Some issues are constantly front-of-mind for gym owners.
There’s everything that goes into getting a member to your front door – promoting your facilities, classes and special offers. Then there’s everything that goes on once a member is inside – the classes themselves, equipment maintenance, retail options and more.
But that step when they enter your gym? It’s not something you’ll think about often… until it becomes a major issue.
A Balancing Act
Entry to your gym is a balancing act between two competing issues. Security and convenience.
Security is important because you want to make sure only paying members are using your facilities. It’s worth checking passes and memberships to ensure that nobody’s getting a free ride.
Convenience is also important. Your members don’t want to queue for ages – they want to work out now. Any front desk questions or cumbersome entry procedures is an extra step between them and their workout.
Effective access control has to balance both of these issues. But that’s not all it needs to do.
Why Is Effective Access Control So Important?
Investing in your access control might not be top of your to-do list, but it’s one of the most important things any gym can do. Because more effective access control will let you:
- Prevent unauthorised access
It bears repeating that the first, most important job of any access control system is to keep your gym safe. That means nobody who shouldn’t be there is sneaking in- whether that’s because they’re not a member or because they haven’t paid their recent membership fees.
- Monitor numbers
Knowing who’s in your gym at which time does more than stopping you going over capacity. If you can track peak times, you’ll have the information you need to tweak your opening hours, class times, or time-sensitive membership tiers.
- Free up team members
Where are your team members of most use to you? Staffing a reception desk, checking membership details? Or helping members, upselling services and running classes while an automated access control system lets members in?
- Provide a sense of security
A robust access control system can help to reassure members, especially those who use gyms after dark. If they trust your access control to only allow in the right people, they know they have nothing to worry about, no matter the time of the day or night.
And the right access control system can do all this while reducing queues, preventing bottlenecks at entry points and looking professional.
What Else Can The Best Access Control Systems Offer?
When you’re looking at upgrading your access control system, make sure it can also:
1. Actually stop entry from all access points
The best access controls stop unauthorised entry by keeping all doors shut except to those with the right memberships or permissions. It’s no good having a control system that can be evaded – or that’s only fitted to one entry point.
2. Connect with membership payment systems in real time
The most effective access control systems use a single supplier to integrate membership payments and gym management software, eliminating any lag in payment status. Not only can they automatically flag any debts and prevent unpaid members from entering, they’ll also grant immediate access when missed payments have been resolved.
3. Let members in quickly and simply
Access control systems have to be easy to use and make it quick to enter your gym. Members don’t want to fiddle around with codes and keys – a quick tap of an app, swipe of a card, or even smile into a camera is simple and lets members head into the gym without delay.
4. Offer touchless functionality
Cleanliness is a huge factor for gyms of all sizes, with members demanding clean, healthy and safe spaces. Switching out keypads and easily-lost membership cards for facial recognition or app-based touchless security helps everyone stay safe while keeping entry a breeze.
Get Access Right And You’ll Retain Your Members
Making it easier for members to access your gym (while keeping out everyone else) might not be the first thing you think of to help with member retention, but it plays a big part.
Having a safe, secure, satisfying experience at the gym begins at the front door, so improving access will help keep customers happy and engaged. It’s just one of the steps you can take to minimise cancellations.
Article by Xplor Gym
First published: 14 February 2022
Last updated: 31 October 2023