IMAGE BY SHUTTERSTOCK
Technology is everywhere, making our lives easier and streamlining every service. For example, Amazon recently launched the Amazon Dash Button, which is a Wi-Fi connected device that reorders your favorite products, from toilet paper to Red Bull, with the press of a button.
Chances are, your club is full of various types of technology. And while it may seem like a struggle to stay up to date with the newest high-tech developments, according to Travis Shannon, the vice president of information at Leisure Sports, there might be several pieces of technology already in your club that are being underused.
Shannon highlights a few pieces of technology that are commonly underutilized or improperly used within health clubs.
CMS — “The very basis of what our facilities use, the club management systems, are woefully underutilized by our facilities,” said Shannon. “There are a lot of wonderful features and modules that the club management systems have built in to make our lives easier in managing our facilities that we don’t often use to their fullest. The other thing we need to be careful in that area, whether it is underutilized or improperly utilized, is data. Garbage in equals garbage out, so make sure that the data you put into the system is clean and good and you are not trying to work around some perceived deficiencies in the system. Ensuring that you work within the confines of the system will inevitably make it easier to use the software as it is intended.”
Customer Relationship Management — “A lot of us use it mainly as a sales tool and those systems are effective,” explained Shannon. “It is very useful for managing your pipeline and learning about prospects, but I think where we as an industry would be much better served is using that truly as relationship management for a member over time. Are we understanding where they are in their life? Is there an adjustment that needs to be made to their membership? Do they need to take some time off, then come back? That way we are cultivating a deeper understanding of them and having that within a system that feeds directly back into enhancing the member experience over time.”
Wearables — “Any new technology that is the thing of the day inevitably gets underutilized or used improperly,” he said. “Now that we are tracking all of this data, where I see people fail with this is they get their members wearables, they get them to start tracking their workouts, and then what? That is where it starts to break down. If you don’t actually drive some sort of action of behavior change with the technology, whether it is something you use internally or something like wearable information, then you are not fully utilizing it and it might potentially detract from the experience.”
Smart Scheduling — “In terms of employee management and labor management, that type of technology tends to be underutilized,” added Shannon. “We are actively pursuing better technology to manage schedules and ensure that we are properly staffed and that we are held accountable for our employees in terms of making sure they are hitting their hours for part-time and full-time. So that is another area that is ripe for improvement in our industry.”
Tablets — “One of the other shifts we have seen is we are making rather frequent purchases of tablets now for use within the facility,” he said. “We are moving away from desktop based or workstation based interaction with club management systems or scheduling and moving to tablets. So for example doing class check-ins via tablet so we have real-time information as to who is enrolled. I would also see that being used with personal training, helping to manage sessions on the floor and again also giving information about clients to the trainers via that methodology, rather than relying on