The Ins and Outs of Digitalisation
Recently, not surprisingly, all the focus relating to the digitalisation of the leisure sector has been on enhancing the out of gym experience. Whilst this is clearly important, we need not to overlook the value an in-gym digital experience has to offer.
Here, Ernst De Neef, CEO at FunXtion, explains how gym owners can harness digital capabilities to enhance the gym floor training experience and strengthen a connection between the in and out of facility experience.
As gyms start to reopen, we have yet to understand the full impact of lockdown. Encouraging research by TA6 that engaged more than 4,000 gym members, reports 87 percent of members intend to return to their gym, with ‘motivation from gym instructors’ quoted in a Leisure-net solutions study of 65,000 consumers, as the main factor people missed during lockdown.
These statistics highlight the fact that whilst many people have embraced fitness content delivered directly into their homes by digital means, there is still a strong preference to train in a physical space when circumstances allow. This is great news for gym owners and suggests that optimising the in-gym experience should remain the primary focus, whilst also offering a remote provision that enables the extension of support 24 hours a day.
The key is the seamless transition of the member’s journey from inside to outside of the gym. The look, feel and functionality of the experience needs to be consistent whether they are on the gym floor or at home.
Over the last few years, FunXtion has developed a suite of products which enable the provision of a 360 degree approach, landing the virtual and physical experience. In-gym, our interactive Experience Station delivers bespoke, guided virtual classes, workouts, and exercises directly to members on the gym floor enabling support and coaching tips even when instructors are not available.
In addition, last year we added our MultiScreen Solution. This enables content to be streamed to numerous screens programmed to run concurrently, creating the perfect digital coach for small group, gym based programmes. Screens are positioned at each exercise station in the functional space. Each screen is programmed to deliver individual exercise instruction, creating a personal coach at each station to help participants get the most out of every exercise and guard against injury. The screens are linked to the audio and lighting circuits, ensuring all external stimuli work together to create a totally immersive experience, supported by exercise instruction at every station.
We also have an exciting new product coming to market in a matter of weeks which will allow clubs to stream and schedule virtual classes anytime, providing an interactive workout experience on the gym floor, the functional training area or directly to members at home via an app.
The future of fitness is about the creation of standout, fun, memorable and social experiences in-gym whilst maintaining a digital link to members as they go about their daily lives. To support our in-club digital innovations, we have also developed an app which enables members to access a huge array of beautifully produced workouts and exercises to support their fitness and wellbeing needs when they are physically unable to visit the gym. Our open platform also enables integration with a range of third party fitness trackers and CRM systems, supporting operators in the creation of a complete digital ecosystem, driven by an in-gym experience.
Nobody yet knows exactly how Covid will influence consumer training habits long term. However, I am convinced that human beings have an inherent craving for human connection and this drives a desire to work out in the presence of other like minded people in a dedicated training environment.
Therefore, gym owners should focus their investment and attention on what they do best – the delivery of outstanding in-gym experiences. Optimising digital opportunities that enhance training experiences in-club should be the first priority, supported by a remote offer that extends the in-club experience beyond the four walls of the facility and into daily life.