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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

IHRSA Update: Know your customers

IHRSA’s Kristen Walsh shares highlights from The 2019 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report into the US fitness market, as well as giving universal advice about how to stay relevant

By Kristen Walsh, IHRSA | Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 11
As trends come and go, be alert and pivot your business creatively, says IHRSA / shutterstock
As trends come and go, be alert and pivot your business creatively, says IHRSA / shutterstock

In order to adequately recruit, serve, engage and retain health club customers and members, it’s crucial to understand everything about them – their needs, their wants and their behaviours.

IHRSA’s annual Health Club Consumer Report 2019 is based on a nationwide sample of more than 20,000 interviews and provides demographics and health, sports, and fitness participation data on US health club consumers.

Review your business model
At this moment in time, fitness facility operators, especially those in the fitness-only category, find themselves competing in an industry segment that’s dominated by discount operators (75 per cent charge less than US$25, and 32 per cent charge less than US$10 a month).

If your present business model is fitness-only (equipment, group exercise studios and locker rooms), then chances are most of your competitors will be in the low-price game, and your existing and future members will frame their buying decision around the lowest price.

Stay in the game
Consequently, if you plan to continue to operate a fitness-only model in your business, your options include:

• Lower your price and add a little extra. Rather than go head-to-head at $10, try $15 to $18, and then offer a few classes, some virtual classes, and possibly offer fee-based small group training.

• Continue to operate at your present price point, eg, $30 to $40, but differentiate your offering. Create a speciality, such as a genre of group classes, small group training or coaching, that none of your competitors is offering.

• Move up the chain. Add physical and programming amenities known to denote value and a higher price point. For example, you could add a court for POP tennis and pickleball; add a speciality studio and theme it; create more tribal programming, or partner with another small business to incorporate a custom bundle of services with higher perceived value into your offering.

Pursue ‘odd’ and ‘weird’
Dr Seuss notably quipped: “You have to be odd to be number one.” What he meant was that reaching the top and, equally importantly, remaining at the top, requires a penchant for being a little different from the rest.

“Odd” refers to your business’ value proposition and whether it offers consumers and members something unique, innovative, and relevant – rather than the same old same old.

Dr Seuss also said: “We’re all a little weird and life is a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness…”

What the doctor ordered speaks to building a value proposition that appeals to one or a few weird audiences. Many successful boutique studios have taken this approach to crafting their value proposition. Gym Box in the UK is a premium operator that has taken a different approach and, in so doing, carved out a distinctive position for itself in the marketplace.

Just remember, being ‘odd’ also requires innovation and – importantly –having relevance to the audience you pursue.

So, what does it take to foster a value proposition and culture takes you to number one and enables you to leverage ‘weird’?

Find your tribe
Consider selecting single or multiple niche audiences to serve, and craft your value proposition and culture to be relevant to them. Study your marketplace, talk to your existing members and, most importantly, search for un-served/under-served groups.

• Deliver your offering differently. No one says you have to operate in the same way as your competitors.

Maybe offer club access via bundled packages instead of monthly subscriptions.

How about investing more in technology and becoming the most tech-savvy fitness business in the market?

• Be a 2.5 percenter. Two-and-a-half percent refers to the percentage of businesses that are real innovators. These are businesses that pursue innovation or are willing to adopt business practices and technology early on, typically way ahead of the competition. For example, why not try a ‘freemium’ approach to your business model, similar to that used in the gaming industry, in which you offer the basics for free and then charge extra for upgrades and add-ons.

• Go back in time or shift into the future. CrossFit, possibly without even knowing it, built a business proposition around some of the clubs of the mid-1800s, in which gymnastics and calisthenics were the core of the programme. There are other models from olden times that would still work today.

Conversely, you could go the opposite route and create a high-tech virtual experience (ie virtual reality, streaming mobile content, virtual check-in, etc) supplemented by human contact.

Find out more at: www.ihrsa.org/publications

Dr Seuss Photo:shutterstock
"You have to be odd to be number one" - Dr Seuss
Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Consider adding new amenities to your club, such as a pickleball court / shutterstock
Consider adding new amenities to your club, such as a pickleball court / shutterstock
Treadmills remain the most popular piece of equipment in the gym / shutterstock
Treadmills remain the most popular piece of equipment in the gym / shutterstock
Gym Box in the UK has carved out a distinctive position
Gym Box in the UK has carved out a distinctive position
Time shifting: CrossFit has built an enormous following by delivering traditional training methods in a new way
/ shutterstock
Time shifting: CrossFit has built an enormous following by delivering traditional training methods in a new way / shutterstock
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/imagesX/894719_58225.jpg
1 out of 5 Americans age six and older belongs to health club. Find out more key findings from the 2019 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report...
IHRSA, Kristen Walsh,research, consumer report,
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Supplier Showcases
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Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
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SpaBooker: Spa software
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Skincare
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Uniforms
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Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Management software
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Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
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Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
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Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
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Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

features

IHRSA Update: Know your customers

IHRSA’s Kristen Walsh shares highlights from The 2019 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report into the US fitness market, as well as giving universal advice about how to stay relevant

By Kristen Walsh, IHRSA | Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 11
As trends come and go, be alert and pivot your business creatively, says IHRSA / shutterstock
As trends come and go, be alert and pivot your business creatively, says IHRSA / shutterstock

In order to adequately recruit, serve, engage and retain health club customers and members, it’s crucial to understand everything about them – their needs, their wants and their behaviours.

IHRSA’s annual Health Club Consumer Report 2019 is based on a nationwide sample of more than 20,000 interviews and provides demographics and health, sports, and fitness participation data on US health club consumers.

Review your business model
At this moment in time, fitness facility operators, especially those in the fitness-only category, find themselves competing in an industry segment that’s dominated by discount operators (75 per cent charge less than US$25, and 32 per cent charge less than US$10 a month).

If your present business model is fitness-only (equipment, group exercise studios and locker rooms), then chances are most of your competitors will be in the low-price game, and your existing and future members will frame their buying decision around the lowest price.

Stay in the game
Consequently, if you plan to continue to operate a fitness-only model in your business, your options include:

• Lower your price and add a little extra. Rather than go head-to-head at $10, try $15 to $18, and then offer a few classes, some virtual classes, and possibly offer fee-based small group training.

• Continue to operate at your present price point, eg, $30 to $40, but differentiate your offering. Create a speciality, such as a genre of group classes, small group training or coaching, that none of your competitors is offering.

• Move up the chain. Add physical and programming amenities known to denote value and a higher price point. For example, you could add a court for POP tennis and pickleball; add a speciality studio and theme it; create more tribal programming, or partner with another small business to incorporate a custom bundle of services with higher perceived value into your offering.

Pursue ‘odd’ and ‘weird’
Dr Seuss notably quipped: “You have to be odd to be number one.” What he meant was that reaching the top and, equally importantly, remaining at the top, requires a penchant for being a little different from the rest.

“Odd” refers to your business’ value proposition and whether it offers consumers and members something unique, innovative, and relevant – rather than the same old same old.

Dr Seuss also said: “We’re all a little weird and life is a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness…”

What the doctor ordered speaks to building a value proposition that appeals to one or a few weird audiences. Many successful boutique studios have taken this approach to crafting their value proposition. Gym Box in the UK is a premium operator that has taken a different approach and, in so doing, carved out a distinctive position for itself in the marketplace.

Just remember, being ‘odd’ also requires innovation and – importantly –having relevance to the audience you pursue.

So, what does it take to foster a value proposition and culture takes you to number one and enables you to leverage ‘weird’?

Find your tribe
Consider selecting single or multiple niche audiences to serve, and craft your value proposition and culture to be relevant to them. Study your marketplace, talk to your existing members and, most importantly, search for un-served/under-served groups.

• Deliver your offering differently. No one says you have to operate in the same way as your competitors.

Maybe offer club access via bundled packages instead of monthly subscriptions.

How about investing more in technology and becoming the most tech-savvy fitness business in the market?

• Be a 2.5 percenter. Two-and-a-half percent refers to the percentage of businesses that are real innovators. These are businesses that pursue innovation or are willing to adopt business practices and technology early on, typically way ahead of the competition. For example, why not try a ‘freemium’ approach to your business model, similar to that used in the gaming industry, in which you offer the basics for free and then charge extra for upgrades and add-ons.

• Go back in time or shift into the future. CrossFit, possibly without even knowing it, built a business proposition around some of the clubs of the mid-1800s, in which gymnastics and calisthenics were the core of the programme. There are other models from olden times that would still work today.

Conversely, you could go the opposite route and create a high-tech virtual experience (ie virtual reality, streaming mobile content, virtual check-in, etc) supplemented by human contact.

Find out more at: www.ihrsa.org/publications

Dr Seuss Photo:shutterstock
"You have to be odd to be number one" - Dr Seuss
Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Consider adding new amenities to your club, such as a pickleball court / shutterstock
Consider adding new amenities to your club, such as a pickleball court / shutterstock
Treadmills remain the most popular piece of equipment in the gym / shutterstock
Treadmills remain the most popular piece of equipment in the gym / shutterstock
Gym Box in the UK has carved out a distinctive position
Gym Box in the UK has carved out a distinctive position
Time shifting: CrossFit has built an enormous following by delivering traditional training methods in a new way
/ shutterstock
Time shifting: CrossFit has built an enormous following by delivering traditional training methods in a new way / shutterstock
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/imagesX/894719_58225.jpg
1 out of 5 Americans age six and older belongs to health club. Find out more key findings from the 2019 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report...
IHRSA, Kristen Walsh,research, consumer report,
Latest News
A new high-end workspace, designed for the use of personal trainers, coaches and other health ...
Latest News
VAT reform, adjustments in business rates and a fitness-led high street regeneration push could see ...
Latest News
Peloton has completed the merging of its commercial operations with Precor, the equipment brand it ...
Latest News
Half of UK adults aren't happy with their physical fitness levels, according to a study ...
Latest News
Temporary measures brought in to support businesses in the UK from insolvency during the pandemic ...
Latest News
Nadine Dorries has replaced Oliver Dowden as the Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture ...
Latest News
In a major move against the gym market, Apple has revealed a number of upgrades ...
Latest News
Physical activity professionals in England will soon be able to access free, one-to-one learning with ...
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Technogym awarded “Supplier of the year” at ukactive awards 2021
The best in class of the physical activity sector have been revealed at the ukactive Awards 2021.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Power Plate teams up with Myzone for a new exercise experience
Power Plate has teamed up with Myzone to provide its community with new class experiences and the opportunity to offer rewards based on effort, every time they move.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active bolsters Everyone on Demand and enters second year with five new partnerships
Everyone Active has signed a number of new deals which will see the operator strengthen its digital product offering, Everyone on Demand.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Company profiles
Company profile: Precor
Precor has been a pioneer in delivering fitness experiences for commercial customers for more than ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Mindbody
Mindbody is the leading technology platform for the wellness industry, featuring an app that allows ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Gympass
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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