In March, we posted an article about the 6 hot topics for fitness operators here: http://bit.ly/2qYvGqV
One of those hot topics is technology.
Since 2010, when technology first became prominent as a topic of discussion with our clients, our organization has done over 300 installs with full technology in Canada. (approx. 50 per year).
It is safe to say, that in that time, we have done 3-4 times more installations without technology.
In 2017, we have 3 type of organizations that we consult and supply.
a) Those adamant about wanting full technology for their fitness space.
b) Those equally adamant about not wanting technology.
c) Those who think they might want technology but are not sure how to deliver a premium experience for their patrons.
This article touches on all 3 groups above, even though group 2 does not want technology as an offering.
They are the organizations who need to avoid costly mistakes in making sure the technology experience for their patron rivals that of the experience they have with their smartphone and other devices.
- Technology on your equipment: defined as your cardio equipment ability to deliver a television and internet experience through their console.
- Non technology: no internet capability on your cardio equipment
The 3 mistakes organizations make around technology:
1. Not evaluating the infrastructure and cost to providing a premium technology experience. Most premium equipment brands can offer technology through their consoles. However, many facilities do not have the infrastructure to provide. Method of internet delivery, strength of internet signal and type of television signal are 3 main areas to address around infrastructure. Your vendor of choice can help you identify the options in your area, but a good AV organization or team is key here once the hardware requirements are identified. Those organizations that understand this are much better suited for a strong return on investment.
2. Not evaluating the benefits of offering no technology. There is a growing movement to disconnect during workouts. And if not disconnecting, many patrons simply use their phones as music devices. Not needed technology through the console. Understanding your customer, their preferences and their needs helps here. Example, we have a prominent university in Southern Ontario fall under group 1 above, and another university fall under group 2. Both had strong reasons for their choice. There are benefits both to the fitness experience of the patron, and the organization in offering no technology.
3. Not implementing a plan to support the technology offering. If technology is the preference, then having a plan to take advantage of the benefits becomes critical. Equally if no technology is route taken. Many organizations have full technology, but very few of the options are used. Think of the apps on your phone, how many do you use vs not use?
As soon as we learn the benefits to a particular app, we then tend to use them more. Same with the interface on your cardio equipment, support/education needs to be part of the implementation.
Offering technology is one thing.
Getting the ROI for your organization in terms of traction is another.
For more information on maximizing the return on investment one way or the other, your preferred vendor should be able to address any of these topics in detail with you and provide examples of situations that have successfully implemented both!
Greg Lawlor is VP of Sales and Customer Experience at STAK Fitness/Matrix Canada.