Andreas Knölle, CTO at audiovisual specialist SOTA, shares his tips for anyone looking to create a world-class cycling studio experience.
1. Deliver an experience, not a class
The member experience is something everyone talks about nowadays, yet many operators fall short of delivering a true experience – something members will want to tell their friends about.
While there are, of course, many different elements that combine to create the perfect member experience, I believe three are particularly important. Firstly, always try to tell a story rather than selling a product. Secondly, engage passionate instructors who genuinely love to teach. And third, try to surprise your participants in every class they join.
2. Focus on the group cycling product
Further to tip #1, although it isn’t about selling a product, it’s nevertheless vitally important that the product hits the mark, delivering results as well as a share-worthy experience.
An obvious point here, but use great equipment – and by that, I don’t only mean equipment that’s high quality, but that also feels high quality. Member perceptions are important. Minimise opportunities for distraction too, so riders are immersed at the moment and fully focused on their training. Use large format displays or projection to present stats like heart rate or other performance metrics. Last but not least, create a sense of competition between participants to ensure they push themselves to their limits – and beyond.
3. Maximise the impact of your studio
If your cycle studio looks like someone put bikes onto a squash court, it will always feel like someone put bikes onto a squash court.
Make the most of your studio space – for example, maximising the impact of any unusual architectural features to create unique interior design concepts. And make the most of what’s outside too: if your club is located amid beautiful scenery, consider installing large panoramic windows in your studio. Do, however, ensure it’s a view that will motivate and inspire rather than distract – as noted in tip #2 – and remember there may be a need for blackout blinds over the windows if, for some classes, you want to create a cinematic experience via a big screen.
4. Change the look of your cycle studio as often as possible
Don’t allow your studio to feel the same throughout the duration of a class, as this does little for motivation. Mix it up to keep riders stimulated and engaged.
Opt for a lighting system that supports the training being delivered, with different lighting to sync with the different phases of the workout. And use video projection to further immerse participants in the story your instructor is telling – the journey they are being taken on.
5. Deliver crystal-clear audio at every bike
A great sound system is vital to every group cycling class. Use an audio system that delivers perfect audio – including clarity and intelligibility of speech – wherever you may be in the studio, at whichever bike. Reduce the risk of any disturbance in sound – reverberation, for example – by incorporating features such as hidden absorption material behind graphics on the walls.