We sat down with Chief Digital Officer Mike Rucker after his Thought Leaders Series: Keeping Up with Technology Trends webinar with Club Solutions to ask him a few questions on technology for fitness centers and gyms.
What trends do you see in technology? What tech are consumers using, and what is popular within clubs right now?
It’s a big tent, but what I think are the most compelling technology trends to watch over the next few years are two things: how is technology making exercise more fun, and how better user design is making exercise easier.
How do you decide what technology to invest in as an operator? How can clubs “keep up” in this fast-evolving space?
I have a simple approach: can the investment do one of three things: save us money, make us money, improve an experience for our members and/or our employees.
What are some examples of technologies you’re using within your facilities, and how are they beneficial?
We are building an Activate model around eGym’s connected equipment that we are using in our medical fitness center gyms and other fitness centers. The primary benefit is we’re now better positioned to be a part of the member’s journey in a way that really reduces the barrier of entry (for exercise).
We have just implemented a comprehensive HRIS system through ADP, which has given us the ability to scale and operationalize our business practices.
With tech becoming more prevalent, how are you keeping up as an operator? How big is your IT department? Which staff are key?
Our department is me and my system administrator, Kenny Ko. It is a matter of pride that between the two of us, we manage an entire enterprise’s IT department.
Is member data/security top of mind for you? Should all operators be making this a priority, and if so, how?
Yes, of course, and since most fitness centers' core competency is not IT, it should be done through comprehensive vetting and strong partnerships. It is important that all technology vendors you bring into your ecosystem are vetted through a standardized security risk assessment.
What else can you share on this topic that would benefit other operators?
Take a crawl, walk, run approach. There are exceptions to this rule, like big ERP and HRIS projects, but for most tech initiatives regarding technology, start slow and build. Don’t try to boil the ocean.
Active Wellness provides fitness center management, design, and consulting services for a wide variety of clients. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation to learn more about how Active can help your fitness center or medical wellness center business.