Zen Planner’s Critical Flaw As A Gym Management Software – Review

ZenPlanner-website

I’ve been helping to start up a new fitness center and we’ve been working with Zen Planner as the gym membership software. If it weren’t for this one critical flaw, I’d be able to heartily recommend ZenPlanner for its simplicity of setup and use (cloud based) and feature richness.

So what’s the flaw? There is no way for members to sign-in unless they are signing into a class. So signing in for “use of facilities” can’t be tracked unless it is turned into a class.

The typical gym owner wants to track one of two things if not both: 1) when a member comes to the gym, and/or 2) when a member attends a specific class. These are two different things. John might come to the gym to do a self-directed workout. I want to know that he used the facility. Susan might come to the gym for a Zumba class. I want to know that she came to class. In order to track both of these things, ZenPlanner forces you to treat “use of facilties” as a class.

So even though you really may be selling a class-less membership (self-directed use of facilities), in order to track those members you have to make it a membership that includes access to a class with a title like “walking into the gym and using the facilities on your own” or “open gym”.

This all gets messy on the website because if you setup what is supposed to be a non-class membership as a membership that has the class “walking into the gym and using the facilities on your own” then ZenPlanner automatically displays text on the member website indicating that the membership comes with classes. This is confusing to the customer! Because really, that membership doesn’t come with classes. But ZenPlanner says it does. Because ZenPlanner forces you to set it up that way in order to track facility use.

Because of this issue, we are currently exploring other gym management software. In the mean time, I am left wondering. How is it that a software company with 30 employees and presumably thousands of clients hasn’t felt the urgency of this issue? Other fitness centers and gyms have most certainly brought it to their attention… we’re not the only gym who wants to sell different levels of access to the facility and to track usage for non-class events.

Gym management software is first and foremost about member management. So if a software can’t get the basics of member sign-in and tracking right, then the software has failed. Why did Zen Planner build the member check-in process exclusively around classes? Why not have a basic facility check-in, with the option of selecting a class? In other words, ZenPlanner needs to make class check in an add-on to facility check-in. That seems like it would be an easy fix.

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