Posted by Eamonn Curley on 11 October, 2018
We talked to Adam Suzor of MODO Fitness about his innovative approach to running a fitness business and how Glofox helped lay the foundation for its success.
For many of our customers, the decision to adopt gym membership software is one that comes from the frustrations of a labor-intensive management process. This could be the result of an overly simplistic way of managing that just isn’t scalable anymore. It also could be the result of choosing a gym management software that doesn’t meet the current needs of your business.
For Adam Suzor, founder and owner of MODO Fitness, the decision to integrate technology was the starting point for his gym. His fitness business began as a side project from his main business Suzor IT, an 18-strong business consultancy firm that services small to medium-sized businesses in the town of Orange, Massachusetts, USA.
Suzor IT is housed within the Orange Innovation Centre alongside other forward-thinking companies looking to revolutionize business in the region. It was here he was able to acquire the building's fitness center which had been in operation for the previous 9 years.
According to Adam, taking over the studio was born of a desire to showcase how integrating technology into a business can bring wholesale change to the overall organization. In October 2017 he re-launched the center as MODO, a fitness studio that has a mobile-first approach baked into the very ethos of the company.
The biggest challenge he faced with a full digital integration of MODO into his fitness business was getting his existing customer base on board with the change. They were largely unenthusiastic about digital adoption and he faced an uphill challenge in an initial couple of months to acquire and retain customers. However, once he implemented Glofox into the structure of his digital operation he quickly began to see results.
A Mobile First Approach
“First thing we did when we took over was to make sure we were 100% digital,” says Adam. And that meant everything. MODO does not accept cash or checks and they don’t accept or produce paper. According to Adam, the fitness studio is a project to showcase how going totally digital can be beneficial in the long run. But to do this he needed the right software.
In Glofox, Adam saw a fellow start-up with the tools that could help him achieve his ambitions. These tools included website integration and most importantly the Member App which became the basis of his business model. “Everything is done through the app”, Adam explains, “You cannot book a class without adding credit card information to it.”
While on the surface this seemed like a streamlined system he soon began to realize that he would face some difficulties in getting his customers to adopt. “When we first took over the gym we had a lot of members who were used to the way things were. And when we told them you have to be 100% digital there was a lot of negative sentiment,” says Adam.
However, this is where Glofox really helped the process. Because of the amount of time Glofox saved in admin and business operations, his staff was free to teach the members how to use the technology. Very soon they were fully embracing the change with great enthusiasm.
“They are really excited by the technology. They will be mid-conversation with a member of our team and suddenly remember a class they want to join and will book the class directly on their phone, right there and then. It’s exciting for us to see people embracing technology more”, he explains.
No Keycard, No Hassle
One of the major changes Adam made to the studio was to do away with a staffed front desk and replace it with a self-service Check-In Kiosk which is a key part of the Glofox Platinum Plan. With this feature, members can check themselves in, allowing staff to avoid the issue of a pre-class rush and dedicate their time to preparing for the class itself.
Adam estimates they have saved $25,000 per annum in staffing costs. As well as this, he has saved his customers time and relieved them of the hassle of using a keycard. “No keycard, no hassle”, says Adam. “Our customers come on their own their terms, not ours. They aren’t being bothered with offers of tours or staff pushing classes or offers on them.”
The Check-In Kiosk has also contributed to the sign- up of new members. “Now that we’ve rolled out the full kiosk experience, we have people that will sign up at the kiosk, and use their phone to purchase their own membership.” He estimates that at least 30% of their business was acquired this way. “We didn’t even have to sell to these members. With the kiosk, they are are selling themselves!”
When Adam took over from the previous owner of the fitness business, he found that sometimes regular members were unable to attend classes as there was no centralized booking system in place. Instructors had the negative experience of having to turn away regulars when a class was overbooked.
It wasn’t a pleasant situation for both member and instructor. Now, with the implementation of Glofox, members can keep track of classes on the app and make sure they are always booked into the classes they want. This, along with reducing class numbers to add value to the class, has led to an increase in bookings.
The results of the digital integration have been impressive. Gym membership and revenue are at a record high in the 9-year history of the fitness studio and Adam believes this is down to how easy it is to make digital payments. The combination of the Check-In Kiosk and Member App have resulted in a 150% increase in new member sign-ups over the last ten months.
The Future For His Fitness Business
Beyond that Adam believes that, if he can maintain a level of consistent success with Modo, he can take his 100% digital integration strategy and adapt it for similarly sized markets across the USA. In addition to this, he is now thinking ahead to implementing more advanced technology, with the likes of Machine Learning and Voice at the forefront of his thinking.
Already he has begun testing VR, using a 360-degree camera to film footage of the local area. This will be played in headsets that will be worn on bikes during spin classes. This is still in development but is an exciting upcoming innovation.
Looking back on his journey so far though, the one result he is most proud of is overcoming the early issues with the resistance to technology of his customer base. “I think what we have proven is demographic doesn’t matter when you commit fully to a technological integration”
At Glofox we are proud to support Adam on his journey to change the fitness game with technology and we are excited to see what he has in store for the future.