PERRYSBURG, OH -- In a recent survey of 974 U.S. health club members, 31 percent of consumers ranked cost of membership as the number one factor in their fitness facility choice.

“As with many consumer decisions these days, people are voting with their wallets. While they are willing to pay for conveniences and amenities, if a club cannot distinguish itself from its competitors, it still comes down to price. Consumers are increasingly demanding greater value for their dollars spent on health club membership,” says Ron Welty, CEO of IntelliShop, whose company conducted the study using a Web-based panel of consumers. IntelliShop provides mystery shopping, customer satisfaction surveys, and other customer experience improvement solutions to clients in the United States and other countries.

More than 10 percent reported that safe, onsite childcare options were the number one factor in their decision to join that particular location.

“As in many sectors that we measure, when it comes to health clubs, consumers are looking for options to make their lives easier. People are busier than ever, and specifically in the fitness industry, consumers have said loud and clear that they want to work out, and they need help from their clubs to provide safe options for childcare while they do so,” says Welty.

Other factors in the buying decision included location (25 percent); club amenities (14 percent); membership-type options (8 percent); and hours of operation (7 percent).

“The amenities that consumers want from their clubs include onsite, safe childcare; a variety of workout equipment to help them vary their routine and keep them interested; expert trainers to assist them with designing goal-specific workouts; and conveniences such as refreshment bars and flexible hours of operation”, Welty added. “Another trend we see continuing to grow is the desire among females to have workout facilities dedicated only for them, no men allowed. Those companies who are filling that need are seeing tremendous growth”.

The study was conducted using IntelliShop’s online panel of more than 130,000 available consumers. Only those who had active memberships in health clubs, purchased within the past twelve months, were invited to take the study.