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 .

How Technology Can Make Human Experience Richer And Better - A Case In Point

People often see technology as being the antithesis of humanity. I guess this view was created in the mind of Terminator fans years ago (Watch The "I'll Be Back" Scene). The evidence doesn't always substantiate the modern world reality on this point. For example, Amazon's Net Promoter Score was second highest among US brands last year at 76 . You don't speak to a human when buying from Amazon yet the brand outperforms banking giant ING with a NPS of only 48. Perhaps the technical human divide isn's so wide. The point is technology can serve needs and augment human interaction in very impactful ways, creating more human experiences. Helping people reach their potential and contribute when they might not be able to otherwise is the greatest example of the potential technology offers to augment humanity; and its just getting started.

Here's a case in point, thanks to a recent tweet from @AugieNieto whom I follow closely on twitter, with respect to people suffering from disabilities or various physical limitations due to a variety of conditions and situations. If you are in the fitness industry you no doubt are well aware of Augie and his teams fight to progress research around ALS. My colleague and dear friend @LindseyRainh2o has a family member battling the disease as well and we are supporters of Augie's Quest to identify a cure and you should be one to :) . Augie's recent tweet included a TED Talk, below for your review, that demonstrated the power of technology in enabling people to continue to lead meaningful lives despite their limitations ( Thank you Augie). Here's the story of Henry Evans as described n the Ted Talk website.

At age 40, Henry Evans was left mute and quadriplegic after a stroke-like attack caused by a hidden birth defect. Years of therapy helped him learn to move his head and use a finger -- which allows him to use a head-tracking device to communicate with a computer using experimental interfaces.

Now, Evans is a frequent and enthusiastic collaborator with robotics teams who are developing tools to help the severely disabled navigate their lives. He collaborates with Georgia Tech professor Charlie Kemp on using the Willow Garage PR2 robot as a surrogate, as well as Chad Jenkins' RLAB at Brown on quadrotors for expanding range of motion.

As the Willow Garage blog post says: "Every day, people take for granted the simple act of scratching an itch. In Henry's case, 2-3 times every hour of every day he gets an itch he can't scratch. With the aid of a PR2, Henry was able to scratch an itch for himself for the first time in 10 years."

Technology is a great human accelerator. Using it wisely can make a big impact on the lives of not only Henry but everyone. What do you think? I'd love to hear your views. As the health club industry increasingly interconnects technology and human interaction I think its important to keep these real world examples in mind. The potential to create meaningful human experiences by relying on technology in the right way is limited only by our imagination. Do you agree ?

About Bryan

Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many to be a thought leaders 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 .

Relevance In Health And Fitness Requires Creating A #MOVEMENT

 

It was a long and exciting few weeks. From keynoting at #SIBEC2013 , attending the #GGFA owners conference, speaking at #ANTPLUS2013 , conducting a great webinar with Todd Levine on the New Era of Personal Training and finally working with Gold's Gym International management team, I'm finally at home relaxing in the backyard (here's what that's like if your interested).

There was a common theme that developed with the wide group of leading health and fitness experts and professionals I spent time with. That theme was that technology is transforming business. But really its more than just that. The transformation that informed customers, a interconnected world and technology enablers has created requires us to all rethink our organizations and businesses with a bigger view if we are to remain relevant and have a meaningful impact on people's lives. While technology is a big part of this transformation in the end its really an enabler for achieving greater purpose and connections with customers and transforming how we do things. What does that mean ? I propose that the future is here now and the current transformation underway requires we become part of a movement that reflects a different way of thinking.

Check out this recent video from @BrianSolis with @simonmainwaring, author of We First, How Brands And Consumers Use Social Media To Build A Better World, shown below as they discuss the True Meaning of a Social Business. As I explained at ANT+ Symposium and at SIBEC2013 , our industry needs to be more about a MOVEMENT and less about business. We need to rethink our views. Technology can enable that but its more about changing the stuff between our ears that is required to make it happen. What do you think ? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many as one of the most prolific thought leaders on technology, health club and wellness trends. He has been quoted in 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 .

The New Era Of Ideas - Is The Health Club Industry Ready ?

Creativity, innovation, disruption; you know the buzz words. I and many others have written extensively on the topic; from the creative destruction of health and wellness to the latest innovations in fitness and health. Why ? I hear it from many well respected and highly touted professionals almost daily, "The Fitness and Health Club Industry have got to change." The purpose for writing on these subjects is to reassure my colleagues that yes things are going to change and its going to be sooner than later.

That notion was reinforced this Sunday morning, as I paged through the latest content streams for the week ahead, I saw something that reinforced the views of one of my favorite business leaders CK Prahalad and indirectly bolstered my thinking that the new era of ideas is going to take hold very soon in the health club and fitness industry. What did I see ?

A new company called Tile ; (video is below), is launching a matchbook sized Bluetooth device that aims to ignite a community movement around keeping track of items in life. They used Crowdfunding with the Selfstarter platform and raised over $1.8 Million . The device is really cool and it was started by two guys. That's it. Something was created that could not have been possible only a few years ago. The idea was funded by thousands of strangers via the Internet. Amazing. Yes, the new era of ideas is here and to the extent two people can figure out how to track stuff in the manner that Tile does, well there are going to be many equally cool ways to do things in the health club and fitness space that no one has consider or was possible just a few years ago.

What this means for the health club and fitness industry is that just like Tile, groups of open minded people armed with new business tactics like crowdfunding and an understanding of technology are going to be able to deliver new products and services that are revolutionary. I meet entrepreneurs like them all of the time. They will create entirely new possibilities and usher in a new era for health clubs and fitness . In the era of new ideas, the past means less and less and that means a whole new era of opportunities lies ahead. Who you know and what you did before will not matter in a world of ideas where the freshest and brightest approaches will be able to get to market faster and with less objection than ever before.

CK Prahald noted the two key barriers to innovation: not accepting that things have REALLY changed and anchoring yourself in the logic of the past instead of embracing the new. When one sees a solution like Tile, it only goes to prove the point that true innovation in the health club and fitness industry will come from a similar place. Is the industry ready ? I think it is because it doesn't have a choice.

Tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, what you think about the new era of ideas. Is the Health Club and Fitness Industry ready for all of this potential ? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He works for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US and heads up the firms Integerus and Fitsomo. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council (To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org ). Recently Bryan was named to the ACE industry advisory panel.  To learn more contact Bryan here today.