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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

Embracing your 'tribes'

The needs of every tribe should be recognised by the operator. A raft of ‘clubs within clubs’ based on shared interests would be very compelling

By Kate Cracknell, Health Club Management | Published in Health Club Management 2013 issue 7

Health club operators have a huge opportunity to engage in a very fundamental way with their members, by being far more aware of their true needs and motivations and connecting with them on a deeper level.

Although there’s a logic to grouping members according to their most obvious interests and traits, in reality there are many different reasons why people join a gym or take part in a particular activity. Being aware of these differences, and letting this awareness inform the way you deal with members at every turn, can create a powerful bond that will drive loyalty and engagement. Conversely, ignoring these needs can create feelings of deep discomfort for a member, and can even act as a trigger to leave your club.

A club’s membership isn’t only segmented by socioeconomic, gender or age groupings, or even by special population: disabled users, pre-natal and so on. Beneath any label we might apply, there are many more motivations at work: it’s possible to understand these far better by thinking of members as being split into myriad little ‘tribes’.

The ‘women’ label is a great example. The WSFF effectively identifies women as a special population group when it comes to fitness: the gender gap is growing, it says, with only one in five women doing enough exercise to stay healthy. However, ‘women’ is far too broad a category to use as the basis for any targeted offerings. Some will prefer women-only clubs; others would rather go for a walk. Then there are the regular gym-goers, getting great results from body weight training and free weights. For this tribe, says Arron Williams of Life Fitness: “Strong is the new skinny – women are driving the market.”

In a similar vein, labelling a fit, healthy, youthful woman in her early 50s an ‘evergreen’, and asking if she’d like to join the other over-50s ladies for tea one afternoon, will prove uncomfortable and demotivating for her – yet I was told a story only last week in which precisely this had happened.

We need to do more to understand the different tribes within our broader groupings; two initiatives launched in May aim to do this for ‘women’. A £1.8m Sport England-funded pilot scheme will test what works in changing women’s sporting habits, including programming for distinct sub-groups – older women, mums on the school run, etc. Meanwhile WSFF will research how different types of women participate in sport and activity – and why – and develop tools to help get more women, more active.

But care must be taken not to alienate other tribes in the process: in April, GLL was accused of gender discrimination by journalist Peter Lloyd, for ringfencing women-only hours at his local mixed-sex gym.

I don’t want to be drawn into that debate, but I do believe that the needs of every tribe – whether three or 300-strong – should be recognised and, wherever possible, met by the operator. Provided they can be delivered without alienating other members, a raft of ‘clubs within clubs’ based on shared interests and motivations, rather than arbitrary labels, would make for a very compelling offering.

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Health and fitness operators must recognise and embrace the diverse 'tribes' that exist among their member base, says Kate Cracknell
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features

Embracing your 'tribes'

The needs of every tribe should be recognised by the operator. A raft of ‘clubs within clubs’ based on shared interests would be very compelling

By Kate Cracknell, Health Club Management | Published in Health Club Management 2013 issue 7

Health club operators have a huge opportunity to engage in a very fundamental way with their members, by being far more aware of their true needs and motivations and connecting with them on a deeper level.

Although there’s a logic to grouping members according to their most obvious interests and traits, in reality there are many different reasons why people join a gym or take part in a particular activity. Being aware of these differences, and letting this awareness inform the way you deal with members at every turn, can create a powerful bond that will drive loyalty and engagement. Conversely, ignoring these needs can create feelings of deep discomfort for a member, and can even act as a trigger to leave your club.

A club’s membership isn’t only segmented by socioeconomic, gender or age groupings, or even by special population: disabled users, pre-natal and so on. Beneath any label we might apply, there are many more motivations at work: it’s possible to understand these far better by thinking of members as being split into myriad little ‘tribes’.

The ‘women’ label is a great example. The WSFF effectively identifies women as a special population group when it comes to fitness: the gender gap is growing, it says, with only one in five women doing enough exercise to stay healthy. However, ‘women’ is far too broad a category to use as the basis for any targeted offerings. Some will prefer women-only clubs; others would rather go for a walk. Then there are the regular gym-goers, getting great results from body weight training and free weights. For this tribe, says Arron Williams of Life Fitness: “Strong is the new skinny – women are driving the market.”

In a similar vein, labelling a fit, healthy, youthful woman in her early 50s an ‘evergreen’, and asking if she’d like to join the other over-50s ladies for tea one afternoon, will prove uncomfortable and demotivating for her – yet I was told a story only last week in which precisely this had happened.

We need to do more to understand the different tribes within our broader groupings; two initiatives launched in May aim to do this for ‘women’. A £1.8m Sport England-funded pilot scheme will test what works in changing women’s sporting habits, including programming for distinct sub-groups – older women, mums on the school run, etc. Meanwhile WSFF will research how different types of women participate in sport and activity – and why – and develop tools to help get more women, more active.

But care must be taken not to alienate other tribes in the process: in April, GLL was accused of gender discrimination by journalist Peter Lloyd, for ringfencing women-only hours at his local mixed-sex gym.

I don’t want to be drawn into that debate, but I do believe that the needs of every tribe – whether three or 300-strong – should be recognised and, wherever possible, met by the operator. Provided they can be delivered without alienating other members, a raft of ‘clubs within clubs’ based on shared interests and motivations, rather than arbitrary labels, would make for a very compelling offering.

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/HCM2013_7editor.gif
Health and fitness operators must recognise and embrace the diverse 'tribes' that exist among their member base, says Kate Cracknell
Latest News
In-home personal training brand GymGuyz has entered the UK market after selling its first two ...
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The fitness sector has been left "without answers or evidence" on why gyms and leisure ...
Latest News
Boutique operator Digme Fitness will open two new studios in London over the next two ...
Latest News
A government investment of £1.75bn – to pay 50 per cent of rents across the ...
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Health clubs and gyms in Catalonia have reopened their doors once for a second time, ...
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Health clubs, gyms, indoor pools and leisure centres have reopened in Wales – nearly five ...
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Today (10 August) is the last day for companies to enter the follow-up survey to ...
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Opinion
promotion
Evidence suggests that over many years personal trainers have been forced to leave the fitness industry because employment patterns are erratic, earnings are inconsistent and it is difficult to build up value needed to secure an appropriate lifestyle.
Opinion: Personal trainers need support as employment opportunities diminish: FREE on-demand webinar
Opinion
promotion
Data-driven businesses are some of today’s greatest global success stories, providing blueprints for success.
Opinion: Up your ‘data game’ to successfully relaunch your fitness business
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Fisikal chosen as tech partner for ‘JP4’; new health app from fitness expert, Jessie Pavelka
Fitness expert and television host, Jessie Pavelka has collaborated with Fisikal, experts in digital management solutions, to create the new JP4 app, a premium 12-week personal health and fitness transformation programme that takes the user on a journey of change through four key elements of health.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Dormy House enhances premium facilities with fully connected fitness suite
Dormy House, a luxurious boutique hotel and spa in the heart of the Cotswolds, has expanded its premium offer with the refurbishment of its two fitness suites, incorporating the latest, fully connected gym equipment from Matrix Fitness.
Video Gallery
THROWDOWN
Core Health & Fitness
Throwdown® creates opportunities to push boundaries by enabling everyone to reach their peak performance. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Matrix Fitness
Matrix strives to offer equipment that will captivate your members, is easy to maintain, and ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Myzone Group Ltd
At Myzone we reward Effort to solve the pervasive problem of ‘diminishing motivation within exercisers’ ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Locking solutions
Monster Padlocks: Locking solutions
Gym flooring
REGUPOL/Berleburger Schaumstoffwerk (BSW): Gym flooring
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Exercise equipment
Star Trac / Core Health & Fitness: Exercise equipment
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Management software
fibodo Limited: Management software
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
22-23 Sep 2020
Heythrop Park, United Kingdom
Diary dates
17-23 Oct 2020
Pinggu, Beijing, China
Diary dates
03-06 Nov 2020
Online,
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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