Running a fitness club is more than investing in gear, staff, and property. There is a lot of backend administration that is required to keep the business running.
Not to mention, customers today want the freedom to choose payment plans, durations, classes, trainers, and more.
To deliver on all those fronts, you need a really good fitness studio management system, and choosing the perfect one starts with understanding the features you need.
Consider the pointers in this blog as qualifying criteria to push your shortlisted software down the funnel.
Then, test those against the next listed point to shortlist further and so on unless you find your perfect software.
Here are the features you want the fitness studio management software you choose to have:
The first thing to look for is a tool designed specifically for fitness studios. There are a lot of scheduling tools in the market that claim to offer more than just that, but most of them fail when it comes to actually performing.
Then, there are those companies that will try to sell you the same solutions that they’d sell a spa or a salon. Considering how vastly different those businesses are from each other and from a fitness studio, you’d be settling for an incompetent tool if you buy into that pitch.
For example, the solutions offered by companies like Glofox and WellnessLiving are great for things like booking group classes. Vagaro and Fresha make tools that are efficient for managing bookings, while Zenplanner and Pushpress are at their core membership management tools.
When you settle for a compromise instead of choosing a company that can actually do it all, day-to-day operations become difficult, your customers have inconsistent experiences with your brand, and as a result, the growth trajectory of your business slows down drastically.
Shortlist the software that match your business needs.
Here are our picks of features we feel the management system for a fitness business should have. However, shortlist these based on your business model, and categorize them as Must Have, Good to Have, and Not Applicable as you see fit.
Having these features on your fitness studio management system will make day-to-day operations more efficient and easier.
Now that you have a list of software that match your business type and have the features that you require to run your business, evaluate them on the basis of client experience that offer through website and mobile apps.
Most fitness studio management software do not have an inbuilt marketing suite that integrates with third-party applications. They end up depending on tools like Brandbot to help them handle that aspect of their business. However, here are the features you’d ideally need as native to the management system.
Word of mouth is one of the oldest and most effective marketing methods. The studio management system you choose ought to allow you to reward your customers who are also your brand ambassadors whenever they bring your fitness business a new subscription.
The tool you invest in ought to be easy for your staff and for you to use every day, considering the multitude of functions you will be using it for.
Strike out the ones that are not user friendly based on the following questions.
The reason you need to ask this question is that a tool that takes a lot of hardware space and needs a lot of time to set up may not be easy to load, use and troubleshoot.
This is important because ideally, learning to use the management system should be an easy and quick process. Not only does it show that the software UI itself is user-friendly, but you’d also want your staff to be back up front after the training and running the business as soon as possible.
Some tools are easy to use and often come with tools like knowledge banks, help widgets, and other facilities that allow you to troubleshoot most operational aspects of the tool without you needing to ask for customer service. These tools are generally easier to use.
There are two aspects to this that you ought to consider. The first is that if the tool already has more features than your business requires, you may not need to adopt more features to get the best ROI from the software.
However, if you feel the need for more functionality and integrations to be able to make the most of the tool, you may want to consider asking the software provider for an upgrade or look for solutions with the features you need.
Next step is to get rid of the options that do not provide good support.
Software, as with all things technological, are bound to have glitches and when you do experience those glitches, you will want help to be available to you pretty much immediately. Downtime, as we all know, means money lost. So here are some other factors for you to consider.
How quickly can you get through to the support team? Do they have a lengthy IVR to navigate when you call them? Do you need to email them? How long do they take to respond?
When you are going to be investing in software to help with every aspect of running your gum, you want to work with a firm that is easy to get in touch with, that understands the importance of their tool in your business, and is quick to provide solutions when their software behaves faultily.
If your software provider isn’t locally located, they ought to be able to provide you with the clock service via video calls, so they can instruct you or your staff on how to troubleshoot in real time.
Ideally, your software provider should be able to give you a dedicated account manager to address your issues instead of having you wait in a queue on their customer service line.
Finally, to zero down on your perfect software, check the pricing of the set of software that you are left with.
Most studio management apps cost between $125 to $200 a month on average. That being said, it would be prudent for you to look at investing in the tool that fits best for your business and is most capable of helping you realize your goals instead of settling for a more affordable solution. The goal ought to be ROI in the long run and saving a little.
Here are some factors for you to consider before investing in fitness studio software.
You will need to consider whether you want to invest in a tool that gives you everything at a flat price, or one that allows you to add on features as your needs change at a cost.
You will also need to consider what integrations come with your subscription, and how much you may need to further invest for other third-party integrations.
Finally, see if what you’re paying for enhances the experience your customers have interacting with your brand across all platforms. They ought to have a positive and consistent experience irrespective of whether it's in your fitness studio, on the mobile app, or on your website, and the software you choose ought to enable that for you.
Looking for a more efficient studio management solution? Come to Bookee.
Book a free demo today to take your fitness business to the next level with Bookee!