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Health Club Management

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"Engage with your members during closures," says Pure International Group's Colin Grant in IHRSA webinar

Perception is reality – it was important that members could see cleaners walking around the clubs actively cleaning on a regular basis
– Colin Grant

In an IHRSA webinar presented on 18 March, Colin Grant, CEO of Pure International Group, has shared what he has learned from managing closures and member concerns across his 30+ South Asia clubs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pure International Group has clubs in Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Beijing, comprising both yoga studios and big box gyms.

During the webinar, which was free to both IHRSA members and non-members, Grant detailed the journey the group has been on since the coronavirus epidemic began in December 2019.

With its clubs in Shanghai and Beijing forced to close by the Chinese government, and unprecedented rates of membership termination and suspension across all other South Asian clubs, Grant said it has been a very emotional time.

He advised the leadership teams of gyms in other parts of the world now dealing with these issues to "take the emotion out and act calmly, and that will cascade through the organisation, both internally and externally."

"At the end of the day, it's our job to ensure we provide a safe and healthy environment for our employees, our staff and our colleagues, as much as all our members".

Practical measures that Grant recommended for those clubs still open centred around making members feel safe.

Early on, he said, "we made the decision to start ramping up our hygiene at a club level. We started increasing the presence of cleaners, and increased the number of hand sanitisation stations around the club. Perception is reality – it was important that members could see cleaners walking around the clubs actively cleaning on a regular basis".

"At the same time, we started communicating these measures to members, via social media and notices in the club."

As the virus tightened its grip on China, the Shanghai and Beijing clubs were mandated to close. In the locations that stayed open, Grant took further measures, which included taking every person's temperature upon entry, reducing the capacity of group exercise classes and promoting on social media and in-club the importance of strengthening the immune system with a healthy diet and exercise.

These measures were well received, said Grant. "Members thanked us for making them feel they were in a safe environment."

Grant, however, focused just as much energy on the closed clubs as the open ones. He stressed the importance of continuing to communicate with members during closures: "If anyone has closed clubs or ends up closing clubs, it's very important that you engage with your members during your closure."

"In our closed clubs in Shanghai and Beijing we had our PTs and yoga teachers send daily workouts through our official member app.

"Also, the yoga teachers, the sales team, the PTs and group ex instructors would constantly keep in touch with the members, making sure they knew we were here, even though the clubs were closed, and that they could do online training."

Although the clubs in Hong Kong and Singapore have stayed open, Grant told viewers that during the peak of the virus in those countries, membership terminations increased two-fold and there was a 10-fold increase in suspensions.

The biggest challenge during this time, Grant explained, was the pushback from members who believed they should be allowed to suspend their memberships for free.

"We didn't have the luxury of offering free suspensions," said Grant. "Our feeling was that we have to pay rent, salaries, etc, and we're staying open. And above all else we believe we're providing a safe environment."

Grant also impressed upon webinar viewers that "internal communication is very, very important".

"We started doing a daily call with the leadership team across all the sites," he said.

Pure Group also used the time during club closures to do internal training.

Finally, Grant acknowledged that for many countries, this experience for gym operators was just beginning.

"I'm aware that some of you are at different stages of this. It's evolving quickly. And what I've been through over the last three months, you guys might have to do over three weeks.

"It's a rollercoaster, be prepared. But the leadership needs to steady the ship and work together – bring your teams together."

The full webinar – 'Coronavirus Conversations Club Operations Part 1' – can be viewed at ihrsa.org.

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News

"Engage with your members during closures," says Pure International Group's Colin Grant in IHRSA webinar

Perception is reality – it was important that members could see cleaners walking around the clubs actively cleaning on a regular basis
– Colin Grant

In an IHRSA webinar presented on 18 March, Colin Grant, CEO of Pure International Group, has shared what he has learned from managing closures and member concerns across his 30+ South Asia clubs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pure International Group has clubs in Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Beijing, comprising both yoga studios and big box gyms.

During the webinar, which was free to both IHRSA members and non-members, Grant detailed the journey the group has been on since the coronavirus epidemic began in December 2019.

With its clubs in Shanghai and Beijing forced to close by the Chinese government, and unprecedented rates of membership termination and suspension across all other South Asian clubs, Grant said it has been a very emotional time.

He advised the leadership teams of gyms in other parts of the world now dealing with these issues to "take the emotion out and act calmly, and that will cascade through the organisation, both internally and externally."

"At the end of the day, it's our job to ensure we provide a safe and healthy environment for our employees, our staff and our colleagues, as much as all our members".

Practical measures that Grant recommended for those clubs still open centred around making members feel safe.

Early on, he said, "we made the decision to start ramping up our hygiene at a club level. We started increasing the presence of cleaners, and increased the number of hand sanitisation stations around the club. Perception is reality – it was important that members could see cleaners walking around the clubs actively cleaning on a regular basis".

"At the same time, we started communicating these measures to members, via social media and notices in the club."

As the virus tightened its grip on China, the Shanghai and Beijing clubs were mandated to close. In the locations that stayed open, Grant took further measures, which included taking every person's temperature upon entry, reducing the capacity of group exercise classes and promoting on social media and in-club the importance of strengthening the immune system with a healthy diet and exercise.

These measures were well received, said Grant. "Members thanked us for making them feel they were in a safe environment."

Grant, however, focused just as much energy on the closed clubs as the open ones. He stressed the importance of continuing to communicate with members during closures: "If anyone has closed clubs or ends up closing clubs, it's very important that you engage with your members during your closure."

"In our closed clubs in Shanghai and Beijing we had our PTs and yoga teachers send daily workouts through our official member app.

"Also, the yoga teachers, the sales team, the PTs and group ex instructors would constantly keep in touch with the members, making sure they knew we were here, even though the clubs were closed, and that they could do online training."

Although the clubs in Hong Kong and Singapore have stayed open, Grant told viewers that during the peak of the virus in those countries, membership terminations increased two-fold and there was a 10-fold increase in suspensions.

The biggest challenge during this time, Grant explained, was the pushback from members who believed they should be allowed to suspend their memberships for free.

"We didn't have the luxury of offering free suspensions," said Grant. "Our feeling was that we have to pay rent, salaries, etc, and we're staying open. And above all else we believe we're providing a safe environment."

Grant also impressed upon webinar viewers that "internal communication is very, very important".

"We started doing a daily call with the leadership team across all the sites," he said.

Pure Group also used the time during club closures to do internal training.

Finally, Grant acknowledged that for many countries, this experience for gym operators was just beginning.

"I'm aware that some of you are at different stages of this. It's evolving quickly. And what I've been through over the last three months, you guys might have to do over three weeks.

"It's a rollercoaster, be prepared. But the leadership needs to steady the ship and work together – bring your teams together."

The full webinar – 'Coronavirus Conversations Club Operations Part 1' – can be viewed at ihrsa.org.

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
Related news

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12 Mar 2020
The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) has cancelled its forthcoming convention and trade ...

News

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Alliance Leisure
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Features
New Opening
We wanted to develop a destination which offers everything. People shouldn’t need several memberships to get what they want for their wellness. Eden One brings it all under one roof
Features
HCM research
Researchers say obesity ‘should be considered as premature ageing’, with some negative effects on the immune system being permanent and not reversible by weight loss
Features
Ask the experts
Is the health and fitness industry more geared up to meet the needs of extroverts and overlooking more introverted customers? Kath Hudson investigates
Features
Supplier showcase
DW Fitness First and Gympass have extended their partnership to attract more corporate customers
Features
Insight
The CEO of Basic-Fit shared insights into the workings of the company at the Virtuagym FitNation conference in Amsterdam. Megan Whitby was there for HCM
Features
Policy
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Features
Body scanning
Body scanning has become a major fitness trend, offering both operators and members alike insight into their body composition, muscle mass and fat percentage. Operators offering body scanning share their experiences
Features
People
There are more opportunities in the UK than we thought – If glasgow can support five clubs, why shouldn’t we have three in leeds and sheffield?
People
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Aaron Brooks-Thornett

Freely Given PT: founder
A donation-based payment system creates a non-discriminatory environment and empowers people to give what they think the service is worth. This also challenges me to keep service levels high
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Featured supplier news
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Incorpore and MoveGB have entered into a landmark partnership, combining the UK’s largest provider of corporate gym memberships with the nation’s biggest network of classes.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: FORA works with Power Plate to raise awareness of sitting disease through movement and vibration
With office workers spending over eight hours per day sitting at their desks, and one in six affected by mental health issues every year, it is no surprise that businesses are looking to introduce ‘wellness’ to the workplace
Opinion
promotion
The modern training gym champions functional fitness in a small group personal training model, with a premium service experience at its heart
Opinion: Overcome membership attrition with this surprising new industry trend: the modern training gym
Video Gallery
How to use the MZ-Bodyscan
MyZone
The Best Product for the Best Clubs Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: MiE FitQuest
FitQuest (MiE Medical Research) are specialists in the field of human performance measurement. We have ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Stages Indoor Cycling
Stages Indoor Cycling is a product and technology company that is 100% focused on creating ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Gym flooring
REGUPOL/Berleburger Schaumstoffwerk (BSW): Gym flooring
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Management software
Fisikal: Management software
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Property & Tenders
Greywell, Hampshire
Barnsgrove Health and Wellness Club
Property & Tenders
Derby City Council
Property & Tenders
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
13 Jun 2020
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
17-18 Jun 2020
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
06-07 Jul 2020
Eastwood Hall, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
17-23 Oct 2020
Pinggu, Beijing, China
Diary dates
30-31 Oct 2020
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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