First, it was the Internet, then came the development of social networks and the smartphone: all of them have modified our daily life in a radical, sometimes disruptive way. We communicate, consume and gather information differently from how we used to do only ten years ago. The new reality is shaped by players like Netflix or Uber. The Fitness business is also shaped by digital platforms such as ClassPass, Gympass, Gymforless or Outivate.
Consumer Effort theory
As Pablo López de Viñaspe, Wellness and Sport Consulting manager, points out quite rightfully, there is also a new scenary where the fitness client does not go the club anymore. According to the Consumer Effort theory, consumers are prone to fulfill their needs or demands in the easiest, most efficient way. The question that arises is: if they can excercise at home, will they go to the gym? Will the irruption of technological solutions that allow athletes to train at home and still be connected to their personal trainer put an end to the current fitness model?
Personally, I think that will not happen. The model is going to change, obviously, but only because there are more players now. This way of remote training will bring more people closer to a personal trainer. Years ago, people living in towns or villages where gyms did not exist had to basically give up on this kind of exercising. They do not have to anymore. Fitness is reaching more and more people and, by the way, professionals will be able to train clients from all over the world. Generating a personal brand will be a must from now on, as well as knowing all about the digital market.
Are sport clubs at risk of dissapearing?
No, they are not. But they must adapt and empower what makes them different. Pablo López Viñaspe talks about the personal relationships and socialization that takes place in a sport club as a noticeable difference from the new technological players that can attract athletes to our physical spaces. Does training at home bring advantages to athletes? There is no doubt it does. But also does have advantages going to an exclusive club, focused on personalized services that also brings socialization elements.
In any case, I believe the Fitness sector future will require to combine all the options. One of the secrets for success in boutique clubs is the inclusion of thecnology at all levels, including customer relationships. In my opinion, the new Fitness consumer wants to have the power to chose what kind of experience he/she wants to live in each moment, so our work (and challenge) is to offer adequate answers.
A club offering all possibilities, including remote personal training, will be ahead of the game in the new scenary. It is about going one step beyond: attracting customers to the club with positive, unique experiences… and when they decide they would rather train at home, play along and provide them with the newest technological support available.
In other words, clubs must adapt to the new way of consuming fitness without ever breaking the bond with the customer.