MyZone
MyZone
MyZone
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

Follow Health Club Management on Twitter Like Health Club Management on Facebook Join the discussion with Health Club Management on LinkedIn Follow Health Club Management on Instagram
UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Get the latest news, jobs and features in your inbox
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

People profile: Dirk Van Der FlierGym Plus Group: chair

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

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 6
Dirk van der Flier
Dirk van der Flier

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
Dirk van der Flier, Chair, Gym Plus Group,Dirk van der Flier, Gym Plus Group
People
A lot of developers were coming to see 15 Central Park West, to understand what made it so successful, and we started to get a lot of interesting design projects off the back of that. Since 2008, we’ve been involved in well over 140 projects globally
People
This isn’t about gender. I got the role because I’m absolutely the best person for the job - Sophie Lawler
People
HCM people

Rich Hutson

CEO of CHi Fitness and Co-founder of Fire Fitness
The business wasn’t getting the numbers needed, so I raised the prices by 25 per cent. It worked and we didn’t skip a beat
Features
fitness-kit.net
Lauren Heath-Jones rounds up the latest product launches in health and fitness
Features
Social responsibility
A year after the launch of its first outdoor gym made from melted down, confiscated knives, Steel Warriors has won the support of the Co-op, which has pledged to fund the roll-out of a further 20 calisthenics gyms, as Kath Hudson reports
Features
Fitness foresight
We know trends like wearables, HIIT training and functional fitness are hot, but what’s coming down the track? Liz Terry looks further ahead for the latest edition of HCM’s Fitness Foresight
Features
Supplier showcase
Fitness expert, Matt Roberts, has chosen Pavigym’s PRAMA system to create an immersive, personalised workout experience at his new gym at The Langley hotel in Berkshire
Features
IHRSA Update
The global health and fitness markets reached an all-time high in terms of memberships in 2018. IHRSA’s Melissa Rodriguez highlights the topline numbers for HCM
Features
feature
‘TRX® for Yoga’ education fuses suspension training and yoga, says Julian Woolley
Features
Ask the experts
The UK health and fitness industry has doubled in size since 2000. Will growth continue, or even gather pace? And what does this mean for the European health and fitness market? How big could it grow and what factors will have an impact? HCM asks those who have the most up to date research
Features
Latest News
Boutique fitness franchise Spenga has opened two new locations as it looks to ramp up ...
Latest News
Fitness franchise Fit Body Boot Camp has revealed that it has more than 200 new ...
Latest News
DW Fitness First has launched its new Kit & Collect service, aimed at increasing secondary ...
Latest News
Teenagers' 'incessant' use of social media is radically reducing the time they spend sleeping and ...
Latest News
Wattbike has secured a deal to supply more than 30 Bupa Health Clinic sites across ...
Latest News
Fitness franchise YourZone45 has concluded a second round of funding, as it prepares to expand ...
Latest News
Leisure trust Active Nation has expanded its portfolio of budget gyms with the acquisition of ...
Latest News
Thousands of people at risk of Type 2 diabetes will be given digital support – ...
Job search
POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Dyaco grows UK business with new headquarters and key appointment
Following a year of strong growth, leading fitness equipment provider Dyaco has moved to a new UK headquarters in Milton Keynes, marking a significant milestone for the company.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Trade in, trade up with Power Plate
To celebrate their 20th Anniversary Power Plate is pleased to launch its new trade in, trade up programme.
Opinion
promotion
As an industry, we still underestimate the power of a truly varied fitness regime - and the growing appetite for it, especially among emerging customer segments.
Opinion: Collaboration vs aggregation - what’s the difference?
Video Gallery
Harlands Group testimonial
Harlands Group
Harlands Group - Testimonial from 'The Hampton Health & Fitness Club'. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Vital Tech
Vital Dome is the company’s patented and proprietary technology. Vital Tech has full control over ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Netpulse
Founded in 2001, Netpulse is the world’s number one provider of branded mobile apps for ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions Ltd: Flooring
Spa software
ResortSuite: Spa software
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Governing body
EMD UK: Governing body
Management software
Fisikal: Management software
Fitness equipment
Shapewatch: Fitness equipment
Member access schemes
Move GB: Member access schemes
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
05-06 Sep 2019
TagusPark, Oeiras, Portugal
Diary dates
21-22 Sep 2019
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates

features

People profile: Dirk Van Der FlierGym Plus Group: chair

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

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 6
Dirk van der Flier
Dirk van der Flier

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
Dirk van der Flier, Chair, Gym Plus Group,Dirk van der Flier, Gym Plus Group
Latest News
Boutique fitness franchise Spenga has opened two new locations as it looks to ramp up ...
Latest News
Fitness franchise Fit Body Boot Camp has revealed that it has more than 200 new ...
Latest News
DW Fitness First has launched its new Kit & Collect service, aimed at increasing secondary ...
Latest News
Teenagers' 'incessant' use of social media is radically reducing the time they spend sleeping and ...
Latest News
Wattbike has secured a deal to supply more than 30 Bupa Health Clinic sites across ...
Latest News
Fitness franchise YourZone45 has concluded a second round of funding, as it prepares to expand ...
Latest News
Leisure trust Active Nation has expanded its portfolio of budget gyms with the acquisition of ...
Latest News
Thousands of people at risk of Type 2 diabetes will be given digital support – ...
Latest News
New research has provided a possible explanation for the perceived decrease in endurance musculature as ...
Latest News
Ten Health and Fitness has opened its ninth studio in an office building in central ...
Latest News
German wellness operator Lanserhof has opened its first UK location at the historic Arts Club ...
Job search
POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Dyaco grows UK business with new headquarters and key appointment
Following a year of strong growth, leading fitness equipment provider Dyaco has moved to a new UK headquarters in Milton Keynes, marking a significant milestone for the company.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Trade in, trade up with Power Plate
To celebrate their 20th Anniversary Power Plate is pleased to launch its new trade in, trade up programme.
Opinion
promotion
As an industry, we still underestimate the power of a truly varied fitness regime - and the growing appetite for it, especially among emerging customer segments.
Opinion: Collaboration vs aggregation - what’s the difference?
Video Gallery
Harlands Group testimonial
Harlands Group
Harlands Group - Testimonial from 'The Hampton Health & Fitness Club'. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Vital Tech
Vital Dome is the company’s patented and proprietary technology. Vital Tech has full control over ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Netpulse
Founded in 2001, Netpulse is the world’s number one provider of branded mobile apps for ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions Ltd: Flooring
Spa software
ResortSuite: Spa software
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Governing body
EMD UK: Governing body
Management software
Fisikal: Management software
Fitness equipment
Shapewatch: Fitness equipment
Member access schemes
Move GB: Member access schemes
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
05-06 Sep 2019
TagusPark, Oeiras, Portugal
Diary dates
21-22 Sep 2019
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
Search news, features & products:
Find a supplier:
MyZone
MyZone