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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.

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
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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.

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
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Latest News
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Latest News
A three-year research project will look to provide the physical activity industry with a better ...
Latest News
The latest edition of the highly-successful This Girl Can Campaign has been celebrated for its ...
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The increasing popularity of streaming services and wireless earbuds – along with the introduction of ...
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Stuart Broster, chief executive of Anytime Fitness UK, will step down from his role in ...
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The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is proud to be the industry leader in water-related safety qualifications and training. More than 40,000 pool lifeguards qualify with an RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) every year.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Staycationers treated to whale of a time at newly expanded W Club
Holiday complex Whalesborough Cottages and Spa in Bude, North Cornwall, has enhanced its visitor experience by expanding its leisure facilities.
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DFC: We do more...
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Company profile: Octane Fitness
A global innovator of high-performance fitness equipment, Octane Fitness, a Nautilus, Inc. brand, continually redefines ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Ecore
Ecore transforms reclaimed materials into unique performance surfaces that make people’s lives better. Ecore has ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Exercise equipment
Star Trac / Core Health & Fitness: Exercise equipment
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Audio visual
Hutchison Technologies: Audio visual
Professional services
Deloitte UK: Professional services
Direct debit solutions
Debit Finance Collections: Direct debit solutions
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MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Locking solutions
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Diary dates
21-23 Jan 2020
Harrogate Convention Centre, Harrogate, United Kingdom
Diary dates
28-30 Jan 2020
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
Diary dates
20 Feb 2020
The Old Truman Brewery, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-25 Mar 2020
Hilton, Barcelona, Spain
Diary dates
25-26 Mar 2020
Eastwood Hall, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
26-29 Mar 2020
The Winter Gardens Blackpool, Blackpool , United Kingdom
Diary dates
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tbc, Beijing, China
Diary dates
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Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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tbc, Pinggu, China
Diary dates
13 Jun 2020
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
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Diary dates
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Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
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Diary dates
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