One of the questions we’re often asked, when beginning a conversation with an operator who’s new to artificial intelligence, is: where could AI add value to my business? How can it increase gym membership sales at my club, improve member retention, drive yield and boost my bottom line?
The simple answer to the question of ‘where’ is ‘everywhere’ – but before we elaborate on that, it might be useful to explain a little more about what AI is.
Predict the future with AI
AI is now everywhere, from suggesting what we might listen to (Spotify) and watch (Netflix), to providing navigation guidance (Waze) and diagnosing medical problems (Health Tensor) among thousands of other things.
For the fitness sector specifically, the easiest way to think of AI is as a prediction machine, taking what we do have (data) and filling in the gaps we don’t (i.e. knowledge).
- Will the member leave us?
- Will they be interested in this offer?
- Will this change to the schedule affect attendance?
- What will my sales performance be three months from now?
How it gets there may be a little bit more involved, but think of it as a prediction machine and you won’t go far wrong.
- Based on what they’ve listened to, I predict they will like…
- Based on what they’ve watched, I predict they will like…
- Based on my understanding of the road system and the reported traffic conditions, I predict an ETA of…
- Based on the symptoms, I predict the condition is…
Look forward, not back
So now let’s come back to the question: ‘Where could AI add value to my business?’ – and let’s address it by painting a picture that will equip you to easily answer the question yourself.
Take a look at the business metrics you currently work with, the vast majority of which will be looking at what’s happened in the past. Now ask yourself: “What could I do with this insight if it were predicting forward?”
Feel free to take inspiration from just a handful of the ways we’ve already seen AI applied within fitness operations. How valuable would it be if you knew…
- What your member retention would be for the coming six months?
- Which specific members would leave you in six months’ time?
- What your gym sales would be for the coming quarter?
- If you’d increase gym membership sales enough to hit your sales goal for the year?
- What your membership would be at the end of the year?
- Which sales channels would decrease in performance over the next quarter?
- Which members were most likely to purchase PT, and at what package level?
- What impact on member retention a class schedule change would have?
- What the optimal class schedule would be for member retention?
- Which classes drive the highest member retention?
- Which members were most likely to take part in a gym referral program and/or provide a review?
- Who your optimal member is, so you could ask your AI to create a custom audience for your social ads, ensuring maximum impact of your gym marketing campaigns?
And, of course, the above are just a few examples; there are many, many more questions you could ask of your prediction machine.
Make decisions with confidence
It’s clear that, armed with the above insights, a business would be able to take consistent, positive action to extract the value from those insights. For example…
- If you knew a member was going to leave you six months prior to the end of their contract, what value would that have? What changes might you implement in your gym member retention strategies or your gym loyalty program?
- What would you do differently in your gym sales tactics if you knew which lead would convert to membership and which would not?
- If you could predict with 90 per cent accuracy what your gym sales figures would be for the next six months, what could you do with that knowledge?
- If you could send a commercial offer to a member, knowing it was highly likely to be of interest, what impact would that have on your bottom line?
- If you knew which of your members to ask for referrals or testimonials, and be confident they would provide them, how would you use this to improve member acquisition and increase gym membership sales?
By asking yourself these questions, you’ll immediately appreciate how AI allows you to make business decisions with a far higher level of confidence, increasing transparency around business performance and reducing the guesswork in likely outcomes.
Results that speak for themselves
The good news is, if you’re currently reviewing historical performance metrics, the data needed for an AI prediction most likely exists in your business. And the results can be transformational.
For examples of these results, really you have to look to our business – Keepme – as it’s the first to provide these services to the fitness industry.
At two years old, with much of this time of course shaped by COVID-19 lockdown, we are only now starting to get customer report results. However, there have already been some extraordinary improvements reported by customers from around the world. These include:
- A one-year average increase in length of membership – a huge boost to retention that’s resulted in a significantly improved member Lifetime Value (LTV).
- An 8 per cent increase in gym sales lead conversion in the space of just three weeks.
- A 35 per cent increase in non-dues spend.
- A 21 per cent rise in referrals (in hard terms, four in five members are now referring new members) leading to increased gym membership sales, lower member acquisition costs, and higher LTV.
- Plus a lot of little wins that make a difference: email open rates improving from 52 to 86 per cent, for example.
Put all this together and you’ll appreciate it’s not just the value of the solo prediction. It’s the impact the combined predictions have on subsequent actions, outcomes, and future predictions.
With every action taken, your AI can see the outcome of that action, so it continues to learn. Its predictions get better and better – more accurate, more insightful, more valuable. And in turn, your efforts to increase gym membership sales – among many other things – become more and more effective.
For practical examples of AI application in a gym operation, read here.
Download our latest white paper – Everything You Need to Know About Data & AI – here.