Prepping to Reopen
Tips from Ed Stanbury, CEO/Founder of BLOK, London
Ed Stanbury, Founder and CEO of BLOK, operates 3 studios across London and Manchester. Amidst shutdown, Ed launched BLOKtv, an extremely successful hybrid livestream and on-demand fitness product. With 27 class formats, alongside their cafes, retail shops, events, and retreats, BLOK is building a global lifestyle brand and is able to constantly adapt and evolve without compromising brand integrity.
The success of BLOKtv has not stopped Ed Stanbury from prepping for his studio to reopen when it is safe to do so in London. Ed recently shared some of his reopening strategies during one of ClassPass’ many “Back in Action” webinar series, How To Reopen Your Fitness Studio, launched shortly after COVID-19.
Add these suggestions to your fitness studio reopening checklist as you prepare to reopen.
Provide hands-on training for your employees
As number one on the checklist, make sure employees are aware of the new studio reopening guidelines. Ed recommends avoiding relying on employees to read and digest dense multipage handbooks. Instead, ensure hands-on training for everyone on new systems when they come back to work. His team have all walked through the new procedures, step by step. Each employee needs to understand what they need to do to be part of that new procedure.
Engage your customers by walking them through your new system
BLOK is planning to educate their customers too in preparation for reopening the fitness studio. They will take each customer through their new systems as if it were day 1 at BLOK. Ed says “you can have as many cleaners as you want running around, but you need customers to understand and buy into your procedures as well…otherwise, they don’t feel safe.” By engaging your customers in the process, they will feel safer in your space. Safety and cleanliness is a top concern for customers right now so make sure to include that and customer communication in your reopening checklist.
Plan a soft-launch for your studio
Try a soft-launch with a limited schedule. A soft launch will allow you to confirm that your process and methodology is working and change anything that is not working. Most importantly, you’ll definitely want to check-in with customers during your soft launch and star that on your checklist. When you know your customers are happy, you can start to add more classes to your schedule.
Consider keeping a digital offering, at least for now
Ed has always known that BLOK would enter the digital fitness market, but lockdown led to them fast tracking this process. BLOKtv is now a huge revenue generator for his business, nearly a year ahead of schedule. If social distancing is likely to mean you are unable to meet demand levels for your physical classes and your digital offering is working, consider running it in parallel with your studio reopening, at least until you can get back to full capacity. Hear more about generating and maximizing revenue on digital platforms and why maintaining your digital offering will stay on your studio reopening plan checklist.
Don’t be afraid of change
Remember, your customers are excited to return to your business! Ed says that his customers just want to get back in the studio. Customers want to feel safe and they understand that to make this happen you need to make changes. They know that the experience can’t be exactly the same but they are excited to workout with you again, so don’t be afraid to continue making changes to class formats (maybe even learning how to host outdoor classes) and facilities if they are needed. Make the business work for your customers and for you.
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