Products & services that make your club stand out

Rob Beale is the leading consultant to multi-site fitness operators. He is currently advising Next Gen on product and member services in Australasia. He has spent the last decade in senior roles with Holmes Place, Virgin Active and David Lloyd Leisure where he oversaw the health and fitness strategy for seven years before taking a role with Aspria Europe as Group Wellbeing Director.

We spoke with Rob to understand the process behind creating products and services within the gym environment and learn how these products help grow market share and improve member service.

The Fitness Network

Why do you feel product creation and development is so important?

Rob

Many gyms act as facilities that rent out equipment for members to use. This flawed model, combined with poor service has led to low retention rates for most brands. With the advent of budget clubs and now the rise of boutique studios, many businesses are finding that their under-investment in genuine product creation and USP development is hitting their bottom line. In short, if a business relies on their facility and their price point only, it’s being built on shaky foundations! Just look at what’s happened to high street retailers like Woolworths and now BHS, they failed to move with the times and differentiate themselves and have paid the price.

“If a business relies on their facility and their price point only, it’s being built on shaky foundations!”

The Fitness Network

What advice would you give to gyms and health clubs seeking to develop products or create USP’s?

Rob

The key is to start by identifying your brand values (what your brand is about and what it stands for), and what type of consumer you are trying to attract and keep. Once this has been defined, then the process of selecting specific products and services that fit your brand becomes easier. When you’ve decided on the key areas to develop, do some research and see what your competitors are doing in this space. An extremely worthwhile exercise is conducting member research to find out what they like and don’t like about you. This will help you emphasise your strengths and improve the areas that are weak.

The Fitness Network

And how do you ensure that the new products are successful?

Rob

The two most common mistakes in my experience, are not bringing people on the journey with you and not putting adequate tools in place to measure success. You wouldn’t believe how often someone has excitedly told me about this new product they have put in their club – TRX classes for example – and then been unable to tell me whether it’s been effective in driving more membership enquiries, or improving sales conversion, or increasing usage. Generally speaking, the industry is still immature when it comes to measuring ROI, be that on equipment purchases or on product creation. Bringing people on the journey with you is key – in my previous roles deciding what to do was the easy part, persuading the key stakeholders within the business to invest the time and money in the successful implementation of the project was often more difficult and needed focus.

“The two most common mistakes in my experience, are not bringing people on the journey with you and not putting adequate tools in place to measure success”

The Fitness Network

Lastly, what sort of products or services tend to work best when it comes to developing USP’s or growing market share?

Rob

The honest answer to this is that it’s different for every brand. But the key is to develop a product or service that does five key things:

1. Increases the number of membership enquiries – new, exciting, innovative, and comprehensive products will do this.

2. Increases the sales conversion – anything that helps your sales team sell memberships is a positive.

3. Adds value to the existing membership – to improve retention it’s about creating a better value for money equation for the member, this means it has to effect a reasonably large number of members.

4. Helps to increase usage or adherence – if it doesn’t do this then it’s probably not worth investing in.

5. Enthuses your staff – the relationship between staff and member commitment has been proven with research (See Harvard Service Model) so don’t underestimate this.

 

Posted in Gyms & Clubs, Most Popular Interviews, The Fitness Network.
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