I completely agree with Bryan O’Rourke (HCM Sept 13, p68) that wearable technology can create unique opportunities for health clubs and drive down healthcare costs. However, he also said such tracking devices come with risks such as increased competition. In my mind, while this is a valid point, the risks are far outweighed by the opportunities.
Operators are all keen to find ways to attract new types of members, and keep existing ones for longer. Tracking technologies have a clear role to play in achieving this. Wearables with online platforms present clear opportunities to build propositions that attract those who see the gym as unappealing, and that enhance the experience of casual members who eventually quit. The technology allows operators and PTs to build loyalty through holistic, lifestyle-based programmes that have no physical boundaries – that do not require exercise to be carried out in-club.
The industry must embrace wearable technology, viewing it as a complement to current offerings rather than worrying it could cannibalise potential members. It won’t. Holmes Place International has used Fitbug for three years and proven the hypothesis: new corporate memberships appeal to the ‘hard to reach’ who would never previously have joined, while traditional members feel cared about, however and wherever they choose to exercise. The technology also gives access to members 24/7 to maintain engagement and motivation – a marketer’s dream.
Ignore wearables at your peril. Build them into your propositions, else they may simply be seen as an alternative.
Paul Landau, Founder and CEO, Fitbug