Detailed Planning And Public Participation

Every year, technology and machines improve, requiring additional bandwidth. Make sure the facility is equipped to handle these by having sufficient coaxial cables and WiFi available.

Additionally, make the cleanliness of each machine on a daily basis a priority. Disposable gym wipes should be available for guests to clean machines before and after use.

4. Establish a fee structure.

Before establishing a fee structure, officials surveyed the fees of similar facilities within a 5-mile radius. It is recommended that facility operators decide up front if the facility is going to charge


residents and non-residents the same amount. In Chandler, for example, the non-resident rate is 35 percent higher than the resident rate for all fee-based programs. Decide if there will be start-up fees or a pass structure for guests.

Unlike many of those facilities surveyed, the TRC does not have start-up fees to join or contracts to sign. At the TRC, anyone can purchase daily, monthly, or annual passes for individuals, families, or corporations. For those who aren’t quite ready to commit to a monthly pass, a 10-visit punch card is offered at a discounted rate, and punches never expire.

Another opportunity to consider is allowing those interested in the facility to take it for a test drive. The TRC offers a 1-week free trial that includes access to all facility amenities. 

5. Find a balance in the classes offered.

How do you decide what classes to offer the community? This year alone, there has been an increased interest in everything from Barre to hula hooping and an introduction to Prancercise!

The TRC works to find a balance between classics, community favorites, and the hottest trends. The class range will provide variety to passholders as the audience’s needs are determined. Where appropriate, incorporate the latest trends. The TRC recently added a Beyond Barre class that replaced an underutilized Pilates class and has doubled attendance rates.

Securing quality instructors is essential to the success of group-exercise classes. After meeting with potential instructors, check references. Be sure they are certified or licensed through reputable organizations, as well as insured. Effective instructors have a following, and may bring additional guests and revenue to the facility.

6. Market programs and services through multiple platforms.

The TRC utilizes several media to engage and educate current passholders while attracting new customers. Take advantage of free media, including community bulletin boards at local businesses by posting class schedules and upcoming events.

Hosting workshops and certification classes at the facility will bring professional growth opportunities to instructors and new formats to guests.

Social media are the most effective tools. Pictures and videos are taken of classes and used on You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Instructors are asked to ”like” and ”follow: the center on social media as well as “check-in” to the facility when teaching. The instructor’s social-media posts bring additional awareness of the facility.

Parting Thoughts

Don’t forget to pay attention to the passholders you already have by offering them opportunities to interact with fitness-center staff through fitness challenges, classes, and contests. For example, in every quarter Chandler hosts fitness challenges with a theme; this year, it’s a race across Arizona. For every group-exercise class that a participant takes or mile he or she finishes on the treadmill, elliptical, or bike, the individual receives points towards the challenge. Those who finish the challenge receive a small fitness-related prize. Providing retention programs such as these keeps passholders engaged and interested, and gives them a reason to return to the facility.

Quality customer service is vital to the success of any organization. It’s the simplest forms of customer service—remembering a birthday, asking about a recent trip, or knowing a person’s fitness goals—that builds lasting relationships.

One final thought: Allow time for planning each week. Consider where the facility is at the moment and where it’s headed. A business plan should be a living document and adapt to the needs of the city, facility, customers, and potential passholders.

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