As the president of TruFusion, a growing boutique fitness franchise concept, I’ve seen firsthand the profound impact COVID-19 has had on the fitness industry. At TruFusion, the in-person experience we provide is integral to our brand. In the early stages of the pandemic, we prioritized finding a way to not only replicate that experience at home, but also develop resources that would truly serve our members from a physical and mental health perspective. Inspired by an unwavering commitment to our TruTribe community, we built an online platform designed to go above and beyond simple class offerings and have found that this technology has been hugely successful at helping our members navigate these unprecedented times.
TruFusion’s Bellevue, Washington, studio is located just miles from the Seattle nursing home where the first significant COVID-19 deaths were reported in the United States, so we knew the threat this virus posed and didn’t hesitate to take swift action. With the entire corporate team shifting gears to focus on developing a unique online experience that would drive engagement and help owners maintain their members, we had to adjust our entire business model overnight. This came with a set of challenges, especially since we were racing to transition online quickly while striving to maintain the high-quality workouts that members love and while encompassing the TruFusion sense of community and culture. With staff and members being spread out and confined to their homes, other hurdles we needed to overcome included effective communication, training and education processes.
When determining how to approach the shift to online, we wanted to embody TruFusion’s differentiators and create a platform that held our members accountable – something that is invaluable now more than ever. That’s why we opted to host a real schedule with up to 60 options daily of live classes, so our TruTribe community is united even while being physically apart. Emulating a live and interactive schedule has allowed our members to know that they’re not alone. To uphold our strong sense of community and provide extensive resources for members, we developed innovative content on meditation, nutrition, inspiration and overall self-care. We also host live-stream Q&As and virtual happy hours with leaders in the health and wellness community, as well as offer interactive tutorials on topics varying from essential oils, breathwork, step-by-step recipes from chefs and more.
On average, there has been around 5,000 viewers who stream classes per day. The initial legwork and investment that went into creating the content continues to prove valuable to our members and franchisees. A surprising side effect was that our online offerings have allowed people to try out TruFusion in new markets, so much so that about 7 percent of individuals streaming our classes reside in markets that we do not currently have a presence in, introducing prospective franchisees to our brand. It’s been an extremely useful tool in ways we couldn’t predict, and we foresee it being an ongoing part of TruFusion even after reopening.
Since the initial launch of this technology in March, we’ve continued to receive positive feedback from our members about the value of our online content and their appreciation for our team’s willingness to adapt quickly to the challenges of our new reality. From our corporate staff to our franchise studio owners, it’s apparent that systemwide the passion for TruFusion has never been stronger. It’s been incredibly rewarding and inspiring to see how quickly our team has rallied together and throughout all of this, I’ve never felt more connected to our community. As a franchisor and fitness advocate, I’m proud of the aggressive measures we’ve taken to reinforce our position as a true innovator in the fitness industry. With reopening on the horizon, we’re eager to get back to the studio while maintaining the safety of our TruTribe.