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IHRSA 2024: Fitness Brands Balance AI & Community
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IHRSA 2024: Fitness Brands Balance AI & Community

As the fitness industry embraces AI and digitalization, Barry’s and Technogym are keeping the consumer experience at the forefront

Digitalization and artificial intelligence are forging a new frontier for the fitness industry, as demonstrated by numerous exhibitors and sponsors at IHRSA 2024 in Los Angeles.

Although the promises of AI and technology can drive business, one thing is clear: The fitness and wellness industry may warmly adopt the advancements but brands are still maintaining a focus on consumers and community wherever possible.

Technogym Creates an AI-Powered Wellness Journey

Technogym, one of the leading brands offering a complete ecosystem of health and wellness, has seen how leveraging AI can net positive results. The Italian fitness giant sees great promise in using data to define cohorts based on activity interest. The result? Hyper personalization and the ability to refine marketing targets, saving time and resulting in consumer satisfaction.

Francesco Arlotti, Technogym’s head of digital solutions, stressed the importance of an ecosystem that offers value to fitness and wellness seekers that goes beyond mere access to a digital platform. Instead, he points out that it must take consumers on a journey.

“If we want to increase the value of what we offer, we have to follow a different route,” Arlotti said.

The brand just debuted its most comprehensive AI-powered fitness assessment and customer engagement tool — Technogym Checkup

Technogym’s data-driven capabilities can give operators rich insights that can group club users based on workout preferences, habits and even activity patterns, offering an opportunity to refine upselling, drive community with friendly competitions in the form of challenges or even create new classes. 

Barry’s Drives Community via Apps & Pop-Ups

As one of the OG’s of HIIT–based fitness, Barry’s is growing across the globe and expanding its modalities. Best known for its famed Red Room, the fitness brand has developed a loyal following over the years and has been open to change, rebranding its name and vibe.

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Never afraid to break the rules, Barry’s has taken a unique approach to digitalization with not one but two apps: the newer Barry’s X, a proprietary platform to take, book classes and access the FitFam social network, and its original app that presents a one-stop shop “for all things in-studio.”

Jenna Hauca, Barry’s senior vice president of marketing and digital, says Barry’s continues to deliver community-driven experiences and plans to reflect that same approach with additional features on its app as it evolves

“For us, community is really the guiding principle of most of the decisions we make, digitally and in person,” Hauca said.

Keeping a focus on in-person and community experiences has led to a robust number of members showing up to Barry’s, funneling in from advertised in-person fitness challenges, where members are encouraged to attend as many in-studio classes as they can in a specific time frame. In addition to driving people to classes, it’s also led to Barry’s members encouraging one another, in person and in the brand’s FitFam space. 

With the launch of Ride, the brand has expanded its “welcome mat” to a new audience, Charlie Meredith, Barry’s chief curriculum lead, has told Athletech News. Barry’s is also exploring additional pop-ups this year, continuing to connect with its community and attracting new members in “non-traditional” locations.

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