Virtuagym CEO: Fitness Consumers Expect 24/7 Engagement, So Software Is Key

Virtuagym’s Hugo Braam says fitness brands need to be with their members at all times. Leveraging software to create an omnichannel fitness offering goes a long way in that regard

An omnichannel fitness offering is no longer a bonus — it’s a must-have for gym and studio operators looking to level up their business by attracting and retaining members.

All-in-one health and fitness software provider Virtuagym — a trusted software provider to over 9,000 health and fitness businesses, — sees omnichannel fitness as the future, and it’s working to help its clients become digital players.

“Consumers are used to a 24/7 economy, and members want to be able to work out and stay connected with their club of choice whenever, wherever and however they want,” Virtuagym co-founder and CEO Hugo Braam tells Athletech News.

Braam, who co-founded Virtuagym in 2008 with his brother, Paul, has seen firsthand the evolving needs of gyms and studios in a world where nearly 70% of the global population now owns a smartphone. Therefore, he says, having an exceptional mobile app experience with multiple, seamless customer touchpoints is key.

“Being in your member’s pocket 24/7 enables you to instantly connect with them and provide and sell services wherever they are,” he says.

credit: Virtuagym

The Virtuagym platform allows fitness brands to house all of their services in one place, connecting with customers anytime, anywhere, with an engaging online community feature, challenges and leaderboards, online training and nutrition plans and home video workout platforms.

“We also have PRO+, a turnkey online membership and engagement content solution,” Braam says. “This enables clubs to combine on-site training with an extensive online offering of training videos and wellness content through their tailor-made app. Our GPS Cardio and heart-rate tracking – combined with integrations with the likes of Garmin – also ensure users can make the most of wearable and performance tracking.”

And, leaning into the burgeoning interest in personal training, Virtuagym also offers a Coach Finder feature, enabling members to browse trainer profiles and purchase personal trainer packages right from home.

Tools To Connect With Members Anytime, Anywhere

Second to a stand-out mobile app experience is providing the right tools and insights to engage and activate members during their journey.

“Do you know the activation rate and engagement in your app? Which personas do you serve, and can you provide them with the digital services they would like to receive? We have deliberately set up our Virtuagym mobile app technology to be flexible and allow turning on and off various modules,” Braam says. 

Fitness operators can adjust modules like nutrition, audio meditation content, a customizable workout library and a community feature with the option to create various channels for different target groups.

“This approach is supported by our custom home screen that can easily embed our management tools for booking or a webshop, but also allows for the inclusion of third-party services or content,” Braam explains. “This allows you to tailor the app experience, which is vital in the member journey.”  

Go Beyond the Four Walls of Your Facility

But it’s more than just offering top-tier tools. As Braam says, the biggest mistake a gym or studio can make is not having a clear engagement strategy.

“The expectations of fitness consumers have fundamentally changed,” he points out. “Where before an individual would expect limited engagement from their club and mostly train within the physical gym, now they want a personalized experience, seamless interaction and the option to workout in the way that best suits their individual needs on any given day.” 

credit: Virtuagym

Not providing a forward-thinking and customer-centric approach leaves fitness and wellness operators at a disadvantage and at risk of losing the long-term loyalty of members who are aware of the existing options. 

“People still love exercising within the four walls of their club but engagement is not just about the physical equipment, space and available classes,” Braam says. “It’s also about the way your brand communicates, the personalized opportunities you offer and the sense of community you build.”

The Future of AI in Fitness

Virtuagym launched its first AI-driven coaching solution last year, instantly creating tailored workouts for users based on their specific needs which are shared via a chat interface. 

The tool is integrated within the Virtuagym Fitness mobile app for end-users, connecting them to personalized workouts powered by Virtuagym’s ever-expanding exercise database of over 6,000 exercises.

“It is also linked with other Virtuagym features, such as wearable activity and heart rate tracking, body composition monitoring and nutrition coaching,” Braam adds. “We are working on expanding the capabilities of AI Coach to trainers, health clubs and corporate businesses already using Virtuagym software.”

Despite Virtuagym’s early advancements in AI, Braam says the fitness industry as a whole has yet to make significant strides in adopting artificial intelligence, but he’s confident Virtuagym will be at the forefront. 

“We are still at a very early stage in our understanding and application of the technology, but it can become a game changer,” he says. “At Virtuagym, we know how important it will be to the industry – from improving member personalization to enhancing business efficiency – and want to continue to help drive the new AI-based innovations being created to support clubs and trainers.”

“It is this interface of fitness and technology that gets me excited every day to help build the future of fitness together with our 9,000+ customers worldwide,” he adds.

The post Virtuagym CEO: Fitness Consumers Expect 24/7 Engagement, So Software Is Key appeared first on Athletech News.


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