Markets

Gyms and The Forgotten Spaces of Lockdown

Outdoor gyms were allowed to reopen on 4th July 2020, but anything indoors has been categorised as “close proximity” and therefore deemed too high risk by the government. Doordeck can provide a whitelabelled contactless access solution embedded straight into their existing app.
July 24, 2020

The gradual relaxation of lockdown measures has been a curious thing.

Jobs that cannot be completed at home returned to the workplace in May, schools have had a stuttering restart throughout June and hospitality is bouncing back since 4th July.

Yet, gyms, yoga studios and swimming pools have remained off limits.

It seems anywhere dedicated to health and wellbeing has been deemed unfit for purpose when getting us back to normal life.

Doordeck have not entered the health and wellbeing sector before, but I wonder if we could help…


Heartbeat Of A Nation

The gym industry is big. In the UK there are over 7,000 gyms employing almost 200,000 people. They attract 10 million monthly memberships, bank-rolling an £8 billion-a-year industry.

And despite the one-size-fits-all lockdown rules, gyms are not homogeneous entities. They cater for very different clientele and the experience offered is wildly varied, largely reflected in price.

For example, highstreet gyms, such as Anytime Fitness, which has 269 centres nationwide, offers low cost, 24 hour access without a contract, allowing members to come and go as they please.

At the other end of the scale there’s luxury workout spots such as South Kensington Club, The Clock and upmarket US chain Equinox (which has arrived in London), all costing more than £300 a month. The lure of these gym experiences is exclusivity. Who is permitted access into certain areas, such as the rooftop pool or spa? The Clock, for example, only allows four people in the actual gym at once!

No Heavy Breathing Allowed

Outdoor gyms were allowed to reopen on 4th July with large swathes of the hospitality sector, but anything indoors has been categorised as “close proximity” and therefore deemed too high risk by the government.

This list extends to swimming pools, yoga studios, martial arts dojos, and just about anywhere dedicated to fitness including climbing centres and trampoline centres (where social distancing is inevitable!).

Clearly, healthy hobbies serve a vital purpose: our physical and mental health. And despite the clear distinction of delivery across this enormous market, all venues of healthy activity have been hobbled together and deemed unfit for purpose during the easing of lockdown.

The reason, I presume, is that these venues encourage the congregation of people in enclosed spaces, where equipment and tools are shared, and the physical exertion stimulates heavy breathing.

The same can be said for pubs!


Making A Gym Contactless

My view is that gyms and the forgotten spaces of lockdown can go that extra mile and show the decision makers that they are fit for purpose, by providing contactless access.

Indeed, as I think about it, our technology can solve multiple pain points in the gym ecosystem.

For highstreet gyms such as Anytime Fitness whose USP is 24/7 access, we can provide a whitelabelled solution embedded straight into their existing app.

Likewise, or for the luxury market, our tech has the intuitive ability to make certain gym areas restricted or open depending on the membership model, time of day or busyness of venue.

Our App-less visitor passes can help gyms manage the number of customers entering the gym at specific times during the day and enable door unlocking for the time the person has booked for a work out or swim.

In both cases, by offering access to the gym exclusively through the gym’s own app, the venue would guarantee engagement and have a unique space for marketing additional services.

Also, we could also solve the problem of shared keys in lockers with our new contactless smart lockers add-on.

Let’s get the fitness sector back up and running.



William Bainborough
CEO of Doordeck