In such a young and competitive field, it’s be easy to get lost by trying to simultaneously improve multiple areas to maximize revenue.
Fortunately, I learned long ago that changing everything isn’t necessary to make improvements. A better approach is to perform a specific needs analysis to determine one or two areas that need direct attention and which will improve other areas indirectly.
At our club, we regularly take a detailed look at areas such as branding, marketing, sales/revenue/profit margins, client systems (including onboarding, retention and satisfaction, staff satisfaction, staff competence/productivity) and more.
After analyzing these areas, we discovered that the biggest space that currently needs work is our client onboarding system.
We already do a good job here (with the initial contact and first few weeks of exercise), but I believe our initial interactions could be even better. After all, there’s only one opportunity for a first impression and we want to nail it every time.
Setting expectations is key to a positive experience and successful relationship building. I believe we can do a better job providing a more detailed overview of what’s available to new members and clients.
I also believe we should give new clients more when they sign up. We have a fantastic e-book to help with cleaning up nutrition thoughts and habits, and people love it! There’s a ton of value to it that we charge money for. But instead, I’d like to give this to our new members. A high value and unexpected gift like this goes a long way in promoting word of mouth, which helps our business grow.
This is a win, win, win scenario: the client benefits from the added-value offer; a potential prospect, who otherwise might not have heard of us, benefits when the client shares his or her experience; and of course we benefit by growing our opportunity to help people and generating more revenue.
And this is all because we identified one key area to improve.
ALP Training Institute
If I could add an area to my club, it would be a hot yoga studio. However, we have looked at this option for the past two years and have decided that it simply won’t work.
Hot yoga is a growing trend with both men and women participating in great numbers. Burlington has at least four yoga-only studios, and a few fitness clubs have hot yoga rooms within their facilities. Many of the studios are charging more than $100 per month for membership to all classes, while an average fitness club membership in Burlington is $50 per month.
I have toured several of these hot yoga rooms to learn what the physical requirements are and how the temperature and humidity are monitored. Many yoga instructors that we have interviewed believe that people gravitate to these classes due to the sweating that results with limited effort. Some instructors don’t like teaching in the heat but realize that this is where great numbers of people are flocking.
To implement a proper hot program, a dedicated space is required. Our club currently has a large studio that we considered using as a multi-purpose room (e.g., for hot yoga, spinning, boot camps etc.). But after much research, we decided against this. It takes hours for the room to reach the required temperature and humidity and hours to return it to the cooler temperature required for spinning and boot camps). Hot yoga room temperatures can run as high as 38 degrees where a cardio class likes it as cold as 16.
We are currently experiencing issues with our current (regular temperature )yoga classes that follow a spinning or boot camp class, since one class likes it cold and the other likes it warm. We have had to allow for time between our classes for the room to change temperature.
We looked at converting another area in our club to a yoga studio, but with just 10,000 square feet of gym space it was hard to justify a second studio dedicated to just hot yoga. The expense of the conversion and equipment required, in addition to the operational cost increases, would require years for us to see a return on the investment.
Thus we have decided to remain with one studio and have added some additional heat sources to keep it warm for yoga classes.
Yoga still remains our most popular program with many classes at capacity, so why change a good thing?
The Fitness Firm Inc.
Our Lounge is located in the centre of our club and has hundreds of members travelling through it daily. This is where our members enjoy a well-earned cocktail, grab lunch or a protein shake, watch a game on the big screen or play some table tennis. What also makes it unique is that it is surrounded by three squash courts. We are a 3,000-member club with a squash section of over 400 members.
Until three years ago, the Lounge was a consistent loss leader for us. Being located in the financial district of Toronto, our members have access to countless restaurants and fast food outlets, and competing with them had always been a challenge. Three years ago, we made some changes to our food and beverage program and, as a result, the Lounge now turns a small profit.
We have always felt that having a food and beverage operation is important to separate us from our competitors. It’s a part of what makes us a club over a gym, and the Lounge is a major differentiator for us in our market.
As a result of this thinking, we are in the process of spending $1 million upgrading the Lounge. Although improving the ROI on our food and beverage program is a tall order, we believe the investment is right for the club as a whole.
We want every inch of our club to be seen as world class, and we truly believe that our members will appreciate the improvement. They’re proud of their club!
The Adelaide Club