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Entries in members (22)


InTouch Technology, ABC Financial team up to offer faster synching

ABC Financial DataTrak and InTouch Technology Follow-Up Smart Match feature will now allow the transfer of leads and member data between the two systems.

New leads can be synched hourly and when one system has leads or members and the other does not it is automatically updated.

"ABC is the industry leader in billing and club management software and payment processing and delivering a highly integrated system provides our customers with a seamless way to enter, close and manage all their sales. Smart Match guarantees the highest level of accuracy by matching records in DataTrak to records in InTouch Follow-Up every hour. No other health club software has that level of integration with DataTrak," said Scott Johnston, founder of InTouch Technology.

The full press release can be found on



IHRSA Member Profiles allows clubs to show off

The pool at Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club in Greenwood Village, outside of Denver.IHRSA provides a lot for its members. Part of our mission is to grow, protect and promote the industry and IHRSA members.

One way IHRSA helps promote is the IHRSA Member Profile. It is a free feature on the website that affords member clubs to basically gush about its facility, programs and employees, for all to see.

Read on to see what the IHRSA Member Profile includes and how to take part.Save & Close


Health clubs in Maine could be taxed in 2014

When the Maine legislature passed the state budget back in June, it created a task force to identify $40 million in cuts to “tax expenditures.” The Tax Expenditure Review Task Force released its recommendations last week, and it includes proposals to remove the existing sales tax exemptions for “amusements” and “personal care services.”

Health club dues and services are likely to be considered on the list of personal care services, which also includes skin care, massage and spa treatments, and haircuts.

Check out the member-only Maine State Page for more.


Why You Should Think Small  

Why do people, why do prospects, elect either to join a club … or pass on the opportunity? Hossein Noshirvani, the cofounder and executive vice president of Motionsoft, Inc., and a regular CBI Unbound guest contributor, has a thought or two on the subject. The decision, he suggests, has to do with the industry’s messaging. Club operators tend to ascribe grandiose, but intangible, goals to membership in their advertising and marketing efforts. Instead, he says, they should focus on smaller, more immediate, and decidedly palpable benefits. Extended lifespan? Or playtime with one’s kids? The choice of message is critical, argues Noshirvani—so read on:

Click to read more ...


Is there too much offered in terms of recovery services?

Image courtesy of Praisaeng at FreeDigitalPhotos.netMore is always better. So when it comes to offerings at a club, oftentimes what are available a few years ago might pale in comparison to what is offered now.

This week's Best Practices question looks into the issue of what is acceptable when it comes to recovery services. What used to be extras, or unheard of at a fitness club - live aromatherapy, massage, acupuncture and more - is not not a novel idea.

Q: "What is your perception of the industry standard when it comes to 'recovery services for members' and how a newer concept, like a compression boot, might be accepted as a member service within fitness centers across the US?  To your knowledge, is the industry offering much more than massage to their clientele at this point?"

A: Many clubs offer in-house massage and physical therapy services. Though not as common, others offer acupuncture, aromatherapy, or chiropractic services, usually through partnerships with local practitioners. The types of amenities and services clubs adopt should be consistent with their mission, audience demographics and service model. Any products or therapies prescribed to or otherwise utilized by members should be under the direction of a qualified professional. At a minimum, they should be FDA approved and meet additional safety standards as appropriate. If there is to be no direct oversight, consider the safety and efficacy of making the product available in a self-service format. While offering new and interesting products and services will capture the attention of your members and prospects, it is the ongoing satisfaction and positive outcomes that will determine the long-term success of the offering.

Christine Thalwitz
Director of Communications & Research
ACAC Fitness & Wellness Centers



This post is a part of our weekly Best Practice series. We post a new question and answer every Monday. If you have a question you'd like our Industry Leaders to answer, submit your question today.

For past Best Practices questions, go to


Not all New Year's resolution-makers come in January

It's the first week of January and we all know what that means: people you have never seen before sitting on the spinning bike, running on the treadmill and lifting weights next to you.

The avid and beginners flock to the gym with new memberships in tow, or "activitating" dormant ones, as a way to check off the New Year's resolution they recently made.


New year brings new members

But, according to IHRSA numbers, not everyone flocks to the gyms in droves in the first couple weeks of January. Yes, according to our numbers 12 percent of memberships are signed in January, compared to 8 percent per month for the full year, but the heavy traffic continues for much of the first quarter of the year.

"It is a myth that January is the busiest month for gym usage; it's a close second behind March," says Mark Daly, national media director for Anytime Fitness, which owns 2,000 gyms, including more than 1,700 in the U.S.

For the complete story, click here


Be sure to show your appreciation for members

It is easy to take a member for granted. You know what you offer is better than your competition. But, sometimes, consumers want to be showered with appreciation. 

Vaughn Marxhausen, Blair McHaney and Jauxniece Palmer give us their ways to let members know they are appreciative. 

Q: "How do you show appreciation for your members?"

 A: We have active "listening systems" for all members to provide scoring and commentary about the job we do and the promises we make. We monitor all staff-friendliness, gym cleanliness, equipment condition, programing, and likelihood to refer, likelihood to continue, and overall experience scores. When members speak we listen and we make changes to our operations and to our programs and staff training based on their continuous feedback. Probably nothing shows appreciation as much as using the voice of your customer to shape your business in ways that align with their perspectives and feelings about the job you do. We use CEM (customer experience management) technology to make the process systemic. It engages our entire front line, drives a customer-centric culture, and holds us accountable for delivering a great member experience. We follow CLF (closed-loop-feedback) best-practices of connecting with every member that provides us feedback within 48 hours. That is the first closed-loop. It lets the member know they have been heard and we are taking action. We close the loop a second time when a member comment or suggestion leads us to an improvement in how we run our business. That is when we go back the second time, tell them what we changed and thank them for helping us get better.    

Blair McHaney
Gold's Gym of Wenatchee


 A. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  (Maya Angelou)

Showing your appreciation to your members is more than just providing good customer service; it is about going beyond what is expected and showing the members that you care about them as people. Showing appreciation to your members doesn’t always have to be scheduled, planned or delivered from management. Appreciation can be simple random acts that the member may never expect, and can and should be shown by the entire staff.  Doing something that is random, unexpected and meaningful will surprise your members and make them feel good about coming to your club that day. You can show your appreciation in various ways for the whole membership, a group of members or individuals.

Showing appreciation to your members can take on many different aspects. Some examples of planned and random acts may include:

  • Sending a hand-written note to a member who may have been out due to surgery or illness.
  • Selecting a day in the month to offer the members fruit and health bars at the front counter.  (Careful with this. While members may appreciate it, it may become expected and if you miss a month, it becomes a take-a-way. )  Try to do something different each month on different days.
  • Giving a member a logo shirt for referring her friends to the club.
  • Sharing an article of interest to a member or giving a free training session to a member who has been with a personal trainer for a while.
  • Saving a member from cancelling his membership by giving him a month or two for free if he has been laid off or is going through a difficult time in his life (knowing that coming to the club is important to them).
  • Setting up a complimentary massage session for a member who has just told you she has been really stressed at work.
  • Holding a special event to “thank” members for being part of the club, such as a wine and cheese happy hour.

The list is endless, but whatever you do, it is important to make sure that the act is meaningful to the members. The thoughtfulness behind the little acts of appreciation shows that you are thinking of the members and that you care about them.

Vaughn Marxhausen
Area Director
Houstonian Lite Health Club
Health Club at Travis Place


A. We make sure to share info on their achievements through various social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc), through a customized e-mail at the beginning of each month, and also in-house print recognition through the use of our Ten or More Board. The latest addition to our ability to recognize our members is with our new custom gym app powered by, which allows us to post both our social and print info in one centralized location accessible by any smart phone or tablet. 

In-house recognition through our “Ten or More” Member Board:

Shows the names of members (youth and senior members included) that reach a planned goal in the previous month. It also has space for member achievements, testimonials, community/club achievements, member images and more. 

E-mail Recognition: From the Ten or More Board, we reach out to all members who checked in at least once in the previous month, letting them know how many times they actually “checked in” with an e-mail constructed specifically for the number of visits they achieved.  It offers either recognition or encouragement and encourages them to share it with their spouse, a co-worker, neighbor or friend, further encouraging others to join them in their efforts or celebrations. 

Social Media: Facebook/Twitter is obviously a huge tool for us. It is a great way to reiterate member achievements, testimonials, exercise ideas, birthdays and more. We post items that they mention to us such as weight loss or meeting certain goals, with their permission, then share that with others to foster encouragement and unity. We also have begun to post images they submit through our app of places they are exercising away from the gym in an effort to meet their check-in goals. 

Exclusive Community Discounts:  We show our appreciation by ensuring our members the ability to save … simply for being an active member. Whether they use their membership that month or not, achieve a goal or not, they receive the reward of recognition by having exclusive discounts through our PerxAdvantage discount program. The program allows them access to over a hundred different businesses in and around our gym and their community at a lowered rate than a non-member would receive at that same location.  We teach our members that we are constantly thanking them through the most important avenue we can, their pocketbooks!  

Jauxniece Palmer
Owner/Group Fitness Manager
Gold's Gym Suwanee/Sugar Hill


 Editor’s Note: One of the most frequently consulted sections of IHRSA’s Website,, is “Best Practices,” which features answers from industry experts to a wide range of thought-provoking questions. Beginning this month, we’ll highlight some of them in this new CBI column.

Visit to read responses to more than 100 questions such as these or to submit a question of your own to be answered.


SIBEC 2012 draws large crowd

SIBEC 2012 features one-on-one meetings between suppliers and club owners and operators.The 10th annual SIBEC meeting is now taking in Orlando, Fla., through Sept, 16. The meeting brings together club operators and suppliers for one-on-one meetings and networking. 

Read more.

Click to read more ...


Should a club consider a credit check on possible member

Bill McBride, Rick Caro, Jim Worthington and Bobby Verdun answer the question of whether it is common practice for a club to do a credit check on a prospective member, in Best Practices.

Q: "Is it common practice for clubs to issue a credit check on prospective members to verify if they qualify for membership?  What clubs are doing it, if any, and what are some of the benefits/disadvantages to doing this?"

A: It is NOT a common practice to do credit checks on members. As the typical fitness club is not giving the member cash, property or collateral so there is little to “gamble on” with regard to credit worthiness.  Additionally, the club can terminate services with ease for non-payment. To me, it probably makes little sense to run credit reports for the average fitness club operation. The added expense; exposure on discrimination issues; privacy issues – all with very little potential upside seem to warrant not doing. If someone is concerned about the credit worthiness of new prospective members, one could come up with possible other ways to mitigate risk – higher enrollment fees; first and last month dues paid upon joining; knowing if they have a job; recommending credit card EFT as they would have had to have a decent credit rating to get the credit card. A lot of times, our bad debt is not an inability to pay, but a choice to not pay.  I would add that in making decisions on who can join and who cannot join and what the requirements are - it is imperative that everyone is treating fairly, legally and consistently with particular attention paid to all avoid any and all discrimination.  Please make sure your practices are legal with regard to local, state and federal laws.

Bill McBride
President & COO 
Club One 


 A: No, it is very unusual for any commercial club to engage in any credit check on a prospective member. Generally, only country clubs/golf clubs do any such verification. It is expensive and not going to yield any information about a person's ability to pay $20-$100 per month, depending on the dues rate.

Rick Caro
Management Vision, Inc. 

A: We do not issue credit checks on prospective members. I do not know of any clubs that do this, although there may be some. I do know that annually we send no more than 10 people to collections. It may be that we are located in a socio-demographic area where this is not an issue which is why we have never had to address it.

Jim Worthington
Newtown Athletic Club 

A: I have not heard of a club doing credit checks on new members although some might. The basic purpose of credit checks has typically been to protect the specific assets of a business from default by the consumer/customer. The idea is that if a customer can “hold” your asset such as a car, house, or apartment and in default “control” your asset, you then have a problem.  With health clubs this is not the case. You can simply terminate any member who fails to pay and send them to collection if you choose. To go a step further, for example,  I would always welcome 1000 credit risk members knowing that some accounts would become bad debt, while I would still enjoy the revenue of maybe 800 or 900 members who do end up being good payers.

The only exception might be the very rare club with a waiting list or very near capacity; but even then credit checks would become a barrier to the sales process and additional administrative work.

Bobby Verdun
Managing Partner
Atwood Consulting Group, LLC


What to Do if You Suspect a Member Has an Eating Disorder

Mark Stevens discusses what to do if you suspect a member has an eating disorder in this week's Best Practices.

Q: "What should I do if I suspect a member has an eating disorder?"

A: This is a very tough, and at times, controversial question to address. Some people with eating disorders are in denial and don't even realize they have a problem. Having the desire to help this person is the right decision, but you must be careful of the way you go about offering them help. You cannot force someone to get help from a professional.

If you know the person and feel comfortable approaching them, always show your concern for them and never attack them or accuse them of an eating disorder. Show your concern about the situation and direct them to someone they can talk to, possibly your registered dietitian on staff. The registered dietitian will be able to decipher if this person truly has an eating disorder and can discuss his or her options for future care.

If the situation deteriorates and becomes unhealthy for the individual, we may consult a family member.

Mark A. Stevens, Regional Director
The Houstonian Health Clubs and Spas

Editors Note: In addition to his answer, Mr. Stevens provided us with a link to an article originally published on, which can be a good resource for dealing with this very serious issue.


This post is a part of our weekly Best Practices series. We post a new question and answer every Monday morning. If you have a question you'd like our Industry Leaders to answer, submit your question today.