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Entries in Claremont Club (11)


4 Reasons Health Clubs Should Invest in CRM Technology

It’s a fact: The primary business of every health club isn’t fitness. It’s maintaining good customer relationships by providing excellent service. 

You can have the best facility, amenities, and programs in the world, but if customers have bad experiences, they won’t stay. And sub-par service certainly won’t help generate referrals or lead to new sales. Au contraire: You’ll lose business and your reputation will suffer. 

The good news: Having a robust customer relationship management (CRM) system can help you improve the most critical aspects of your customer service program, and, thus, your members’ club experience. 

Here are four reasons CRM systems are worth the investment for health clubs. 

1. CRMs Reduce Member and Employee Frustration 

In many operational areas, clubs have grappled with inefficiencies that have frustrated employees and customers alike. In many cases, for example, simple administrative tasks that involved actual paperwork have led to major headaches as a result of human error. 

For a long time, that was the case for Beth Saroka, a 35-year industry veteran, and the owner of Onslow Fitness, in Jacksonville, NC, a 14,000-square-foot club with fitness, group exercise, and personal training offerings, a heated saltwater pool, and other amenities. 

However, in 2011, Saroka acquired ABC Financial software, and, in the process, eliminated “tons” of man-hours required for tasks that no one liked to do. 

“Whether it was a simple credit card update, a change of address, or something more involved, such as a cancellation, my staff would have to stop doing more important things— selling or servicing members—to manually fill out the paperwork,” she said. “Then, assuming it was filled out correctly, someone else had to enter all of that information into a computer. In retrospect, that was a huge waste of our time, and rarely resulted in a ‘wow’ experience for anyone.” 

Now, the CRM component of her ABC system boasts a newer feature called MYiCLUB online, a portal that allows a member to log in at any time and make account changes— even cancellations. Not only is it convenient for members, but it also ensures that the club obtains accurate information. 

Continue reading "4 Reasons Health Clubs Should Invest in CRM Technology."

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9 Takeaways from the California Clubs of Distinction Spring Symposium

From member engagement to pricing strategy, there were many takeaways to be found at the California Clubs of Distinction (CCD) Spring Symposium in Palms Springs, CA, held April 19-21. 

IHRSA staff was there, attending sessions and gleaning insights for health club owners and operators who weren’t able to attend. Here are our top nine takeaways from the three-day conference. 

1. Focus on customer experience, not customer service. Building a great team is critical to any health club’s success, said Chris Stevenson, owner and founder of Stevenson Fitness, during his session. By hiring the right staff—and keeping morale high—club operators can deliver a member experience where “everyone leaves feeling better than when they arrived.” 

2. Build membership through community engagement. Karen Woodard of Premium Performance Training explained the many benefits health clubs can gain by getting involved in their communities. Doing so promotes member engagement, builds brand familiarity, and may ultimately increase memberships.  

Karen Woodard leading a team building activity.

3. Perseverance is the key to success. Shaun Quincey of DebitSuccess became the second person to row across the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia at age 25, but the feat didn’t come easy. In his keynote address, he detailed the preparation and training that went into the 1,200-nautical-mile journey, including the 390 sponsors that turned him down. 

4. Strategy and execution go hand-in-hand. Bill McBride of BMC3/Active Wellness and Brent Darden of Brent Darden Consulting stressed the importance of creating a goal-oriented strategic plan, and also assigning the right people to execute that plan with the needs of members in mind. 

5. Pricing is a mix of art and science. McBride and Darden also spoke to the art of finding the pricing sweet spot. They recommended starting by by determining a product's or program’s usefulness, usability, and desirability. 

Brent Darden

6. Make time for team-building activities. Different team-building and team-bonding activities can help to improve relationships between co-workers, said Karen Woodward. Club operators should consider incorporating team-building exercises into existing meetings or holding team-centric events outside of work.

7. Think like a customer. Club operators should wire customers’ mindsets into their decision making process at every level, said Blair McHaney of ClubWorks. This will help operators better understand how to develop an emotional connection with customers, and thus increase loyalty.

8. Health club medical wellness programs can curb obesity. Successful medical wellness programs facilitate the relationship between fitness and healthcare professionals, said Mark Kelly of Principle Centered Health. Doing so may slow the rise of obesity, which is related to more than 50 preventable diseases. 

9. Differentiate your club by doing meaningful, purposeful work. Mike Alpert, president and CEO of The Claremont Club, which received the Outstanding Community Service Award at IHRSA 2016, shared his experience with partnering with the medical community to help people live healthier lives. In addition to serving as a differentiator, this practice will improve the overall member experience, which will lead to higher retention.


The Claremont Club’s Virtual Blueprint for Inclusive Fitness

It really doesn’t take much to get Mike Alpert going. Mention people who have disabilities or have suffered chronic injuries, and the passion quickly rises to the surface. 

For Alpert, the president and CEO of The Claremont Club, in Claremont, CA, that zeal has prompted a long, ongoing struggle to include such individuals in club activities to help improve their lives.

“It’s about an opportunity to do some truly meaningful and purposeful work in our industry,” he said, his voice filling with emotion. “We—and, by we, I mean all of us club operators—have the ability to save lives. We have the facilities and the skills to do this great work. However, I’m sad to say that many of us aren’t doing so right now.”

The Need for Inclusive Fitness

“Inclusive” is a rather broad category, and includes people who have been born with physical and/or intellectual or emotional disabilities; and those who, due to accidents or other events or circumstances, have acquired them. The disciples of inclusive fitness programs believe that everyone should be able to take advantage of the services that clubs can offer.

While the number of inclusive clubs is growing, the need is clearly great.

A 2014 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that half of the 21 million Americans with disabilities don’t exercise, which further jeopardizes their health. An additional 22% of disabled adults aren’t active enough, which means that approximately half of them are more likely than their active peers to develop serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

A Virtual Blueprint for Health Clubs

If there’s an exemplar, a poster boy, for inclusive fitness in the U.S., that person might well be Alpert.

His club, a multipurpose athletic, aquatic, tennis, and social facility set on an impressive 18-acre campus, employs a staff of more than 270 to look after some 10,500 members. It could also easily serve as a virtual blueprint for clubs that want to become more inclusive.

The Claremont Club is currently treating people with spinal cord injuries (SCI), multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy (CP), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and those who have suffered strokes or are battling cancer.

One of the highlights of Alpert’s efforts is the Project Walk Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Centers franchise that he acquired in 2013, the first situated inside a health club. These centers, managed and operated by SCI Business Solutions, Inc., of Carlsbad, CA, help people with SCI via education, training, and intense activity-based recovery programs.

Alpert transformed a racquetball court into a 5,100-square-foot studio to accommodate the program.

 “It’s incredibly rewarding to walk through this facility every day and see the difference we’re making,” he said. “I’d encourage every club owner to think beyond the bottom line, and recognize the potential that inclusive fitness offers to create an incredibly meaningful legacy.”

Such initiatives serve critical needs, increase club utilization, drive memberships, enhance a club’s standing in the community, boost the morale of staff and current members, and—most importantly—actually improve people’s lives.

Continue reading about IHRSA members’ inclusive programs in the May issue of CBI.


Create Successful Community Programming by Answering 3 Simple Questions

Connecting with your community to offer programs that interest them is a great way to demonstrate that your club genuinely cares about fulfilling the fitness aspirations of community members, but it is often challenging to determine what type of program is best suited to your club and your members. 

To help club owners and staff overcome this obstacle, Cathleen Garner, childcare and camp director at The Claremont Club, led a discussion at IHRSA 2016 on building “Programs with a Purpose: Implementing Successful Programs for Your Club & Community.” Throughout the presentation, attendees were able to share their innovative ideas on community outreach programs, learn from suggestions made by their peers, and gain insight on how to successfully implement these types of programs. 

During the session, attendees were tasked with answering three questions to help them determine the best community program offerings for their individual clubs: 

1. What is the best class offering for my community and my club? 

Consider your community. What are their needs? Would they rather work out in a group setting or participate in a more intimate personal training session? How many times a week or month would be best for them? 

Now consider your club. What are you hoping to accomplish by creating a new program? Are you looking to increase revenue, retention, or member satisfaction? Does your club have the necessary amenities to implement the program that you are considering? These are all questions that should be answered before you commit to a program.  

2. What is the purpose of the program I want to create? What do I want the end results to be? 

The purpose of your program defines the components of your program and informs who your participants will be. That being said, all programs have varying goals that appeal to different members, so there are many options to consider. 

For example, are you looking to help participants lose weight? Increase quality of life? Be less sedentary? Feel less stressed? Overcome chronic disease?  Try something outside of their comfort zone? All of the above? The possibilities are endless. 

3. What are opportunities that I can create from the crises that I’ve faced? 

Running a health club can be challenging. There are many crises that must be averted and properly handled on a daily basis. The best way to come up with new programming ideas is to think about which problems or complaints that could’ve been more easily addressed if you had a program that helped you solve them.


The Claremont Club Receives the Outstanding Community Service Award

The Outstanding Community Service Award is presented to an IHRSA member that has made a longstanding commitment to making a difference in, and beyond, their community. The Claremont Club of Claremont, CA, is the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Community Service Award.

The impact of The Claremont Club’s community outreach is felt far and wide, and at the heart of it is the belief that exercise is medicine. Among the life-changing programs offered by the club are Living Well After Cancer, Project Walk—dedicated to improving the quality of life of clients with spinal cord injuries—Summer Camp scholarships, and Adopt-a-Family, which offers support to families during the Christmas season.

“We are humbled and honored to be recognized as the 2016 recipient of the IHRSA Outstanding Community Service Award,” said Mike Alpert, president and CEO of The Claremont Club. “The programs that have become core to our club and a large part of our culture are proof that exercise and fitness in the right environment have a remarkable impact on the quality of life of those struggling with chronic injuries and illness.”



Best Practices: Cost-effective Video Production to Boost Health Club Business 

The following post was written by Shannon Malooly, membership and marketing director for The Claremont Club, for our Best Practices series. 

Question: How, specifically, can we use video to boost our health club business without breaking the bank? 

Shannon Malooly: Marketing professionals are always fraught with the dreaded return-on-investment (ROI) dilemma. And, often the time and necessary tools it takes to even begin to quantify a campaign's true ROI is so tedious and extensive that we wonder if it’s even worth the effort. 

When we think of “traditional” forms of marketing, we think of print media, social media, TV, and radio. Easily, the solution is a hearty mix of them all, but the expense and skillset required to produce a successful combination of the above can be daunting and pricey—and the recipe is vastly different for any campaign or market sub-type. 

Perhaps we have been making it way too hard and expensive when a major resource and tool is in the hands of virtually every single member of our clubs: the smartphone. 

Continue reading Cost-effective Video Production to Boost Health Club Business.

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IHRSA Announces 2016 Industry Award Recipients

We’re excited to announce that three award recipients will be honored during IHRSA 2016, March 21-24 in Orlando, FL.

“I am privileged to honor these three outstanding members of the IHRSA family as this year’s award recipients” said Joe Moore, IHRSA president and CEO. “And, on behalf of IHRSA and the entire industry, I thank them for their exceptional commitment and service to their communities and their customers.” 

  • The Woman Leader Award in honor of Julie Main will be presented on Monday, March 21st to Maureen (Mo) Hagan.
  • The Associate Member of the Year will be presented on Tuesday, March 22nd to Visual Fitness Planner.
  • The Outstanding Community Service Award will be presented on Wednesday, March 23rd to The Claremont Club of Claremont, CA. 

Woman Leader Award: Maureen (Mo) Hagan

IHRSA celebrates the legacy of Julie Main by presenting the Woman Leader Scholarship Award to a woman who exemplifies what Julie stood for: courage, perseverance, excellence, and professionalism. Maureen (Mo) Hagan, vice president of program innovation for GoodLife Fitness and canfitpro, is this year's honoree. 

“I am moved to win an award named after one of the most inspirational female leaders our industry has ever seen,” Hagan said. “This is a key milestone for me in my life, one that I will always cherish.”

Outstanding Community Service: The Claremont Club

The Outstanding Community Service Award is presented to an IHRSA member that has made a longstanding commitment to making a difference in, and beyond, their community. The Claremont Club of Claremont, CA, is the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Community Service Award.

The impact of The Claremont Club’s community outreach is felt far and wide, and at the heart of it is the belief that exercise is medicine. Among the life-changing programs offered by the club are Living Well After Cancer, Project Walk (dedicated to improving the quality of life of clients with spinal cord injuries), summer camp scholarships, and Adopt-a-Family, which offers support to families during the holiday season.

“We are humbled and honored to be recognized as the 2016 recipient of the IHRSA Outstanding Community Service Award,” said Mike Alpert, president and CEO of The Claremont Club. “The programs that have become core to our club and a large part of our culture are proof that exercise and fitness in the right environment have a remarkable impact on the quality of life of those struggling with chronic injuries and illness.”

Associate Member of the Year: Visual Fitness Planner

The Associate Member of the Year Award is presented annually to recognize an IHRSA Member for their significant contributions to the advancement of the health club industry, as well as their support of IHRSA, its members and its mission through program and event participation, advertising, and sponsorship.

Visual Fitness Planner was selected as this year's honoree due to their passion for the industry and commitment towards helping club operators better use technology to solve their needs and grow revenue. 

The IHRSA Awards Program seeks to “recognize, celebrate, and inspire.” For more information about IHRSA’s annual industry awards, including prior recipients, please visit


For the Claremont Club, Community Service is Key

Fitness is all-inclusive. Cancer does not discriminate either.

A remarkable woman once said, “Exercising isn’t about how much more somebody can bench-press after 10 weeks. It is about people realizing that they can regain some control of their own bodies…because when you’re a patient you have no control.”

This is how Julie Main, former IHRSA Board Chairperson and convention speaker, felt in 1993 when she was diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer.  During her treatment, Main exercised physical and mental poise to keep up her strength. Put simply, she credited exercise as the solution to staying healthy.

A year later, Main helped to develop a Cancer Well-fit program with help from the local community medical associations.  Speaking to the crowd at the IHRSA convention, she stressed the importance of having an active presence in the community and emphasized that anyone is capable of being physically active.

Denise Johnson, Wellness Director at the Claremont Club, sees the passion and purpose in Main’s words realized in the work that she does at her club every day.  It was after hearing Main speak, that the Claremont Club decided that it was time for them to begin offering similar programming.

“We thought the Cancer Well-fit program was awesome,” says Johnson, “We got more information from Julie, added and changed some things to make the program our own, and were able to partner with a local hospital to get started.”   

Since then, the club has joined with the Robert and Beverly Lewis Cancer Care Center to create the “Living Well After Cancer” Program. Funded by private donations and the club’s Art of Giving event this initiative works to improve the fitness levels of cancer survivors in the hopes of increasing quality of life and boosting self-esteem levels. The program is offered at no cost to cancer survivors or their families and more than 500 survivors have participated to date.

Participants meet at the club twice a week for thirteen weeks and participate in exercise classes that include yoga, pilates, Zumba, aqua aerobics, cardio dance, hula hooping, and more. In addition, certified trainers and dieticians oversee the participants and are always available to provide personalized training techniques and guidance on healthy eating habits. Support group meetings are also offered as part of the recovery process and these extra resources add to the standard of care that is readily available.

Claremont is also excited to announce that they have added a male LWAC program and currently offer massages to participants and are looking to implement additional services for survivors in the future – including visits from estheticians and massage therapists.

“Every time we host the 13 week program, we discover something else that we should add,” says Johnson.  

And the Claremont Club is looking to build upon their commendable community outreach initiatives in the future. They have no intention of slowing down.

In addition to enhancing previously established programs, the club is also looking to create brand new programming within the next year.

In September, they will be offering their first program for those living with diabetes. For 6 weeks participants will have the chance to meet with a registered dietitian to discuss managing blood sugar, dealing with stress, meal planning, healthy eating, preventing or dealing with complications, and becoming more knowledgeable about the benefits of exercise in relation to living with the disease. The exercise component is especially notable since many programs of this kind do not offer anything of this sort.

In April, the club began a pediatric cancer program and is helping children and their families struggling with this debilitating disease a safe haven and a place to reconnect.

“Community outreach gives meaning to what we do,” Johnson says, “If you are not currently offering programming such as this, then you are missing out.”

Support from the community is essential for the Claremont Club. These efforts are about starting small and gradually expanding to successfully spread the importance behind building a culture and community of wellness.

That being said, Claremont’s mission starts with making exercise easily accessible and fun for everyone.

Echoing the thoughts of Main, Johnson says, “Exercise should not be limited to the able-bodied. It should be for everybody.” 


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Money-Back Guarantees Are a Smart Option

Shannon Malooly talked about 100% satisfaction guarantees.Shannon Malooly is the Membership & Marketing director at the Claremont Club in Claremont, Calif. During her session at the NEHRSA/IHRSA Fall Conference & Trade Show on Wednesday morning, entitled "Striking While the Iron is Hot: Turn New Members into Life Long Promoters," she explained why the Claremont Club offers a money-back guarantee on all of its products and services.

"We put our money where our mouth is," she said. "It's actually riskier for a business not to offer a money-back guarantee, than to offer one."

Malooly pointed out what some club operators have already learned the hard way: that when a health club member is upset, they'll tell their friends, and their complaint can easily go viral on social media. 

A money-back guarantee builds trust between the business and its customers, she added. "Be confident in your offerings, and others will be, too."

Follow the NEHRSA/IHRSA coverage here.


IHRSA Clubs Recognize Veterans

500 flags outside of Stone Creek Club and Spa in Louisiana.On July 4, 2013, 500 miniature American flags waved in the wind along a stretch of Ochsner Boulevard, in Covington, La., as part of the Stone Creek Club and Spa’s Stars and Stripes Salute to American veterans. It was a sight to behold!

The flag display was part of Stone Creek’s “Support Our Soldiers” campaign to raise money and awareness for wounded U.S. military veterans.

The proceeds went to the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), a nonprofit organization that helps injured military veterans, such as Cole, readjust to civilian life, and to Support Our War Heroes, a similar, local veterans’ group.

These and other groups are part of a movement that’s spreading quickly through our industry. More clubs are raising funds and offering programs tailored to America’s veterans than ever before, and there’s clearly a need.

Read on to see what other clubs are doing to help out, and recognize, veterans.

Click to read more ...