back to overview

Top 6 areas to remember in the search for success in both digitization and human capital

July 19th, 2018 13:57 by Mendel Witzenhausen

The focus of many health and fitness industry conventions recently has been human capital and digitalization. 
Digitization and human capital sound so sterile in a very personal world. Do we forget about the person at the end using our services? There are many interesting and essential layers to both that add to the consumer experience, and thus retention. 
Having visited gyms and fitness locations around the world, I have seen good, bad and the downright ugly examples of these layers. The good combined outstanding, seamless and memorable consumer experiences. 
The ugly? That's for the next blog.
Here are my top 6 layers in the search for success in both digitization and human capital.  
1.    Facility Design.
Creating an environment that is appealing and well-designed but critically, functional, is difficult. I have seen too many boutique studios who overdesign, overpromise but underdeliver. One of the best design experiences I have had was with PeoplesPlace gym in Amsterdam - designed by Dan O Kelly ( They have nailed it on so many levels – it’s not just another boutique club they have made themselves unique by finding the right balance of stylish, hip and functional. PeoplesPlace is a perfect example out of how investment in the right experience is directly related to member loyalty and retention. 
2.    Appropriate Gym Management System
Having a good management system in place is indispensable and when used correctly will give you that all-time great ROI. Delivering a smooth user-experience in subscription, booking a class, and being flexible is crucial. This management tool should allow the end-user and the staff to access and interact 24/7. I like for this exact reason. It is aimed mainly at boutique studios, allowing them to build communities and help the end-user by integrating workouts into their daily/weekly routine.
3.    World Class Instructors. 
This is a sore point, painful actually. There is a direct correlation between a successful club and highly qualified, trained and motivated instructors. Trainers should be kept motivated and up to date with the latest trends and be motivated to improve themselves on a continuous basis.  I find it difficult to believe that, as standard, there are not more academies, e-learning platforms or train the trainer programs within the studios. One of the best trainer experiences I have come across to date was with Pop-up Fitness (Olivia Cooney) the approach was personal, high quality, surprising, rewarding and smart music pitching. 
4.    Originality. 
O boy, are we copycats in this industry or what?  Almost everybody is pretty much doing the same thing with a slightly different spin. Originality is not something you can buy, or that is easy to achieve, but at least we should try......! We see almost everywhere the same décor, lights, the same setup, the same music and the same motivational quotes on the walls. I’ll come back on this one at the end of my blog to challenge you as an entrepreneur. 
5.    Heart rate monitoring.
A lot of the clubs I have visited are using heart rate tracking as a tool to increase the member experience. Although I think this is an excellent addition to the workout, I'm critical because I see it used as a gimmick. You need to make it work for the end-user. Buying, connecting or wearing a heart rate device are significant barriers for many members and result in only a few that see actual benefits. As a result of these avoidable barriers, you probably will see 2,4% of all club members are using it. Taking ease of use and integration possibilities is a vital consideration. There are some cool devices and concept out there like MyZone or TeamBeats (Technogym) that consider the above barriers. I believe the best example in our industry is Orange Theory. 
6.    Technology. 
Technology such as virtual classes or online coaching is not meant to replace Instructors or Personal Trainers. Instead, appropriate technology is a tool to help provide an even better service and make their jobs more efficient. The right technology used correctly can help structure, track, guide and motivate.  For sure, the next step is to combine all of these critical success factors; tracking and coaching members, we will see the move to Artificial Intelligence become the norm. Embracing technology and making it work for you is essential.  A great example of making technology work for you is the Australian franchise formula F45 (, definitely worth checking out! 
So, there you have it, my top 6 areas where I think that our industry should consider improving the consumer experience. 
In point 4 I talk briefly about ORIGINALITY – and here is my challenge to all of you out there – let's get brainstorming, let's get creative! Send me an email with your most challenging idea, using technology to create a unique workout experience. Let’s collaborate and together move our beautiful industry forward.
Mendel Witzenhausen
The views are my own and do not reflect in all cases those of FunXtion 
Co-founder and creative Director FunXtion



stay up to date and sign in for our newsletter