What is in this article?:
Despite some health clubs closing during the recession, most clubs survived and some even grew, emerging with plans to expand even further. Reasons for success despite adversity varies, but for Fitness Formula Clubs, which owns nine high-end clubs and manages three office building fitness centers in downtown Chicago, knowledge of its community was one key to its success.
A High-Quality Experience
Landers knows his members and prospective members well enough to have noticed a shift during the past 10 years. Many members have moved from self-materialism—the purchase of things and the latest gadgets—to greater self-actualization, where they are interested in experiences and the experience of wellness, he says. In particular, how that creates quality and longevity in their lives and how it helps them in their careers.
This shift means club operators must ensure they offer an experience where the value exceeds the price, Landers says.
“If the [value of] the experience does not exceed the price, it’s hard to sell it, and it is really hard for people to latch onto it and to create consistency and longevity,” Landers says.
Landers’ clubs provide a high-quality experience by creating an overwhelming value proposition and focusing on service, he says. The company has undertaken an internal “good to great initiative,” taking cues from author and researcher Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great” about owners of Fortune 500 companies who have moved their companies from good to great, both economically and in their offerings to customers. Landers and his team looked at how to apply the methodologies of these companies to their business.
The company established simple top priorities and top non-negotiable behaviors to solidify the Fitness Formula brand and enhance the overall experience across all locations.
Landers also focused on leadership training and developing his management team as well as how to be more consistent in product offerings. Part of that process involved looking at discipline.
“When you can drive discipline throughout the company, you get that consistency factor,” Landers says. “For us, that consistency part is important because we get so much cross-use among our clubs because most of them are right there in the city.”