Collecting and applying the right data can validate hunches and helps you make real business decisions Without it you may be guessing and at the mercy of your competition Photo by Thinkstock

Collecting and applying the right data can validate hunches and helps you make real business decisions. Without it, you may be guessing and at the mercy of your competition. (Photo by Thinkstock.)

Data Doesn’t Lie: 5 Critical Insights Your Gym is Telling You

The focus on data as a business tool is not new, but the breadth and depth of the data available today, when harnessed, is a resource that cannot be ignored by any industry—especially the hyper-competitive health club market.

CONTENT BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Gymtrack

Your gym is telling you a story—are you listening? 

As a gym owner or operator, you’ve worked hard to market to—and sign up—members. Now they pass through your turnstiles and, as they do, you wonder what exactly they do inside of your gym. How long do they stay? What equipment do they use? Were they actually able to use the equipment they really wanted to? Are they satisfied with the types and amount of equipment you have? This is the battle that wages under the fog of war with every single member inside your gym. If you come up on the right side of all of these questions, you manage to keep your members and grow. If you ask the questions but don’t seek the answers, your business is at risk. If you ignore the questions altogether, your business is done.

There is no argument loud enough today to refute that the proper use of data can influence the success of a business. We see it everywhere and in every industry. From large manufacturing equipment to the thermostats in our home, data is playing an increasingly important, albeit sometimes invisible, role in our lives. The focus on data as a business tool is not new, but the breadth and depth of the data available today, when harnessed, is a resource that cannot be ignored by any industry—especially the hyper-competitive health club market.

How can data affect the way you operate your gyms?

Aside from knowing the number of members who walk in (and presumably walk out), what data are you collecting that helps paint a picture of how your facility is being used? Once someone scans in, what’s next? A good portion of modern cardio equipment now reports usage, but what about all the cardio and strength equipment that is not connected, does not have a screen or isn’t plugged in? How do you know what’s going on there? Managers and employees can walk around and observe at certain times during the day, but will that snapshot at that moment be enough to make critical equipment decisions? Will casual observation tell you which pieces of equipment you ought to get rid of or ought to purchase? 

The answer is no. Anecdotal observation is not good enough today. That data is stored in the most fallible, fickle and biased hard drive ever invented—the human brain. It is subject to interpretation, forgetfulness and turnover. Once the data enters the brain, it is no longer owned by you or your gym—it walks out the door with your managers and employees. Data has no value if it can’t be tabulated and stored for future reference. Every other business has started to use data for their benefit. The question is why hasn’t everyone in the capital-intensive and highly competitive gym industry? 

Five crucial operational questions that can’t be answered without collecting the right data:

1. Am I buying the right amount of equipment?

  • Are some pieces sitting idle most of the time?
  • Are members waiting too long to use others?

2. Am I buying the right brands for each equipment type?

  • Which brands of equipment do my members prefer?
  • Which brands have common issues requiring repair?
  • Which manufacturer gives me the most bang for my buck? 

3. Am I splitting my equipment properly?

  • Do I have too many elliptical machines relative to other cardio equipment?
  • Do I have too many plate-loaded machines relative to those that are selectorized?

4. Am I spending too much on maintenance?

  • Am I spreading out usage across my cardio equipment?
  • Am I buying brands that break down too often?
  • How long does the average piece stay broken before it is fixed?
  • Are my service-level agreements being met? 

5. Do I have the right equipment layout?

  • Are there areas in the gym that rarely get used?
  • Are there congestion areas?
  • Should I move pieces around to affect usage? 

Decisions are a byproduct of knowing your data. Designing and outfitting a facility doesn’t need to be a guessing game anymore. The days of template-driven, cookie-cutter layouts based on available square footage are behind us. This approach is inexact and, more often than not, too expensive a mistake to make. Understanding actual usage data makes it easier to fill the room with equipment that will get used instead of filling it with guesses and hopes. With a deeper understanding of how your facilities are being used, you can be confident that the decisions you are making will move your business forward. 

Collecting and applying the right data validates hunches and helps you make real business decisions. Without it, you are guessing, and that leaves you at the mercy of your competition.

BIO

Rob Woodbridge, chief executive officer of Gymtrack, has been immersed in the technology industry for more than 25 years. A meathead at heart and practice, he brings with him an extensive expertise in mobile, IoT, small data and hopes to help usher the industry into the data age. 

Gymtrack gives gym operators actionable data on how members spend their time while exercising. No more guessing if the equipment mix is appropriate for your members. No more one-size-fits-all approach to gym layout and design. No more hearsay and anecdotal evidence of equipment popularity and trends. No more fog of war once a member signs up and signs in. Operating your gyms without data is guessing. www.freethereps.com #freethereps

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