When every decision has to be precise, clients say the new platform provides the right metrics on attendance, purchasing, equipment use, membership demographics and more
Gyms are undergoing a once-in-a-lifetime change. The industry was shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused mass closures and reductions in foot traffic. According to one estimate, 25 percent of clubs did not survive. Meanwhile, digital platforms for fitness instruction and trendy home equipment have changed the habits of some. For club operators, thinking strategically about member retention is key to survival.
“Every decision is so much more important,” said Jason Jaquays-Tarbox, marketing director of Elevate Fitness, a two-club enterprise in the Syracuse, N.Y. area. “We have no wiggle room and less money to throw around freely.”
Which is why ABC IGNITE, the newly launched club management software innovation from ABC Fitness Solutions, has been invaluable to Elevate’s Jaquays-Tarbox. With little effort needed from the user, the 6 modules in IGNITE’s comprehensive suite support clubs in their sales, operational, management, reporting, billing and payment needs.
ABC IGNITE is technology for the people who move fitness forward. It’s flexible, scalable and intuitive, offering all the tools gym owners and operators need to accelerate performance and operate efficiently. Deploying IGNITE as an integrated suite extends the functionality of each module, giving gym owners complete control of their business.
The management at Elevate Fitness now knows which of their classes and pieces of equipment are most popular, which is critical information for tweaking their schedule and their inventory. They also know that their membership is veering younger than it had been, which has helped refine their marketing. IGNITE has even helped with everyday purchasing decisions, alerting management to busier weekends so they know when to restock on paper towels and items for sale in Elevate’s equipment shop.
“Our general managers love going in and reordering things before we run out,” said Jaquays-Tarbox. “Apparently they’ve been getting a lot of flak for running out of products. They love being able to track inventory through IGNITE.”
“It’s like a wish list I didn’t even know I had. As soon as I saw the dashboards in IGNITE for the first time, it was like Christmas,” said Jaquays-Tarbox. The reporting dashboard puts ABC IGNITE ahead of the curve, helping to futureproof gym operations in an uncertain time.
For more than 40 years, ABC Fitness Solutions has partnered with gyms and fitness professionals to maximize the efficiency of their businesses. The company processes $8.3 billion annually and counts more than 16,000 gyms and 150,000 fitness coaches as clients. This has allowed them to improve the health and fitness experiences of more than 25 million club members in 116 countries.
To Jaquays-Tarbox, a self-described “nerd,” gyms and fitness clubs have not always optimized data and technology. “I’ve been in some places where information has been stored in a three-ring binder with a broken bottom ring,” he said.
IGNITE is intuitive to learn, he said, and easy for club operators who aren’t as familiar with data technology or as enthusiastic about charts and graphs as he is. Any tool that can eliminate extra work for the staff and management team is very valuable.
The data stored in IGNITE dashboard “isn’t necessarily unique to the platform, since it’s just club operational data,” said Jaquays-Tarbox. “What is unique is how accessible the data is and how little work you have to do to see it presented in a meaningful way.”
From providing input to product development early on to working with the training team days leading up to the upgrade, ABC has been there every step of this journey. “That’s just the kind of people that you’re working with,” said Jaquays-Tarbox. “They’re all in it. The reason I’ve been working with ABC over 19 years is, there is an amazing team behind the software. The people behind the scenes fuel IGNITE, they have such a tremendous support and service system that I often forget that we’re not on the same payroll.”
Elevate Fitness debuted in 2017, when a pair of Gold’s Gym franchises decided to strike out as a new brand. In its brief existence, Elevate has had to adapt to an unprecedented succession of changes, stemming from Covid-19, new technology and expanded fitness options competing for people’s fitness dollars.
“I think that the fitness industry has been forever changed and that it’s our responsibility to change with the times,” said Jaquays-Tarbox. “Everything — from what people are looking for from their fitness experience to what their goals are — have taken a sudden and drastic turn, and I think it’s our responsibility as fitness operators to be aware of those changes and make sure that we are a step, if not two, ahead and act according to members’ expectations. ABC IGNITE will be great help for us during our recovery process from Covid. It will allow us to make good, smart decisions based on excellent data which will result in best results for our club.”