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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
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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
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
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/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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How many of your members pound the treadmill with poor technique, risking injury and hating every leaden-legged second of it? It doesn’t have to be this way according to Danny Dreyer, founder of ChiRunning, who says he can turn anyone into a runner. Kath Hudson discovers how
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The Gym Group is set to continue its fast pace of growth in 2020, with ...
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Gyms need to look at ways to deploy technology that helps them engage with customers on a human level. This can be done by encouraging customers to leave as much real-time feedback as possible
Opinion: Customer Feedback: the Good, the Bad and the ‘Could be Improved’ Why health clubs need to take action in 2020 to retain their New Year customers
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Click on a catalogue to view it online
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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
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
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/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
F45 is expanding its UK footprint with the launch of two new studios in Manchester. ...
Latest News
Rockwell Group have unveiled designs for luxury hospitality and wellness amenities at Manhattan's 550 Madison ...
Latest News
The Gym Group is set to continue its fast pace of growth in 2020, with ...
Latest News
A new product aimed at the ageing population is combining wearable fitness tech with artificial ...
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 ...
Latest News
The increasing popularity of streaming services and wireless earbuds – along with the introduction of ...
Latest News
Stuart Broster, chief executive of Anytime Fitness UK, will step down from his role in ...
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Digme Fitness has acquired Another Space – the boutique studio arm of premium health club ...
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Looklen Architects have created a stripped back gym in Bangkok, Thailand, that uses steel latticing ...
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The number of people in the UK who are members of a private health and ...
Job search
POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: WEXO: The definitive cross training solution
A new cross training concept has arrived, offering weightlifting, athletic, metabolic, and functional exercises in a circuit format.
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.
Opinion
promotion
Gyms need to look at ways to deploy technology that helps them engage with customers on a human level. This can be done by encouraging customers to leave as much real-time feedback as possible
Opinion: Customer Feedback: the Good, the Bad and the ‘Could be Improved’ Why health clubs need to take action in 2020 to retain their New Year customers
Video Gallery
DFC: We do more...
DFC
DFC are a leading direct debit collection company, providing cash flow solutions to happy clients from all over the UK. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Xponential Fitness LLC
Xponential Fitness is the world’s leading franchisor of boutique fitness studios, with a portfolio of ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Harlands Group
Harlands Group is the leading provider of membership management services to leisure operators, processing over ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Spa software
ResortSuite: Spa software
Fitness equipment
Stages Cycling: Fitness equipment
Management software
GymSales: Management software
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Fitness software
Go Do.Fitness: Fitness software
Professional services
Deloitte UK: Professional services
Audio visual
Hutchison Technologies: Audio visual
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Property & Tenders
Derby City Council
Property & Tenders
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 Mar 2020
Executive Boardroom, Middlesex University, London, United Kingdom
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
19-24 Apr 2020
tbc, Beijing, China
Diary dates
04 Jun 2020
Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
10-27 Jun 2020
tbc, Pinggu, China
Diary dates
13 Jun 2020
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
17-18 Jun 2020
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
30-31 Oct 2020
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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