Wish you didn’t have to pay as much if you rarely went to the gym? Gym-As-You-Go wants to offer pricing based on usage rather than monthly subscriptions. The TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin Hackathon project uses NFC to let you check in at work-out machines. You’re then charged a fee for how long you use the machine, and Gym-As-You-Go keeps a percentage. “The most painful point of gyms are these 24 month contracts” says teammate Sebastian Steins.
Pay-as-you-go pricing could give lazy people who rarely work out a way to waste less money, and gyms a way to attract a different type of customer. Especially popular machines could be surge priced so they’re always available if you’re desperate for a certain exercise and don’t have time to wait. Gyms could lower prices in off-peak hours to balance their attendance across the week to avoid overcrowding. And gyms would learn which equipment is the most popular so they can buy more, keep it maintained, or advertise that they have it.
“Pay per use is very common in digital but not in the real world” says teammate Tomas Ruiz.
Like most hackathon projects, Gym-As-You-Go is a bit light on the details of how its partnerships with gyms would work, though it is built with SAP Hybris and Clover payments. Installing NFC readers on older machines could be a sizeable expense for gyms, though more and more are coming with it built in so people can track their own work-outs. With time, the set-up cost should come down. Partnering with an existing NFC sports equipment provider could make sure machines are already primed for Gym-As-You-Go.
Cloud-connected gym equipment companies like eGym are already trying to reduce membership churn for gyms by getting people locked in with work-out tracking. But pay-as-you-go pricing could also create a direct incentive for modernization. Some gyms might worry about losing money if people opt to skip memberships they don’t take advantage of in favor of a la carte pricing. But with so many gyms competing in big cities, alternatives to monthly subscriptions could be a powerful differentiator.