No matter what stage of growth and development you’re in, it’s not uncommon as a gym or studio owner to run into challenges when managing your business. Whether it’s figuring out how to organize your members and their payments or how to scale your business from one size to the next. Or even how to hire more staff, open a new facility, or add more classes, without the proper tools and systems on your side, it can be hard to focus on anything other than keeping it all together. Throw in a global pandemic that has made it increasingly difficult for gyms and studios to maintain any semblance of normality and you’re really stuck in a rut.
Fortunately, you can easily overcome the challenges you are facing in your fitness business by investing in the best gym management software for your gym or studio. With so many different tech solutions and software options out there, it can be tricky to find the one that best meets your needs and is going to help you achieve your goals.
From the essential features to the services the software solution offers its clients, there are some very valuable must-haves your software should include to help you take your fitness business to the next level in 2022. To give you some assistance, when choosing a gym management software here are the top things you should look for.
5 Must-have gym management software features in 2022
Full online booking system
While this may seem redundant given the name, it’s one thing to have software that can allow you to schedule your classes, but it’s another for your software to include online booking and payment collection. Many new businesses will often go with the former to easily provide customers with a place to see their class schedule.
However when a system allows you to both list your classes and schedule, accept payments for memberships, and allow customers to book on their own, the process is much more efficient and seamless. A full online booking system will also allow customers to manage their own memberships and owners to focus on running their business and classes.
Top payment processors
As mentioned before, full-stack management software with an online booking system will include the ability to accept and collect online payments. This means that the software integrates with a safe and reliable payment processor to manage payment automation and processing. But pay close attention to this when shopping for software.
Some software will only give you the option of one type of payment processor, while others will work with multiple types such as GoCardless, Stripe, and Paypal to give you the option best suited for your business. If you want options, easy to manage payments, and a way to collect from your customers without accepting cash in hand, software with the best payment processors is the way to go.
Online and on-demand integrations
Online classes and on-demand fitness content started out in the pandemic as a way to keep gym and studio doors virtually open. But it has now enabled fitness businesses across the world to tap into a new market and grow their businesses digitally. Powerful integrations such as Zoom can be used to host and record online fitness classes and personal training sessions while Vimeo and YouTube have become two of the top hosting platforms for online fitness content.
Many fitness software has seen how valuable online classes and content can be for their clients’ businesses, and it would serve you well to choose a software that includes these integrations. Even if you do not currently offer online services to your clients, the ability to do so whenever you want is both valuable and comfortable.
Not to mention that having online class and content functionalities can allow you to develop a hybrid business. You can grow your business via two different mediums, and offer customers the chance to take advantage of in-person, online, and on-demand services within their memberships.
Appointment and class scheduling in one
While appointment scheduling is more commonly connected with personal training and class scheduling with group fitness such as yoga and Pilates, boot camps, and small group personal training, many software now includes both. This is very valuable for fitness businesses that want to run both one on one meetings with members and offer group fitness classes, in-person or online in the same membership.
You can decide how you want to organize your services while giving members the ability to take advantage of what you offer them on their own. Similar to the online integrations, even if you don’t currently offer any group classes or one on ones, having the ability to utilize the tools to offer both can open up some new business opportunities for you in the future. Appointments are a great way of giving your members one on one time for consultations, check-ins, and building your customer experience.
Management software doesn’t only help you simplify your day to day. It also can help you improve important aspects of your business such as your customer journey. The software you have your eye on should include powerful integrations such as Mailchimp, Zapier, and ClassPass Contact that can help you market your business and engage with your customers.
These tools make it so that you can easily connect your platforms and manage your communications without having to bounce from one to the other. Automations rule, and software that includes them is a big bonus for you and your clients. Not to mention, they can save you a lot of time when growing your business.
Customer services only the best gym software offer
Alongside the features and tools you need to manage your business efficiently and deliver your customers the best member experience, there are additional services that some software offer that really set them apart. These services while not necessarily built into the actual software itself, enable you to make the most out of your system and enjoy a pain-free experience as a client. Those services include:
A free import service
Whether you’re starting from spreadsheets and notebooks with basic customer details or are transitioning from a competing software, a free import service is the make or break of a painless migration to your new software. When you see that the software you’re interested in offers the ability to collect your data and upload it to your new software for you, that is definitely a big bonus you want to consider.
This could include anything from contact details to existing membership packs and payment plans. Not all software does this and it can make your experience getting started a big hassle if you have to do it all on your own.
A free trial or set up period
Businesses with lengthy contracts that lock you into a commitment before you have even had a chance to try out the platform do not set you up for success. The offer of a free trial or discounted period of time where you can explore the tools allows you to make sure the software you have signed up for is the right fit for your business.
Without this, there is no way of verifying how the product will work, if it in fact does what you need it to, and if it will provide your customers with a seamless member experience. Be cautious of platforms that do not offer a trial, and make sure you know exactly what you are getting if you do move forward with a platform that does not offer this valuable opportunity to test out their product.
Unlimited customer support
You’d be surprised at how many software solutions don’t include customer support or unlimited customer support in their packages and plans. Not only is customer support vital to fitness business owners, but if an owner cannot receive guidance and help when issues arise, what is the point of using the software in the first place.
While it may not be possible to get someone immediately on the phone or answer your questions at every second, it is incredibly helpful to know that when you do have a question or issue you need help with, you’ll be able to receive the support you need from a team that cares. It’s even more helpful when there are a few different ways to connect with the support team such as a call, email, or built-in chatbox where owners can often find answers they need already explained.
To sum it up: the right software for your fitness business exists
Although most gym management software markets a similar message of helping fitness business owners run their gyms and studios, not all do so in the same way. Remember that when shopping for software you need to make sure that the software you choose saves you time, helps you be a better business owner, serves the purpose and functions you need it to, and doesn’t break your bank to use it. Find the software that adds value to your business, your customer experience, and allows you to run the best version of your gym or studio.
Published by Jessica Armstrong