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Funxtion collaborates with global experts on white paper exploring digital in the future of fitness

In collaboration with ukactive, FunXtion has driven a global discussion with some of the world’s leading fitness operators and influencers, exploring how digitalisation will influence the delivery of fitness services and products moving forwards.

“As the world plunged into lockdown and people were ordered to ‘stay home’, the value of a digital offer became undeniable,” says Ernst De Neef, CEO at FunXtion.

“The world had changed forever and the sector needed to adapt at lightening pace in order to maintain its relevance in the market.

“At FunXtion we have always believed that collaboration is key to success. As a result, we were quick to instigate a global digital discussion between facility operators and experts to explore how the consumers new-found enthusiasm for streamed content and digital capabilities would impact our product and service provision as we navigate our way through this pandemic and beyond.”

A White Paper – The Acceleration of Digital Fitness: reconciling physical and virtual spaces – was produced as a direct interpretation of discussions to give access to the thoughts and insights of industry leaders.

The document has been divided into three core sections: Assessing the impact of Covid-19 on the physical activity sector; Opportunities and challenges for digitalisation transformation and Responding to a changed consumer economy.

De Neef continues: “The encouraging takeaway is there is a huge level of optimism for the future. Covid-19 has accelerated what was inevitable. Commerce is no longer driven by industry, it is driven by the consumer.

“Our industry has had the technological and digital capability to extend the member experience beyond the brick and mortar of our facilities for many years but we lacked the impetus to instigate change. Now we have been forced to act and we have done so with passion, enthusiasm and commitment. As a result, our offer will be much more resilient for the future.

“Within our discussion groups there was an overwhelming belief that there will remain a demand for physical training spaces moving forwards. Consumers will now expect wraparound support but it is the sense of belonging and community driven by an in-person experience that has been the backbone of our success and this will continue to be our core strength. The provision of a digital offer, enabling access to fitness content and coaching will become the new base level expectation but people will still crave the opportunity to train in a physical space.

“One of the main challenges posed by digitalisation is how to position the out-of-club services. Should these be incorporated as part of the membership fee, creating added-value or can clubs expect to position digital services as a revenue driver? This topic created an interesting debate. The White Paper outlines the main options and looks at the merits of each, helping operators to decide on the best positioning for their brand.”

Speaking about the White Paper, David Gerrish, Head of Digital Transformation at ukactive, adds: “The digitalisation of the fitness and leisure sector has accelerated five years in just five months.

“Operators who reaped the biggest benefits were those who had already established digital as a key component of their product offering. This white paper is an important piece of thought leadership for businesses across the industry seeking to react to market trends and better meet the needs of their customers. It’s now up to the fitness industry to build on these insights to strengthen their brands and relationships with their members.”

Download the White Paper here.

FunXtion has also developed two Playbooks with supporting materials to help operators which will be available soon at www.funxtion.com :

Discussion and White Paper Contributors:

  • • Ernst De Neef, CEO, FunXtion
  • • Fahad Alhagbani, Co Founder and CEO Armah Sports Company
  • • Sophie Lawler, CEO Total Fitness
  • • Sander Van De Born, Chief Marketing and Technology Officer, Goodlife Fitness
  • • Richard Earney, National Programme Director, Midtown Athletic
  • • Jamie Cartwright, Co-Founder, Box-12
  • • Kacy Harding, Global Vice President, Consumer Solutions, Culligan International
  • • John Nasta, Director, Retention Solutions
  • • David Gerrish, Head of Digital Transformation at ukactive
  • • Joyce Power, FunXtion Marketing Lead




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