We’re living in an experience economy. Personalised experiences tailored to meet exact customer fit.
From finance to entertainment, to education, people no longer just want products and services – they want a better experience. And it’s the same when it comes to gyms.
The faster and further any gym can shift from an old-fashioned one-size-fits-all approach to members, the better you can lock into exactly what your members want – as individuals.
And the better you will be rewarded. With more memberships, longer memberships and more profitable memberships
What’s at the heart of the experience revolution? Data. But not just any data. It’s the right data, applied in the right ways that will drive your success.
Get those marketing fundamentals in place and you’re flying. Ignore the shift in expectations or get your data collection and management wrong and you’ll miss out on all the opportunities the new experience economy offers.
Understanding and gathering the data that counts
First things first – what sort of data should you be gathering? What’s useful? Why is it useful? And how do you go about collecting it?
You’ll already hold member basics. Name, age, gender, address – your MVD, the ‘minimum viable data’ any business needs for day-to-day operations. And chances are you’ll already use it for simple, traditional gym marketing – newsletters, emails and the like.
But what about other data?
The data that you can use to supercharge a personalised experience?
There are two main types to focus on:
Quantitative data capture
Qualitative data records the hard numbers, the facts and the figures that your members generate every time they visit. Ideally, you’ll have the gym management software in place to collect important information such as:
- Gym attendance – frequency, duration, times of the day
- Class attendance – type, instructor, frequency, duration, time of the day
- Equipment usage – type, duration
- Personal performance – times, durations, reps
- In-gym purchases – food, supplements, clothing, accessories
Qualitative data capture
Qualitative data collected from staff and members using questionnaires and surveys is also important. A record of the softer stuff based on observation and opinion. Important information like:
- Preferred classes
- Preferred instructors
- Ideal attendance routine
- Fitness goals – what your members are working to achieve
- Thoughts on hygiene and housekeeping
Gathering both qualitative and quantitative data is a great start, but it’s what you do with it that matters. The ways you can turn that data into personal experiences for your members and positive business outcomes for your gym.
Our eBook – 8 Ways To Supercharge Gym Member Retention – details exactly how you can use data to improve your members’ experiences – along with several other highly effective strategies.
How to use data to personalise members’ experiences
1. By treating members as individuals
We all appreciate being appreciated. One way to make clear that you see your members as individuals is to highly target your class and facility promotions. Instead of a scattergun, ‘hey everybody here’s everything’ approach use your data to personalise your outreach.
Recognition is appreciated too.
As well as recognising and celebrating obvious landmarks like birthdays, use your data to recognise and reward other less obvious achievements – like personal bests, hot attendance streaks, and class awards.
And celebrate people’s lives outside of the gym too – a ‘thank you’ discount for NHS workers or a ‘school holiday recharge the batteries’ offer for teachers. Even a simple personalised email or newsletter will go a long way.
2. By building a community
Every gym is a melting pot of different tastes, styles, cultures and personality types. Use your data to help nurture tribes within your tribe by setting up themed events or activities.
Even outside events like meals out or trips to sporting events where people can bond and build their social networks. The closer your members are to each other, the closer they are to you, seeing your gym as their social hub.
3. By focusing on technology-enabled experiences
There’s nothing more personal than a member’s personal performance in the gym. It’s unique to them. And that’s why data-driven experiences and the wearable tech, apps and smart machines that all monitor, measure and inspire performance are so important.
Fun, challenging and hugely rewarding, by enabling your members to plug in their data every time they step on a machine or enter a class, you’re delivering an enhanced personalised experience. And the greater the experience, the more fun they have, the more your members will tell their friends and family about the great gym they go to.
4. By prioritising joined-up thinking and joined-up experiences
When you have a clear understanding of your members – what they like, what they don’t and what they might, then you can experiment with new product bundles and blended offers – a wellbeing package, a combat sports package, a coaching programme. The opportunities are endless.
Opportunities and challenges
Data’s great. It’s the difference between a blanket approach and the more nuanced, more profitable ways that modern gyms are looking after members.
But only if it’s used wisely and effectively.
There’s nothing more impersonal than getting personalisation wrong. So, take advice, and take professional business and technological input to make sure your personalisation works for you instead of against you.
That said, there’s nothing more rewarding than getting personalisation right. And of course the more human, the more natural it feels and the better it’s deployed – the better it all works.
Deploying a data driven member experience
People expect to be treated as individuals these days. It’s a given.
Fail to show your members the individual attention they deserve and they’ll quickly think you don’t care. When they think you don’t care… they’ll vote with their feet.
That’s the last thing you need.
With gym management software freely available to help you collect all the right data, and use it in all the right ways, why play catch up?
And if you’re looking for more ways to improve and personalise your gym members’ experience, download our free 8 Ways To Supercharge Gym Member Retention eBook now.
Article by Xplor Gym
First published: 26 July 2022
Last updated: 02 November 2023