Top Tech Integrations for Gyms in 2019

Digital transformation can be both seen and personally experienced on all levels of customer experience nowadays. Whether it’s Doordashing our meals or ordering Ubers, utilizing technology to enhance or expedite everyday activities has almost become unavoidable.

Fitness Clubs are no exception. As the health and wellness industry as a whole has dramatically benefited from technological developments (wearable devices, fitness-based phone applications, advanced exercise equipment, etc.) over the last decade, fitness clubs have made similar strides.  

The fitness club experience is rising to meet  higher expectations every day, meaning what should be provided to members is expected to improve as well. This can include everything from technology-based exercise experiences, new-wave interactive work out classes, or first class amenities or spa services.  

These basic improvements to bolster customer experience can easily be attained through customized integrations made possible through fitness club management software.

In order to provide these technology-propelled experiences that will keep clients satisfied with your club and their results, fitness clubs must find ways to seamlessly integrate access to these options throughout their fitness club.

Comprehensive Access Controls

The most popular integration utilized by fitness clubs is almost common sense: check-in technology. Typically, the top priorities individuals consider before joining a fitness club is convenience and accessibility, meaning that clubs need to offer as flexible hours and check-in procedures as possible to meet this expectation.

In fact, a recent study concluded that 24 hour access ranked among the top factors that pushed gym memberships among new clients. The functionality of this technology doubles its merit in that it also tracks member attendance, automates check-in procedures, and extends client hours. Rather than using manpower to check in guests by hand, use any number of access integrations to make it as easy as possible for both your guests and your staff.  

These check-in alternatives can range from scannable member cards or keys, biometric scanners, or mobile barcodes that can be distributed through your fitness club’s mobile app.

Access Cards/Turnstiles

The most commonly used and affordable protocol for self regulated access controls is through member cards or smart lock technology. Not only is producing member cards affordable, but sticking with status quo is not always a bad thing. Turnstiles can similarly be incorporated as an extra security measure to use in tandem with access cards.

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Biometric:

Biometric integrations for self check-in allow members to enter their fitness clubs by fingerprint or through facial recognition software, which offers numerous benefits. Biometric attendance is altogether easier: your members do not have to worry about keeping track of their entry cards while working out, and on the management side, you don’t have to worry about cancelling or replacing lost cards (yay environment).

In terms of  security, biometric entry fights one of the most significant problems gyms face: fraud. Using membership cards or keys for access without identification checks at the front desk leaves gyms susceptible to fraudulent users who borrow paying members’ cards.

Mobile

Like biometric check in, mobile check in kills two birds with one stone by prioritizing convenience for clients and preventing fraud by requiring users to use their barcodes generated on their phones.

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Since our phones are glued to us at all times, including doubling as an mp3 player at the gym, this option eliminates the hassle that comes with forgetting key cards or providing temporary entrance protocols.

In addition to affording clients the convenience of checking in themselves, these respective technologies can offer other benefits to your fitness club. This technology will allow you to easily monitor your clients by logging their check-in and check-out times, which can help you familiarize yourself consistent patterns at your gym (peak and valley hours, customer attendance trends, demographic patterns). This information can be essential in developing your business strategy and finding ways to make your members as satisfied as possible.

Apart from strictly check-ins, this access control technology can provide other services for your gym, like smart locks for locker rooms or enforcing permissions to different areas of your gym. This allows for variability with memberships, for example if some memberships provide for additional classes or trainings.


3D Body Scanning Technology

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Judging one’s health by a number on the scale is a very antiquated model for health. Our bodies’ compositions are much more complex than what our weight suggests, and accordingly, to accurately gauge our health or fitness progress, new techniques like body scanning are imperative. This is quickly becoming a new standard for assessment.

The benefits of a body scanning hardware integration can positively impact your fitness club in several ways. With the buzz and public interest surrounding body scanners and Body Composition reports right now, this technology is a great way to generate extra income in addition to membership fees by charging clients a small fee per scan.

Since Fit3D is a autonomous piece of equipment, your guests are free to conduct their own scans at no additional labor costs. It automatically emails detailed reports to the recipients after each scan.

Additionally, fitness facilities have been seeing a shift in sources of revenue, mainly in that secondary spend is becoming a much larger source of revenue, even surpassing those of memberships for some clubs.

Body scanners are a great way to boost secondary revenue in charging clients per scan and reminding them periodically to check their progress.

Furthermore, the information generated from Fit3D can be invaluable if your fitness club offers private training or individualized fitness plans for clients. Body scans will provide a raw and clear starting point in terms of the client’s health and will be able to track progress every step of the way, even if that progress is not immediately clear by changes on the scale.

Client success evidenced by body scanner results can double as built-in marketing for your club and its private services at no additional stress or cost to you.

Club Sponsored Mobile App

Given the age of digital connectedness, a great way to both communicate with your members and allow your members to have unprecedented control of their memberships is through a mobile application.

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A mobile app can provide for third party integrations from other leading fitness applications so that clients can utilize various platforms like Fitbit, Strava, etc, to track and monitor personal data as well as collective fitness progress.

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Similarly, you can organize challenges or events for your clients through the application that can help cultivate a sense of community within your fitness club. Challenges can pull data from various fitness apps in order for your members to compete, like if for example the challenge is most miles run, calories burned,  or gym check ins within a month.

On the user end, clients can use a mobile app to book classes, rate trainers, and access/update their own personal information at any time with ease. This is especially helpful in terms of payment, in which where clients can update new credit cards or other information without needing the check-in at reception or with help from employees with a mobile check-in option.

This application also serves numerous purposes to make your life easier on the back-end by surveying customer habits and collecting data. After gauging client profiles and trends, most popular classes, or most popular products sold at POS, you can create Smart Offers to target certain demographics at your gym.

For example, you can automatically send customized promotions to certain clients based off consistent class attendance or purchases at reception, etc. This small but personalized effort can be great in bringing in increased revenue and overall customer satisfaction.


Equipment Integrations

Often times when we go to the gym, we are trying to get the most out of our work outs in a limited amount of time. As a natural byproduct of that, most people will opt to hit the “Quick Start” button instead of taking the time to fill in our standard information to receive or more accurate summary of our cardio sessions.

Even if we do take the time to fill in our height, weight, gender etc., an average report of our calories burned does not do much in the grand scheme of things to evaluate our work outs in tandem with our daily activities outside of the gym.

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Equipment integrations ensure that your members are reaping the most benefits from their work outs by using new-wave exercise technology. Not only do these “smart” machines allow new interactive work out options, like virtual reality graphics to accompany your treadmill run or fixed workout plans that alter speed or incline for you, but they also enable easy synchronization with your technology.

This integration is essential in attaining an accurate assessment of actual calories burned during a work out, and more importantly, how that work out falls into the rest of your activity for the day. The most significant pitfall of exercise equipment that does not provide for wearable integration is that it will estimate fitness progress and work rate, like calories burned, based on general information.

Conclusion

As fitness technology continues to evolve, make sure your club is equipped to evolve with it. These integrations will bring in a wealth of benefits to satisfy your clients while making day to day operations easier for you and your staff.  

Written by Laura DiBiase. Laura is a Marketing Specialist for Perfect Gym Software.


Patrick Donnelly