The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.



From educational tools and events to promotional programs and public policy initiatives, IHRSA brings you success... by association!

Join | Renew
Pledge Your Support

Search IHRSA Blog
« Study: best burn comes from step class | Main | Brisker walks may be healthier »

Being innovative helps crack certain niche populations

It can sometimes be quite a lot of work and effort to crack a niche market. That is why it often takes thinking outside of the box ... and your club. 

This week's Best Practices looks into some successful endeavors - partnering with neighboring businesses and changing schedules as two ways clubs were able to get in.

Q: What niche market has your club been most successful in reaching, and how have you made this happen? 

A: Kids love our fun and active after-school program and so do their parents. When a local school announced it would no longer provide after-school care for children, we had just opened our adjacent Hampshire Dome indoor sports complex. In addition to a gymnasium, tennis courts, fitness rooms, climbing walls, ice skating, putting greens, swimming pools, etc., our 77-acre outdoor campus provides woods and fields to hike, explore and play in. Just as importantly, we had a trained, caring and expert summer camp staff that were happy to serve this new calling we trademarked "FAST" (Fun After School Time).

Rick Holder
Owner/General Manager
Hampshire Hills Sports and Fitness Club
Milford, N.H.

In less than a year, we have obtained more than 60 new members who also belong to the country club located next door to our facility. This is due to a partnership we established with the country club. They market to their members for us, and they do all of the billing and send us a check at the end of each month. In return, their members save about 25% over the price of a regular membership to our club. We even go into their facility and hold fitness classes on-site as well as water aerobics in their pool.

Dede Davis
3D Fitness Adventures D/B/A Anytime Fitness Wake Forest
Wake Forest, N.C.

By providing convenient small-group functional training times for both stay-at-home and working adults, we have created a culture that brings in many referrals. Applying information and systems learned at a recent seminar, coupled with feedback from current members and prospects, has allowed us to serve a clientele that other clubs in our area cannot. We make it easy for people who are new to fitness to transition into the groups and feel comfortable among their peers. In addition, due to the popularity of "mud races", we installed an outdoor obstacle course - which is all the buzz - and helps eliminate some fears of many first-time and seasoned racers.

Josh Tyler
Fitlife Performance Training
Ivyland, Pa.


Club Operators: To be profiled in this column, please contact Kristen Walsh, IHRSA associate publisher, at

IHRSA has answered hundreds of questions and inquiries in the weekly column, Best Practices. Check them out here.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.