It is hard to imagine what life will be like once the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. Over the past 5 weeks, the leisure and fitness industry has taken an unexpected downturn, with social distancing measures and non-essential business closures put in place to limit the spread of the disease.
Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the industry once restrictions are lifted. However, this time can be used to plan and put measures in place, so when business resumes you are ready to bounce back.
With this in mind, we share our tips on how to prepare for a Post-Pandemic future.
Invest in training and development
Having great customer service throughout a fitness and leisure facility is an easy way to make a lasting impression.
Every member of staff regardless of their position should be friendly, helpful and correctly qualified for the job. Use this period of downtime to update your employee’s skill set and provide updated training on your booking software. Taking advantage of training and development opportunities during this downtime will not only improve employee performance but also customer satisfaction for when the time comes to reopen.
There are several virtual meeting platforms you can use to run virtual training sessions, such as Google Teams and Skype.
Internal training can also help you identify inefficient processes that are not benefiting your leisure and fitness facility, such as a manual check-in system. We suggest integrating a cloud-based booking system like Sports Booker, so your customers can use membership cards, key tags or RFID fobs to easily check themselves in.
Thus, you can worry less about queues and focus more on creating a great atmosphere.
We understand times are tough at the moment, so as a special measure, any businesses that upgrades their existing booking system to Sports Booker will get the first 3 months completely free.
Reach out to your contacts
With more and more people spending time online, your marketing efforts should remain in place to maximise your digital presence and a well thought out marketing plan is paramount if you want a successful head start when service resumes.
Use this time to focus on digital marketing channels, for example, email and social media, to stay better connected to your current and potential customers. Use a simple scheduling platform like Hootsuite to set up regular posts.
Moreover, try to get creative and think of how you can offer reassurance, social connection or tangible assistance to keep relationships strong, all of which are possible using Sports Bookers customer management and marketing feature.
Provide online services
It goes without saying that most members will have access to a laptop or mobile device, so consider moving some of your classes online to stay better connected to your customers. You can then decide if you want to offer them exclusively to customers or to the general public.
When you plan your classes, consider adapting the exercises to be child friendly, as some customers may have young children who could also benefit from an online workout. Your members will appreciate the extra effort you put in.
If you are not already using Sports Booker to set up your virtual classes, the scheduling and management feature allows you to manage your time between clients and classes effectively, so there’s no chance of double bookings.
Keep in mind that not all customers will want to participate in online training, so a simple call to check-in or offer programs for them to follow is a great way to keep in contact.
Update your website
The images of your fitness and leisure facility serve much more of a purpose than making your website look good, instead, they can have a huge influence on whether someone decides to sign up. So, ensure all images are of high quality and reflect the products and services you offer.
Another great way to improve your website is to have an easy and accessible booking form where your customers can book classes, facilities, personal trainers and events all in one place.
Whether you are improving your photography or your booking system, a few simple updates can transform how customers interact with your website.
In addition to updating the content on your website, consider adding electronic gift vouchers.
A gift voucher is one way of generating contact-free revenue, as well as being a great tool to entice existing customers back. Any good booking system should allow you to add gift vouchers to your website.
We hope the fitness and leisure industry will bounce back once restrictions are lifted but, in the meantime, it’s vital to stay proactive so you have the best start when the lockdown is over.
You can find out how to add a gift voucher option to your customer site here.
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