For over 30 years, Life Time has been a place where hundreds of thousands of people come together and realize their potential. Through the best programs, passionate performers and luxurious spaces, it offers an expansive health and wellness eco-system for everyone from 90 days to 90 years.
Life Time’s Senior Director of Innovation, Brian Shoemaker, is constantly assessing technology to streamline operations and the member experience. Brian’s lab pilots many emerging solutions, but only those that deliver real impact are deployed to Life Time’s 160 locations across 43 iconic cities in the US and Canada.
Check in with barcodes was a source of friction, particularly during peak hours. Sunlight caused problems reading barcodes from both the Life Time mobile app and plastic membership cards. Additionally, presenting the barcode caused delays by having to first open the Life Time app and then the barcode, or because members had to dig in their bags for a membership card. And sometimes members lost their card altogether.
Beyond check in, scanning membership ID was also required when ordering at the club café and when parents drop off children at the Kids Academy. These additional touch points compounded the need for a hassle-free membership scanning solution.
Life Time Labs tested a number of alternatives to barcodes from NFC tags to facial recognition. The conclusion: the best solution was already in the hands of their members, thanks to Apple Wallet and Google Wallet.
Digital membership cards stored in the standard Apple Wallet or Google Wallet means that Life Time members need to just tap their smart phone or watch at check-in to enter the club. Brian was impressed that the VTAP readers required no software integration to work with their membership management system:
“The VTAP100 really was plug and play. The readers simply plugged in via USB alongside our existing barcode scanners. Now we don’t issue any plastic cards and are considering eliminating the bar code in our app.”
The results from a pilot at four sites demonstrated a smoother operational experience. Entrance check-in time reduced to an average 1 to 2 seconds – a significant improvement from barcodes and physical cards. Survey feedback showed that 82% of members would recommend check-in using NFC enabled membership passes in their digital wallet. Members with an Apple Watch were particularly enthusiastic about the approach (95% of those surveyed said they would recommend it), as that’s the only ID they need.
Senior Director of Innovation
“We were surprised at how easy it was to implement NFC check-in, and the VTAP readers have been bullet-proof reliable”
Member feedback confirmed Life Time’s foresight:
“Amazing feature… it’s a must have! Not only is it a safe way to check in, but MUCH faster as well”