gym covid response

Active Recovery: How Equinox Transitioned to Being Always Ready

by | Mar 3, 2021

Jenna Klebanoff is the Director of CRM & Member Marketing at Equinox, a luxury fitness club headquartered in New York City with locations throughout the US, UK, & Canada. Equinox signed on as a Simon Data client in 2019, seeking a solution that would enable Equinox to deliver a genuinely omnichannel member experience program. 

In December 2019, very few businesses were prepared for what was coming in the following year. 2020 taught us at Equinox the importance of always being there for our members — whether that meant ready to react to major macro events such as COVID or prepared to respond to anything we learn about the member. We’ve shifted our mindset from “Always On” to “Always Ready,” which has funneled through our whole marketing approach. “Always Ready” is a simple but ambitious objective — it means giving our members more of what they want, when, and where they want it across their journey with Equinox.

Equinox is more than a fitness club — we provide physical and digital spaces for high-performance living wherever and whenever our members want to connect. But when the pandemic hit and states began closing businesses, we had to be sure we were part of the solution by closing our fitness clubs and delivering digital offerings to our members. 

The power and ease of the Simon platform saved us from a vast communications delay and massive manual workload. When we first onboarded Simon Data as our CDP of choice, we had decades’ worth of rich first-party data around how our members interact with us in-club, but we weren’t able to leverage those insights to their full extent.

The challenge: Delivering personalized communications to complex customer segments

Every region where we operate has implemented a stay-at-home order at least once in the past year, with many of our clubs opening only to close again. We had to develop a highly targeted communications strategy based on location, member type, and member engagement. The level of personalization we were able to serve to our total member file would not have been possible without Simon Data’s technology. 

Starting in May 2020, we knew that locations would start reopening, but we didn’t know which regions, when, or what the local safety protocols would be. In the spirit of being always ready, we took the time to reimagine the member journey and the three overarching audiences we would need to hit. These segments needed to exist regionally, and they needed to be dynamic because members were moving from one to another of these categories throughout the year. 

  1. Active members
  2. Members who chose to keep their account frozen
  3. Members who churned in 2020

You can’t maintain the kind of relationship we have with our members without this level of thoughtfulness and deep segmentation. Beyond the COVID-relevant lifecycle stage and region, we had to consider why they came to Equinox before the pandemic (i.e., Personal Training, Group Fitness classes), how often they came in, their LTV, and other vectors. Leveraging Simon Data allowed us to create these deeply-segmented, dynamic audiences to push out campaigns in real-time to our members when and where they wanted to engage with us.

Results: What we’ve learned 

As it worked out, we’ve not only been able to keep these complex journeys organized and easy to understand, but we’ve also been able to learn so much more about our members.

For example, when thinking about where to focus our personal training efforts, we learned which clubs and regions have above-average penetration. We identified our top decile LTV customers, and knowing that they have to book a visit ahead of time, we plan to track them for a surprise-and-delight campaign when they visit the club. 

We created these highly segmented programs because it was the best experience for the member, but these efforts garnered real business results. Despite the increased initial workload and the massive and sudden shift of strategy, we saw the following wins:

  • We now better understand our audience, with a nearly 3X increase in customer segments over the year before.
  • We delivered better content when & where our members wanted while decreasing send volume by 22%.
  • We saw a 79% increase in open rate and a 29% increase in CTR.

We strive to keep the member at the center of everything we do. Simon’s technology allowed us to be nimble, quick, and adaptable in the face of the changes we’ve experienced since the COVID-19 outbreak and communicate with our members in the right channels, with the right content, at the right time. 

With Simon Data as our key member dashboard, we are so much more strategic and nuanced than batch and blast. That capability could not have been more critical than during this past year, and the importance of maintaining this level of intimacy and personalization is here to stay.

Ready to get started? Get in touch for a demo

REQUEST A DEMO