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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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Latest News
Operating a further four weeks at reduced capacity will place serious pressure on English fitness ...
Latest News
People experiencing homelessness are being offered free access to leisure centres by Oxford City Council. ...
Latest News
IHRSA has appointed Elizabeth Clark as its new president and CEO. Clark joins the industry ...
Latest News
Boutique studio operator TRIB3 has launched its own-brand range of luxury toiletries. The operator, which ...
Latest News
Rainer Schaller's RSG Group is bringing its John Reed brand of health clubs to the ...
Latest News
The government needs to urgently set out its plans to support physical activity and fitness ...
Latest News
Glofox will begin offering health clubs, gyms and fitness studios instant access to financing, following ...
Latest News
Hong Kong-based Bricks Group has revealed plans to launch its health club chain, U Time, ...
Opinion
promotion
While much of the fitness industry has reopened its doors across the UK over the past weeks, many members are yet to return.
Opinion: Re-engaging your post-lockdown absent members
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Cryotherapy specialists, L&R Kältetechnik, launch new artofcryo.com division
L&R Kältetechnik has launched a new division, named artofcryo.com, after 30 years’ experience with -110 °C electrical solutions.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Celebrating the return of group exercise – Les Mills to host free ‘Fastest Way Back’ livestream event for the industry
Last month (May) saw the welcomed return of group exercise classes. Group exercise is the heartbeat for so many clubs, with in-studio and instructor-led live experiences at the pinnacle.
Featured operators 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.
Featured operators 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: Core Health & Fitness
Core Health & Fitness offers the commercial health and fitness club marketplace an unmatched portfolio ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Parkwood Leisure
Parkwood Leisure is a family-owned leisure management company working with local authority partners across England ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Funxtion
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
01-04 Jul 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
28-29 Sep 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
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
Operating a further four weeks at reduced capacity will place serious pressure on English fitness ...
Latest News
People experiencing homelessness are being offered free access to leisure centres by Oxford City Council. ...
Latest News
IHRSA has appointed Elizabeth Clark as its new president and CEO. Clark joins the industry ...
Latest News
Boutique studio operator TRIB3 has launched its own-brand range of luxury toiletries. The operator, which ...
Latest News
Rainer Schaller's RSG Group is bringing its John Reed brand of health clubs to the ...
Latest News
The government needs to urgently set out its plans to support physical activity and fitness ...
Latest News
Glofox will begin offering health clubs, gyms and fitness studios instant access to financing, following ...
Latest News
Hong Kong-based Bricks Group has revealed plans to launch its health club chain, U Time, ...
Latest News
A £30m luxury leisure development scheme which has been more than a decade in the ...
Latest News
Apple has previewed its much-awaited watchOS 8, the operating system for its Apple Watch. The ...
Latest News
Chinese health club chain Supermonkey has finalised a series E funding round, valuing the company ...
Opinion
promotion
While much of the fitness industry has reopened its doors across the UK over the past weeks, many members are yet to return.
Opinion: Re-engaging your post-lockdown absent members
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Cryotherapy specialists, L&R Kältetechnik, launch new artofcryo.com division
L&R Kältetechnik has launched a new division, named artofcryo.com, after 30 years’ experience with -110 °C electrical solutions.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Celebrating the return of group exercise – Les Mills to host free ‘Fastest Way Back’ livestream event for the industry
Last month (May) saw the welcomed return of group exercise classes. Group exercise is the heartbeat for so many clubs, with in-studio and instructor-led live experiences at the pinnacle.
Featured operators 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.
Featured operators 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: Core Health & Fitness
Core Health & Fitness offers the commercial health and fitness club marketplace an unmatched portfolio ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Parkwood Leisure
Parkwood Leisure is a family-owned leisure management company working with local authority partners across England ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Funxtion
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
01-04 Jul 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
28-29 Sep 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2021
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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Les Mills
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