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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

People profile: Dirk Van Der Flier

Gym Plus Group: chair

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 6
Dirk van der Flier
Dirk van der Flier
As clubs with swimming pools and health and beauty facilities, the low cost model wasn’t going to work for us, but the clubs weren’t as high-end as David Lloyd clubs either. Our first intervention was to win over the staff and encourage them to act as though it was a high-end club

When did you first become involved with Gym Plus Group?
When the chain of eight clubs went into examinership in 2015, I was invited to come on board to try and turn the business around. Coming from the hotel industry and having previously been an active sportsman and rugby player, I approached the business from the customer’s point of view.

Gym Plus was an estate of mid-market clubs that had been a victim of the recession and the advent of low cost clubs. They had lost their identity, needed investment and were discounting in order to get memberships.

How did you go about turning the clubs around?
My first challenge was to find a model that could work. I teamed up with an old school friend, Sandra Dunne, who has years of operations experience, to determine how we could define the brand. It wasn’t the ‘what?’ that I was mainly interested in, it was more the ‘why?’ and the ‘how?’ I wanted to create a community and make the membership sticky.

As meaty clubs, with swimming pools and health and beauty facilities, the low cost model wasn’t going to work, but the clubs weren’t as high-end as David Lloyd clubs either. Our first intervention was to win over the staff and encourage them to act as though it was a high-end club.

We introduced four core values on which to base our culture and staff attitude: to be passionate, personal, proactive and positive. Over the past four years we’ve drilled this into the team, so they understand the member journey we’re trying to create from joining to the first visit and onwards, so people feel welcomed and supported in their goals.

Investments were made in improving facilities, back of house, in terms of equipment and aesthetically and we’ve also greatly increased the class programme. Added to this, we negotiated the business out of an existing franchise, which allowed us greater flexibility to develop.

The prices were raised to reflect the improved offering – memberships now range between €45 (£39, $50) and €59 (£51, $66) a month and people can choose whether to join one club, or have a flexible membership, allowing them to visit all eight. We work hard at customer engagement, as well as getting feedback.

Who are your members?
It is incredibly varied – we have the core following of 30- to 50-year-old professionals, but we also have a lot of families and older adults. Some of the clubs are in areas that attract a very corporate market. It can be interesting trying to encourage all the different types of members to merge together.

What has the impact been?
We’ve had a 50 per cent increase in membership over the past three years and reduced the attrition rate down to 4 to 5 per cent. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting there. We have about another two years to carry on implementing our changes and then we might look to expand.

What exciting trends are you seeing in the industry?
Technology is a big thing at the moment, but I wonder how long it will go on for. It has its place and I like my Garmin, but sometimes I like to go fishing and leave my phone at home, or leave technology behind, take my shoes off and walk in the sand.

I was speaking to someone the other day who said that he didn’t want to be told that he’d only had four hours of good sleep when he thought he had had a good night, so I think there might be a bit of a backlash and a return to nature.

The core membership of Gym Plus is 30- to 50-year-old professionals
The core membership of Gym Plus is 30- to 50-year-old professionals
Facilities have been invested in and improved over the past four years
Facilities have been invested in and improved over the past four years
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/489918_193587.jpg
'Gym Plus was an estate of mid-market clubs that had been a victim of the recession and the advent of low-cost clubs. They had lost their identity.' – CEO Dirk Van Der Flier tells how he turned the brand around
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As clubs with swimming pools and health and beauty facilities, the low cost model wasn’t going to work for us, but the clubs weren’t as high-end as David Lloyd clubs either. Our first intervention was to win over the staff and encourage them to act as though it was a high-end club
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Promotional Feature
Promotional feature
Legend announces the industry’s first open leisure management platform for all 2,000 of its clients
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Women's fashion magazine Stylist has entered the fitness market by opening a female-only boutique studio ...
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Creating opportunities for older people to get physically active represents a major driver for growth ...
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The Bannatyne Group has completed a £750,000 redevelopment of its latest acquisition, the historic Cookridge ...
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Corporate fitness sales specialist Gympass has secured additional financial backing believed to be around US$300m ...
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Three-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Champion Draymond Green has opened his first Blink Fitness gym ...
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Northumbria University (NU) has set out to uncover in detail the important role that structured ...
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Featured supplier: Matrix unveils Glute Trainer
At this year's FIBO fitness equipment giant Matrix debuted a host of new products and innovations, including the Glute Trainer.
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Featured supplier: Variety and flexibility for the customer is the key to retention, says MoveGB
What really drives customer retention in 2019? Is it proactive customer care? Frequency of attendance? Added value provision? Community building? Across the industry, debate on this topic never stops. And neither does market change.
Opinion
promotion
Member retention is a growing problem for long-established gym chains, who are battling the growing budget and boutique gym market.
Opinion: Are you trying to beat budget gyms at their own game?
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Click on a catalogue to view it online
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Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
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Property & Tenders
Will to Win
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
26-27 Jun 2019
Villa Park, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
06-07 Jul 2019
Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Diary dates

features

People profile: Dirk Van Der Flier

Gym Plus Group: chair

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 6
Dirk van der Flier
Dirk van der Flier
As clubs with swimming pools and health and beauty facilities, the low cost model wasn’t going to work for us, but the clubs weren’t as high-end as David Lloyd clubs either. Our first intervention was to win over the staff and encourage them to act as though it was a high-end club

When did you first become involved with Gym Plus Group?
When the chain of eight clubs went into examinership in 2015, I was invited to come on board to try and turn the business around. Coming from the hotel industry and having previously been an active sportsman and rugby player, I approached the business from the customer’s point of view.

Gym Plus was an estate of mid-market clubs that had been a victim of the recession and the advent of low cost clubs. They had lost their identity, needed investment and were discounting in order to get memberships.

How did you go about turning the clubs around?
My first challenge was to find a model that could work. I teamed up with an old school friend, Sandra Dunne, who has years of operations experience, to determine how we could define the brand. It wasn’t the ‘what?’ that I was mainly interested in, it was more the ‘why?’ and the ‘how?’ I wanted to create a community and make the membership sticky.

As meaty clubs, with swimming pools and health and beauty facilities, the low cost model wasn’t going to work, but the clubs weren’t as high-end as David Lloyd clubs either. Our first intervention was to win over the staff and encourage them to act as though it was a high-end club.

We introduced four core values on which to base our culture and staff attitude: to be passionate, personal, proactive and positive. Over the past four years we’ve drilled this into the team, so they understand the member journey we’re trying to create from joining to the first visit and onwards, so people feel welcomed and supported in their goals.

Investments were made in improving facilities, back of house, in terms of equipment and aesthetically and we’ve also greatly increased the class programme. Added to this, we negotiated the business out of an existing franchise, which allowed us greater flexibility to develop.

The prices were raised to reflect the improved offering – memberships now range between €45 (£39, $50) and €59 (£51, $66) a month and people can choose whether to join one club, or have a flexible membership, allowing them to visit all eight. We work hard at customer engagement, as well as getting feedback.

Who are your members?
It is incredibly varied – we have the core following of 30- to 50-year-old professionals, but we also have a lot of families and older adults. Some of the clubs are in areas that attract a very corporate market. It can be interesting trying to encourage all the different types of members to merge together.

What has the impact been?
We’ve had a 50 per cent increase in membership over the past three years and reduced the attrition rate down to 4 to 5 per cent. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting there. We have about another two years to carry on implementing our changes and then we might look to expand.

What exciting trends are you seeing in the industry?
Technology is a big thing at the moment, but I wonder how long it will go on for. It has its place and I like my Garmin, but sometimes I like to go fishing and leave my phone at home, or leave technology behind, take my shoes off and walk in the sand.

I was speaking to someone the other day who said that he didn’t want to be told that he’d only had four hours of good sleep when he thought he had had a good night, so I think there might be a bit of a backlash and a return to nature.

The core membership of Gym Plus is 30- to 50-year-old professionals
The core membership of Gym Plus is 30- to 50-year-old professionals
Facilities have been invested in and improved over the past four years
Facilities have been invested in and improved over the past four years
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/489918_193587.jpg
'Gym Plus was an estate of mid-market clubs that had been a victim of the recession and the advent of low-cost clubs. They had lost their identity.' – CEO Dirk Van Der Flier tells how he turned the brand around
Latest News
Women's fashion magazine Stylist has entered the fitness market by opening a female-only boutique studio ...
Latest News
Creating opportunities for older people to get physically active represents a major driver for growth ...
Latest News
Australian fitness franchise F45 has secured deals to open sites in emerging markets across the ...
Latest News
The Bannatyne Group has completed a £750,000 redevelopment of its latest acquisition, the historic Cookridge ...
Latest News
Corporate fitness sales specialist Gympass has secured additional financial backing believed to be around US$300m ...
Latest News
Three-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Champion Draymond Green has opened his first Blink Fitness gym ...
Latest News
Ukactive has set out on a membership consultation, asking for views on how the not-for-profit ...
Latest News
Northumbria University (NU) has set out to uncover in detail the important role that structured ...
Latest News
A majority of mothers do not exercise because it makes them feel guilty about not ...
Latest News
Fitness giant Les Mills has launched three new studio spaces at its iconic Auckland City ...
Latest News
Wellness industry technology platform Mindbody has appointed Phil Coxon as managing director of Mindbody Europe. ...
Job search
POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Matrix unveils Glute Trainer
At this year's FIBO fitness equipment giant Matrix debuted a host of new products and innovations, including the Glute Trainer.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Variety and flexibility for the customer is the key to retention, says MoveGB
What really drives customer retention in 2019? Is it proactive customer care? Frequency of attendance? Added value provision? Community building? Across the industry, debate on this topic never stops. And neither does market change.
Opinion
promotion
Member retention is a growing problem for long-established gym chains, who are battling the growing budget and boutique gym market.
Opinion: Are you trying to beat budget gyms at their own game?
Video Gallery
TRX MAPS
TRX Training
TRX MAPS completes body movement assessments in just 30 seconds to help trainers develop personalized fitness plans and goals for members. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Octane Fitness
A global innovator of high-performance fitness equipment, Octane Fitness, a Nautilus, Inc. brand, continually redefines ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Xponential Fitness LLC
Xponential Fitness is the world’s leading franchisor of boutique fitness studios, with a portfolio of ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Locking solutions
Ojmar: Locking solutions
Fitness equipment
Physical Company Ltd: Fitness equipment
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Direct debit solutions
Debit Finance Collections: Direct debit solutions
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions Ltd: Flooring
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Governing body
EMD UK: Governing body
Management software
GymSales: Management software
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Property & Tenders
Will to Win
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
26-27 Jun 2019
Villa Park, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
06-07 Jul 2019
Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Diary dates
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