Holistic health clubs’ focus

WA’S health and fitness clubs have to move towards the provision of a total holistic health and fitness service in order to attract new members to health and fitness clubs, according to Kicks Fitness Club managing director and WA Business News 40 under 40 finalist, Louise Roberts.

Ms Roberts said people were attracted to health and fitness clubs for a variety of reasons and suggested they would be more motivated to join a club that had a comprehensive range of services and a variety of exercise options available for members to utilise.

“Members are starting to want a variety of programs, so they don’t want to just come in and push weights, they want to try the yoga classes and pilates classes,” she said.

“But, more importantly, they are seeing the variety that they can get. If they are doing the same thing every day, like running on a treadmill or pushing weights, they are going to get bored and drop off and they won’t work out again.”

The holistic approach to health and fitness has resulted in many health and fitness clubs adding services such as a creche, dieticians, massage specialists, and cafes in order to attract and retain members, while also generating additional revenue streams.

This holistic approach has also been extended to the way that health and fitness clubs are marketing themselves, with many clubs selling their services to groups that have not traditionally been targeted by health and fitness clubs. These include seniors memberships offering discounted restricted hours memberships, which enable them to exercise during off-peak times.

But this is only one of a number of issues confronting the health and fitness industry in WA, according to Ms Roberts. She said constant price discounting wars and profitability were two of the biggest concerns for health and fitness clubs in WA.

Ms Roberts said the arrival from the eastern states of the Fitness First and Consolidated Fitness franchises into the WA market would have a significant effect on the practice of price discounting.

The issue of profitability is slowly being addressed by the industry, she said, with many health and fitness clubs converting to monthly membership schemes, with some even going to weekly direct debit payments.

Ms Roberts said the move to a more structured payment system should lead to fewer health and fitness clubs getting into financial difficulties, as their revenue flow would be more consistent and clubs therefore could charge slightly higher rates for monthly accounts.

Active 8 sales manager Anne Jones believes the only way for the smaller operators in the industry to compete against the larger health and fitness chains was through maintaining customer service as their number one priority.

Ms Jones told WA Business News that providing high quality personal service, offering flexible membership price structures, providing good after-sales service and offering attractive incentive schemes were the only ways to compete against organisations that have virtually unlimited resources.

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