By: Josh Liberatore, Editor, Athletech News
Originally published in the ‘Technology and Innovation 2023 Report’ by Athletech News
Some of the world’s biggest gym chains are leaving revenue on the table, according to Club OS, a sales engagement and marketing automation software provider whose clients include top brands like Anytime Fitness, Gold’s Gym and Retro Fitness.
Club OS helps gyms with standard member acquisition, engagement and retention tasks like automated text message and email follow-ups for members and potential members. But the company’s software can go deeper than that, helping clubs increase the amount of revenue they generate per member by using tools like upselling and strategic giveaways.
Nick Hahn, Vice President of Product and Development at Club OS, spoke with Athletech News about how gyms can do more to leverage their tech stack into more revenue.
Use Software To Offer More Value
First and foremost, Hahn says gyms should be taking advantage of tried-and-true methods of increasing per-member revenue, like upselling on personal training classes.
Club OS’ software allows gyms to track which members used to book personal training sessions at a high clip but have fallen off in recent months or weeks. Gyms can send automated or manual texts, emails or phone calls to encourage those members to resume one-on-one coaching.
“The incremental revenue for personal training is great, so it's a high-priority way to re-engage with the member,” Hahn says.
But there are more under-the-radar ways gyms should be using the software Club OS provides to monetize their members, like upselling on nutrition products, Hahn says.
“Many of our customers are really diving into nutritional supplements as another source of income because it's quite easy,” Hahn says.
Gyms that sell things like protein shakes, smoothies and supplements can use Club OS to track when a member’s monthly supply may be running out, for example.
“If you sell protein powder, and you know the customer has a 30-day supply, 25 days after they purchase it, you should be sending that person an email saying ‘Hey, you're about to run out soon. Why don't you come back in and buy that?’ If a week goes by and they still haven't bought it, give them $1 off or some kind of incentive to come in and purchase it instead of having them go buy it off Amazon,” Hahn explains.
Gyms that sell shakes and smoothies can also offer members free drinks after taking classes that are already included in their membership.
“Offer that to all your members and try to get them hooked into the association of, ‘I take a class I buy a shake,’” Hahn counsels. “An $8 smoothie may only cost 50 cents to make, so you're really increasing the ROI of that class.”
“If you sell protein powder, and you know the customer has a 30-day supply, 25 days after they purchase it, you should be sending that person an email saying ‘Hey, you're about to run out soon. Why don't you come back in and buy that?’”
Nick Hahn, VP/Product & Development, Club OS
Go After ‘Sleeping Members’
Gyms shouldn’t be afraid of reaching out to their “sleeping members,” or those customers who still maintain an active membership and pay monthly dues but rarely if ever step foot in the gym.
“Generally speaking, a lot of gyms are scared to communicate with the sleeping member because they're relying on that passive income,” Hahn says. “But I think there's a real opportunity to turn that passive income into active income, at a higher ROI, by increasing the value for those members.”
Most people who really wanted to get rid of their gym membership likely already did so during the pandemic, Hahn notes.
“If they didn't cancel during COVID, an email now is not going to do it,” he says. “Gyms who are brave enough to try it are not seeing mass cancellations.”
Gyms can use tools like personal training sessions, free classes and discounts on nutrition items, among other tactics, to engage sleeping members.
“The best member is the engaged member,” Hahn says. “Applying technology to engage with an inactive membership base is a big opportunity.”
“Generally speaking, a lot of gyms are scared to communicate with the sleeping member because they're relying on that passive income. But I think there's a real opportunity to turn that passive income into active income, at a higher ROI, by increasing the value for those members.”
Nick Hahn, Club OS
Talk With Your Tech People
Despite the prevalence of software in the fitness industry, many gyms, even large chains, likely aren’t fully leveraging the different technologies they pay for.
“There aren’t many clubs out there that are truly taking advantage of all the functionality that their technology offers,” Hahn believes. “And that's not just Club OS, it's really their entire tech stack. What I find very often in talking with clubs is that they have these ideas of how to do something and they're out there looking for a solution, and one of their existing vendors already solves it, but they're not having the right conversations with them.”
Gym operators are understandably focused on day-to-day operations, but they would do well to carve out some time for regular, strategic conversations with their technology providers, who can serve as valuable business partners.
“Too many view spending an hour a month with each technology vendor as a waste of their time because they need to be in the club operating,” Hahn says. “But gyms should be keeping in touch with their vendors, asking them questions like, ‘What are my competitors doing better in your system that I'm not doing? What features of yours am I not implementing? What can my staff be doing better?”
Even gyms that have been on the cutting edge of the digital revolution risk becoming outdated if they don’t make it a priority to maximize their tech and stay current on new features, enhancements and best practices.
“Technology advances very rapidly and you have to be willing to invest the time into keeping pace with it, or else you’re going to fall behind your competitors,” Hahn says.