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IHRSA Supports NIH Physical Activity Research Program

IHRSA joined the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in supporting plans to create a physical activity research program as part of the Common Fund for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Physical activity acts as a crucial component in helping to reduce and prevent the prevalence of chronic disease, yet many are unaware of the underlying health benefits. The use of federal funding to support this type of research in human wellbeing is crucial in determining how we can ultimately become and remain healthier.


Perfect Your Staffing and Compensation Practices

How do you strike the critical balance between what you can afford to pay them and what they might deserve to be paid?

To answer that question, IHRSA has conducted an extensive employee compensation and benefits survey for more than a decade, gathering comprehensive staffing and salary data from leading health club companies across the U.S.

The recently released 2015 IHRSA Employee Compensation and Benefits Report describes salary, benefits, and human resources (HR) practices for more than 300 fitness facilities. Nearly 60 corporate and club-level job positions are reviewed and analyzed. Data breakouts are available by club type, number of locations, sales volume, and U.S. geographic region, allowing you to compare your own salary data with the most relevant benchmarks.

Responding to employment trends, the report documents job creation within the industry over the past few years, providing compensation figures on new titles. For the first time, you’ll find data for operations managers, social media specialists, health and wellness coaches, dietitians, nutrition coaches, and group cycling, barre, and martial arts instructors.
The emergence of these new positions reflects more than rising employment levels in the over- all economy. Accelerating social media utilization, improved health awareness, and growing club membership levels have all contributed to the creation of these fitness-related careers.


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IHRSA Members Act Now To Receive Your Free IHRSA Profiles of Success

As the operator of a successful club company, your participation is valuable as the Industry Data Survey results are aggregated and analyzed to establish club financial and operating benchmarks.

Results will be reported in IHRSA Profiles of Success (2015 edition), an important publication used by club operators, analysts, and investors worldwide as the standards to measure club performance. 

To complete this survey you will need:

  • 2013 & 2014 Financial Statements
  • 2013 & 2014 Membership Activity Information

(If you participated last year, the form will be pre-populated with the 2013 information you supplied last year.)

As a thank you for participating, IHRSA members will receive a free PDF of IHRSA Profiles of Success (2015 edition)!

Log on to the IHRSA Research Portal to participate. Deadline: April 24


HydroMassage® Provides Free Massages During Tax Week

HydroMassage’s free massage week runs April 13-17.

To help with the stress of filing taxes, free massages are available nationwide from business owners with HydroMassage beds during tax week. 

HydroMassage’s seventh annual free massage week kicks off this year on Monday, April 13th and runs until April 17th

To find a map showing participating HydroMassage locations, visit the company’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HydroMassage or www.HydroMassage.com/taxday 

HydroMassage beds provide a convenient way to enjoy the benefits of massage on a daily basis, without the time or money required for traditional hands-on massage therapy. 

“Over 500,000 people have responded for a free massage during tax week over the past several years” commented Paul Lunter, HydroMassage President. “This has completely exceeded our expectations, and we’re pleased to continue to help with a little stress relief during this time of year.” 

Read the full release.


The NET Promoter Score in Action

Determining how members truly feel about your club can take tremendous effort.
Just ask Ralph Rajs, the senior vice president of Leisure Sports, Inc., an IHRSA member club with nine locations throughout California, Oregon, and Nevada, which include independent upscale clubs, as well as corporate and hotel facilities.
 “We used to survey our membership manually, and it took a lot of staff time and was extremely cumbersome,” he recalls. “Sending out the surveys, staying on top of follow-ups, and making notes about everything—it was challenging.”

On top of the administrative hassle, Rajs says their system wasn’t yielding particularly insightful or helpful results. “After a while, the responses were all fairly similar, so we really weren’t learning anything new.”

Tired of the difficulty and lack of meaningful findings, Rajs and Leisure Sports implemented the Net Promoter Score (NPS), provided by The Retention People (TRP), a major research firm. NPS is an automated, customer-satisfaction rating tool developed by business strategist Fred Riechheld, and the firms of Satmetrix and Bain & Co., that allows companies to identify customers who range from unhappy, to contented, to thrilled with their experience with a particular business. IHRSA and TRP have collaborated to provide this member loyalty survey— a $1,500 value—for free to IHRSA members.

“The Net Promoter Score provides health club operators with a very powerful view of their business and their members’ loyalty,” observes Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of global products. “Using it, they can learn not only how members feel about their club, but also why they feel the way they do. This is critical to fostering bottom-line growth, improving retention, and reducing attrition.”


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Polish Federation Gets VAT Reduction for Clubs

Thanks to the proactive efforts of the Polish Fitness Association of Employers (PFAE), fitness clubs in the country can apply for and get a VAT (value added tax) reduction. Robert Kaminski, CEO of PFAE, announced the news at IHRSA’s annual Global Federations Meeting, which was held last month at IHRSA 2015 in Los Angeles.

In autumn 2014, PFAE carried out a lobbying process aimed at lowering the VAT rate from 23% to 8% for fitness clubs. In order to achieve the goal, a strategy involving legal action and public outreach was employed.

“Several of our members’ clubs took a legal action against the Ministry of Finance,” Kaminski said. “Consequently, we began consultations with the Ministry of Finance. In this part of the process, we received support from one of the leading authorities in the country in the field of tax law – a VAT adviser to the Ministry of Finance.”

In the process, the clubs demonstrated the legal basis for the application of a lowered VAT rate as well as the long-term positive impact on the national budget. At the same time, PFAE carried out an information campaign in the press, highlighting the potential of the development of the fitness market and thus the revenue increase for the national budget.

As a result of PFAE’s campaign, fitness clubs can now apply for a VAT reduction and claim reimbursement for overpaid tax for the past four years. The preferential tax treatment was accorded to the first clubs in Poland in January this year.

“Our Federation has also prepared a special recommendation and an application manual for its members,” Kaminski said.


It’s National Public Health Week!

National Public Health Week is an annual event organized by the American Public Health Association (APHA) that joins communities together to discuss and recognize the important issues that continue to face our nation’s health. This year, NPHW began on Monday, April 6th, and will run until Sunday, April 12th.

Each day throughout the course of the week is given a theme. Today’s theme is Building Momentum, which looks to recognize the accomplishments of public health leaders and organizations in creating a “culture of health.” But, while acknowledging these achievements is great, today is really about challenging the public health community to build upon this progress in order to sustain our long-term commitment to healthy living.

To view a listing of healthy events in your area, visit nphw.org.


FITNESS PRO Magazine Makes FILEX Debut 

FITNESS PRO magazine is the B2B media sponsor for this weekend’s National Fitness and Health Expo and Conference in Melbourne Australia. It is the first time the new magazine will be sampled by the Australian Fitness Industry and editor Michael Henry is very excited to circulate the publication. “We have partnered with the organisers to sponsor the event. We are branded alongside pre event drinks gatherings, The Business Lounge where we are co-branded with Fitness Australia, and we have the only stand outside the main entrance for the Expo where we will allow industry professionals to sample the magazine and post an image on our Facebook site for prizes all weekend!”  The event draws approximately 20,000+ visitors over 3 days with Friday being an industry only day. The FILEX convention runs alongside the expo and attendance is always encouraging. "We hope all exhibitors and visitors have successful time at the show."

Jay Ablondi, IHRSA (left), with Michael Henry, FitMedia, at IHRSA 2015 in Los Angeles, in March.Jay Ablondi, IHRSA's publisher and executive vice president of global products, added "IHRSA is thrilled to be able to share its global expertise and reporting from Club Business International magazine with the readership of Fitness Pro magazine and those attending FILEX and the Fitness and Health Expo." 


CBI Interview: Brian Belmont, Planet Fitness' EVP of Franchise Operations & Development

CBI: Planet Fitness has a new principal owner: TSG Consumer Partners, LLC. So what’s the new ownership roster look like?  

BRIAN BELMONT: TSG, as you indicate, holds the majority share. And, as you probably recall, the business was cofounded by brothers Michael and Marc Grondahl in 1992, with Chris Rondeau joining the company a year later, in 1993; Chris now serves as CEO, and Marc sits on the board of directors. Chris and Marc maintain minority ownership positions.

CBI: Okay, now that we’ve identified the players, what’s the game? What does Planet Fitness look like at the moment?

BB: As of mid-January, we had more than 900 locations in 47 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada.

CBI: Other fitness franchises, such as World Gym, Anytime Fitness, and Gold’s Gym International, have been expanding aggressively abroad. Planet Fitness, on the other hand, has basically remained a domestic brand. Any plans to change that?

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Is It Time To Take A Fresh Look At Your Brand?

As the industry continues to evolve so do the needs and wants of your members and prospects. If you haven’t recently, it may be time to take a fresh look at your brand and make sure it is still setting you apart from the competition.

Join Shannon Malooly for an IHRSA webinar that will help you: 

  • Learn how to create value, deepen member's perceptions and discover ways to unlock their true sense of belonging.
  • Define your passion and give your members and staff a higher sense of purpose.
  • Discover how to build a community of ‘healthy living' by creating raving fans and inspiring those beyond your membership base.
  • Obtain ideas on programs and systems that will help differentiate your club.
  • Learn how to reveal the potential behind your brand and explore the ways you can lead the masses beyond traditional health and fitness options.

You and your staff can participate in this webinar for just $39 ($79 for non-members) orsubscribe to 6 consecutive webinars for only $99! (IHRSA members only)

To register, visit ihrsa.org/webinars or call 800-228-4772.