The University of Scranton, PA has your number. Or rather everyone’s. In a study cited in the university’s Journal of Clinical Psychology, approximately 80% of people abandon their well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions by mid-February. In other words, in a little more than a month after the ball drops and the last champagne cork pops, we’re back to our old ways. While that’s disappointing for people, when it comes to making resolutions or changes to your club or operations you want to be 100 percent convinced it’s right for your business, your members and your bottom line. As you work with your staff to outline improvements and targets for 2024 and beyond, it’s important to remember to set goals and implement changes that are achievable. Think about the actual changes that can be made without breaking your budget while improving member experience, staff efficiency and club operations. Here’s our take on the dos and don’ts of making realistic resolutions to build your bottom line.
Don't: overspend on underused equipment
Do This Instead: Regularly assess equipment usage trends and member preferences. By all means invest in new machines but choose those that are versatile and popular at all times of the day and night to maximize ROI and member satisfaction without wasting your budget.
Don't: ignore member feedback
Do This Instead: Actively seek and listen to member feedback. Create surveys, engage in social media discussions, and use feedback forms to identify areas for improvement. Implementing changes based on member input enhances satisfaction and increases retention in the long run, while letting members know they’re heard and valued.
Don't: neglect maintenance
Do This Instead: It can be tempting to deprioritize regular equipment maintenance and facility cleanliness, but preventative maintenance is more cost-effective than reactive repairs. A well-maintained facility improves safety, member experience, and prolongs the lifespan of equipment, delivering better returns.
Don't: skip ongoing employee training
Do This Instead: Invest in ongoing training for staff for several reasons. Well-trained employees contribute to a positive member experience, reducing turnover and improving operational efficiency – and choosing to build their skillsets on a regular basis tells them they’re valued. Cross-train staff to handle a wider variety of responsibilities, optimizing labor costs but also building in versatility and the ability to rotate staff through different roles to keep them engaged.
Don't: ignore tech advances like on-demand tools
Do This Instead: The fitness industry is becoming a digital-first business. Embrace new technologies that deliver efficiency and better member experience but look for the most cost-effective technologies. High-end floor to ceiling digital ad displays in the lobby might look incredible but is the money better spent on more on-demand studios or interactive fitness content stations around the club? Make sure too to really optimize use of your fitness app, virtual classes, and member management software to enhance services without significant investments. Create community, engagement and inexpensive marketing by using social media for marketing and communication as much as possible, reaching a wider audience at a lower cost.
Don't: keep class schedules inflexible
Do This Instead: A set schedule is good but building in flexibility and adaptability can create efficiency. Dynamically adjust class schedules based on member attendance patterns. Use data analytics to identify peak times and popular classes. Doing this optimizes instructor schedules, reduces energy costs during off-peak hours, and aligns services more with member demand.
Don't: ignore community building
Do This Instead: Members come to your club for community and belonging. Organize low-cost, community-building events like fitness challenges, themed classes, or outdoor activities. Fitness apps now make this simple. Click on a challenge, name it and set auto-push notifications to launch it and promote it to your membership. Run different challenges every month to keep things fresh, fun, and motivating.
Don't: over-complicate membership plans.
Do This Instead: Simplify. Offer transparent, easy-to-understand pricing structures and tiered benefits as appropriate. Consider using on-demand access as a premium add on for upper tier memberships to create new revenue streams. But whatever you do make sure everything is clear, open and honest to make signing up simple, fast and cost-efficient.
Don't: ignore sustainability practices.
Do This Instead: Improving sustainability is good for your club, the environment and member satisfaction. Conduct a thorough review of practical changes that can be made. Energy efficient light bulbs and fixtures, reusable bottles, minimized paper use and smart energy management can all lower your carbon footprint, cut costs and keep members happy.
By being intentional with decision making and resolutions club managers can make simple but very effective changes that improve operations, create community and cut costs wherever possible.
Todd Wiginton is a seasoned fitness professional with over a decade of experience in the industry, currently serving as the Director of Operations at Fitness On Demand. His career, marked by roles such as Personal Training Manager and Strength and Conditioning Coach, showcases his dedication to fostering personal and professional growth in ever-changing environments.