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The magazine for the European Health Club Industry
Austria’s Gerhard Span
on low attrition, physician involvement and tüv approval Conducting a successful open house Italian industry rebuilds after earthquake Countdown to IHRSA 2010 in San Diego!
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The mission of IHRSA is to grow, protect, and promote the industry, and to provide its members with benefits that will help them be more successful. PUBLISHING Publisher: Jay M Ablondi | firstname.lastname@example.org Editor-in-Chief: Catherine Masterson McNeil | email@example.com Managing Editor: Patricia Amend | firstname.lastname@example.org Vice President of Advertising & Associate Membership Sales: Michele Eynon | email@example.com Senior Account Manager: Jessica Gutstein | firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertising & Associate Membership Manager: Christine Paterson | email@example.com Advertising Sales Executive: Donna Garrity | firstname.lastname@example.org Business Development Publications: William Finn | email@example.com Publications & Associate Coordinator: Meghan Burnham | firstname.lastname@example.org Art Direction, Design, Production: HM Studios, Boston, MA, USA IHRSA President & CEO Joe Moore | email@example.com
7 Gerhard Span celebrates 20 years of success at his
two upscale Manhattan Fitness Clubs in Vienna
9 Conducting a successful open house: an IHRSA
News & Notes
3 Theo Hendriks receives IHRSA European Club Leadership Award | DiR opens 14th club in former Barcelona disco 4 Dutch fitness network goes viral | David Stalker promoted to executive director of FIA UK | 7th annual MIOFF draws almost 4,000 delegates 5 Italian industry works out to rebuild following earthquake | Milestones: Several clubs are celebrating their longevity in the business 6 Dancing is “strictly business” for LA Fitness and Fitness First | Esporta Group appoints new chief executive
IHRSA INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT Catherine Masterson McNeil, V.P. of International Operations firstname.lastname@example.org Alison O’Kane, Associate V.P. of International Development email@example.com Hans Muench, Director Europe firstname.lastname@example.org John Holsinger, Director Asia-Pacific email@example.com Jacqueline Antunes, Senior Manager of Latin America Development firstname.lastname@example.org Blakely Sullivan, Manager email@example.com Hal Harkins, Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org CLUB BUSINESS EUROPE EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING OFFICES: c/o IHRSA Seaport Center • 70 Fargo Street, Boston, MA 02210, USA +1 617 951 0055 • +1 617 951 0056 FAX E-mail: email@example.com • www.ihrsa.org
11 Countdown to IHRSA 2010 in sunny San Diego! 10 reasons why this is a “must attend” event
iHrSA eUrOPe COUnCiL
Christophe Andanson, FHRSA, France Maria Angeles de Santiago Restoy, Sports Managers, Spain Ramon Canela, DiR Fitness, Spain Kilian Fisher, ILAM, Ireland John Harris, Stars Fitness, Austria Theo Hendriks, Sports and Leisure Group, The Netherlands Rod Hill, Consultant/Speaker, Spain Rasmus Ingerslev, Wexer, DFH0, Denmark António Macias, AGAP, Portugal Doug Miller, Sales Makers, Scandinavia/UK David Minton, Leisure Database Company, UK Maria Paul, SFCV, Switzerland Christian Pierar, DFO, Belgium Matthias Schmitz, Fitness First, Germany Anastasia Yusina, Strata Partners, Russia
Club Business Europe is published quarterly ©2010 by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, Seaport Center, 70 Fargo Street, Boston, MA 02210 USA POSTMASTER: Please send change of address to Club Business Europe, c/o IHRSA, Seaport Center, 70 Fargo Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02210, USA Volume 7, Issue 1
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News & notes
Theo Hendriks receives IHRSA European Club Leadership Award
> Theo Hendriks, CEO of Sports & Leisure Group in the Netherlands, was presented with the 2009 IHRSA European Club Leadership Award at the recently concluded annual IHRSA European Congress, which was held in Dublin, Ireland, 22-25 October. Hendriks owns and operates 12 clubs and has served as a consultant to many other entrepreneurs seeking to enter the health club business. The first club operator in the Netherlands to develop multifunctional sports and leisure centres, he has developed brands for two chains of sports and leisure centres: Capital Sports, multi-sport clubs which are located primarily in cities; and Family Fitness, which are smaller, specialised centres. “This year’s winner exemplifies what IHRSA means when we say ‘success by association’,” Top honours: Theo Hendriks said Joe Moore, IHRSA president, in presenting the effort to encourage others to award. “He believes that share data and help estabtogether we grow; apart, lish industry benchmarks we fail.” Moore noted that for individual nations and Hendriks has spoken freEurope as a whole. quently at industry meetIn both his capacity as ings, generously sharing owner and consultant, important financial and Hendriks found that a lack of membership metrics from national operating industry his own company in an data was an impediment to developing a good business plan with accurate projections. He solved the problem by connecting the Leisure Database to the Mulier Institute, which now provides a bi-yearly report on the fitness market in the Netherlands. He also works closely with IHRSA’s research department to help develop surveys that will help operators not only in the Netherlands, but also throughout Europe. A member of IHRSA since 1993, Hendriks serves on the IHRSA Europe Council, which guides IHRSA’s development in Europe. n
DiR opens 14th club in former Barcelona disco
> Renowned for 26 years as the Barcelona ‘go to’ spot for parties and dancing, the site of a former popular disco now houses the new DiR Up&Down health club. On 12th November, DiR opened the new state-of-the-art sport, health and wellness club. Jordi Hereu, Mayor of Barcelona, was present for the grand opening where he thanked the director of Group DiR, Ramón Canela, for his “bet” on the city during the current challenging economic
times. “I want to congratulate everyone in the DiR group for the initiative they have taken. Through sport and fitness, we are making Barcelona extraordinary and we are presenting that to the world,” the mayor said. The celebration saw some familiar prestigious faces including athletes such as: Marc Coma, winner of Rally Dakar; Mireia Belmonte, Olympic swimmer and several other celebrities. The 14th club in DiR’s portfolio, the 1,300m2 facility is also the most selective, catering to a niche audience and providing personalised and customised service for all clients. The target market is executives; memberships
‘Go to’ spot for fitness: DiR has converted a once popular disco into a trendy new health club
are priced at 120-140i per month. Built at a cost of 3.5m Euros, the club features two sections: Up and Down. The “Up” section includes cardio and strength training equipment, as well as Pilates, physical therapy and personal training serwww.ihrsa.org
vices. When members want to relax, they can visit the “Down” section, which features a Jacuzzi with waterfalls and colour light therapy; a spa with twice daily free neck massages for all clients; a Social Area with Wi-Fi; and free coffee and tea bar. n
Club Business Europe
News & notes
David Stalker promoted to executive director of FIA
> David Stalker, who joined the UK’s FIA staff as COO in July 2008, has been appointed executive director of the association, effective 3 December 2009. In his previous position as COO, Stalker oversaw the launch of the consumer campaign, MoreActive4Life, which attracted over 200,000 previously inactive people. He was also responsible for the launch of the industry’s first inaugural Business Conference, FLAME Awards and Industry Summit event, as well as the appointment of the FIA’s first Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Searle OBE. Commenting on behalf of the FIA Board, Turok said, “David’s extensive experience as both an operator and a supplier has proved invaluable in
Convenience club: WellnessClubs and Virtufit bring the club to the member with their innovative new platform
Dutch fitness network goes virtual
> WellnessClubs in the Netherlands has partnered with Virtufit to offer an online virtual fitness club training programme that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The virtual gym gives Dutch people the opportunity to “take a fitness class” in their homes whenever they want. WellnessClubs is providing the service to both WellnessClubs members and non-members in the Netherlands and Belgium. The Virtufit platform includes online categorised training movies. The movies range from basic conditioning to sport-specific fitness training. Virtufit members purchase credits at www.wellnessclubs.nl/virtufit, and can choose when they will use the service. “By partnering with Virtufit, we can reach people who are intimidated by the fitness club environment,” said Eva de Beijer, co-founder of WellnessClubs. Jaap Hesselink, founder of Virtufit and a fitness club owner, commented that people are making less and less time for sport and fitness. “Training one time per week is not enough when you want to lose weight or want to improve your condition,” he said, noting that he established Virtufit to help people add more exercise to their days. n
Leading man: David Stalker
aligning the FIA more closely with the ambitions and requirements of the industry we represent. That, plus the great inroads he has made in increasing the professionalism, the efficiency and the effectiveness of the FIA team was why the Board unanimously agreed to promote him to the position of Executive Director. We are confident that David has all the qualities necessary to take us to the next level.” Stalker has spent almost 20 years working in the industry in the UK and Europe. Prior to joining the FIA, he was Managing Director of Worldwide Health Ltd. He also previously served in senior management positions with Bladerunner, LA Fitness, Leisure Connection and First Leisure. n
Russia’s 7th annual MIOFF draws almost 4,000 delegates
> The 7th Moscow International Open Fitness Festival (MIOFF), which was held in September 2009, brought together 3,874 health club operators and fitness professionals from Russia, CIS and Baltic countries. The trade show featured 70 manufacturers and distributors of more than 180 brands of professional equipment, sports nutrition, and services. The event served as an umbrella to several related conferences including: the 7th International Forum of Experts in Fitness and Wellness Industry Management; 5th International Wellness Convention and the Day of Yoga; and the 3rd All-Russian Contest “The Spinning™ Trainer of the Year.” n
Club Business Europe
News & notes
Italian industry works out to rebuild following earthquake
> It’s been almost a year since the April 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila, Italy, that claimed over 200 lives and left thousands homeless. Hundreds of businesses were affected, as well, including 18 health clubs that are in the process of rebuilding—with a little help from their industry colleagues. “Thanks to the prompt engagement and international solidarity of many countries, the emergency period has passed. Now it’s time to help fitness clubs to start again in L’Aquila,” said Fausto Di Giulio, of the Italian Fitness Federation. “Every fitness operator should feel a duty to help our colleagues.” Together with Adriano Nepa, vice president of Hearts in Motion, Di Giulio launched a nine-month fundraising campaign in September 2009 to help the clubs rebuild. The affected clubs along with the Italian Fitness Federation, Technogym and 27 other companies donated time, staff and equipment to the effort. Di Giulio notes that the campaign has two goals: 1) To raise awareness of the necessity of regular exercise for maintaining and improving physical and mental health; and 2) To help facility owners, instructors and other fitness professionals from L’Aquila to restart work in their region. The campaign kicked off on 5 September with outdoor fitness events in two locations: Tortoreto Lido and Alba Adriatica. More than 800 people participated in the festivities, which included what the organisers billed as the world’s “longest” group cycling class, with participants lining 300 meters of the roadside in the seaside location. The duel events also offered a unique group exercise class featuring eight different formats (fitboxe, SlowFIT, walking, spinning, pump, Pilates, Easy Line, and aerobics) all
Gym without walls: Italian fitness professionals and consumers participate in the world’s “longest” group cycling class to raise funds for rebuilding clubs that were damaged by the April 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila
using the same music. Di Giulio captured the essence of the event in a YouTube video (http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=zVy3OlJuRj0). The culmination of the fundraising effort will be a big fitness event in L’Aquila on 22 June 2010. Anyone interested in making a contribution can wire the
money to Italy’s national commerce organisation Confesercenti (Confesercenti Abruzzo Pro-Terremoto L’Aquila BLS filiale di Pescara, via Conte di Ruvo, IBAN IT88V05550154 00000000540221). For more information, contact Fausto Di Giulio at email@example.com. n
> Happy anniversary to the following club companies that collectively have provided almost 150 years of service to their members! Congratulations to all!
• Manhattan, Vienna, Austria www.manhattan.at • GoGo Fitness, Tampere, Finland www.gogo.fi
• Fit-Plus, Landshut, Germany www.fit-plus.info • MySportLady, Munich, Germany www.my-sportlady.de
• DiR, Barcelona, Spain www.dir.cat • Oase, Bochum, Germany www.oasebochum.de n
Club Business Europe
News & notes
Dancing is “strictly business” for LA Fitness and Fitness First
> The BBC’s popular reality series “Strictly Come Dancing” continues to capture huge audiences, and two of the fitness industry’s largest health club chains separately are capitalising on the popularity. Global chain Fitness First is joining forces with BBC Worldwide to launch the Strictly Come Dancing branded and themed exercise class “Strictly Fit,” while LA Fitness has teamed up with Alesha Dixon, the famous singer and BBC “Strictly Come Dancing” star. Fitness First UK Managing Director John Gamble said the launch of Strictly Fit exercise classes is a real coup for the group which is set to run at least two classes a week in gyms up and down the country. The classes are designed to inspire people to dance themselves strictly fit, using moves from dances like the cha cha cha, waltz, quickstep, salsa and jive, with many of these set to songs from the show and with an emphasis on aerobic moves and a low impact workout. “The nation is already gripped by BBC TV’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and now we can offer everyone the chance to get involved— and get fit at the same time,’’ said Gamble. “We are expecting this to be the most popular class we have ever launched in the UK.’’ Alesha Dixon Fit to dance: Fitness First members can participate in will work with LA “Strictly Fit” themed classes that incorporate moves from Fitness to develop some of the routines in the popular BBC television show new dance and “Strictly Come Dancing” exercise routines as well as advise the chain across a and insight into how health and fitness broad spectrum of health and fitness can and should be a lifestyle choice for issues. More than just a celebrity face more people. touting the brand, the glamorous star “This is a unique relationship in that has signed a four-year contract with LA the vast majority of her remuneration Fitness that the company reports will will be performance related, and a give her a “strategic role” and “a share direct result of revenue growth. As in increased revenues and profits of the such we look forward to working with business.” her to develop new classes and prodCEO Martin Long says, “Alesha will ucts that our current members will bring a fresh, contemporary eye to the enjoy, and that capture the imagination entire LA fitness business. She is not of potential members.” only a fantastic, healthy role model for LA Fitness currently owns and our current and potential members, operates 83 clubs and serves 230,000 but also someone who has expertise members in the UK. n
Esporta Group appoints new chief executive
> Esporta appointed John Cleland, a highly experienced retailer, as the company’s new chief executive on 14 December 2009. The UK chain has 55 clubs. Cleland was appointed to the Somerfield supermarket board as chief operating officer in February 2006 and was formerly commercial managing director of B&Q. Prior to that he served as senior vice president of operations at Wal-Mart Japan and retail managing director at Wal-Mart UK. He also held a number of trading director roles at Asda. “I am delighted to join the Esporta team and am encouraged by the progress that has been made in the business in recent months,” Cleland said. “Whilst I recognise that this is a tough and competitive market, I firmly believe that the Esporta proposition will become our customers’ preferred choice in every location that we operate. My first priority will therefore be to make sure we fully understand our members’ needs and focus 100% on quickly addressing their greatest concerns.” n
Retail expert: John Cleland
Club Business Europe
What sets us apart from our competitors is our specialised knowledge of performance diagnostics
Gerhard Span celebrates 20 years of success
at his two upscale Manhattan Fitness Clubs in Vienna
By Patricia Amend
CBE: Congratulations on your 20th anniversary. How was Manhattan Fitness started? Do you have plans to build more clubs? GERHARD SpAN: I had been a member of the national junior ski team until I was injured at the age of 19. After that, I became a skiing and tennis coach, and organised training camps in Vienna. As an athlete I understood the value of multi-functional training and wanted to open clubs where people could “train like the pros,” as in America. I worked with the Felsinger and Cerny families, who were in the construction business, to design and build a business model based on this concept in Vienna, which was new to Austria, and Europe, at the time. In 1989, we were the first in Austria to introduce a “pre-sale” of memberships before we opened Manhattan Fitness North, which is 8,000m2, and now has 4,100 members. We sold memberships in a temporary office housed in a trailer on our construction site. When the club opened, we had 700 members. Nearly 350 are still with us. In 2000, we opened Manhattan Fitness South, which is 7,500m2, and now has 3,150 members. What sets us apart from our competitors is our specialised knowledge of performance diagnostics, which is part of Manhattan’s fitness check-up, obligatory for each member. We did some market research on the potential for the opening of a third club, and found that it made no sense to do this outside Vienna. Our two clubs fit perfectly in the city today.
• A new club concept • Austrian fitness trends • Outlasting the recession • Established credibility
CBE: Did you celebrate your anniversary with special promotions or events? GS: The Manhattan philosophy, which has distinguished our clubs since the beginning, is expressed through our slogan “20 Years of First-Class Fitness.” Rather than having bright spotlights, huge events or superstars, we have been sharing memories, having lots of good, personal conversations, and creating fresh motivation for our management team for the next 20 years. We did celebrate our anniversary with a birthday party on 14th October at Manhattan North, where we set up a small fitness exhibition and auctioned off lifetime memberships at our website www.manhattan.at. CBE: What are the biggest trends in the Austrian fitness industry right now? GS: In the past years, the number of members in Austrian fitness clubs grew at an average of four percent. Today about 430,000 Austrians go to fitness centres. The number of clubs, on the other hand, is decreasing. Nowadays, we notice a concentration of larger and multi-functional fitness clubs. Specifically, clubs of 1,000m2 or more have been increasing. Studios that are designed to target certain groups, such as women or health-oriented people, are also promising models. Also notable is the fact that more women have memberships in fitness clubs. While in the past, there were far more men than women, today it is 50-50. The fastest growing segment of the fitness market is 55-to-75-yearolds. In our clubs, the average age of our members has risen to about 45.
Club Business Europe
We must go through re-certification (with TÜV) each year, so our standards remain high
CBE: Now for an obvious question: How has the Austrian economy been faring? Has the recession passed? How high is unemployment, and what’s the outlook? GS: Unfortunately, we cannot say the recession has passed yet. There are currently about 350,000 unemployed people in Austria, and experts say that there will be more unemployed persons in 2010. CBE: You are the premium end of the market, with an initiation fee of e1,200 and monthly dues averaging e90. Yet your attrition rate is just 10% at Manhattan North, even in this troubled economy. How do you explain your success? GS: Fortunately, Austrians tend not to cancel their fitness club memberships during economic crises. On the contrary, the results of a survey in 2009 show that Austrians would rather reduce their spending on vacations, cars or restaurants than on fitness. Of course, we are very glad about this, and it may be the reason why we had more than 700 new fitness memberships in 2009, a year of crisis. CBE: In 2004, Manhattan was one of the first fitness centres in Austria to receive the seal of approval of TÜV Austria. Please tell us about this. GS: TÜV Austria has an extensive quality control criteria, which covers all the important areas required for a safe and professional working environment, including membership contracts, personal trainer certification, and facility safety and cleanliness. We must go through re-certification each year, so our standards remain high. Only 15 fitness centres have this certification in Austria. Most are medical institutions. CBE: You have seven doctors on your premises at Manhattan North and five at Manhattan South. What makes physicians want to work with your clubs? GS: Twenty years ago, when I told people that I wanted to have doctors in our clubs, no one could imagine this. But our success shows how right we’ve been.
On track: The indoor track at Manhattan gives members an alternative to using treadmills, which are in plentiful supply at the club
We wanted to offer training in a most professional way, so we’ve had doctors in our clubs from the start. Our members need medical advice because they exercise primarily to stay healthy, not to win competitions. We also have physical therapists, masseurs and beauty specialists at our clubs who offer their services to both members and non-members. CBE: Why do you have so much credibility with the medical community? GS: One reason is that three of the seven doctors who opened their medical practices 19 years ago at Manhattan North are still with us. Also, many of our doctors and physical therapists are members, so they know our company from a customer’s point of view. In my view, working with doctors is the key to establishing your fitness centre as a multifunctional health resource. CBE: On your website, www.manhattan. at, you mention five insurance companies that you work with. What special benefits do they offer? GS: They are our partners. Their customers have the chance to obtain the Manhattan Fitness check-up and an individually designed training programme at a reduced price—which is good for them and for us. CBE: You have represented the fitness and leisure industry in the Austrian Chamber of Commerce for more than 15 years. How has this benefited your clubs and the fitness industry? GS: To be taken seriously in Austria, and have our voice heard in political matters, it was important to establish fitness as a branch of the leisure industry, which I am happy to say that we have done. CBE: For the last four years, the national campaign ‘7 Days for Fitness’ has been very successful. In 2008, 40% of Austrian clubs participated and 70,000 Austrians visited clubs. Why has this event been so popular? GS: People love this campaign because it gives them the chance to understand how fitness in Austria can satisfy so many different tastes. They can gain free admission to participating clubs during those seven days by signing up at www.manhattan.at. CBE: IHRSA regularly holds the Austrian Club Leaders’ Meeting in various locations. As a long-time IHRSA member, what do you see as the benefits of these events, and of your IHRSA membership? GS: IHRSA enables us to have an international exchange of views and to build an international fitness network. I think that IHRSA brings fitness clubs, educational institutions and the fitness industry together. No other organisation can do this. n
P atricia a mend is the managing editor of CBE.
Club Business Europe
ing a duct ful Con ess ucc S use n Ho Ope
AN IHRSA BEST pRACTICE
hether your health club is new, newly renovated, or simply ready for some new members, a properly executed open house can be a fun and effective way to attract qualified guests into your club and re-energise staff and existing members. An open house is more than a one-time event. It’s part of a marketing process that starts when you first begin promoting the event, and ends when you fold attendees into your ongoing follow-up. The following steps can help you run a successful open house:
1. Define your goal
What do you hope to get out of the event? “The main objective of an open house should be to sell memberships that day,” says Mike Chaet, Ph.D. “To reach this end, the club must be set up and prepared to do so in a most efficient way.”
2. Set a budget and stick to it
Open houses often turn into budget-busting events. As you plan, you’ll come across lots of great ideas – everything from live bands to dynamic speakers to fabulous prizes, super decorations, tasty eats and more. Before you commit to any of these, make sure they’ll fit your
budget. Start by asking yourself how much new business you expect to get from the open house, and what you can afford to spend to get those customers. Get creative in order to save money. Think about your members and what they do for a living, and how you can help them promote their businesses/ professions at your event, while keeping your own costs down. Perhaps one of your members offers catering services, and another works as a deejay and would emcee your event. In addition, ask your vendors for donations. A supplier might be happy to donate a case of protein bars so you can include one in a goodie bag for each attendee.
Club Business Europe
Conducting a Successful Open House continued
3. Determine the “hook”
“Unless it’s a brand new club, it’s important to give people a reason other than membership to attend,” says Herb Lipsman, CEO of The Health Club Company. Ideas include a prominent guest speaker or a party for a specific group such as a homeowners’ association or large employer. “It’s certainly okay to make a special membership offer during the open house, but it should be a soft sell. Capture attendees’ contact information and follow up afterwards,” he advises. A guest performance by a local kids’ dance team is likely to attract many of their parents and family friends. An autograph session with a local celebrity or professional athlete or a drawing for coveted tickets to a sold-out sporting event or concert may attract big numbers. when their referral joins the club. Spread the word through club signage, your website, social media, your newsletter, word of mouth and/or mailed invitations.
7. Don’t skimp on staff
Be sure your club is heavily staffed on the day of the event. Make it easy for sales representatives to target the right people. Each attendee should be given a nametag to wear during the event. Provide different coloured name tags for members and prospects so that club staff will know who to approach about club tours and presentations. Run a contest among your sales team, rewarding those with the highest sales during the open house. Let guests taking club tours see members working up a sweat in fun, energetic group fitness classes run by your most popular instructors. In addition, the club’s general manager(s) and/or owner(s) should be visible throughout the event.
4. Do some good
Consider partnering with a local charity for your event. For example, you might organise a Red Cross blood drive or a charitable spin-a-thon during the open house, or donate all joining fees collected at the event to a local food bank, and invite staff or volunteers from the bank to set up an informational booth and collection box at your event. (You might enter everyone who brings a non-perishable food donation into a special prize drawing.) In addition to showing your club is a caring and involved member of the community, this will generate additional exposure for your event through the partner organisation’s website, newsletter, etc.
8. Get prospects’ contact information
Obtain contact information from attendees so you can follow up with them if they don’t join right away. One of the easiest ways to do this is through a prize drawing. At the very least, collect names and e-mail addresses and get explicit permission on the entry form to e-mail them occasionally. Select prizes that give attendees a taste of what your club has to offer, such as a free massage, personal training package or pro shop gift certificate.
9. Follow up
Create a plan that details exactly what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it. For example, the day after the open house, send an e-mail thanking each person for attending. Two weeks later, invite them to sign up for your free weekly health tips. Four weeks later, invite them to hear a special speaker or to tour your club. As soon as possible after the open house, display event photos throughout the club.
5. Get the word out
It’s easy to overspend on advertising an open house. Focus on publicising the event to the right people and take advantage of low-cost marketing strategies, including your club’s website, social media, newsletter and bulletin board. Send personal invitations to former members and missed guests. Club managers often mistakenly think that the goal is to have as many open house attendees as possible. Your goal should be to attract people with a genuine interest in what you do. Radio and newspaper advertising will attract many people who show up only for the freebies. Instead, focus on your target audience. For example, if you want to reach parents who are concerned about their kids’ weight, promote your open house through local pediatricians and child care centres.
10. Measure success
To measure the success of your open house, divide the total event cost by the number of new customers it produces within 30-60 days. Compare that cost to the cost of acquiring each new customer through your other sales and marketing strategies to determine if the open house paid off. Schedule a post-event meeting with your staff, and get suggestions for improving the event going forward. For more IHRSA Best Practices, visit www.ihrsa.org/bestpractices. n
6. Get your members on board
Reward members with a gift or an entry into a prize drawing for bringing a membership-eligible friend, relative or coworker to the event. Reward them further (perhaps with a free month of membership)
Countdown to IHRSA 2010 in Sunny San Diego!
> The 29th Annual IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show returns to the popular coastal destination of San Diego, USA, 10-13 March 2010. Great speakers, huge trade show, and networking with colleagues from more than 70 countries are enough reasons to make IHRSA 2010 a “must attend” event for all European club operators. The warm temperatures (average 22˚ C) and the breathtaking location (dubbed the US Riviera) are the icing on the cake. If that’s not enough to make you book your flight, here are 10 more reasons to join us for IHRSA 2010: • Best-selling Author Malcolm Gladwell will deliver the opening keynote presentation (sponsored by Precor), Outliers—Why Are People Successful? Based on his 2008 book, Outliers, Gladwell will reveal the real—and mostly overlooked—secrets to extraordinary success. He creates an entirely new model of success and suggests ways to give people the best opportunities to succeed. • Virtual Trade Show Online Scheduler. Plan your Trade Show visits with our exclusive online scheduler. It’s a Virtual Trade Show providing you with real time updates on companies that will be exhibiting and booth locations. Visit www.ihrsa.org/convention. • 10 Educational Topic Areas will help you choose which sessions you want to attend, as well as help you determine which sessions to assign to your staff. Included in the topic areas are: Management & Operations; Human Resources; Marketing; Membership Growth & Retention; Supplier Seminars; Programming; Innovations & Opportunities; Fitness & Personal Training; Health Promotion & Wellness; and Research.
• Simultaneous Translation for Spanish and Russian-speaking attendees. Eleven sessions—in eleven different time slots—will be translated, ranging from Driving Company Growth through Strategic Branding to Developing Effective and Profitable Non-Dues Revenue. Visit www.ihrsa.org/convention to see the full line-up of translated sessions. • Planet IHRSA International Reception. Mingle with your colleagues from across the globe—or from right next door—at one of the Convention’s most festive events. • The European Forum. Discuss trends and issues of particular interest to club operators in Europe with your colleagues and industry experts. • International Club. Check your email, plan your convention and trade show schedule, have coffee with your colleagues, meet up with your staff, or just sit down and relax in the spacious “club” designed just for international attendees. • Zumbathon® to Benefit MDA’s Augie’s Quest. A knock-your-socks-off
Fitness-Concert™ with lots of music, excitement, energy and awesome Zumba® moves—and all for a great cause! Proceeds ($35 registration fee per person, not included in the Convention registration fee) from the Zumbathon® event will be donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s (MDA) Augie’s Quest to fight A.L.S. Join Beto Perez, co-founder of the Zumba® programme, and his special Zumba® Presentation Team. • Great exchange rate! With one Euro now (as of 11 December 2009) worth US $1.46, it’s a great time to take advantage of your purchasing power. • Best-selling Author Chip Heath will deliver a keynote presentation (sponsored by Technogym®) on dealing with change— Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. The Stanford University Business Professor will illustrate and explain situations in which sweeping change was adopted, including how an entrepreneur turned his sceptical employees into customer service zealots and saved his company. So book your flight, make your hotel reservations and visit www.ihrsa.org/ convention to register today! n
Club Business Europe
Does your Club Management System improve cash flow, security and member comfort?
How can I improve efficiency without compromising customer comfort? This is a question of economic survival for many Health and Fitness Clubs. The answer is surprising in a number of ways.
With a modern club management system, not only improvements in efficiency are easier, but also cost savings and revenue growth. And your members will find it more comfortable and convenient as well. Club management systems today don´t just regulate access; they allow easy entry to a club, are connected to electronic locker locking systems, and administer cashless payment for additional club services. Modern chip-based RFID media (Radio Frequency Identification) are used as data carriers and can take various forms: a membership card, a wrist band, or customerspecific media such as a Technogym Wellness Key or NFC (Near Field Communication) capable mobile phones. combination with the membership card. The access terminal greets members individually and can carry out short customer surveys before a member leaves the club. This saves time and money and provides valuable feedback.
Electronic locking system for lockers
„A state-of-the art club management system saves personnel costs, is more secure, and gives the customer more reasons to go to your club rather than the competition.“
From budget to premium
Be it a budget or a high-end club, a wellthought-out and technologically sophisticated club management system will meet all your requirements.
A modern access control system ensures that only paying members enter your club. Checking the access rights of a member is fast and 100% reliable thanks to an anti-pass-back function and random fingerprint verification in
An efficient and secure locking system for lockers is more important to club owners today than ever before. It saves personnel costs (i.e. eliminating cutting of padlocks), is more secure, and gives the customer good reasons to go to your club rather than the competition. Members can choose any free alarm-protected locker and close it with nothing more than their membership card. Automatic opening times for the lockers can also be set at the front-desk PC. Capacity utilisation can be analysed using various reports. The interface between the club management system and the locker system ensures that members can be reminded if their lockers are still locked upon leaving.
Membership card transactions – already almost standard in high-end clubs – are also now making their entrance onto the budget-club
scene. The card is topped up with credit (like prepaid mobile phone cards), or a limit is set with the balance due once it has been reached. This cashless form of payment can be used at juice bars, vending machines, solariums, or exercise classes. Members can always check how much remaining credit is available.
More revenue with increased comfort and lower costs
„A state-of-the-art club management system can pay for itself in as little as twelve months by reducing reception-staff costs, eliminating unchecked entries and increasing revenue throught cashless payment.“
Experience shows that members will spend approx. 25% more when using a cashless payment systems. It also improves your liquidity through prepayment and deposit for chip cards. All told there are many good reasons to invest in a state-of-the-art club management system.
The access control system can pay for itself in as little as twelve months by reducing reception-staff costs and eliminating unchecked entries. At the same time security, comfort and convenience improve. In financial terms alone, you can expect to recoup your investment in an electronic locker system in about sixteen months. Less utilisation of staff and no costs for replacing keys or changing broken locks are the plain mathematical facts. For customers, in turn, the simplicity and comfort of the system go down well.
GANTNER hardware can be easily integrated into any club management software. You can experience GANTNER technology in the following international references: Fitness First, McFit, Deloite, Holmes Place, Reebok, FitnessXpress, Ski Dubai etc. www.gantner.com
SMARTCAR D Total Club Solution You need technology that can grow cost-effectively and be easy to use. GANTN E R provides latest technology for access control, cashless convenience and electronic cabinet locking. Your business` use of the very latest hardware and the most advanced interface technology makes your job easier.
Wardrobe Locker System
The World Will Gather at IHRSA 2010!
29th Annual IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show
10-13 March 2010 | San Diego, California USA San Diego Convention Center
From the four corners of the world, ﬁtness professionals will gather in sunny San Diego for the event that will help deﬁne the future of the industry — IHRSA 2010! Over 90 countries have been represented at the annual IHRSA event, so look forward to seeing your friends and colleagues from Argentina to Yugoslavia and dozens of countries in between.
Benefits for International Attendees:
Learn new ways to grow your business from top industry speakers from all over the world. Where else can you hear world-class keynote speakers like Malcolm Gladwell (sponsored by Precor Incorporated) and Chip Heath (sponsored by Technogym®)? Develop a network of industry colleagues from around the globe. See and try the newest and widest variety of products at the industry's largest Trade Show in the world. Sunny San Diego is one of the best-loved destinations in the world! Exchange rates are currently VERY FAVORABLE for travel to the United States.
Features for International Attendees:
The Planet IHRSA International Reception. Attend the Canadian, Latin American, European, and Asia-Paciﬁc Forums. Simultaneous translation of select sessions into Spanish and Russian and special programming for Japanese-speaking delegates. The International Club – relax with your colleagues in a quiet environment. RESERVE YOUR SPACE TODAY for the best rate at ihrsa.org/go2010, or contact Blakely Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1 617-951-0055.
International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association | Seaport Center, 70 Fargo Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02210 USA
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