Today’s exercisers are looking for a more personalized experience, whether it be a specific kind of workout, a particular club environment or peers who have similar interests.
This means facility operators must focus on how they can enhance their members’ overall experience, reduce attrition and provide the best services possible. Adding unique and creative programs can accomplish these goals, increase revenue and curb competition. Below are five tips that will help operators get started on this mission.
1. Consider corporate programming. Customized corporate programming is a great way to market your facility beyond your facility's four walls by offering personal training or group classes to companies or specialty markets in your area. Many companies are looking for ways to enhance the lives and wellbeing of their employees, while reducing health costs and improving productivity in the process. For example, you could offer office yoga, a 30-minute lunch stretch or senior seated exercise. Consider prospects such as hotels, hospitals, shopping malls, convention centers, places of worship, senior living facilities and golf or tennis clubs. These specialty trainings are also a fantastic opportunity to get to know and serve your community. Plus, why not have your gym benefit from building a reputation as the go-to fitness experts in your area?
2. Stage a health fair with local businesses. Holding a health and wellness event can be a great way to bring local businesses and your customers together. A small fee can be charged for set-up space, and then you’ll have the opportunity to give out samples or discuss your the services your busines provides. Alternatively, consider joining an established event. Find out if you can offer a service in trade for your space, table or booth. Remember to do fitness demonstrations, giveaways, competitions and fun activities that will spark interest in your business.
3. Offer express-style personal training. Consider offering your members quick, 15- or 30-minute personal training sessions. Providing short, impactful workouts may be perfect for busy individuals, for those intimidated by a full-hour session or for people looking to add variety to their workouts and sample something different. Offer specialty sessions such as stretching, mobility or myofascial release. These types of programs are under-exploited by many clubs and have great potential for growth. This format will keep people functioning properly, reduce pain and assist with recovery. However, it is essential that your trainers are qualified and have a specialty or continuing education in stretching techniques.
4. Design an eight-week weight-loss program. Creating your own proprietary exercise and diet program can go a long way to bolstering your membership. It can also provide useful before-and-after data to be used for marketing purposes. You can allow both members and non-members to participate at varying rates. Include a nutritionist, personal trainers and special classes created specifically for weight loss to increase your success rates. Try reaching prospects through targeted social media marketing. For example, focus on local businesspeople in the area or new moms.
5. Organize fitness events. There are so many fun and interesting events offered to fitness enthusiasts today, such as Spartan Race, mud runs, cycling competitions and relay races. Although many people may be interested in participating in a specific event, they might not know how to start, to train or better understand what it takes to participate in such an experience. This can be a great opportunity to create a training program that will help guide members through the entire process. Forming a club-sponsored training group is a wonderful team-building opportunity that is a win-win for all involved.
Aileen Sheron is president of Good Natured Products Inc. and the inventor of the patented OmniBall. She has been an innovator and fitness entrepreneur since 1979 and has trained thousands of instructors. She has been a top IDEA presenter for 27 years and specializes in equipment-based resistance programming, choreography, myofascial release and more. Sheron writes for various fitness publications and has starred in several notable exercise video productions. Her Weight Watchers Low Impact Aerobics Workout was rated No. 1 by Consumer Reports. She consults on product and program development for some of the biggest names in fitness and posts weekly on social media. You can find her at www.aileensheron.com. Sheron is also an AFS educator for the Association of Fitness Studios.