The trends are clear. In health, fitness and wellbeing – along with just about every other sector – there’s little doubt that the world is continuing to transition to digital. But for leisure centres, who exist to serve every member of your community, every single demographic, there’s a unique challenge.
How can you embrace a digital offering without excluding those who can’t – or won’t – go digital?
Why Go Digital?
Making the decision to transition to digital isn’t a matter of following the trend. You shouldn’t do it just because that’s what the market is doing. There are key benefits to adopting a more digital approach for your leisure centre.
Firstly members – especially younger members – demand it. They expect to be able to book digitally, to pay online, to enjoy the benefits that an omnichannel approach brings. If you want to engage them, then you’ll want to transform.
Digital processes are also cost effective, helping you to streamline your operations and add value to your classes and facilities, along with broadening your reach and engaging parts of the community that are often overlooked.
There are pressing reasons to go digital, but what will that look like for your leisure centre?
What Does A Digital Customer Experience Look Like?
The specifics of your digital customer experience will depend on the community your leisure centre serves, and the needs of individual members. But almost all digital experiences provide the following features:
- They cover every touchpoints, from a prospect’s very first enquiry to on-going membership management
- They transform your member onboarding process
- They help you to engage and inform your members with regular communications
- They expand your members’ access to health, fitness and wellbeing services through a range of online offers
- They make visiting your leisure centre easier, thanks to online bookings, automated gates that reduce queueing, and a range of other accessibility features
Going digital makes life easier for you, your team, and your members. And going digital isn’t as difficult as it first appears – even as you focus on including your whole leisure centre community.
How To Go Digital
Much like the specific user experience you offer, the steps you take to go digital will depend on your approach to running your leisure facilities. But if you want to embrace a digital transformation while safeguarding your community’s access, there are things you’ll need to do.
Firstly, your online processes need to be as simple and seamless as possible. Any software and functionality you choose needs to focus on usability first and foremost. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for members to access class bookings and membership details, so every process must be clear and intuitive.
Next, you need to showcase the benefits of your digital offer. Some members will need convincing, and that means you need to promote the benefits of your new digital processes and explain why it’s worth their time to try them. Show off the faster, easier class bookings, the reduced queues at reception, and of course the ability to access workouts, PT sessions and more from home.
Make sure you don’t assume your members have access to the internet at home and install kiosks in your centres. That way, everyone can take advantage of your digital services in your leisure centre itself.
And don’t rush things. Big changes shouldn’t happen overnight, just for the sake of making a change. You need to integrate naturally and over time to create an omnichannel experience, instead of completely replacing your current offline offering in one go.
You need to make sure your digital services aren’t limited to the latest smart device, the fastest connections. Focus on inclusivity, not exclusivity and use digital to enhance what you already provide. It’s about giving members a choice, not preventing them from accessing your leisure centre unless they follow you into going digital.
And finally, make sure you free up your team’s time to support those who need extra help. By streamlining your back office processes with software, you’ll reduce the admin burden on your team. So when you make changes to any customer-facing processes, you’ll always have a friendly face there to help.
Leisure centres can’t shy away from the digital transformation that every industry must soon embrace. But you can – and you should – take special care to support every part of your community. That means choosing the right software to help you make these changes.