Nautilus / Core Health & Fitness
Nautilus / Core Health & Fitness
Nautilus / Core Health & Fitness
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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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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We estimate that we have 110,000 children in primary schools that have introduced the Daily Mile as part of the everyday school day. That’s 400 schools, and the feedback is great. It’s been a real success
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Retention
Are you optimising HIIT for your members, or are they put off by the pain? Abigail Harris looks at research into ways to better support members towards a positive outcome
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Flooring
With the increase in popularity of functional training, the floor is increasingly becoming a piece of equipment in itself. Kath Hudson investigates
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HCM Celebs
In the name of work, Australian actor Chris Hemsworth has undergone impressive physical transformations for film roles such as Thor in The Avengers and Marvel films. Inspired by the public’s interest in his workouts, he’s now created a health and fitness app called Centr that utilises the expertise of his team of world-class experts
Features
Retention
There’s no one thing that will fix your member retention, but clarity of mission, a strong culture and an eye for data will drive significant change. Kate Cracknell reports from this year’s Retention Convention
Features
Statistics
The fitness market in Europe is entering a new phase of growth according to the European Health & Fitness Market Report 2019 by EuropeActive and Deloitte. HCM reports
Features
Innovation
Silicon Valley hacker Dave Asprey used his tech skills to gather the latest fitness kit to create a bio hacking boutique. Kath Hudson investigates cusapero
Features
Active ageing
The older people get, the more likely they are to have a long term health condition. But getting ill is not an inevitable consequence of getting older, so targeting the over 50s market could bring about multiple wins. Kath Hudson reports
Features
Software
New technology is transforming the way the health and fitness industry functions and interacts with customers. Liz Terry catches up with operators around the industry for an update
Features
HCM Celebs
Being a touring musician can be tough on your wellbeing, so country music star, Tim McGraw, developed his own workouts to stay fit. Now he’s collaborating with Snap to launch a gym brand
Features
Research
New research from Deloitte China and IHRSA shows the market for health and fitness in India is starting to grow, as Kirsten Walsh reports
Features
Analysis
Features
Promotional Feature
Promotional feature
We’re at the beginning of the journey with EMS training in the UK. The benefits and applications of this type of training are vast, and there’s an enormous commercial opportunity for both PTs and operators
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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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Ukactive has set out on its first ever membership consultation, asking for views on how ...
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Northumbria University (NU) has set out to uncover in detail the important role that structured ...
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A majority of mothers do not exercise because it makes them feel guilty about not ...
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Fitness giant Les Mills has launched three new studio spaces at its iconic Auckland City ...
Job search
POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Myzone vs. wrist trackers
According to ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal, wearables trumped the top spot for trends in 2019. However, the question between Myzone or wrist trackers still stands.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: New London PT facility partners with Eleiko
WE11, a luxury co-working studio for wellness professionals, is a stunning facility with a fully equipped gym, treatment rooms, changing rooms and The WE11 Lounge.
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
Nautilus - Glute Drive
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Inspired by the increasing trend of glute exercises seen in various and dangerous executions in the gyms today. Read more
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Wattbike is the creator of the world’s most advanced and innovative indoor bikes, developed in ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness equipment
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Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Professional services
Deloitte UK: Professional services
Governing body
EMD UK: Governing body
Member access schemes
Move GB: Member access schemes
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Audio visual
Hutchison Technologies: Audio visual
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
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
Australian-based fitness franchise F45 has increased the number of countries it operates to more than ...
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 its first ever membership consultation, asking for views on how ...
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. ...
Latest News
Low-cost gym operator EōS Fitness has acquired five former Gold's Gym locations in Utah – ...
Latest News
Health club operator Total Fitness has completed a turnaround of its fortunes, reversing a "steady ...
Job search
POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Myzone vs. wrist trackers
According to ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal, wearables trumped the top spot for trends in 2019. However, the question between Myzone or wrist trackers still stands.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: New London PT facility partners with Eleiko
WE11, a luxury co-working studio for wellness professionals, is a stunning facility with a fully equipped gym, treatment rooms, changing rooms and The WE11 Lounge.
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
Nautilus - Glute Drive
Core Health & Fitness
Inspired by the increasing trend of glute exercises seen in various and dangerous executions in the gyms today. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Ecore
Ecore transforms reclaimed materials into unique performance surfaces that make people’s lives better. Ecore has ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Wattbike
Wattbike is the creator of the world’s most advanced and innovative indoor bikes, developed in ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Professional services
Deloitte UK: Professional services
Governing body
EMD UK: Governing body
Member access schemes
Move GB: Member access schemes
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Audio visual
Hutchison Technologies: Audio visual
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
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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Nautilus / Core Health & Fitness
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