With gyms across the world forced to temporarily close their doors, many operators have quickly reinvented themselves in order to stay relevant with their members. In many ways, COVID-19 has accelerated trends that were already happening in the industry, like the addition of on-demand and live fitness offerings into the timetables of many gyms and boutique studios. We spoke to Karin Kaellman, Executive Board Member & Interim CEO, about how Barrecore has successfully introduced a Live offering that has already seen huge success with existing and new members. We spoke to Karin about:
- What boutiques need to think about when implementing a live offering
- The common challenges experienced by boutiques when considering digital fitness
- How to successfully monetise a live offering and
- What the future holds for live fitness and the boutique industry
Tell us about Barrecore LIVE. How were you able to set it up so quickly?
We are fortunate to already have been delivering On Demand classes for a few years now, so while the LIVE format required some adjustments, we had an idea of what was important from a client point of view in terms of delivery of the classes, visibility, audio, music etc. So that already gave us a head start. In terms of the technical aspect, we had to find a new platform that was tailored to delivering LIVE Classes, and thankfully we have a hardworking and talented team that researched all of our options. We found a solution we liked, did a few internal tests with our staff and got their feedback, then some free trials with our instagram audience and got their feedback, and then a few days later we felt we had managed to get to a place where taking the class felt almost as good as our in studio experience, and then we launched it officially as a paid service. We launched with a very basic schedule, and since we keep asking our audience for their feedback we now have some updated schedule times, some longer classes, and some new formats compared to what we originally launched with. So in summary – it’s been prioritizing feedback and iteration, over launching it perfectly.
What has the response been so far?
Really positive! It’s amazing how connected you can feel via a LIVE class. We have had over 300 people from all over the world experience the same class, and it seems to be keeping people relatively sane through these tough times.
How did you get the word out about the new live offering?
Emails and our 38K social media following (up from just 31K less than a month ago!) has been a huge factor in delivering the message about our On Demand and LIVE options – but never underestimate the power of word of mouth! People sharing their Barrecore journey in isolation – on social media and in more private forums.
What do you think holds back other boutique studios from launching similar services?
If your team is really small or the skillset is not there to be able to quickly pivot to digital then the technology curve could possibly be a challenge. You also need a certain volume of clients to make it worth the cost of putting on a regular schedule – we’re fortunate that we have clients from all our 13 studios, where most have been looking for a digital option during this time. It allows us to put on a schedule with up to 4 classes per day, which makes it easier for clients to commit to a LIVE membership and show up day after day, and week after week.
How are you monetising live classes?
We offer your first LIVE class for free, and after that you can purchase either single credits for £6, or pay £15 per week for access to as many of our classes as you want. Our membership is our most popular option as it allows people to take advantage of our full range of classes, and stay active on a daily basis by also mixing in our stretch & restore classes (as we always recommend days off, to rest your muscles, and these classes are a great opportunity to wind down while activating your body). £15 per week is also a fraction of our in studio £260 per month membership price, and incredible value. We have synced up our LIVE Classes with our regular in studio booking system and app, so really, it all works just as seamlessly as before – which was a huge relief!
Do you charge the same as an in-person class and how are instructors compensated?
No, we charge a significantly reduced rate than in-studio classes (£6 versus £28), but our teachers are compensated as per a regular in-studio class.
What are your predictions for LIVE workouts following reopening of all studios after COVID-19?
We have a lot of clients already now asking us to please keep them on after the lockdown is lifted. Either because they enjoy the ability to workout from their home, have moved out of town (we only have studios in London, Bristol and Manchester), or are new fans from other parts of Europe or overseas. We would love to continue offering them as we have enjoyed the experience and ability to interact also with people who can’t make it into our studios. The great thing about Barrecore is, you can do it so easily from anywhere. We use very minimal equipment and anything we do use (like a light weight or a barre) you can replace with objects found around the home (such as a canned beans or a chair)!
For more information, check out the LIVE workout platform from Barrecore here: https://barrecore.com/barrelive