Fall may seem like the calm before the storm to some of us. A chance to catch your breath and regroup before the busy winter months and surge of inevitable new members after the New Year. Like most fitness club operators you’re probably already juggling a lot too: shift changes with the new season and staffing issues, balancing new fall schedules, mandatory equipment maintenance and recruiting those new members that will make everything even busier.
As you juggle all of that, try and pause for a moment, and carve out some time for what we like to call the Fall Efficiency Check List – a timely review of the tools, technologies and ideas that can tighten operations for the year ahead.
Your people are your business. A friendly, familiar face and a welcoming check in experience. Trusted trainers and beloved instructors who create exceptional member experiences. In a tough, tight labor market it’s essential to assess, are we supporting the club’s most valuable asset? Are we getting our trainers, instructors, guest teams and everyone else on site exactly what they need to excel?
Schedule even a 30 minute check in once a month one-on-one with staff members to discuss their needs, equipment requests and identify any issues before they cause your staff to become someone else’s. For new staff too, review your training practices at this time of year. Interview recently hired team members and ask what your onboarding process felt like, is it missing anything and what do they need as new staff at the club? Simple communication can go a long way.
Tech and tools
Technology comes down to two things: member convenience and member experience. Get those right and the chances are you’ll retain members at a time of year when many consider tightening monthly expenses around the holidays. Is it your check-in service fast and painless for members waiting in the cold to get through your doors? Could investment in touchless scanner technology speed up entry and free up staff time to engage people as they arrive to work out? Is your club app working well for class sign ups and bookings and are you using the most effective club management software to understand member usage patterns and preferences to help adjust club offerings and manage activity peaks? Review all and consider if you need to make any tech investments to improve member experience.
Classes and content
In an ideal world, your on-demand and streamed classes and content should be a highly effective tool in managing busy live class scheduling. Assess class attendances and wait lists for live instructor classes and look to offer complimentary on-demand classes in your dedicated studio, via your club app or as many clubs are doing increasingly, in multi-functional spaces around the gym. It could be a good idea to message or engage fans of live classes and make them aware of similar on-demand offerings they can mix and match with their live sessions – and do at home or in the club.
Review your content portfolio at this time of year too. Are you offering a broad range of HIIT, core-strength and specialty classes for on-demand use in club or at home? Do you offer equipment-based, instructor led workouts for ellipticals, treadmills and stationary bikes that members can access on your club app to keep them motivated during more routine cardio exercise? And have you considered bringing on-demand content out of dedicated studio spaces to become part of everyday warm ups, wind downs and free weight exercises?
The better on-demand platforms can be installed easily in any area of the club to show short-form daily workouts that keep things fresh for members. As you assess all of this, it’s a good idea to work with your on-demand content team and determine if there are emerging, popular workout classes from global producers that might make attractive, New Year offerings to keep members engaged.
Cleanliness and comfort
No health club should be falling down on cleanliness after the past few years, and while members aren’t as focused on stringent hygiene standards as they once were, make sure your practices are visible. Review practices and both demonstrate and communicate about them to members frequently. There’s no need to over stress practices but members should see and feel that cleanliness, comfort and safety are among your top concerns.