Biometric solutions for health and fitness




A member checks in at a gym leveraging fingerprint biometrics


One area that particularly benefits from Yombu's biometric technology is the health and fitness industry: gyms, yoga and cycling studios, CrossFit franchises and similar facilities. How does Yombu work at a gym or fitness studio and what are the key benefits? Yombu biometric systems resolve several issues in the health and fitness space, including reducing personal training session redemption fraud (by trainers), expediting entry into group fitness classes, streamlining member and guest check-in processes at a facility entrance, offering customers friction-less payment, enhancing customer self-serve data capture, and more.

One way that Yombu is especially well-suited for the fitness industry pertains to its use as a check-in system for personal training sessions, which can help curb trainer fraud. What do we mean here? A fitness center generally commissions trainers based upon the number of training sessions completed. For example, if a gym member buys a pack of five sessions, all that money goes to the gym owner (or corporate entity), who will then pay the trainer in exchange for conducting the training sessions with the given member. If the member never attends all of the sessions in his pack, then the un-redeemed sessions should represent revenue only for the gym owner, rather than any payment to a trainer. Thus, trainers may be tempted to document that they have completed sessions that they have not.

When a trainer makes off with this 'trainer's fee' that ought to be flowing to the gym's top line, he has committed fraud: he is stealing the session fee from the gym. According to numerous discussions conducted with fitness CFOs, as many as 20% of training sessions are fraudulent, representing a staggering loss to the fitness industry. This sort of fraud is common in part because it is easy to commit and can be difficult to track: even though most gyms have some form of sign-in system, a trainer can, for example, easily select a name from a drop-down menu to check a member into a session. And since clients are not losing financially in this particular case, they are not likely to report any issue to the facility.


According to numerous discussions conducted with fitness CFOs, as many as 20% of training sessions are fraudulent, representing a staggering loss to the fitness industry.


Yombu combats trainer fraud by offering a more sophisticated, accurate, and secure form of check-in for personal training sessions. Given that Yombu uses biometric technology-members are required to check-in using their fingerprints-the system verifies that the client has in fact redeemed his personal training session. Certainly, the client's fingerprint is unique, meaning that it is impossible for a trainer to mark the session as complete or to check in on the client's behalf. Moreover, this ensures more accurate data capture, allowing for better future marketing and analytics. For example, the gym can now more reliably understand members who attend all of their training sessions and target this member sub-segment with training up-sell offers.

In the same way that Yombu can be used to securely verify that a client has signed in to his personal training session, it can also be used to facilitate a speedy, organized check-in process for group fitness classes. Here, there is a large efficiency benefit to the entry process: anyone who has attended, say, a spin class, can attest to how hectic and frustrating it is to sign in at the same time as the dozens of other arriving clients. Using Yombu allows gyms and fitness studios to streamline this often-frustrating check-in process. Beyond creating a speedier check-in process, using Yombu helps to improve data quality in terms of understanding which members are in fact attending classes-in this way, similar to the personal training session example above, gyms can better market to pertinent customer segments.

In terms of front desk check-in, the benefit to the consumer is similar: members do not need to worry about holding on to their key tag, thus increasing efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Beyond this benefit, using Yombu also reduces cost by eliminating the need for gyms to purchase key tags or barcode tags. These tags can cost as much as 50 cents to $1 per tag. And other than the direct cost of distributing these tags, there is the potential for member fraud (e.g., passing the tag to a non-member for facility entry) and also the headache in managing processes to reliably distribute the tags to members. Moreover, members often forget their facility entry tags-this occurs in roughly 20% to 40% of front desk check-ins, depending upon the particular location. In this manner, members may fail to renew a membership on time yet continue to use an expired membership; for members that frequent the club, front desk attendants often do not look up the person in the club management system.

Yombu offers similar benefits for guest check-in and waiver signing processes. Yombu digitizes the guest check-in and waiver signing process by allowing customers to self-serve filling in documents on a tablet (or computer). Furthermore, online forms (i.e., data) are linked to a customer's fingerprint. This expedites the initial onboarding process, ensures accurate data capture for marketing and analytic purposes, and streamlines future facility entry or member onboarding - in the future the customer can enter the gym (e.g., as part of a multi-day guest pass or at the time the customer becomes a member) simply by scanning his fingerprint.

Yombu's system is also particularly well-suited for the fitness industry because members do not want to be carrying things around a gym or studio. If a member leaves his wallet at home or in the locker room, he is probably not going to bother to buy anything at the gym cafe-it is simply too much of a hassle to make payment. But if the gym accepts payments via Yombu's fingerprint payment system, then the member is more inclined to buy a bottle of water or a protein shake or a new pack of personal training classes-it is hassle-free and the payment requires no physical form factor like cash, a credit card, or a phone. By helping the gym capture these incremental purchases, using Yombu represents not only a boost in customer satisfaction but also a way to increase ancillary (or sometimes core, e.g., personal training) revenue streams.

Yombu is also pleased to be integrated with Motionsoft, a club management software system, in addition to MindBody and a number of other POS and club management systems. By creating a more secure and efficient check-in system for personal training sessions and group classes, as well as streamlining facility entry and payment processes for members and guests, we look forward to improving the experience at more and more gyms and fitness studios across the U.S. and beyond.

For more information please email [email protected] or [email protected]

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