Fitness & Mind-Body: What Does the Future Look Like?
Collaboration Takeaways

The Global Wellness Collaborations bring industry leaders together in meaningful dialogue to share ideas and best practices for navigating the COVID-19 crisis around a specific industry segment.

Topic: Fitness & Mind-Body: What Does the Future Look Like?
Date of Discussion: April 28, 2020
Countries/Regions Represented: Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Maldives, Mexico, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, UK and US.

Live poll results with 75 percent participation:

  • I think you know the biggest trend that’s happening right now is a shift to virtual in our world.
  • There’s going to be a whole new world that comes out of this that is studio-based and its gym-based. It is going to be about everyone producing content for their membership base.
  • We had envisioned that virtual was going to be a major upcoming trend quite a while back, and so we started doing research in Q3 and Q4 pre-COVID about people’s virtual habits.
  • How can places make money out of virtual opportunities?
  • Before we had a virtual wellness platform, in the early days, people were doing Zoom, and they were doing Facebook Live content. It was not being monetized specifically regarding the video, but now during this pandemic, what they were doing is, even while closed, still billing their members monthly for the membership fee.
  • People are actually, in some cases, working out more frequently now because they’re doing it from their home.
  • The next generation that we’re facilitating with our virtual wellness platform has the ability either to sell individual classes or packages or even just sell a virtual-only membership.
  • Virtual memberships are growing at a faster rate.
  • Despite 95 percent of storefronts being closed, we saw a decrease in our app bookings by about 79 percent, which shows that there is still business taking place even when the establishment is physically closed.
  • We are really focused on how do we enable the studios in our network to connect with their membership base and be able to do virtual, whether that’s streaming or on-demand.
  • We have seen over 300 percent growth just in the last few weeks of the virtual content. So, more studios are posting their content, and more consumers are booking.
  • What are consumers willing to pay for the virtual options?
  • Research shows that some consumers are fine with using YouTube free content for their workouts and not paying for services at all. Then there are those who are willing to pay a more premium price for better quality and that personal or brand connection.
  • I think there is a range settling in. At the low end, $19.99 a month and at the high end, you know, for multiple different modalities from well-respected brands, I think you’re probably looking at $49.99 a month.
  • In Australia, we saw for a while that there were group classes happening in parks and outdoors, then the government shut that down.
  • We have some customers in China. We have a decent number in Hong Kong and Singapore, and so in January, when they were shut down, we saw our bookings decline 70–75 percent.
  • Then they opened back up, at which time they popped back to almost 100 percent of where they were. However, a month or so later, they really went on a hardcore lockdown in Hong Kong and Singapore. We are a bit nervous about this boomerang effect happening again in other countries.
  • Some business research in the US is showing that 30 percent of businesses in our sector could go out of business if they’re unable to get revenue for more than two months.
  • There are those who are in fear, and those who are seeing the opportunity. They’re making sales and finding retention is higher than it was before.
  • Even if we are only servicing online, we’re servicing much more. We didn’t discount our membership, and we’re selling new memberships online.
  • When we reopen, we’re planning for a 20–50 percent discount. We’ll keep the streaming and online personal training that we’re selling at the same price.
  • We only have one club open, but we have 40 in total. The clubs that are closed are selling online. The average price is 50 euros a month, which is about $55. It is the same price we sold at before and do not want to discount now.
  • I’ve been expecting a huge opportunity in wellness to happen ever since I read the book, The Wellness Revolution by Paul Zane Pilzer, which was published in 2002 (Link to the book).
  • In our part of the world, as soon as we saw the shutdown happening, we saw spin studios rent out their spin bikes! They were priced at between $20–$90 a week, and then they started doing online content.
  • When they do live spinning classes in the home, they are connected to the instructors in their gyms and are paying either $15 a class or $30 a week to connect to their tribe. As it turns out, they are making far more money renting out their bikes and doing their online classes.
  • We have a physical therapy business, and I have to add that we are actually seeing people calling us for telehealth medicine just because they’re getting injured through various at-home online experiences. What is being down to assure safety?
  • One of the initiatives that we’re currently looking at is how we can collectively align around a set base of standards or what the new norm will be in the future and then communicate effectively to our customers and associates.
  • I’m curious about what gyms are doing to redesign for safety purposes.
  • My issue with generic online classes is a lack of individualization and an instructor that cannot correct form easily to maximize the experience.
  • Most people are also keeping things more generalized than their core brand specialty, which is not helpful.
  • I am seeing people get injured, and then they come to me for physical therapy.
  • I also think, especially for postpartum women who are home and trying to stay active, this needs a lot more skill and a more detailed approach. Perhaps the answer is very small group classes for a medium rate. Cheaper price for large group offering, more expensive for 1:1, and something in the middle might be what is missing.
  • We might see more fitness and mind-body moving into telehealth or telewellness. Many yoga teachers and personal fitness instructors are finding new revenue models.
  • New Zealand is still being very strict. They just today went from what they call level four to level three, which is they opened up some schools, businesses construction—in fact, a lot of different things. In comparison, Australia didn’t go into as severe of a lockdown.
  • Here in the UK, we took advantage of the furlough program and furloughed all 4,700 employees in the business except 50. They’re being paid 80 percent of their wages by this government furlough program.
  • The employees are waiting for us to reopen, which we are hopeful will be sometime in June or, if not then, hopefully, July 1.
  • In the meantime, we are planning to partner with food and beverage in a fun way to invite everybody back. “Have a workout and then a couple of pints of beer.” Being somewhat funny about wellness—that’s the British way.
  • As a lifestyle amenity management company, we have lifestyle centers, and each one of them has a fitness component to them. We have shifted to virtual, and our numbers are accelerating for personal training online, as well as our content for classes.
  • Our research shows that when clubs reopen, 36 percent of those will continue to use prerecorded videos at home.
  • We’re really shifting to personal responsibility, that each person will have responsibility for themselves because we cannot guarantee that we are 100 percent cleaned. We will share protocols with our developers and our clients for them to feel safe.
  • Things included will be a script for checking in, consumer confidence in sanitation, uniforms and matching masks, services using safety procedures, etc.
  • There are new rules and guidelines coming out from various sources, and we will be incorporating them for our purposes. Note: Reopening Standards and Toolkit page on Global Wellness Institute PositivelyWell:
  • GWS: PositivelyWell – Reopening Standards Toolkits

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