

The unknown leaves large pockets of risk, and can lead to hard to handle projects and leadership roles. I believe this is why the fitness industry has been so slow to uptake new technology and integrate it into the fiber of our clubs. If we don’t have a full handle on its results or effects, we wait until we do. This seems reasonable enough, but the problem is, your members are not afraid of the technology – they are craving it – and they are making conscious and unconscious buying decisions based on how it is implemented into their fitness facilities.

Once seen as a threat to live interaction, technology is now becoming a vital part of that interaction.

There seems to be a misconception that technology decreases or takes away from the live interaction. But, if technology is used optimally, it is enhancing live interactions and making them more fruitful – not replacing them. . A good example to illustrate that would be the symbiosis of live and virtual group exercise. Research among members consistently shows that the main reasons members don’t attend live classes are the difficulty of planning a live class around their schedules or that the club’s live offering doesn’t match their preferences. However, when clubs take advantage of technology and add virtual group exercise to their live offering, clubs are able to retain those members, due to the on demand nature of the virtual system and the wide variety of group classes that it provides.

Building a community environment in the club setting drives the best results for the members and owners alike. Technology can and should be used to expand that community within a club and its options, making it more accessible to more people on their terms.

Execution is crucial for success

Of course, this potential is only unlocked if the correct execution is put in place and that is something that needs to be critically planned in each organization to correlate with their brand. Club groups should consider how to properly introduce members AND staff to the technology to ensure the proper knowledge and practices are put in place from the start. There is a direct correlation between a well-executed strategy for introducing a new technology in a club and usage figures. The better the execution – the more members use and engage with the technology.

Club groups that use technology as a tool rather than a product are significantly more successful as they understand what is required to integrate a new tech solution into their member journey.

They recognize the tool is dynamic and ever evolving and therefore embrace this with a clear integration and execution strategy that aligns with their virtual goals.

It’s time to grow the gym going population

We all know that for far too long, the gym going population has sat below 20%. It’s time to grow that pie with these innovative tools. With the onset of digital fitness brands, fitness is reaching more people than ever before – the problem now is – how do these de-conditioned people decide what workouts are appropriate for them? How do they stay motivated?

They need leading brands to emerge, embracing technology and meeting them where they are. Currently, they are accessing fitness tools remotely and through screens because that is where they feel comfortable. So let’s make our expert fitness tools available for them to move from their devices’ screen to the club – at their pace.

We can harness technology and use it to grow the community and enhance live connections – not replace them. The data is showing more and more that people only show up for a GREAT live experience anymore since they can get almost everything they need delivered or online.  Let’s capture more of the 80+% online, using technology and then focus on moving them into the club community. This transition will happen when you make your value apparent digitally – with workout content, online memberships and more!

AuthorPaul Bowman