Fitness Industry Best Practices - Great optics?


Hi! Blair here with MXM. It's a little bit surreal here on November 18th, again sitting in one of our gyms...empty. I started these videos back in March around the 16th. I was talking to you from an empty gym then as well and talking about how long people should be planning. You know, as you are improving your operations, you need to take an optimistic viewpoint that you are going to open soon. From a financial standpoint you need to take a very pessimistic approach and be planning for 3-6 months. Well we were closed for 6 months and a day, then we opened and were open just short of 6 weeks when Gov. Inslee and the WA State Dept. of Health decided to roll back the economy in WA State in order to curb the spike in Corona-Virus cases.

So here we sit, again in an empty club. Some of the things we noticed when we opened was what a lot of you noticed... how much your members loved the environment that you created. A couple other things we learned, we learned that you are better off having a "mask all the time" policy if you don't want your staff to have the joy sucked out of their lives by being the "mask police" and having to police all the ambiguities in a mask policy. So we put in a mask policy that said, masks all the time unless you are on a piece of cardio so we know where you are and where you are facing OR if you are in a group fitness room and you are in your spot. In those two conditions, we knew there wouldn't be traffic walking back and forth and that you'd be in one spot for an extended period. That proved to be a really good policy, we had a lot of thank you's from a lot of members.

We do service a tremendous amount of the healthcare community in these clubs from Confluence Health and Columbia Valley Community Health, so a lot of kudos from both of those employers. Our staff's lives were made much easier. Our teams had more joy in their day because they didn't have to be constantly reminding people... and honestly, that's not pleasant for the member either.

We learned that the stuff we put in place, some of the temporary barriers, that people really, really appreciated it, they loved the air systems, they loved the smell of fresh air coming into the gyms. I think our trailing 6 week NPS stands at about 91 combined between the two clubs. We also learned that we didn't have near the cancellations that a lot of clubs had. So our NPS between the two clubs, and likely to continue, are exceptionally high all the time under normal conditions and that tended to pay off. So we were closed 6 months, expected to lose 10% - 12% of our membership as that attrition caught up with us. But we were not even a whisper close to that. We lost 50 more memberships than we would have otherwise in the first few weeks and then in completely normalized. Now we were only open 6 weeks so what do I know, we have to get back on our feet again here.

Customer experience works. I think we've already seen some of the ROI on some of our efforts over the years in these clubs compared to a lot of the other clubs out there. What doesn't work is closing this economy down and closing clubs that aren't causing any outbreaks in an effort to have great optics for the people that live in a tremendous amount of fear about COVID-19 and that's what I feel is happening in a lot of these states as clubs get closed.

I'm happy to see that in areas some physicians are stepping forward, medical groups are stepping forward saying No, do not close these clubs, they are not causing outbreaks and we need them!

That's it, we'll be talking more about this, sorry for the longwinded video this morning.

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