Getting the fitness industry back in business


May 19, 2020

Only when lockdown hit us, did we start to understand what had been happening in China and Italy. I will never forget how one day I was casually discussing an upcoming business trip to Australia with one of my colleagues and the next day, Denmark was under lockdown.

It felt like one of the apocalyptic science-fiction movies had become a reality. Within the next 15 days, all our clients around the world closed their clubs as the epidemic went global.

Saying it’s a tough time for the fitness industry right now is an understatement. At Exerp, we have been working around the clock with our clients to help them pause their business by freezing massive amounts of memberships, stopping automatic payments, and communicating with their combined 6 million members about closures.

For the industry, this has been a sudden and shocking twist that no one was prepared for. While everyone first rushed to provide more online services and try to mitigate the effects of gym closures, the focus has now turned to getting ready for a safe reopening of the fitness industry. Our consultants and developers have shifted their focus, too, to develop solutions to support online outreach for when the gyms are closed, and to create social distancing for when they are open.

Here are some features we have worked on to prepare for a reopening of the industry:

– Advanced booking of training sessions: To prevent over-capacity, members can book a time for training before they show up. Waiting lists can be established and members can be given a limit on how many sessions they can book in advance, to ensure everyone gets a chance to train. By leveraging the powerful and flexible booking engine of the Exerp platform, our clients can embed this functionality easily into their own web site and apps, or they use Exerp’s white-label solutions.

– Changes to access control features: Exerp created functionality to manage and set capacity limitations to enforce regulatory limits. With this feature, members cannot enter the gym if it is already full. It also takes into account bookings so members with a class or personal training session booked will not be denied access to the gym because it is full.

– Online capacity monitoring: We have added APIs, so our clients can present capacity information in their apps, websites or chatbots. This way, members can see how close the gym is to being full.

– Live member notifications: This feature allows operators to send automatic text messages or push notifications to tell members how long they are able to stay there and how much time they have left in their session. Reports will also be available to club managers with members who exceeded their allotted training time slot.

We are also working on solutions to help our clients further develop their digital offerings with online training sessions with personal trainers or in small groups. The new feature will help trainers provide training sessions with members online with a safe, GDPR-compliant, fully branded and integrated experience for the trainer and members.

With these new changes to our software, operators can open their doors again in a safe and effective way. It isn’t going to be easy, and it will be a slow return to normal, but by being proactive and adapting to trends, we can move in the right direction and continue to serve members worldwide.

Rémi Nodet,
CEO, Partner at Exerp