Having your facility work in sync is no easy task. However, when different aspects of your business are working together, it creates the opportunity to truly satisfy your customers and staff. After all, a facility where members can best achieve their health and fitness goals is going to be a successful business.
The advice that follows is from a wide range of fitness industry experts, and includes location, layout and technology strategies to implement in your facility.
Location, Location, Location
Chances are you’re already operating a facility (or several), and you’ve already been through the trouble of finding the best location for your business. But if you’re still in the planning stages, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to where your gym is going to be located.
Start with these four factors:1
- Price: determine whether you’re leasing, renovating or constructing a brand new gym
- Demographics: make sure you know who your target audience is and whether you’re locating your business in the right area
- Accessibility: the area your facility is in will play a huge role in determining how your customers reach it, whether on foot, by public transport or car
- Competitors: do your research and know exactly who you’re up against before you move in
Dare to Be Different with Your Gym’s Layout
When it comes to your facility’s layout, you must allow for adequate space allocation, but don’t be afraid to let your brand identity and values shine through. If your brand values include community and fun, ensure that the design of your space delivers on those values.
Instead of starting the layout process by choosing equipment, start by formulating ideas about the zones or areas you want to have in your gym – then assign a percentage of your space that you wish to allocate to each zone.
This chart is a good starting point. It outlines rough percentages for each zone, and then you can adjust the proportions depending on your needs.2
Personal Training & Group Training
In recent years, exercisers have turned to group training as a potentially cost-effective and fun option compared to personal training. Group training can give your gym the chance to offer remarkable and specialised exercise experiences while also creating another revenue stream.
To begin building a successful group training programme within your facility, Vic Spatola, director of personal training at the Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club in Denver (Colorado, USA), recommends focusing on a dedicated space and qualified trainers.
When adding group training to your facility, remember to:
- Reserve access to specific training areas and specialised equipment
- Differentiate between group fitness (very large groups, less attention to detail), group training (more limited in numbers, increased guidance from trainers) and personal training (one-to-one)
- Maintain a sense of exclusivity for members, such as separate trainers for paid and complimentary classes3
Building a Networked Fitness Ecosystem
“The overall goal when making use of technology and digital integration services is to create a better user experience for your members, as well as prospective members,” says Bryan O’Rourke, founder and CEO of Integrus LLC and president of the Fitness Industry Technology Council.4
Networked fitness, wearable gadgets, “smart gyms” and online video streaming have helped shape the fitness arena into what it is today.5
Use technology to help drive profits in your facility. Pay attention to club management systems using Near Field Communication (NFC) applications. NFC cards and enabled mobile phones can be used to store and transfer member credentials, control access to areas, and limit membership sharing in large gyms.6
To drive profits, club management systems can help you provide a better membership experience, different membership levels to generate more revenue, and enhanced data streams to use for targeted marketing.
It may sound daunting to build a networked fitness ecosystem, but these days it’s becoming an absolute must if you want to recruit and retain members for your gym. When you have a facility and staff dedicated to learning from information collected, you can reach beyond fitness campaigns and member check-ins to create personalised programming.7
“Find that sweet spot that exists between providing information and technology, while not negatively impacting the environment and community,” says Just Tamsett, managing director of Active Management.8
When different areas of your facility, from location and layout to technology, are all working with the same purpose in mind, magic can strike – creating the facility your members need and the business you desire.
- How does your facility’s location affect its offerings? Are you targeting the right demographics? How do these targets and offerings compare to your competition?
- Have you built a ‘networked fitness ecosystem’ that your customers love? If not, what’s stopping you?
- What’s your unique selling position? Is it obvious in your marketing and to prospective members when they walk through the door?
Read about how to manage your other gym assets:
1 “How to Choose a Location for Your New Gym,” Precor Resource Center
2 “Precor ActivDesign™”
3 “Strategies for Implementing a Successful Group Training Program,” IHRSA Summaries
4 “Revolutionary Opportunities Through Technology,” IHRSA Summaries
5 “Technology and Social Media: Making the Digital Age Work for Your Facility”
6 “Using Technology to Drive Profits in Health Clubs,” IHRSA Summaries
7 “The Transformation of the Fitness Industry Through Technology,” IHRSA Summaries
8 “Strategies to Deliver What Consumers Want,” IHRSA Summaries