Lockdown could have been a complete disaster for many wellness businesses, but those that innovated are now reporting a boom. Here’s why…
In a crisis you can either be propelled or be paralysed. Those that saw an opportunity and acted, seem to have been rewarded. But what was the opportunity they saw?
With so many people forced to be at home online usage had to grow. Following Lockdown OfCom reported:
- Adults spending a record 4 hours a day online on average
- Twice as many using video calls to keep in touch during lockdown
- One in three now watch online video more than traditional TV, with two in five making videos themselves
Meanwhile digital platforms like Zoom, YouTube and Facebook Live, enabled more people to used what was available online, using the above systems for appointments, meetings, therapy and classes.
With gyms closed, according to WelltoDo: One in five have been doing home workouts, either online or offline, with YouTube (73%) by far the most frequently accessed online resource, followed by 19% for Facebook and 19% for Instagram. By contrast, just 9% was attributed to a gym’s website.
When Amaya Weddle of Mindbody delivered her state-of-the-industry talk in August 2019 she was aware that the consumer wasn’t embracing virtual much; a mere 7% live streamed workouts. She said then, “Digital doesn’t seem to be a serious threat, and the boutique fitness consumer would never give up that authentic community experience”. But with the onset of Covid, things changed quickly and Weddle says, “Our April research showed that a whopping 85% of consumers reported attending live stream classes on at least a weekly basis during COVID-19. That is simply incredible!”
But what did this mean for wellness providers?
How A Fitness Dance Class Grew 10-Fold In Lockdown
Ian Waite, former Strictly Come Dancing professional, and co-founder of the dance exercise class, FitSteps says, “We began online classes during lockdown so that all of the class members throughout the UK and further afield could still get their FitSteps fix even though their classes were not running.
“Dancing makes you happy and through the tough lockdown period we thought it was very important to keep people happy, healthy and motivated.
“We now have an average of 100-150 people who watch our live classes on Facebook and then many more who re-watch the workouts at a time that suits them.
“The biggest challenge was 100% the technology! We had some issues in the beginning, but once we had the set up right it was plain sailing.
“Online classes are here to stay so we would urge people to get set up. It is a learning curve, getting the music and lighting right can be a little complex, but once you have it all in place it is a great way to reach many more people than you might have done teaching in a hall or gym.
“Our brand awareness has increased ten-fold since we started the online classes. We have signed up a lot of new instructors who had not experienced a class before, found us online, loved it and wanted to become FitSteps instructors! We have also seen sign-ups for our On-Demand subscription service which includes routines and tutorials for “At Home” workouts increase too.
How An Events Business Attracted 1000s of Attendees To Yoga Classes
Skip Archimedes reports similar success to FitSteps…
By his own admission, Skip, hadn’t used Social Media platforms much prior to lockdown because Skip’s wellness business was largely event based.
Skip says, “When the virus hit and my next 10 events cancelled literally overnight, I sensed the world going into fear and panic and I decided to just connect and help people manage their mental and physical health through this period.
“What evolved was a live, free, daily yoga class on Facebook. When we started in March we had just 4 live attendees, but the attendances grew with some classes getting up to 7000 views.
“My business was already in good condition pre-lockdown, but as a result of lockdown and several other changes, it’s grown massively.”
Skip’s classes are continuing every day and anyone can “like” Skip’s page and join a class
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Jo Fellowes from 7-Figure Back Office helps businesses scale to 7-figures. She says, “Wellness providers who haven’t embraced the tech should start now. I know a lot of wellness entrepreneurs’ struggle with the tech, but you can’t use that as a reason any longer. You have to find a way around that now. My advice is start with what you know and what you can do. You can hire in help or just keep making improvements as you go.”
What does the future hold for non-fitness, high-touch wellness businesses?
According to the Global Wellness Institute, the biggest challenge post lockdown may well be public fears of shared public spaces, especially amongst the retired and older generation. This could still have a big impact on your businesses and although many in the older generations may not have been tech savvy, like everyone else, many have adapted and are now using it to stay connected.
For the businesses that require high-touch, such as massage, spas and salon treatments 22% of those surveyed were interested in online consultations, but there is a high comfort level around people returning for 1-2-1, with 54% comfortable returning to acupuncture and chiropractic sessions and 49% for massage. It is also expected that “In-home” services will rise, with 52% now interested in having massage therapists coming to them.
79% said they will go back to the business they frequented before COVID-19, 36% say they will choose the business that creates the safest environment, and 90% report that rigorous sanitization processes will be an important deciding factor in what business they ultimately choose.