The Revolution Of Bricks And Mortar Fitness - The Future Of Health Clubs Is Emerging

 

This Thursday January 16, 2014 at 2:00 pm EST I'll be sharing a preview of my 2014 presentation at IHRSA this year during a FREE IHRSA webinar (hope you will attend). The future health club is going to emerge soon and to understand what it might look like we only have to consider what is happening in retail. Be it Starbucks generating 10% of its total transactions now via its mobile app, or Apple eliminating the check out counter in its stores via its adoption of mobile check outs, technology is being applied to improve service and deliver customized experiences that bridge the divide between the digital and physical worlds while making customers much happier. As the future emerges business models that do this well will be the ones that will succeed because they are redesigning their models to address the new customer, one relying on mobile technology and one having all of the power.

Cisco’s Inernet Business Solutions Group study found that a majority of consumers have advanced beyond the capabilities of most retailers and this is true for most health club operators as well in my opinion. Cisco’s Customer Experience Report documents that consumers prefer more automated and personalized digital buying experiences. By embracing mobile trends, where two thirds of U.S. adults have smartphones and use them to search and conduct commerce, smart operators will be able to deliver service and experience in new ways that will redefine business models. If you don't think these trends are relevant, check out the FIT-C 2014 U.S. Health Club Technology Survey Report.

PSFK's recent report (below) on the future of retail in 2014 is something you should read, watch and think about because these technologies and new approaches are changing how businesses operationalize, market and service customers today. These trends are going to be included in future health clubs and it will completely change how the industry serves its customers. Please join me at #IHRSA2014 this year in San Diego on Friday March 14, 2014 ay 1:30 pm where I'll explore what the future of mobile means for the health club industry.

 

What do you think? I'd love to hear your views. An increasingly competitive landscape  is going to require brands to think about technology adoption and deployment around the customer to create better experiences. Do you agree ? Shouldn't we work together to make that possible ?

About Bryan

Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many to be a thought leader on technology, health club and wellness trends. He has been quoted in global periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, and has been published in journals around the world on his views of how technology will create the dawn of a new era of opportunity for the health club and fitness industries. In addition to being an industry expert, Bryan is a technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He has spoken on a range of business and trend topics on four continents. As a contract executive and advisor, Bryan wears many hats, including working for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, on ACE's Industry Advisory Panel and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org . To learn more contact Bryan here today .

 

FIT-C Releases The 2014 US Health Club Technology Survey Report

A survey on technology that included 746 U.S. based health clubs was conducted at the end of 2013. The survey report was just published by the Fitness Industry Technology Council (Fit-C). The 2014 U.S. Health Club Technology Survey Report possed 14 questions on technology adoption to owners and managers of health clubs.

The results were very interesting. You can obtain a copy for free here and the survey infographic here. Social media adoption, for example, as a key vehicle for marketing and advertising is widespread in U.S. clubs according to the survey results. 97% of all health clubs surveyed indicated that they have a Facebook page and social media and websites are the top 2 marketing and advertising vehicles clubs use today.

While social media is widely used for promotion and advertising, only 30% of clubs enable prospects to join online and a mere 39% provide online account management to members. Today 61% of global consumers prefer to shop in an omni-channel, self-service and automated way according to Cisco’s Customer Experience Report.  According to recent Forrester Research, organizations will differentiate themselves  by delivering consistent and customizable customer experiences digitally. A clear opportunity in online service exists in the Club market.

Finally, while the report addresses a number of adoption trends, two survey questions stood out. First, 62% of surveyed clubs say costs are blocking wider technology adoption. We expect technology costs to continue to decline and therefore believe adoption of technologies will expand significantly going forward. Second, only a third of respondents believe interoperability is important. We now know that nearly 60% of members come to the gym with devices and only a third of those devices connect with equipment. We also know that customers are expecting a more omni-channel experience and so connectivity among technologies is going to be essential to create a better experience. Interoperability is a key underlying mission of the Fitness Industry Technology Council because of this.We need to create standards to create connectivity among all brands of equipment, among other standards, to enable enhanced consumer experience in clubs.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your views. An increasingly competitive landscape from outside the traditional bricks and mortar health club industry is going to require brands to think about technology adoption and deployment around the customer to create better experiences. Do you agree ? Shouldn't we work together to make that possible ?

About Bryan

Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many to be a thought leader on technology, health club and wellness trends. He has been quoted in global periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, and has been published in journals around the world on his views of how technology will create the dawn of a new era of opportunity for the health club and fitness industries. In addition to being an industry expert, Bryan is a technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He has spoken on a range of business and trend topics on four continents. As a contract executive and advisor, Bryan wears many hats, including working for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, on ACE's Industry Advisory Panel and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org . To learn more contact Bryan here today .

Is Innovation Missing Its Purpose ? Often The Answer Is Yes; Health Clubs Should Take Note

I've referenced Brian Solis before. During a recent interview with (famous in tech circles) Jesse James Garrett (below) he explores the notion of innovation and user (aka customer) experience. Garrett is a thought leader in the emerging world of user experience (UX) and wrote the book The Elements of User Experience (check it out). Leaders in the health club and fitness industries should take heed. Here are some exerpts (paraphrased):

Innovation often comes from Gorilla Movements in organizaitons that bubble up to people at the top.....Is Innovation missing its purpose ? Quite often it is....People that are really good at user experience and innovation are good at distinguishing "Innovation" from "Novelty".

Its very hard for leaders to see what is coming, given the rate of change today. So I thought the Solis interview came at the perfect time, following my read of the @IHRSA Club Business International , article Fresh Face of Fitness. In that article my friend and colleauge Rasmus Ingerslev, CEO of Wexer and Health Club chain Fresh Fitness was deservedly featured. Here's a slice of the article on Rasmus Ingerslev:

Just as in any other industry, ours keeps evolving faster and faster. In the process, competition is intensifying. As a result, there will likely be even more segmentation, which will create clear value propositions in the niche, low-, mid- and high-end markets. On the positive side, I believe this will help attract more members, growing the overall market. My concern is that we’ll see bubbles in segments that grow too fast, specifically the low-cost sector, and collapses in the middle-market. The latter may be the toughest position, as it’s at risk of being viewed as neither fowl nor fish. But, as in any industry, there will always be room for best-in-class.

In a business where many leaders are still focusing on differentiation in simple ways, more forward thinking pros like Rasmus are combing new delivery methods and customer service models that are completely different (live group classes and digitally deliivered classes are an example). I think what Rasmus says is very on target. His vision reflects what its going to take to achieve success in the fitness and health club industry in the years ahead. Deeply understanding customers and their emerging needs are critical to success in the future. Unfortunately many in the business think novelty is innovation and they will soon discover how wrong they were to do so. This is particularly true when it comes to blending bricks and mortar and digital technology solutions as Rasmus has.

Watch the interview below with Brian Solis and Jessse James Garrett as they discuss UX. Congrats to my friend Rasmus Ingerslev for his success and vision. What do you think about Fresh Fitness and Wexer ? Do you see this type of innovation as more than a novelty ? How do you think leading brands could improve UX ? Please share your views with me, Bryan O'Rourke. Thanks for your thoughts.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He consults with global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, is Chair of the Medical Fitness Association’s Education Committee, is President of the Fitness Industry Technology Council and a partner in Fitmarc, Integerus, Fitsomo and the Flywheel Group. To learn more contact Bryan here today .

Michael Scott Scudder Interview On The Health Club Industry [VIDEO] - August 2011

This year I promised myself I'd take time to interview some key thinkers in the fitness and health club industry. There is a lot of change going on for health clubs I want to explore, so with time running out for 2011, I called on my friend Michael Scottt Scudder and he agreed to meet me in Arlington, Texas for some quality think tank time; thanks Michael. It was the fitmarc lone star event that provided the perfect backdrop and opportunity for us to visit.

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