In this week’s episode of Industry Change Richard speaks to long time fitness industry expert Ryan Hogan. Ryan has been in the fitness industry for over 20 years. He is the former CEO for Network and also a Project Manager for Filex 2018 which is the biggest event of it’s kind in the southern hemisphere providing and educational and networking experience for the fitness industry.
Through Ryan’s roles at Network and Filex as well as his more recent role at Wexer, he has seen many fads come and go in the industry. But two things remain front and centre for the industry in the next few years. The first of those is creating unique experiences for members and the second involves utilising technology to enhance your offerings and drive more people into the live experience.
There is a huge push towards digital experiences in the fitness industry especially through apps, virtual classes and online programs. But now more than ever to win in the fitness game in the next 10 years gyms and fitness studios will need to provide a unique customer experience for their members in order to stand out from the crowd and keep members.
Why do people love Crossfit? Because when you walk in it’s an experience. Theyve built a community around the Crossfit box that is electric and makes people want to keep coming back for more. In fact Richard went to a Crossfit gym for 4 months while living in Canada and rode his bike through the snow just to get there three times a week!
Why is Soul Cycle so phenomenal in the US? Cycling classes have been part of most gyms since the late nineties and yet people will pay $35US to go to a SoulCycle class. It’s because of the experience they provide.
What about Yoga and Pilates Studios? Most gyms provide a yoga or pilates class and yet Ryan pays a membership to be part of a Yoga Studio. It’s the experience they provide when there.
How do you build an experience like Crossfit or SoulCycle?
1. Build a Tribe
Build a place where people enjoy spending time and hanging out with each other. This could be the physical environment, but this also comes down to how you interact with your members, is it a welcoming environment when they come in, are other members friendly and inviting? All of that counts when you’re building a tribe of passionate fans for your studio or gym.
2. Design Your Environment
People come back to spaces they feel comfortable. This comes down to the physical space. Obvious things like making sure the place is clean and tidy are a great start. But think about your space as a whole branding experience. What are your company colours? Use them in your space so that people feel what they see online and in your branding are the same as when they get to your gym.
3. Encourage Friendly Competition
Running Contests, rewarding members and fostering healthy competition keeps people coming back. It also gives people something to work towards. Whether it’s a simple weekly challenge written on the wall or a 12 week challenge – having something to work towards that pushes people will keep your members feeling fresh and energised.
4. Utilise technology
Using technology in your gym can be as simple as encouraging people to login to Facebook when they are at the gym, using My Fitness Pal, or as complex as virtual classes via a company like Wexer. Whatever the means, remember we live in a digital world and your members EXPECT you to keep up.
The idea of experiences is powerful. We’re shifting in the industry from seeing exerices as just a means of physical activity to actually using it as a way to be part of a community – experiencing a feeling together.