The Club Operations Strategy Wheel



Your gym members experience hundreds of touchpoints between the time they make the decision to exercise at the gym and when they make it home. So many things need to happen for that gym goer to have a great experience. 

But once your member checks in and walks out onto the floor, it’s your layout and equipment that are the stars of the show. Data from IHRSA shows that “equipment utilization was the No. 1 activity at health clubs” in 2017 alone, even in clubs that are centered around group fitness or workout classes. 

Whether it’s a treadmill, an expensive Pilates Reformer, a gym mat, or a rack of weights, your Members are utilizing the (hopefully) carefully-curated equipment that will help them form exercise habits and a healthier lifestyle. And if the equipment is not supporting their building of healthy habits, your Members ultimately won’t be receiving what they’re looking for at your Club.

This is the type of friction that contributes to the breakdown of healthy habits; and that type of breakdown is something that can stand in the way of a paying member or a churned member. 

Your equipment has an enormous impact on your member’s ability to achieve their goals. But it’s not always easy to figure out what your members want and expect when it comes to equipment. Do you look for what’s the most cost effective? The sexiest new equipment? An all-in-one relationship with one vendor?

Deciding where to invest in new equipment is an even more difficult task. It doesn’t matter if you have the most high-end stationary bikes if your members are more concerned with the condition of the ratty mats hanging throughout your facility.

This is where you, as a Gym Operator, need to start pulling in Member Feedback so you can understand the wants and needs of your membership base. The more people you ask, the more of a consensus you can draw based on the overall volume of responses. 

If you pull member feedback and watch the trends of the feedback, you can ascertain a lot of information by looking at who’s behind the feedback. What do your power users want? What do your twice-a-week members want? 

It’s hard to know where to invest time, money and resources if you don’t have your finger on the pulse of your membership. 

Your Club Needs a Training Philosophy - Here’s Why

The equipment you fill your physical plant with is a direct reflection of your training philosophy. 

Before we dive into how you can best adhere to your Club’s own Training Philosophy, you first need to understand its importance (and clearly define what yours is).

Your Training Philosophy is essentially a summary of your Club’s core values as it relates to striving to help your Members meet their fitness goals.  

To develop your own Training Philosophy, you must assess: 

  • Your Club’s method for teaching, coaching and motivating others
  • Your Club staffs’ personalities and how each uses their traits to connect with others
  • The experience you want your Members to have
  • Your Club’s specific knowledge and use of exercise, nutrition, behavior change, etc.

Both your Training Philosophy and your Customer Voice must work in conjunction.  If they do, you will improve your Member Experience and aid your members in creating sustainable fitness habits.  If, however, they don’t, you’ll just be another building with some workout equipment.

Broken Equipment Can Break Your Club

Never have an out of order sign.” 

This is a phrase that my team and I at my WORX gyms try to practice on a daily basis.

Now, it would be completely unrealistic to say that my and your Clubs won’t ever have any sort of equipment give out on us or require a little more attention.  But, it’s not a bad goal to strive for.  That’s why we work as hard as possible to streamline our maintenance repairs so we can have our equipment up and running for our Members.

This is where Member Feedback comes in handy. As the consistent users of your equipment, members know in real-time when something is ‘out of order’ much sooner than you do.  By giving your members a platform to quickly report any issues, your team can ensure that repairs will be made ASAP.  This quick turnaround and communication with your Members will improve their experience and relationship with your staff.

Now, this is only one subset of our overall Training Philosophy.  Clear objectives like this help us focus on what matters most to our Members by listening to their feedback.

Want to learn more about how you can avoid lengthy and inconvenient maintenance repairs?  Click here to get more information from Aron, our Senior Customer Support Manager.

How to Take the Guesswork Out of Equipment Purchases

Equipment for your Club isn’t cheap, so you definitely don’t want to be buying something you don’t need.

But how do you know what you need?  Or, more importantly, how do you know what your Members want?

Listening to your Customer Voice as you’re exploring equipment options is vital to ensure that your money is being effectively spent.  You don’t want to be investing in high-tech machines when all your members are wanting is an updated weight rack.

This is just another example of just how important Member Feedback is- not only will you be making better, more logical decisions, but you’ll also be improving your Member Experience.  It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Check out this video from Aron to learn more about how you can strategically purchase new equipment by listening to your Member Feedback.

Where to Go from Here

No matter the size of your gym, your equipment will always require a hefty chunk of your budget.  Fitness Clubs spent an average of $84,000 on equipment in a single year.  This isn’t chump change for most Operators, so you want to make sure that you’re adequately purchasing equipment that (1) fits your budget, (2) aligns with your training philosophy and (3) matches what matters to your Members.

I’ll only be speaking on the more holistic side of equipment purchasing here, but if you’re a numbers person and want to crunch some data, check out this article by IHRSA for more info.

Now, I can’t speak directly to what your budget looks like and how you should be spending your money.  This is something you should work extensively with among your team and trusted financial advisors.  But this step is definitely something that shouldn’t be ignored when making equipment purchases. Disregarding or not even creating a budget for your Club can severely affect your ability to make the best financial decisions possible.

This same principle applies to your Training Philosophy.  Without an established philosophy, the team member in charge of purchasing new equipment will have no direction other than “What else do we need?” or “What needs to be replaced?”.

Your Most Crucial Equipment Selection Determiner: Member Feedback

The most important aspect of this purchasing process, in my opinion, is actually buying equipment that matches what matters to your Members.  What does it matter that you bought a new rowing machine when your Members are asking for more modernized weightlifting equipment? 

This is where we circle back to the most important thing you can do as an Owner/Operator - listen to your Customer Voice.  When you give your Members the opportunity to provide feedback and tell you exactly what they want, you won’t have any confusion with how you can improve their experience and keep them coming back.  And, when you operationalize this feedback, you’re creating a healthy and effective loop that will encourage your members to create healthy fitness habits.

By keeping these three things in mind as you purchase new equipment, you can ensure that you’re putting your money where your mouth is without a penny wasted.  You’re supporting your Training Philosophy and listening to your Members - all while not breaking the bank.

Want to know more about how to match your Club's Training Philosophy to your Equipment? Not sure what your Members expect? How do you determine your Club's Training Philosophy? Our experts are at the ready to help delve into your Club's data and discover which Equipment expectations are being met and which are lackluster to help you match your Club's values to the Member Experience. Contact me here or click the button below to speak with an MXM expert.

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