By Patrick Craig, Special FBA Contributor
In my last article, I talked about the business model currently sweeping through the fitness industry—Hybrid. The events of 2020 and 2021 have shown us that this business model is not a fluke or a stop-gap measure, but an industry-wide happening that is not going anywhere.
The great lesson learned from the pandemic is that the fitness industry needed to adapt to survive. And for you and your business to survive, running a hybrid fitness business is absolutely key.
What is a Hybrid Gym?
Let’s do a recap from last month’s article. A hybrid fitness business combines in-person and online offerings. For example, you might have a digital platform where you live-stream classes and offer archived on-demand workouts for digital members. At the same time, you have a traditional facility where you offer in-person training and classes, as well as the normal individual workout programs.
But there is another element the demands of the pandemic have brought to the forefront to the forefront and that is an awakening of a huge segment of the population to the need for health and wellness as well as physical fitness. So along with a demand for a greater variety of training programs we are also seeing a move toward the use of vitamins and supplements, dietary training, weight control, mental health programs, yoga, running and walking, breathing and stretching and even simple movement classes.
All the elements of your current business are adaptable to online presentation—classes, workouts, one-on-one with a personal trainer—these can be streamed live or recorded and stored for on-demand use. And, maybe surprisingly to you, the wellness aspects of this new model are also readily available online, and if you create a niche at your facility for a wellness expert, they can be available in-person as well.
The combination of digital and in-person elements in your business will help you expand your reach, support your community, and boost your bottom line. A Hybrid Business Model gives you security, allowing you to continue to generate revenue even if there are more lockdowns and gym closures. Although I know most of you are desirous of getting your members back in the gym, a hybrid gym with live-streaming and on-demand workouts is the way forward. That said, here are four reasons to make the change as soon as you can.
A Hybrid Business Model gives you security, allowing you to continue to generate revenue even if there are more lockdowns and gym closures.
You can reach more people to help them
When you have a gym, your membership usually lives close by. You can offer specials and sign-up bonuses (free training, body scans, extra classes etc.) but you cannot move your location. With digital fitness/wellness as a substantial part of your offerings, you are no longer restricted by your location. By using promotion effectively, particularly on social media, you can literally reach new business world-wide. If someone has access to the internet and a smartphone, they are potentially a client.
You can generate a substantial additional income stream without fear of disruption
If you were a gym that was forced to close its doors during the pandemic, you suffered an immediate and possibly crushing loss of income. Just imagine the difference an up-and-running digital platform would have made for your business. And you are still facing the same potential disruptions to your business. With a Hybrid business. Even if people are confined to their homes, they can still purchase, schedule, and take part in your online training programs.
You can maximize your valuable time
The old saying says, “Time is Money.” That’s probably most true in the activity-intensive fitness industry. You and your trainers have only so many hours in the day to teach classes and only a set amount of people can attend in-house. So, no matter how hard you work, inside the confines of your physical facility, you can only generate so many dollars per day. With live-streaming and on-demand fitness, you can have a steady stream of income flowing into your coffers, limited only by the number of people you don’t reach through online promotion and advertising. This dramatically transforms the amount of time it takes to reach a potentially massive audience.
You will become part of the future of fitness
No matter what the naysayers might promulgate, digital fitness/wellness is here to stay. Your digital members can work out whenever they want, from any location. They can be using your business from anywhere on the planet. Not that digital fitness will replace in-person services. There is still something about going to the gym and visiting a small training class or working on-on-one with a personal trainer that inspires and motivates your clients. But the growth potential that comes with adding a digital platform can substantially increase your bottom line.
So, with all this, it will take some research, time, monetary investment and focus to make the switch to the Hybrid Business Model. One of the key elements is the software you are using. Think about how members can book live classes, manage their digital and in-person membership, and access your digital content. Your software and member management system should support your hybrid business model. This means that you can easily collect membership payments, spot any late payments, and manage all parts of your business through your gym software.
Next month I’ll talk about the many things you can do to build a successful Hybrid Gym, including what you need in a top-flight Gym Management Software. In the meantime, remember, now is the time to step up to Hybrid. Why? Because your competitors already are.
Patrick Craig has worked in the Marketing Industry for the past twenty years. He is a published author and has written extensively about the fitness industry, particularly the gym software aspect of it. He has been with Money Movers, Inc. for the last six years where he serves as the Marketing and Operations Manager, web designer and coder, and maintains the custom websites Money Movers, Inc. develops for their Online Business Manager gym software clients.