Anytime Fitness Benelux Eyes a New Digital Member Experience

AF Benelux is extending its in-club experience with a new app, which will provide digital personal training and an extensive workout library.

As the fitness industry becomes increasingly digital, health club operators have recognized the importance of extending the member experience beyond the four walls of the club. Many experts posit that for health clubs to survive in the coming years, they’ll need to figure out a way for members to interact with the brand at home, in the office, and even on vacation. (The IHRSA Passport Program can help with the latter.)

That virtual experience is a future pipe dream for many clubs, but for Anytime Fitness Benelux it’s becoming the reality, thanks to its new digital coaching offerings.

Technology Anytime Fitness Benelux Members Column

Members working out at an AF Benelux club

A Steep Trajectory

Anytime Fitness Benelux (AF Benelux) opened its first location in July 2011 in the southern Netherlands. The company now boasts 72 locations in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg (a.k.a. the Benelux region), with plans to open another 20 or so in the area by the end of 2018.

“Because of the importance of convenience for our members, we’re always located in the center of a city in a very visible location,” says Petro Hameleers, general director of AF Benelux. “We are located in [areas] with about 8,000 [residents] in the Netherlands and 12,000 in Belgium.”

Hameleers credits the company’s success to its focus on functional training and the passion of its franchisees.

“With this group of amazing franchisees, it is absolutely a [joy] to collaborate with them,” he says. “They serve our members from their hearts in a surprisingly personable way.”

“The transformation from 24/7 small footprint fitness to individual coaching—online and by visiting our clubs—is strategically a great jump in our new AF future.”

Petro Hameleers, General Director

AF Benelux - Netherlands

Extending the Digital AF Experience

Anytime Fitness is planning to extend the passion of its franchisees and staff with a new app, which is rolling out to AF Benelux members at the end of May. The app, which was developed out of Anytime Fitness headquarters in Minneapolis, is designed to motivate, educate, and inspire members.

According to Hameleers, the app will upgrade the physical support members receive in the clubs and provide them with tailored online health coaching, including a vast digital workout library from Pump One.

“The transformation from 24/7 small footprint fitness to individual coaching—online and by visiting our clubs—is strategically a great jump in our new AF future,” he says.

“Of course, our staff are the most crucial factor in changing behavior of members and helping them [live] a healthier life. But the first experiences from usage of the app makes us so enthusiastic that our AF app will be a fundamental tool to make the next step to our future.”

Once launched, the app will be another touchpoint between AF Benelux and its members during their “journey of happiness.”

“We can communicate and connect with them anytime and anywhere,” Hameleers says. “It will enhance member experience inside—but also outside—our club. Even members who don’t visit our club for a while [will find the app to be very valuable].”

Up Next for AF Benelux

The AF Benelux team is finalizing a roadmap to implement the app and its digital offerings over the summer of 2018. The app is already proving popular with franchisees, who are eager to leverage it as a data source and profit center.

In the future, Hameleers says he’s aiming to take AF Benelux “to that level that people in the Benelux appreciate AF as the No. 1 brand that will take them to a healthier life. [We hope to accomplish this] in a surprisingly personal way and [give our members] a belief that they can achieve health results with the support of our AF health and coaching experts.”

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Marianne Aiello

Marianne Aiello previously served as IHRSA's Senior Digital Content Manager—a position focused on crafting and monitoring IHRSA’s digital strategy and covering IHRSA events.