COVID-19 is driving rapid change globally, with Governments quickly implementing new measures and control to tackle the virus, commonly known as Coronavirus. Physical activity has a vital role to play now and in the future. With quickly changing circumstances, how can you keep members active and protect your organisation?
The situation in the UK and across the world regarding COVID-19 (also known as Coronavirus) has been evolving at a rapid pace with new measures and controls introduced daily. Health and fitness businesses of all types and sizes have had to adjust and react to changing and stressful circumstances.
Amidst much uncertainty, the importance of physical activity is greater than ever to both reduce the risk of illness and benefit mental health. At the time of publication (20 March 2020), the UK Government has not called for gyms and leisure centres to close, however operators are rapidly adapting with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, allow for social distancing and accommodate self-isolation.
Keep Members Updated & Informed
Regular and clear communications should be a key part of your strategy to retain members. Use all the tools available to you to inform members of your strategy, protection measures in place and alternative options available to them. Email and social media updates are key to reaching your entire audience, it’s also important your staff are well briefed with how to handle member questions.
If you are smaller local operator, encouraging members to keep their membership in place during periods where they are not able to or do not wish to visit your facility, will be vital to your ability to stay in business. Don’t be afraid to emphasise to members that by continuing to support you during this period they will help preserve your facility for the future.
While many members will be financially impacted by COVID-19, many will be willing to keep up their membership to protect their local facility for the future. Perhaps you can partner with other local businesses to encourage your community to support you during this time or offer gift vouchers for services to be redeemed at a future date.
Undoubtedly, having something ‘extra’ to offer members will help encourage their support of your business.
Exclusive Access To Digital Fitness Services
Digital fitness services, delivered through apps, smart TVs and other streaming technologies, have seen a boom in popularity.
Teaming up with a provider of such a service will allow you to provide members with access to workouts and other resources wherever they are. This is beneficial under current circumstances and will enhance your offering over the long-term.
For operators who offer Les Mills classes, the fitness provider is offering access to a free to use platform in heavily impacted markets (including the UK). Featuring over 100 classes, the platform will allow your members to benefit from their favourite group workouts at home. While nothing beats the experience of attending a live class, this is a great way to keep members engaged and active during periods of social isolation.
Away from classes, tools are available to operators of all sizes that can help keep members benefiting from your service wherever they are. TrueCoach is an easy way to deliver 1-2-1 training, and group options, to your members. It allows members to effectively follow a training programme. You and your team can provide members with a personal experience including video-based instructions and even feedback on form and technique.
TrueCoach is dedicated to supporting the global health and fitness industry at this time and are offering a month’s free use for businesses. For Harlands Group clients, this free period has been extended to 3 months. Getting up and running is simple, get in touch your Account Manager or our team to learn more about this offer.
Free To Use Tools
Get creative to engage members and your local community to protect your operation and even drive growth in future membership sign ups. Ideas include:
- Streaming regular live workouts via your Instagram or Facebook accounts
- Posting up ‘workouts’ of the day to social media that can be done at home with little or no equipment
- Use YouTube to post home workouts that can be done at a convenient time
- Free platforms like Zoom or Skype may be an option for hosting small classes or training sessions
Reward Members For Keeping Active
Engagement programmes that reward members for all activity, regardless of where a member is, create a ‘stickiness’ and even a sense of community.
Make use of any existing tools you have available. For example, some apps or platforms will allow you to create challenges for members to enter. Perhaps challenge members to complete a virtual marathon or complete a certain number of workouts over a set period. A small prize could be offered to the winners (if beating fellow members is not enough!).
If you do not have access to a tool currently or are looking for a new option that will give more to your members, consider an option like ActivPoints. Measuring activity via popular fitness trackers including Fitbit, Garmin and Polar, ActivPoints offers a way to engage and reward members virtually.
The online ActivPoints portal can be branded for you and allows members to log in and view daily activity, view leader boards, enter competitive challenges and motivate one another with in-app messaging. Members continue to collect points, voucher codes and coins even when they are not at your facility.
Operators will also have access to member activity data in aggregate form, delivering powerful insights into member habits along with member fitness progress overviews and insights.
At Harlands, we are passionate about the health and fitness industry and believe its strength is key to effectively overcoming COVID-19. Over the coming weeks, we will be publishing a series of articles designed to help support, inspire and empower your organisation during this challenging time.
These posts are not intended to provide advice, useful sources of official guidance include: