Anytime Fitness Asia bets on digital and data-based marketing to aid expansion


Anytime Fitness Asia, which was acquired by Inspire Brands Asia (IBA), is banking on digital and data-based marketing as it plans to open 75 gyms each in Singapore and Malaysia, over the next three years. Speaking to Marketing, Luke Guanlao, chief executive officer of IBA and chief operating officer of Anytime Fitness Asia said on top of its Singapore and Malaysia expansion, the company aims to open over 150 gyms in Indonesia, 250 gyms in the Philippines, and over 50 gyms in Vietnam. 

“Beyond the standard social media, there are many platforms – from audio and video, as well as content types – from going beyond fitness to industry leadership – that we will be launching as our markets continue to reopen. These initiatives, along with our franchise sales, are led by our chief growth officer, Johannes Raadsma,” he added. Currently, the franchise support is headed by chief support officer, Andrea Bell.

When asked if Anytime Fitness will be on the hunt to appoint a creative or media agency, Guanlao said right now the company is at status quo with its partners, and its priority is in providing marketing support for franchisees as they reopen. "Finding the right agencies to work with takes time and due diligence, and we are always on the lookout for partners that understand our brand and our ways of working," he added. 

Currently, Anytime Fitness is beefing up its reporting capabilities internally and in the process of vetting additional business intelligence and monitoring tools to have a better picture of its target markets. As more data and analytics come in, Guanlao said the company will be adapting the platforms and content it creates toward where the consumers are, especially in terms of providing timely, insightful, and relevant content that improves their health and well-being.

In the last four years, according to a media statement, Anytime Fitness Asia had compound annual growth rates of 49% in franchise sales and 55% in gym openings. Guanlao, who had been with the brand for over 10 years said, Anytime Fitness is positioned to take advantage of opportunities as gyms reopen and people navigate a new normal. Beyond COVID-19, Anytime Fitness Asia is also expanding its online offerings, which began with the Anytime Fitness app and workouts.

“Our goal is to provide a seamless online-to-offline Anytime Fitness experience for all our members, and feel welcome to work out whether they are at our gym or in the comfort of home,” he added. As such, in the countries it has reopened, namely Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, the fitness brand has adhered to local government guidelines and conduct temperature checks, wear masks, enforce social distancing, manage its capacity, and collect information for contact tracing, among others.

In recent times, online fitness classes and fitness apps have seen a boom due to COVID-19. According to market research company, Technavio, the fitness app market has the potential to grow by US$1.68 billion between 2020 and 2024. Moreover, a study by Polaris Market Research shows that the market is anticipated to reach US$14.7 billion by 2026, with Asia being the second-largest market in the industry. But with growth comes competition, and marketers need to make sure their apps are top of mind when consumers are in need.  

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