Overcoming Social Distancing Through Technology
With COVID-19 restrictions being eased across Australia, many gyms and fitness clubs are once again opening their doors to eager members. However, it is not business as usual with strict social distancing measures still in place. Clubs must adapt their current operations to ensure that they comply with limitations around the number of people in the space, as well as how far apart they must be. Technology presents an opportunity for gyms to function efficiently and cater to the need’s members in this new landscape.
The fitness industry encompasses a broad range of businesses, all of which are taking a different approach to social distancing. For smaller boutique gyms or studios who run on a class schedule, following these restrictions may be fairly simple; cutting back class sizes and moving equipment stations further apart allows such operators to return to something close to full capacity. However, for big box and 24/7 gyms, being limited to 10 or 20 people in each section will severely restrict their capacity and fundamentally change their ‘workout anytime’ model.
In order to manage these changes, many clubs and studio owners are looking towards apps as a means to help manage member communications and bookings. Many large gyms are utilising reservation systems to manage the number of members in the club at any one time, and avoid disappointed members turning up when the facility is at capacity. Such systems also allow gym staff to undertake a thorough clean in between each group of people to ensure hygiene standards are being maintained.
Further, apps are an excellent platform to distribute virtual training videos and offer workout tracking tools to members. The virtual training market has been booming throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as people are looking for ways to maintain their health and fitness whilst stuck at home. For businesses that have been forced to close their doors, digital content is an excellent way to keep their customer base engaged and eager to return when restrictions are lifted.
A benefit of virtual training programs is their ability to be tailored towards the goals of individual members, offering different workouts for those looking to build strength or increase flexibility. This characteristic has made them a hit among gym-goers who find they deliver added value to their membership, and because of their popularity many business owners are looking to maintain their virtual training library even when they are able to have members in their studio again.
12RND is one operator that is fully invested in implementing technology throughout their franchises, with the COVID-19 pandemic moving forward the launch of their Train: At Home app. Owner, Tim West, says that the new addition to their offering has been a hit with members at more than 10,000 downloads. The team sees it as an opportunity to add value to their members and provide support even when they are away from the club.
We expect to see these technological integrations to remain long after social distancing standards are eased.