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Many club owners I speak with focus their non dues revenue around personal training and the ever growing Small Group Training. The member who uses a personal trainer is typically their most valuable member to the club, so naturally owners want to provide offerings that cater to this profitable group. This includes equipment selection and programming options. Though a sound plan on the surface, it has an inherent flaw. What percentage of your members participate in training? If you are a non studio facility the national average is around 10%.

That means 90% of the membership is not using these services yet the club is not being designed for them! It is this 90% that will typically spend less and be most likely to quit. If the equipment and program offerings at your club are being dictated by the needs of the personal training community you are risking the other 90% of your membership. That’s a horrible risk.

It is imperative that club owners listen to the needs and wants of this segment of the membership and make sure that they too feel comfortable and successful in the club. A great way to accomplish this is to create dedicated spaces in the club that the average member wants to use and can do so successfully. One example is the selectorized strength circuit. Though not overly popular with the training population, the general membership still flocks here because they know they can get an effective workout and be successful doing it. Another great option is having a Core Strength Zone - a dedicated area in the club for your members to train their abs and strengthen their core. Such an area can include 3-4 popular Ab Machines and some open floor space as well for non equipment based exercises. We have installed such areas in clubs world wide and members love it. The idea is to create a space where members can focus on a body part that is important to them and allows them to train in a comfortable, non intimidating environment.

It’s clear that providing your members and prospects with areas of the club where they can feel comfortable and successful will help you to grow and retain membership. It’s also clear that non-dues revenue is critical for the long term success of most fitness centers. Let’s bring it all together to create a well oiled, profitable operation. We know that some members will be coming in for the latest fitness activities such as small group training and high intensity interval training. We know others will want to work one to one with a personal trainer. Having these offerings inside the club walls is critical or they will seek them out elsewhere as the industry has seen. The question remains how do you increase the usage of these services to the 90% of members that are not currently participating? The answer lies in providing yourself with ample opportunity to offer training services to that other 90% of the membership. You can do this if they are coming to the club and are being exposed to it. They will only keep coming to your club if they are feeling comfortable and successful. Areas such as your strength circuit and Core Strength Zone do just that which is why we call them The Gateway. They bring the members in, keep them coming, and give you the opportunity to engage them in all the other great fitness options your club has to offer! Don’t ignore this very important aspect of club/member dynamic and you will stay on the road to success.