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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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As the UK government’s social prescribing initiative gains momentum, Kenny Butler calls on the sector to step up and get involved
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Fuel the debate about issues and opportunities across the industry. We’d love to hear from you – [email protected]
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In the last issue of HCM, we checked with big box operators in the UK to see how trading has been going since restrictions were lifted. This month we turn our attention to boutiques and urban studios to find out how they’re faring. Kath Hudson reports
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Editor's letter
In this issue, we’re focusing on sharing insights and thought leadership to highlight opportunities for the development of the sector in terms of both markets and offerings, says Liz Terry, HCM editor
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Interview
The co-founder of The Great Outdoor Gym Company has a vision to inspire communities to become healthy and sustainable, both environmentally and personally. She speaks to Kate Cracknell
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Interview
Gyms have a role to play in collaborating with the social prescribing movement to improve the nation’s health, the CEO of the UK’s National Academy of Social Prescribing tells Kate Cracknell
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Insight
Research firm Qualtrics surveyed 12,157 consumers across 15 countries in seven languages to create the Les Mills 2021 Global Fitness Report, highlighting the ways consumers are choosing to work out as we emerge from the pandemic. Jak Phillips reports
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Sponsored
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We first started talking to KSL over two years ago, so this was not a rushed partnership
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Latest News
Boutique operator 1Rebel has launched its first 1Rebel Labs Studio at its club in Holborn. ...
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The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on the UK government to invest £875m in ...
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A global innovation competition has been launched to find ways to encourage and support more ...
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Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
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
Boutique operator 1Rebel has launched its first 1Rebel Labs Studio at its club in Holborn. ...
Latest News
The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on the UK government to invest £875m in ...
Latest News
Anthony Hamilton, the father of F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton, is launching a fitness equipment ...
Latest News
The pandemic has had an "unprecedented" impact on physical activity levels in England, with 1 ...
Latest News
The first énergie Fitness club has opened in Spain as part of a push for ...
Latest News
A global innovation competition has been launched to find ways to encourage and support more ...
Latest News
Xponential Fitness has acquired Body Fit Training in a deal worth US$44m. The deal takes ...
Latest News
Exercise has been highlighted as a crucial weapon in cancer patients’ battle against the disease. ...
Latest News
The global health and fitness industry is returning to a busy programme of live trade ...
Latest News
Matrix and Intelivideo have signed a strategic partnership, which will see Intelivideo's fitness content integrated ...
Latest News
Nadine Dorries, the recently appointed secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport at ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Will your business last without digital transformation?
During the pandemic, a digital transformation took off faster than anyone could have predicted with meetings in person cancelled and millions working from home.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Pulse Fitness completes transformation of The Laura Trott Leisure Centre gym
The Laura Trott Leisure Centre has recently undergone a significant transformation thanks to recent investment from Broxbourne Council and its partnership with Pulse Fitness.
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: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Company profiles
Company profile: RISE Fitness Franchise
RISE is a brand-new franchise created to fill an emerging gap. Outdoor workouts have become ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Rocca Creative Thinking Limited
Rocca. is a tech organisation specialising in sport and physical activity. It works with NGBs ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
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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