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Entries in Active Sports Clubs (6)


Create a Five-Star Locker Room Experience with These 4 Tips

Locker rooms are one of the most relaxing and rewarding areas of your club. At the same time, they’re a labor-intensive challenge for you and your staff—and that’s putting it mildly. Once simple, utilitarian changing rooms, they’ve evolved into a defining part of most clubs, the room that members tend to visit first ... and last ... and, often, in between.

Village Health Club, Ocotillo, Chandler, AZ

“Our research indicates that members want their locker room to be a place where they can escape and relax for 30 minutes,” said Alan Leach, the area general manager and head of sales and marketing for the West Wood Clubs, a group of three premium facilities in Dublin, Ireland. “It should be an experience—like staying at a Ritz-Carlton. Our members expect these spaces to be something special.”

Creating a five-star locker room involves much more than keeping the floors clean or stocking enough towels; these mundane housekeeping tasks must, of course, be performed diligently, over and over again. But a closer look reveals that a number of other factors play a seminal role. Among them: a club mission and culture that emphasize consistent attention, a sophisticated tracking system, solid communication among staff, accurate measurement of results, and employee accountability.

1. Train All Staff to Take Pride in Locker Room Upkeep

As in any service organization, clubs must commit to, emphasize, and own the pursuit of customer satisfaction—starting at the top. Because locker rooms are an integral part of a member’s interaction with the club, the entire staff—not just the housekeeping and maintenance teams—must recognize that their upkeep and operation are ongoing group responsibilities.

“When hiring staff, we clearly communicate the importance of maintaining a clean, organized, and well-stocked locker room,” said Ken Brendel, a regional general manager for Active Wellness, LLC, based in Sausalito, CA. In all, the company oversees some 120 locker rooms at the 60 corporate and community fitness facilities it manages. “Every manager and team member is expected to maintain these areas by doing such things as closing locker doors, picking up dirty towels, and wiping down countertops, as part of their everyday duties.”

Active Sports Club, Petaluma, CA

2. Diligently Track and Communicate Tasks, Issues

Due to the need for repetitive tasks, along with regular attention, savvy clubs use a variety of paper and/or software systems—e.g., daily checklists, service logs, and preventative-maintenance databases—to stay on top of things. The West Wood Clubs, which serve a total of approximately 22,500 members, utilize the Club Vitals software program, for instance, which allows staff to take note of issues, track responses, and document solutions.

“After logging a problem, the maintenance team is immediately alerted, on walkie-talkies, about the need to inspect the situation,” Leach said. “If it’s something that can be fixed—it takes precedence over everything else.”

At Ocotillo Village, a Village Health Clubs & Spas facility, weekly inspections are conducted of spa heaters, steam generators, chemical feeders, and laundry equipment to identify deterioration, gauge life expectancy, and plan for timely replacements. Quarterly preventative-maintenance service is conducted on larger equipment.

Continue reading "Create a Five-Star Locker Room Experience with These 4 Tips."

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The Digital Landscape

Technology. It’s changing the way we communicate. The way we work. The way we interact. The way we consume entertainment. And, yes, it’s even changing the way we exercise.

Given the proliferation of wearable activity-tracking devices, mobile apps, streaming videos, virtual classes, virtual personal training, and interactive equipment, exercise is becoming a cutting-edge, high-tech task.

And a lot of it is taking place outside of your club; that’s not necessarily bad news for you, though.

The explosion of choices regarding how, when, and where one wants to exercise may make things easier, more convenient, and, hopefully, more rewarding for the public, but, at the same time, it poses one of the greatest challenges the health and fitness industry has ever faced.

Humphrey Cobbald, the CEO of Pure Gym, a rapidly growing U.K.-based chain, suggested that technological advances were “democratizing fitness” during the European Health and Fitness Forum (EHFF), held recently at FIBO, in Cologne, Germany. Club opera- tors, he contends, confront painful decisions.

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Crunch Fitness and Active Sports Clubs: Social Media Savvy Members

Two succss stories suggest how much clubs can accomplish!

Good looks and good health – they’re perhaps the top reasons why people join your club.

But they’re not usually why they stay.

In reality, the ties
 that bind are based on
 social interaction. The 
members who are 
likely to keep coming
 back for more are the
 ones who’ve connected socially with staff and other members. And today, one of the best ways to foster a stickier kind of relationship is to get your clients to click with you online on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These sites, and others like them, offer clubs an unprecedented, round-the-clock opportunity to develop enduring bonds ... because absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder.

Two IHRSA-member club companies that have done an exceptional job of utilizing social media, and have the scars and stats to prove it, are Crunch Fitness and the Active Sports Clubs (see “Club One? No, Active Sports Clubs!” July CBI, pg. 38). Crunch, based in New York City, has more than 100 locations in and around major metropolitan cities in the U.S., as well as Australia. Known for its novel, fun-based approach to fitness and its “No Judgment” philosophy, it’s currently one of the brands to follow.

Active Sports, the company that emerged from Club One, Inc., last February, is the handiwork of industry veterans Jill Kinney, Bill McBride, and Carey White. The company, based in San Francisco, operates 10 clubs in the Bay Area, and manages more than 45 corporate, community, and hospital-based fitness centers throughout the country.

The two of them, taken together, provide an instructive, coast-to-coast case study of what it takes for clubs to succeed socially in this brand-new and still morphing digital age.

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New identity for former Club One clubs

Active Sports Clubs founders, from left, Carey White, Jill Kinney and Bill McBride.It’s been an interesting year for Jill Kinney, Bill McBride, and Carey White.

In January, Kinney, the co-founder of Club One, Inc., a prominent and highly regarded San Francisco-based chain, joined with McBride, the company’s former president and COO, and Carey White, its former CFO and CTO (chief technical officer), to embark on a new journey.

Their goal was to work, with the help of equity partners, to acquire the assets of Club One, and launch a new lifestyle brand focused on the local communities and client site environments the firm planned to serve.

The name of the new entity: Active Sports Clubs (ASC).

Read on for more on how it came together, the vision of the new brand and future of the company.


Active Sports Clubs acquires majority of Club One's assets

This press release was sent to IHRSA by Active Sports Clubs/Club One, Inc.

Active Sports Clubs, a new health club brand launched late last year by Jill Kinney, Bill McBride, and Carey White has assumed the majority of Club One, Inc.’s asset portfolio, including its Bay Area Clubs and management operations. Active Sports Clubs will retain essentially all of Club One’s site-level employees, approximately 2400 jobs will remain intact. Additionally, Active Sports Clubs will assume approximately 145,000 members.

Jill Kinney serves as Active Sports Clubs’ Chairman, Bill McBride is President and Chief Executive Officer and Carey White is Chief Financial Officer. “I’m thrilled to reengage with Club One and bring the next level of fitness and wellness to the communities we serve,” Kinney says, adding that her commitment is to building great community-based fitness centers and having a meaningful impact on health-related issues.

 “Our model enables Active Sports Clubs to provide an enhanced, sophisticated and in many cases a technology-supported offering with a personalized touch,” says Bill McBride, President and CEO of Active Sports Clubs. 

Active Sports Clubs will continue to operate the Bay Area health clubs under the Club One Fitness brand for the time being, and will evaluate each location over the next month to develop site-specific improvement plans to better reflect the local needs of each community.

For the complete press release, go to the IHRSA Media Center.


Former Club One management open Active Sports Clubs

Industry veterans Bill McBride, Jill Kinney and Ken Brendel have come together once again to form a new club brand, Active Sports Club.

On Jan. 1 the group opened its first venture at the former Club One in Petaluma, Calif. The three all previously worked for Club One, a high-end club in various U.S. locations.

"For years, it seems that we've focused on building uniformity in a club brand, which has often resulted in missed opportunities and the loss of connection with customers in a local market," said Kinney in a press release. "Bill's philosophy is to build a brand consistency but focus primarily on enhancing the customer experience and profitability through highly localized marketing and management. The team has the skills and experience to execute this creative and personalized management approach."

One of the goals of Active Sports Clubs is to form new partnerships that will enhance the brand. The first is Itrim Weight Loss Centers in the club.

McBride was the chairman of the IHRSA board of directors in 2013.

For more, visit Active Sports Club website.