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Entries in data (4)


Consider Applying the Decluttering Movement Ethos to Your Club’s Data

This is an IHRSA featured post, brought to you by InTouch Technology

Lifestyle trends tend to be cyclical and short-lived, so it’s rare to see a genuine movement take on a life of its own like today’s preoccupation with “decluttering”: the process of discarding material objects to create a more pleasing living environment.

The most famous advocate is Marie Kondo, a Japanese-born author of several books about “the life-changing magic of tidying up.” She prescribes an almost spiritual approach to a less-is-more ethic by discarding the objects in your house that don’t spark joy or inspiration.

Continue reading "Consider Applying the Decluttering Movement Ethos to Your Club’s Data."

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German Fitness Studio Uses Data to Drive Innovation and Membership

To those of us who aren’t mathematically inclined, the prospect of working with data isn’t exactly appealing. But, when done strategically, data collection and analysis will begin to tell a valuable story for health club owners and operators. 

When Mrs. Sporty, a fitness studio chain in Germany, took a hard look at its membership data a few years back they noticed a striking change. 

“The previously homogenous target group of plus-50 women, which had been a niche for decades, changed to a diverse mass market,” says Mrs. Sporty CEO Valerie Bönström. “We understood from the data that we have to change and adapt our product—otherwise our target group would choose something else. The needs of our target group changed and so we did. When you focus on the needs of your customers you will constantly innovate—if you don’t, you die.” 

To adapt to its new target group, Mrs. Sporty transitioned from hydraulic machines to pixformance, which offers a fully individual functional workout for each woman. 

“Exercises are shown on a screen and feedback is given from the machine,” Bönström says. “It allows 100% goal focus.” 

Bönström will share her expert advice in her IHRSA European Congress session, “Innovation by Collecting & Analysing Data to Win Members Long-Term.” Her presentation, held Thursday, October 18, in Seville, Spain, will help attendees:  

  • Determine which data you have and what you will need to obtain.
  • Discover whether you know the patterns of behavior and needs of your customers.
  • Learn how to deliver what they want to have by innovation.
  • Identify controlling numbers to avoid missing when customer needs or behaviors change.
  • Gain insight on why to never stop questioning your business model.  

“An easy example of how to use data in a simple way is, if you know when members change their pattern of how frequently they visit the gym, you can already predict three months ahead when they will potentially cancel,” she says. “So data allows you to act before the member even knows them self that they might cancel. That is proven statistics and really a big win for the fitness industry.” 

Learn more about the IHRSA European Congress, October 17-20 in Seville, Spain. 


STR Expands Competitive Benchmarking Services to Health Club Market

STR, a leading provider of competitive benchmarking and information services to hotels worldwide, recently announced its entry into the health club market to deliver the same sort of services to club operators. 

Anne Z. Hawkins, executive vice president of sector analysis for the Hendersonville, TN, company, spoke to Club Business International about STR’s latest endeavor. 

CBI: For those not familiar with STR, Inc., a brief description, if you would, of the company and its services? 

Anne Hawkins: We have a 30-year track record of providing information services, which increases transparency and also helps identify market trends so that operators can manage their businesses better. The goal, of course, is to increase revenues and profitability. 

For the health club industry, we provide a software platform that enables clubs to visually see how they’re performing versus an aggregated—and confidential—set of competitors across six key metrics. The six metrics for comparison include number of memberships, revenue per member, dues revenue per member, nondues revenue per member, visits per member, and retention rate. 

What about the health club sector makes it an ideal user of STR’s expertise? 

AH: The industry already practices data-sharing, with much of the information coming from IHRSA. Many operators have a familiarity and comfort level with comparing performance. However, thus far, there have been some missing ingredients to make the data particularly useful, including timeliness, frequency (monthly), reliability (ensuring that the data is comparing apples-to-apples), and sample size (making sure there are enough participants to make the data both representative and meaningful). 

STR will step in to fill these gaps in the system with robust, timely, and accurate data. Eventually, we want thousands of clubs on our platform. As the number grows, we can break down the data based on club type, location, etc., making the competitive benchmarking highly relevant. 

A step-by-step guide, please, to how the system actually operates. What will users need to do? And exactly what will they obtain in return? 

AH: Users provide us with two basic types of information: key facts about their facility; and, on a monthly basis, six financial/ operational data points that include revenue, dues revenue, nondues revenue, total visits, members, and cancellations. After collecting and error-checking this data, STR processes the data and presents the information in its interactive software benchmarking tool. Users can then log in to see how their performance compared with that of the competition. The tool displays the data in charts and graphs, but users can also download the raw data in a spreadsheet format. It’s important to note that the performance of any one club or company always remains confidential.

Continue reading the full "First Person" article in the April CBI.


3 Steps You Should Take to Protect Your Health Club’s Data

Your club is overflowing with valuables, from the new treadmills you recently purchased and the big-screen TVs hanging above them, to the credit cards and other personal belongings your members have trustingly stored in your locker rooms. 

But some of your club’s most valuable property may be something you can’t see or touch: It just might be all of the data you’ve collected and stored about your members, your employees, and your business’ operation. 

In the world today, data is a commodity that’s constantly increasing in value, and, as a result, is subject to theft. 

Here are three steps you can take to help safeguard your health club’s data. 

1. Collect Essential Data Only 

“If you don’t need it, you shouldn’t collect it,” said Jennifer Urmston Lowe, the national accounts manager at the Sports & Fitness Insurance Corporation. “You need a member’s bank account or credit card information to charge them, but do you really need their Social Security or driver’s license numbers? You’re liable for any information you collect, and the less you collect—the less liable you are.” 

Data security begins at the point when you take information from the member. And, if you don’t need to record it on paper—don’t. 

“Going paperless and utilizing an online joining system or a member portal are additional ways to maintain control,” said Carole Oat, the national sales manager for Twin Oaks Software & Billing Services. “By doing this, it actually puts some of the responsibility in the members’ hands, and takes it away from club staff.” 

2. Invest in a Cloud-based Member Management System 

Today, more clubs are turning to cloud-based, member-management systems that provide software as a service (SaaS)—a delivery model in which centrally hosted software is licensed on a subscription basis. While moving to a cloud-based solution means handing control over to an outside firm, it can, the experts agree, be a very smart move. 

“Most of the major vendors have their own security teams, and their efforts are going to eclipse anything that a small or midsized club could put together,” said Mike Rucker, the vice president of technology for Active Wellness, a diversified club company based in Sausalito, CA. 

But you can’t assume that, just because a company is selling SaaS, it necessarily has security covered. You still need to vet any company you’re considering, Rucker said. “Look for a reputable vendor. Ask if they’ve orchestrated penetration tests. Find out if you’ll be alerted to security concerns if anything is compromised.” 

3. Select the Right Partner 

In addition to selecting partners with strong security measures, you also need to choose ones who can work together effectively. After all, you’re probably not going to be using only member management software; you’re also going to be using software for your Website, employee payroll, rewards program, CRM (customer relationship management), and other applications. All of these programs are going to be collecting personal information that needs to be safeguarded and, in some cases, shared among them. 

When selecting your software providers, be sure to ask each of them about their own security solutions, and how they’ll work with the other products you rely on. 

While building strong relationships with your service providers is important, Rucker cautioned against leaving your security arrangements entirely in their hands. “Make sure you have your own advocate on staff who’s thinking about security,” he said. “Half of the battle involves just asking the right questions.” If you’re not sure where to start or what questions to ask, the Internet is your friend—there are free checklists available online.” 

Read the full “Data: Your Most Valuable Possession” article in the April issue of CBI.