Fads come and go, while trends emerge and evolve.
Successful organizations win when they can predict their customers' expectations and innovate to meet those expectations time after time. As an operator you can consider re-evaluating your gym's programming efforts to boost retention, increase market share and optimize operational outcomes.
Your members are evolving in and out of your doors as the healthcare landscape continues to change and competition mounts. Club and studio operators have a variety of opportunities to positively affect the 80 million Americans that remain inactive, as reported by the Physical Activity Council.
Here are some strategies, goals and tactics to consider when deciding your gym's programming.
This post was written by Tracey Harvey, who has three decades of experience working in the health and fitness industry –currently specializing in managing wellness over illness in older adults. For more information, check out "About the Author" at the bottom of the page.
1. Commit to wellness over fitness.
Managing wellness over illness and fitness ability is an organizational responsibility, not just the responsibility of one department or individual. Going back to the basics to build a wellness-centric culture will require you to re-enlist, re-engage and motivate your existing team to be Change Makers, working outside their comfort zone regardless of how loyal and tenured the team is.
2. Integrate departments.
Set goals that align with increasing attendance, participation and member engagement for all departments. Group exercise programs and instructors have always been viewed as a necessary evil and retention tool, and are very rarely operated as a profit center. Now is the time to ensure you are programming for ALL members, future and present. Take the inclusive approach and stop segmenting your monthly calendars by department.
As trends emerge, grow and even mature, the best operators can get complacent by offering the same time slot and same instructor while catering to the same members. Now is the opportunity to identify the needs of older adults, youth and even medical community partners to offer affordable educational programs that can be revenue-producing by being creative and bringing life into the group exercise room at all hours of the day.
3. Build a community of champions.
As the fitness and healthcare worlds begin to collide, now is the time for club operators to amplify their efforts to enhance their current and future members’ experience. Building a community of champions that extends outside the walls of your business will help accelerate your goals. More often than not, when it comes to “change,” teams feel that changing anything is a gamble. The time is here for even successful operators to become trend watchers in order to anticipate their consumers' next moves. Partnering with industry originators can provide a competitive edge, credibility and necessary resources to be successful.
4. Recruit new members through community outreach.
Over the last three decades there have been life-changing innovations that have dramatically changed the way we do business. However, one thing that remains timeless is that all team members should be in the business of people -- devoted to the commitment of wellness regardless of their position.
Think active versus passive in your outreach efforts. Active follow-ups include activities such as speaking on the phone, coming in for a tour or a wellness assessment. Opening your doors and even sharing your resources outside your walls with the community at large has the opportunity to produce amazing results if you are willing to be creative, collaborative and focused on results.
- 2015 International Fitness Industry Trend Report
- 2015 Physical Activity Council Report