Portrait of author Jon Taylor
Jon Taylor

Head of Brand & Content

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Shaping the future of fitness: using AI to enhance the member experience

By Jon Taylor on June 27, 2019

With a total market value of £5.1 billion and over 200 new facilities opening each year, the UK fitness sector “is enjoying a golden period of growth and exciting development,” according to Director of LeisureDB, David Minton.

However, with industry growth comes increased competition, and providers are having to work harder than ever to attract – and retain – their members as the future of fitness begins to take shape.

Offering customers an exemplary experience is crucial for modern businesses across the majority of industries, none more so than those in fitness. Competition is rife, and those looking to stand out need to go the extra mile in terms of how they’re communicating and interacting with their customers.

For the modern, forward-thinking gym, it’s all about providing an ‘experience’, not just a service. Those gyms who are enjoying success in this increasingly-crowded space are becoming truly embedded in the lives of their customers. They’re doing this by establishing closer relationships on an emotional level; getting to know their members in order to provide them with personal, one-to-one interactions.

A great customer experience, naturally, means higher lifetime values and retention rates – not to mention longer membership contracts. Preventing member churn is something that’s always on the radar of gyms, too. It’s important to be clued up on why (and when) members might be looking elsewhere, so you can react accordingly and entice them with reasons to stay.


How can AI help?

When we talk about artificial intelligence (AI) for gyms, health clubs and leisure centres, you might presume we’re referring to smart fitness tech, such as wearables and intelligent gym equipment. While these technologies are undoubtedly playing a transformative role in the industry, our focus is on the ways AI and machine learning can be used to leverage the huge amounts of data gyms have at their disposal. This data, when harnessed properly with AI, can be used to increase signups and conversion rates, improve the LTV of your members and significantly reduce acquisition costs through better targeting.

Every gym has a wealth of valuable customer data, which is full of untapped potential. This data can be leveraged by AI to give you a clearer view of who to target, how likely they are to join, how valuable they could be to your gym and how is best to reach them. We call this the ‘Predicted Customer View’, which empowers businesses across all sectors to establish closer, personal relationships with current and prospective customers – or, in this case, members.

As an example, this could be achieved through the delivery of highly-targeted, highly-personalised marketing communications across channels such as email and social media. With a clearer view of your existing members and their preferences, you can create sophisticated ‘lookalike’ audiences of those who are also in-market to join a new gym. As another example, you can help to prevent existing member churn by knowing when and why people may be looking elsewhere, reacting accordingly with offers, discounts or incentives – all delivered straight to their inbox or social feeds.

To find out more about the future of fitness and the ways AI can enhance the customer experience and drive growth and profitability at your gym or fitness centre, drop us a message!

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