Did you know that 80 percent of health club members today carry a smartphone, and 62 percent of all Internet access now happens on a mobile device? Another growing trend is the use of mobile apps. The average U.S. smartphone user has 41 apps on their phone. Now more than ever, it is time to consider a mobile app for your club. Your mobile app can encompass your entire club experience, making connectivity to your members and prospects never more than a tap away on their phone.

What can a mobile app do for your club?

A mobile app customized to your club can provide members with optional features, such as club card check-in, class viewing, sharing and registration, updating account information and bill pay. They also can make club purchases with their card on file, book personal training sessions, log workouts, get up-to-date club news with push alert notifications, refer friends, have portals of contact into each club department and one-click access to all club social media.

A mobile app also is incredibly valuable to prospects. From your app, prospects have immediate access to information and photo content about all of the facility amenities and programs. Prospects also can enroll for a trial pass right from your app or even join the club. There is no better tool for prospects to have on their phones to guide them into the best membership experience at your club. Your app is your entire club experience in the palm of their hand.

How can my custom club app drive revenue?

Your app can impact revenue in several ways. One of the primary tools that drives revenue for clubs is maximizing the app as a communication tool with informational and promotional content. Each time someone downloads the club's app, they are essentially subscribing to you. This means they will receive instant communication from you via push alert notification.

Push alerts pop up on your phone like a text message for maximum member and prospect connectivity. Great examples of push alerts are, "Tomorrow, bring a friend free to Boot Camp!” One club that sent this push alert on a Friday got 23 new prospects on a Saturday. Another example of a push alert: "Click here to refer three friends and get a free T-shirt on your next visit." One club that ran this promotion received more than 75 referrals, all from one push alert.

Why push alert functionality will change your business forever:

  • Push alerts are a free communication tool.
  • Push alerts can target people in a specific geographic area.
  • Push alerts can target people who enter virtual fenced areas. Any time your members get near a competitor, you can send them an alert offering them a promotion from your club.
  • Push alerts can be scheduled or sent immediately for convenient and instant announcements.

In other words, there is no more effective way to communicate to your members than notifications that appear in the most exclusive real estate in the world: the 3x5-inch screen of their phones.

Another great way club operators are using their app to increase revenue is by incorporating a member perks program in which members save their way to a free membership by getting discounts in the local community. Clubs charge businesses a monthly fee for a listing in their mobile app and website, and in return, businesses gain controlled access to a more affluent population of your community—your members. Everyone wins. On average, clubs add $2,000 to $5,000 for charging merchants to participate in their perks program.

What are mobile app trends in health clubs?

The three most critical analytics to watch with your mobile app are the number of downloads, members who opt-in for push alert notifications and the most popular features used. Clubs can anticipate the following trends in these categories:

  • Downloads App download statistics range greatly depending on promotion and implementation of the app in the club. Most clubs find that with good promotion, their app downloads range from 30 percent to 50 percent of the membership base within the first year. These numbers are significant because there is no more efficient and cost-effective way to engage with your members.
  • Push alerts Push alert opt-ins are incredibly high in health club mobile apps, which means that your members want to hear from you. Clubs average between 80 percent opt-in on the low end and 95 percent on the high end.
  • Popular features One of the most important analytics to track is app feature usage. Tracking this will help you keep your app fresh and in sync with what is important to your members. The most popular features used by members across all clubs are: club card, classes, my account, club alerts and nutrition/workout log.

How do I drive app downloads in my club?

Of course, you must promote your app with signage in the club, app information on your website, email blasts and newsletter articles. You also must help new members download it and register their club card. But the most important thing you can do to drive downloads is to make your app the answer to every member question.

Here are just a few examples: What are your hours? Is there a yoga class on Thursday? Do you have a shake menu? Do you offer family memberships? Can you sign me up for personal training on Wednesday? Can I update my billing with you? How do I check in to the club? What are the holiday hours? What is Zumba? Are there any spots left in cycling on Monday?

When your staff members are asked these questions, the response should always be, "I'm happy to help you with that! Have you downloaded our mobile app yet by chance? Everything you are looking for is in our app. Would you like me to help you download it?" When your staff is engaged with your mobile app, your members are engaged with your mobile app.

Content Sponsored by Club Apps.

Club Apps is a provider of custom mobile apps for health clubs in the fitness industry. Club Apps designs mobile apps for clubs that encompass their entire member and prospect experience, integrate fitness technologies and provide portals of member engagement for every facet of the club, complete with member and prospect push alert notifications. While all app features are included, each feature is optional, customizable and interchangeable at any time. For more information, visit www.clubapps.com or call 855-367-7379.