As the pandemic pendulum swings back in favor of in-person exercise, gyms and studios are seeing memberships rebound.
Compounded by closures, membership holds, and an omnichannel future, operators are seeking out modern club management platforms — simplifying the back office while driving engagement and personalization.
We caught up with ABC Fitness Solutions CEO Bill Davis on the heels of its acquisition of studio management platform Glofox, discussing what comes next for the fitness industry.
Often operating behind the scenes, what can you tell us about ABC Fitness Solutions?
Bill Davis: ABC Fitness Solutions (ABC) is a leading technology and related services provider for the fitness industry. For over 40 years, we have continually brought innovative solutions to the fitness and wellness market.
And now together with Glofox, we are serving 24K studios and clubs with over 31M members globally, offering a comprehensive SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) club management solution suite that can empower fitness providers of all sizes around the world.
The club management space is competitive, with a number of brands and overlapping services — how does ABC stand out?
BD: The industry is full of siloed technology solutions, and most brands offer overlapping services that were not integrated. This is a huge challenge for gym owners and club operators when they have to worry about making technology work for their unique business model.
In a world where consumers are demanding more personalized programming and experiences, having a highly configurable end-to-end suite that empowers fitness providers of all sizes across the entire fitness consumer journey is disruptive.
As we continue to invest in building the most comprehensive solutions, we can add value for owners and operators and a much more personalized experience for their members.
How was the industry impacted by COVID — how would you characterize the recovery thus far and outlook going forward?
BD: During the pandemic, literally tens of millions of members were locked out of their gyms and had to find alternative options, including at-home solutions.
As the industry begins to recover, we’ve seen a growing interest in both in-club and out-of-club fitness experiences, adjoined by members’ desire to have a personalized experience regardless of where they choose to work out.
According to our recent survey, 71% of consumers stated being active was important to them compared to 66% last year. Digging deeper, we discovered consumers other than the traditional “lifers” (who prioritize their fitness and wellness goals) have delivered the real growth.
It challenges the industry to rethink the business model in order to provide programs and routines for consumers beyond their traditional demographic. The opportunity to create lasting value is a willingness to meet the consumer wherever they are.
Why did ABC acquire Glofox and what’s the vision for the combined company?
BD: The acquisition of Glofox is a strategic growth investment for us. It supports our goal to amplify our existing capabilities to address needs in the boutique gym and studio sector of the fitness market, as Glofox is widely recognized as an innovator in management software.
It is also an opportunity for global expansion when combined with our existing strength in North and Latin America. The initial agreement was announced at the start of August 2022 and the acquisition closed on August 26.
Operating as a business unit within ABC, Glofox will retain its team, offices, and customers and will work together with ABC to realize identified revenue synergies and joint innovations that will provide added value to customers.
From digital content and home workouts to fitness creators, a number of trends are reshaping fitness — does ABC plan to pursue avenues beyond club management?
BD: Yes, and pointing to our strategic acquisition of Trainerize at the beginning of the pandemic, we were ahead of the curve.
Trainerize is the leader in mobile fitness solutions for personal training and member engagement, empowering 245K trainers and coaches worldwide to reach, engage, and motivate more people to change their lives for the better — oftentimes in the comfort of their own homes.
As our research shows, there are consumers looking for wellness offerings that include not just exercise but things like nutrition tracking, habit influences, etc. ABC’s Trainerize solution is at the forefront of that trend — to date, we are helping to track 9M habits and have logged 119M meals.
As we perceive the business model for the fitness industry growing ever more hybrid and holistic, our platform helps retain and engage member interest outside of the gym. Engagement will be key for the industry to adapt to the new environment, and we are happy to be the pioneer in this change.
Anything else you’d like to share with readers?
BD: The agreement follows the successful strategic acquisitions and integrations of Trainerize, GymSales, and FitnessBI that helped enhance our best-in-class club management software solutions — leading to ABC IGNITE, our next-generation and most advanced offering to date.
From personal trainers to yoga studios, boutique gyms to commercial fitness clubs, the technical capabilities, reach, and values of ABC and Glofox amplify each other, allowing both of us to further our mission to assist people around the world in their health, fitness, and wellness journeys.