I remember when I started working in health clubs, I was 17 years old, had just graduated from High School and worked in an all women's private health club. We had a 'full' group fitness studio schedule. Our class offerings were Aerobics, Step, Kick boxing and Guts & Butts. It was simple, strait forward, and the instructors created their routines and play lists (at the time with cassette tapes, oy vey) for the most part, it was all freestyle choreography.
Fast forward to now, oh my goodness! We are so spoiled, the industry has advanced to a place were we are chin deep in options. What a gift!
We have extremely intelligent, scientifically backed choreography and well researched workouts that have been established, tested and tried so that our members get incredible experiences time and time again.
So as an owner of a club, how in the world to you go about deciding what programming to offer? What will your members enjoy and keep coming back for? where are you going to find instructors?
I would love to share with you a few of the best practices that club owners and operators have shared with me, from all over the United States. I am in on average, fifteen different Health clubs a week covering for profit, non profit, ymca and recreation center verticals. Here is what the collective is saying...
1. Solicit member feedback- don't be afraid to ask them what they would enjoy. I have heard more than one owner/operator tell me they ask what their members think, I would say this is your most influential tool. You might have the 1 or 2 that use the feedback forum as an opportunity to tell you everything you did not ask to hear about, but don't let that stop you from the other 50 that are going to provide you with valuable insight.
2. Study your age demographics- closely, pay attention to your time selections and go with the flow of the lifestyles you are attracting. Know their schedules and accommodate their schedules vs. instructors favorite time to teach.
3. Follow trends, don't try to be ultra unique- as industry leaders, we love the innovative, barefoot, fancy newest trend...If the club across the street from you offers the same class, that's OK- have you ever noticed that there can be 2 starbucks in the same parking lot, and they both have a line... plus the average health seeker that needs to move from the coach to your treadmill, doesn't know the difference. We are the ones that care, they don't. So offer the staples that get them moving, they will gain results and once they are ready for more, advancing them to private training and small group training is a seamless transition, that also stimulates revenue.
When making programming decisions, remember that ultimately you provide the environment to help support and motivate your members to gain results and meet their goals, what an honor to help facilitate that experience.
Share with me, Lindsey Rainwater- how are your programming selections going? Having a magical group fitness space combined with incredible programming truly unlocks incredible power for your members!