As fitness facilities around the world reopen, both large chains and smaller boutique operators alike are facing the challenge of bouncing back and thriving in a new fitness landscape. So, what are some key factors that indoor cycling facility operators need to consider as they reopen their doors to members?
At Core Health & Fitness, we believe that knowledge is power. Facilities can use reopening as an opportunity to upskill their teams in order to expand their member base, retain existing members and open up new revenue opportunities.
“Education content is more accessible than ever before and to be competitive in this new fitness environment, instructors need to up their game,” says Doris Thews, Schwinn Master Instructor. “Educational training offered by the Schwinn Indoor Cycling Instructor Educational Program elevates an instructor’s skill sets and in turn the member experience.”
What are some ways that instructors can access our educational content? At Core, we offer online (remote self-paced learning), Live Stream/Virtual, and Live/In-Person training options so instructors have multiple ways to enhance their coaching styles and further elevate their member experiences.
2. Understand the benefit of multiple types of instruction
Digital fitness continues to grow quickly, and facilities should consider the ways their members will continue to seek out classes (digital, live or hybrid). With the abundance of virtual offerings now available in the fitness space, large chains and boutiques may need to adapt to meet their members where they are.
“I jumped into virtual training with both feet,” says Abbie Appel, Schwinn Master Instructor. “Within two weeks of our facilities being shut down, I began teaching fitness education workshops and classes for members to stay connected.”
Appel suggests participating in established virtual classes with experts in the industry to understand best practices and how to shine in this emerging medium. “Seek out proper direction and guidance for behind, and in front, of the camera to create a successful experience for the members and the fitness facility.”
3. Communication with members
Clubs must double down on their membership communication to keep their members in the loop and gather data from their members on new expectations.
“Clubs need to invest in short, quick, monthly or even bi-weekly surveys and give respondents an incentive to reply within a given time,” says Madeline Wolkove, Director of Fit Swoop Inc. “At this time, data of this nature is gold and being able to follow a trend in how your members feel about coming back, what percentage is willing to return, how many times a week they will attend, are off-peak times more attractive now, etc. is key!”
“Keep as much of what they love as you can,” says Chris Roche, Schwinn Master Instructor. “We’ll keep as much familiarity as we can for the reopening. Once we are up and running, we can include our members in the growth and shape of new programming.”
By learning what members are thinking, facilities can adjust. Members may have some very consistent expectations as they return to your fitness facility and gathering data will be beneficial to inform your updates and changes. Looking for a survey platform? Try Survey Monkey or Google Forms.
4. Build the community members have been missing
Gym membership is often more than just having access to equipment and classes. For many members, it is a source of community.
“Operators need to carefully consider how they can provide not just an exercise experience that can’t be replicated at home, but also facilitate the social connections that everyone has missed during long periods of isolation,” says Lou Atkinson, Lead Schwinn Master Instructor. “Those who can create a sense of community around their physical space are likely to be the early success stories of the post-COVID era.”
Operators and instructors alike should learn member’s names and make moments out of their successes. “In order to create community, you need to know your community,” says Doris Thews. “Really knowing who your members are and how you can serve them and meet their needs will be a slam dunk.”