As any gym that provides classes will likely know, you need a way to quickly and conveniently share scheduling information with your members.
You may also want to have an easy way to keep your members updated about other important events that are going on in your community.
To save on the hassle of printed timetables or displays, it can be a smart move to build a gym virtual calendar that updates your members in real-time.
What real-time updates are and why they matter
The definition for real-time updates lies in the term — these are updates that occur in real-time, or as the application receives the information.
For example, apps like Robinhood provide real-time stock price updates to users. They achieve that through a system called long polling, in which servers are set up to regularly transfer data to the application whenever it changes. It’s a bit like telling someone to come over when they’re ready instead of texting them periodically to check in.
Why are these important?
Real-time updates matter because they can provide more value to customers and clients than other types of updates do.
When you provide real-time updates to your customers, you tell them exactly what’s happening right when it happens. This enables users to make more informed decisions about how they interact with your product or service.
For example, if we continue the Robinhood scenario, it’s easy to see why real-time updates are essential. Without them, a user has to buy and sell stocks at prices that are no longer accurate, which would make it very difficult for them to make a profit on their trades.
Overview of virtual calendars and their benefits
A virtual calendar is another tool that relies on real-time updates to function. These are basically just calendars that exist online. They enable companies, groups and individuals to keep everyone updated about important upcoming events. Adding real-time updates to the events on a virtual calendar is a great way to ensure that information is always up to date.
Some of the most popular examples of virtual calendars are
- Google Calendar
- Microsoft Outlook Calendar
General benefits of virtual calendars
There are many different ways for both individuals and groups to benefit from using virtual calendars.
An individual that uses one of these will enjoy being able to access their calendar across multiple devices. Additionally, individuals can use virtual calendars to create recurring events and set up reminders.
But sharing a virtual calendar across a team can be even more beneficial. Teams that used shared calendars enjoy the following benefits:
- Improved and more efficient communication
- Insight into what everyone across a team is doing at any given time
- Promotes collaboration
- Makes it much easier to manage time
Benefits for gyms
Gyms can benefit even more from using a virtual calendar. A fitness center can use a shared online calendar to ensure members always have an easy way to access the latest information about group classes.
But even better than that, you can use a virtual calendar to automate a big chunk of your scheduling process for things like personal training.
With a tool like UPshow, you can create, share and display a virtual calendar that allows your members to schedule themselves for the services you offer. The calendar will update automatically to reflect your new availability whenever someone edits the schedule.
This can be incredibly useful because it frees up your employees from having to focus on scheduling. Once your customers are able to do this themselves, your team will be free to perform other tasks that enhance the value members get from being part of your fitness center.
Building a virtual calendar that your members will love
Creating a virtual calendar for your fitness center will be a decision that benefits both your business and your customers. In this section, we’ll provide an overview of the steps you need to take to do this.
Figure out what your calendar is for
The first thing you need to do is determine exactly what your intentions are with your new virtual calendar. Do you want to use it to give your members an easier way to schedule time with personal trainers? Or do you want it to be an easy source for information about upcoming classes?
You could create virtual calendars for both of these things or bring your own ideas into the mix as well. The key here is to just determine what’s going to provide the most value to your members so that you can start building around the concept.
Create your calendar
Once you know what your calendar is meant to accomplish, it’s time to get working on it. You can use consumer-facing options like Google Calendar, but we recommend that you go with a tool that can provide a fitness center with a more targeted solution.
Typically, this means using your gym management software. This software helps fitness centers with everything from processing payments to improving internal communications. But you can also use your gym management software to create a valuable virtual calendar.
There are lots of great gym software solutions out there and the best fit will probably depend on your business needs. But here are some of the most popular options so that you can start doing some research on your own:
- Zen Planner
Use UPshow to share your calendar with guests
Now that you have your calendar it’s time to begin putting it to use. UPshow makes it easy to get your members started with a new virtual calendar. Our digital signage solution makes displaying your calendar inside of your fitness centers a breeze.
For example, you can use UPshow to show the upcoming availability of personal trainers on some of your screens, or to advertise upcoming classes.
Real-time updates with UPshow
UPshow is a centralized tool that allows you to make scheduling changes in one place and quickly share them across your entire organization. With our tool, you won’t ever have to worry again about leaving some of your guests in the dark after making a schedule change.
The process in practice
One of the coolest ways for a fitness center to use a virtual calendar is to let clients schedule themselves for your services. That might sound complicated if you’ve never done it before, but it’s actually pretty simple. Here’s what the process might look like for your gym.
You begin by allowing members to connect their external calendars to yours. They can do that by visiting your website and accessing the calendar or through links that you send out to your customers’ email addresses.
After a member connects their individual calendar to your centralized one, they will instantly be able to see what your availability looks like. They can then look through your different time slots and select the one that makes the most sense for them.
What happens when someone cancels
Concerned about cancellations? You don’t need to be. Most virtual calendars are really good at notifying you when any scheduling changes occur.
For example, imagine someone had scheduled a session with a personal trainer but ended up needing to cancel or reschedule. In that scenario, they would be able to access your virtual calendar online and make the change themself. Then you would receive a notification exactly when the change took place.
This feature ensures that you’re able to respond to various scheduling situations in real-time. It essentially gives you all of the responsiveness of a manually updated schedule along with the convenience of automation.
Try UPshow today
If you’re ready to begin leveraging the benefits of virtual calendars with real-time updates to help your gym, hop on over to UPshow to discover our unique engagement platform.
Our digital signage solution makes displaying scheduling information with real-time updates across all locations a breeze.That being said, we don’t expect you to just take our word for it. Instead, let us show you exactly what UPshow can do for you by signing up for a free custom demo today. We look forward to hearing from you.