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How to Drive Business Growth in Hybrid Fitness Industry


Historically, the fitness industry has been a business that didn't rely on technology other than managing operational data. It has always focused on having personalized, face-to-face interactions with its members. 

Due to the unpredictability of the global pandemic and humanity's new normal of social distancing, there is a significant change in how and when people exercise. To keep up with this new normal, fitness businesses have redefined themselves by upgrading and complementing their business models.

How Covid has pushed a new wave of digital innovation in the fitness industry

The workout lovers and health-seekers embraced technology rapidly to see how they can adapt to healthier lifestyles, especially in current circumstances.

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On the other hand, the physical gym, fitness centres, and health clubs had a hard time catering to their members during the pandemic. To keep up with the evolving member needs, the fitness industry was forced to transform digitally and eliminate as much friction online and offline as possible. According to ClubIntel's data, there has been an impressive increase in on-demand and live stream workout (  75% as compared to 25% before covid hitp), as the world turned towards digital platforms to stay fit. On-demand videos, live sessions, recorded content, and customized diets - all were catered to via online apps and portals. 

In a study conducted by ClubIntel in December 2020, 58% of members surveyed said that their facility offers video on demand (VOD) services and 44% of members say they use it at least once a week.

Trends that will shape the fitness industry in 2021 

If you are focused on driving fitness business growth, you should also look at what trends might affect your business.

Wearables and fitness technology 

AI fitness coaches, fitness trackers, and numerous innovations utilize augmented and virtual realities to encourage more individuals to adopt healthier lifestyles. It is during these times that the value of this technology is being recognized and noted. 

Hybrid fitness programs

A convenient mix of online fitness classes with either home-based exercises or a gym workout a few days a week will be the way to go. With members realizing the benefits of virtual and physical activities, gym owners can cater to this evolved demand by offering both. It is a sophisticated solution that has high potential and already on its way to making it big. Hence, the future is a hybrid, digitally connected fitness model. 

Customized programs for high-risk Individuals

One vital awareness among individuals, owing to the pandemic, has been about high-risk individuals. This much-needed realization has given rise to health and fitness experts devising personalized programs for these members, instead of gauging them, merely based on age, weight, or BMI. 

Outdoor space work-outs

With months of being locked indoors, members are craving the wide outdoors. The tendency would be to opt for an open park or playground over a closed gym facility. Gym owners may be required to incorporate some open spaces to add to their amenities like nature walks, beach yoga, or garden workout.  

Holistic exercises

Another aspect that has made individuals more aware of themselves is understanding the connection between their minds and bodies. People who were getting stressed with every lockdown limitation or upheaval have found solace in breathing exercises, meditation sessions, and yoga.

Remote training for one-on-one sessions

Virtual sessions have enabled all to get connected across the globe and connect with members and trainers from anywhere. Getting connected in the comfort of their homes while offering members the complete advanced fitness experience.

Corporate fitness programs

To keep their employees engaged and healthy, some firms have begun investing in their people's health. Understanding the actual effects of exercise on individuals' minds and productivity is the primary reason the corporate trend is sure to continue developing. 

Opportunities and challenges for fitness businesses

Offering fitness-as-a-service via a hybrid or a completely digital way certainly provides great opportunities for fitness business owners to collect data points from multi-platforms about the member’s likes, preferences, behaviours, and actions. In a competitive space where members have multiple options to choose from, business owners can utilize this data to get smarter intelligence and build personalized relationships deeply that are connected and deeply personal. 

Customers today leave behind valuable data, which when analyzed accurately can offer actionable insights to offer truly personalised customer experiences. However, it’s not easy as it appears especially in the fitness industry. In an evolving hybrid economy, your member data now resides in multiple places. Getting a complete 360-degree view of your member is difficult. Even if you end up building a data warehouse and/or get a generic business intelligence platform, you don’t truly understand their preferences, behaviours and actions. This becomes a challenge to engage with your members with the right actions at the right time. 

Building a "growth engine" for your fitness business

Existing members are said to be 10 times the worth of the initial purchase they make, hence a no brainer that retaining has a great ROI. Follow the RAG formula to build the right growth engine for your fitness business.

Boost retention

Retaining members at your gym is the key to your gym’s success, and at the same time multi-faceted too. And as an HBR study says, getting new members on board is 5-25 times more costly than retaining existing ones.

Here are some key strategies to boost your member retention

  • Know thy member -When a member feels taken care of and known by a brand they stick around longer. Simple! So leverage your member management tools, and connect with them, personalize messages and communicate, make them feel valued.
  • Make it a group effort - Working out in groups and with friends can certainly boost motivation. Encourage your members to refer friends and family, initiate gym-level challenges for healthy competitions and have members connect with fellow members.
  • Offer payment flexibility - Losing a member to a competitor’s attractive discount offer hurts bad! While your personalized recommendations and engagements should help retain each member, that isn’t always the case. So, pull insights to note fringe members, rollout surveys to find out offers that might be of interest especially when it comes to membership renewal.
  • Set goals that gradually move upwards - Setting up achievable goals is the key to keep members motivated. Know your members' workout preferences and goals they have set for themselves, and define milestones to show them their success every week.
  • Track attendance - If one of your consistent members’ attendance drops, then it should be an alert to take action. Get in. Question. Motivate. Gauge the need and offer assistance to get them back on track.
Grow traffic

Target your prospective members through different marketing channels so when they are ready to join a club, you are top of mind! Thanks to the online marketing options that make this easy for any business. Here is how -

  • User-friendly site - This should be the 1st step. Your site is the face of your business, online. Hence it needs to be informative, attractive, and user friendly. Show your unique selling propositions, add pictures of your place, include your fitness app details, so your prospective customers know you have multiple offerings/li>
  • Local SEO - A common search term used by most people will be along with ‘near me’ i.e. ‘Gyms near me’! So you know why it is important for you to spend time on your local SEO
  • Google My Business -Getting listed on Google My Business is an essential step too, so people can find your address, phone number, and website easily. The images and reviews on GMB help prospects to see the credibility of the information over the internet.
  • Social media - Social media offers another great opportunity to market your gym/fitness centres. The content you share with your followers builds you as a brand. Posting pictures and videos on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, helps you show your location, staff and workouts in action. This helps you to get brand visibility and drive traffic to your location or website.
  • Referral campaigns - Referrals can become your best lead generator!! Members who are already with you can be your most qualified salespeople. Create referral offers that inspire your members to recruit for you. . Once they are motivated to get their friends and family in, the rest is smooth.
Increase conversions with existing customers

Selling the right service or subscription at the right time is critical for conversions. Hence tracking member needs and preferences, spending capacity, last purchase history - all factors play a major role in cross-sell and upsell.

Here are some specific tips for a smoother sell - 

Cross-sell and Upsell

Track interests and inquiries

A prospect toured your facility but didn’t join; a member looked at your retail but didn’t buy. What can you do to ensure they complete their purchase? Send reminders or personalize it with offers and discounts etc.

Add value and let them buy

Educate your member about the key benefits of taking a meditation session after a core workout. Tell them why a non-slippery bottle could be a great companion during a core workout - create content that makes them start thinking and lead them towards a purchase. 

Make your members your indirect salespeople

Referral Programs

Create referral programs that truly incentivize your members to promote your business.

Corporate Memberships

Work with contacts in associations and corporates in a way that you only need to sell to the decision-maker. Create tie-ups that get you more members in a single effort. 

Can existing MRM software help fitness business owners drive growth?

Member Relationship Management Software helps in storing all information for your gym operations to run smoothly. They store data such as demographics, subscription details, workout programs, renewal details, address etc. 

MRMs can trigger emails/messages for promotion, follow up, and renewals. However, members may not always be able to look at your communication due to varied distractions or simply a busy schedule!

In addition to this, the most important aspect of communication is personalization - Delivering the right message to the right member at the right time. The current MRM software doesn’t have the complete profile of their members. They may have basic information, however, what they don’t have is customer behaviour and engagement data that shows how your members are interacting with your brand in a hybrid world.  

Given different data of your members sitting in different systems and applications, it lacks the ability to unify data sitting in silos and churn out insights that can create personalized recommendations using customer behaviour intelligence.   

If you want to stay competitive and grow your fitness business in this hybrid economy, then MRM software are not enough.

AI for Fitness Enterprises

Artificial Intelligence in fitness is used in several ways, ranging from improving your marketing and sales strategies to helping members stay fit and healthy. However, the full potential of AI can be uncovered when it starts leveraging industry-specific data points and domain expertise combined with cutting-edge technology.

We have built our customer intelligence platforms by combining the power of AI and domain-infused intelligence focused specifically for health, wellness, and fitness club operators. This has enabled our clients to deliver enriched customer experiences that are deeply personal and deeply contented. 

We achieve this by unifying data across all members touchpoints and provides real-time actionable predictions and recommendations based on contextual behavioural intelligence to engage, retain, acquire and grow members/subscribers. The result is a multi-dimensional intelligence to better engage with your customers and a holistic view to effectively manage your business operations against key growth metrics. Now our client can better predict customers next move and take specific action to retain, acquire and grow members.

Real-world use cases of AI for fitness enterprises

By making wearables, fitness apps and machines smarter, AI is modernizing the fitness world. No doubt Artificial Intelligence was recently named as a top strategic technology trend by Gartner analysts.

Smart Clothing for Intelligent Fitness

Making smart apparels that track posture, form, technique while exercising is the next level of Artificial Intelligence-driven fitness. Compression clothes with inertial sensors allow tracking of the posture and collect data to better the workout. 

Diet Plan based on Artificial Intelligence

From tracking the progress towards the defined goal to making adjustments to manage calorie and protein intake, the AI-based diet plan apps are adding value to the meal planning efforts for fitness freaks. 

Human Pose Estimation via AI

Via skeleton modelling, volume modelling and contours modelling this method detects and works on human body estimation, similar to a facial recognition system. Adding value to fitness-based apps by ensuring the right posture is formed, such apps are doing wonders via AI.

AI combining data of 4 apps to cater to each member.

A health and fitness start-up catering to diet, mental wellbeing, physical fitness, and healthcare needs via 4 different apps is leveraging AI to work on data across all their apps. They are able to plan more effective workouts and create recommendations specific for each individual based on the past data.


In a world where fitness has gained new proportions and found convenient ways to get to members, fitness businesses need to up their game and cater to the fast-evolving member needs. With the digital wave, the hybrid fitness model is ideal for the convenience, opportunities, and sharing of content to add value and keep members engaged.  

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