I spend a good part of my day, or at least I'd like to, speaking to people from all walks of the fitness industry. It truly is my favorite part of the job and wish I had more time to call everyone out there to find out what the climate of the industry is. (Please, feel free to take the initiative and call me or e-mail me — I work in a satellite office and it gets lonely.)
In fact, I recently spoke with a popular instructor at a popular health club in her town. She was telling me about a new program that the club had launched offering hot yoga. She went on about the benefits the class offers, the difference between hot yoga and regular yoga (although I usually find most yoga rooms or studios hot already), and what type of results you could expect from taking the class. Luckily for the club, she was willing to pay to take the class and experience this all for herself.
The club offers the class for a price to members and non-members — a great idea for additional revenue or to pay for the space, instructor, etc., if you can do it. The problem I have is with making the staff pay for a class — even if the price is less than that for a cup of coffee these days.
Clubs are constantly looking for synergies, cross-promotion and marketing avenues. Well, there are usually no better “salespeople” for programming and training methods than those in your club that are looked at as leaders. These are the people that members turn to in order to find out what they should eat, what they should do to bring out their abs, how to lose that last 10 pounds, shake up a stale routine or get ready for their first marathon. These are the people that sell a club's services and amenities, its programming and the club itself when it comes to retaining members.
The more exposure the club staff has to education — both external and internal — along with programming and other offerings at your facility (give them a massage or a chiropractic treatment if your club offers these services or let their kids go to camp for a week) the more they will be able to promote what you have to offer to club members. And, you may be surprised at the impact they can make on the participation rates of members and ultimately on the club's bottom line.
I'm sure many facility owners and managers budget thousands of marketing dollars to help promote new and existing programs and services, as well as in efforts to retain members. Isn't it worth the $2 or $5 that a staffer may have to pay for a class to get expert testimonials and generate a buzz?
Well, I'm off to hot yoga…