How Fit Lovas went from a local gym to a global fitness movement for women, with the help of Google My Business
Building a safe, positive fitness community for women, with help from Google
Mavi, Berta and Monse may come from different places, but their mission is the same. Fit Lovas was born when Berta and Monse decided to combine their experience as outdoor fitness instructors with Mavi’s business knowhow. “There was something missing,” says Mavi. “A lack of safe spaces for women, a space of trust.” In 2019, Mavi, Berta and Monse decided to create a community, a shared space in Barcelona where women could come to train body and mind: Fit Lovas.
Their goal is to foster a community where women can feel confident in themselves, away from the pressure or mentality that pushes them to lose weight or achieve a certain figure. Fit Lovas focuses on self-care and self-love, using physical exercise as a catalyst for physical and mental wellbeing. At Fit Lovas, “there’s no ‘Operation Bikini,” says Mavi. “Just a call to ‘accept and feel good about ourselves’, improving our health through sport. We each have a broad, holistic vision to take care of ourselves.”
This was something the community picked up on and shared from the get-go, both on social media and on their Google My Business page. Fit Lovas started out as a bricks-and-mortar gym, so Mavi and the team set up a Google My Business profile to expand their online presence and to promote the gym’s location. Since then, Fit Lovas has been able to share its message beyond its physical location in Barcelona and gained visibility not just in Spain, but globally.
Building a presence with Google reviews, adjusting to COVID-19
“When we first opened in October 2019,” explains Mavi, “registering with Google My Business was an essential step so people could find us wherever they were.” When Fit Lovas launched, setting up a Google My Business page was a natural decision: a free, easy-to-use service that puts businesses on the map. After a few informal outdoor training sessions in Barcelona, Fit Lovas started to gain a following through word of mouth. To take advantage of this opportunity, an online presence was key.
Adding the “women-led” attribute on Google My Business has helped Fit Lovas to stand out amongst competitors and be seen as a safe space for women to improve physically and mentally. “That’s important for us,” underlines Mavi. “We wanted our users, and potential customers, to see that what we offer is different; it’s a place for women, run by women, and a space to build a community,” says Mavi.
In building this community, Fit Lovas recognised the importance of positive feedback. Getting reviews on their Google My Business page, alongside photos, has been a primary consideration for the team. “We always ask for reviews,” says Mavi. “There’s even a sign on the door that says: ‘If you had fun, leave a review!’ and that’s made it much easier for people to find us, and share what makes our community special.”
The real test, of course, came shortly after October 2019, when the COVID-19 crisis turned the world on its head, forcing immediate changes. Fit Lovas had to close their physical site in Barcelona in March 2020, and migrated their courses online.
This adjustment has been a major challenge for Fit Lovas as a business, faced with ongoing expenses while making prices more affordable to ensure their “Lovas” can keep training. And all in the middle of lockdown, when people have struggled to juggle priorities, wellbeing and self-care.
To keep their “pack” together and attract new Lovas, Mavi, Monse and Berta updated their Google My Business page to advertise that they were now offering online courses exclusively. “We’ve had to adjust quickly,” admits Mavi, “but our online service has allowed us to keep growing thanks to women all around the world.”
Global growth fuelled by the pandemic
As well as keeping their Google My Business page up to date, Fit Lovas uses social media to promote their new online business model. Working with new Lovas across the globe, Fit Lovas has watched its membership numbers grow. In fact, the traffic coming to their website via their Business Profile has more than doubled between February 2020 and January 2021.
“It’s incredible!” says Mavi. “We’ve got Lovas in Spain, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, Ecuador, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Portugal and Italy – it’s a big opportunity.” The success of their initiative to offer online courses exceeded expectations; now they have around 150 online users and 100 in-person members.
Since launching its online platform, Fit Lovas has seen visits to its Google My Business page increase by almost 600%, and the number of applications coming in directly through Google My Business has risen by 81%.
The pandemic has also pushed the team to find new solutions, such as live courses for other countries in Europe and pre-recorded sessions for their followers across the pond or in different time zones. Now, they receive reviews and photos from women in all parts of the world. “The most important thing for us is creating a tribe, and Google has helped us a lot,” says Mavi.
With an eye to the future, Fit Lovas is hoping to expand its new hybrid business model and connect with new Lovas, without forgetting its existing members in Barcelona and beyond. One way is by coaching pregnant women via the launch of their online platform, Fit Lovas Maternity. “This is just the beginning,” says Mavi.