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

Welcome to the IHRSA Blog

The Online Home of news.

Blog Home |  Subscribe to our RSS Feed

Entries in Netpulse (15)


How Boom Fitness Earned $8,000 from Their Mobile App

This is an associate feature post, sponsored by Netpulse.

A health club mobile app can quickly become a fitness facility’s most productive sales tool. From getting referrals and converting prospects into members, to promoting PT sales, the most successful clubs are using their mobile app to generate real revenue.

Continue reading "How Boom Fitness Earned $8,000 from Their Mobile App."

Click to read more ...


This Week in the Fitness Industry: UM Holdings Acquires Majority Equity Position in Gym Source

UM Holdings Acquires Majority Equity Position in Gym Source
Gym Source announced today that UM Holdings Ltd has acquired a majority equity position in Gym Source, the nation’s oldest and largest distributor of high end fitness equipment. UM is owned by John Aglialoro, former chairman of Cybex International. Aglialoro will join Richard Miller, Gym Source’s founder and CEO, to leverage the company’s leadership position to grow, both organically and through acquisition. “John Aglialoro is well known in our industry as a dynamic and creative leader,” Miller said in a release. “We share the same position to expand the Gym Source footprint and to bring the company’s fitness expertise to homes, health clubs, multi-unit housing and other fitness facilities across the country.” Read Gym Source’s full press release on the UM Holdings Ltd acquisition.

IHRSA Represents at Club Industry Show 2016 

Several IHRSA staff, board members, and advocates are attending the Club Industry Show in Chicago this week. Annbeth Eschbach, our first woman board chair and founder and CEO of Exhale Enterprises, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Allison Flatley, chief strategy officer of Corporate Fitness Works and IHRSA board member, spoke on a panel with Brent Darden, CEO of Brent Darden Consulting, and Bill McBride, president and CEO of Active Wellness and BMC3, covering a range of topics pertaining to leadership. If you’re attending, be sure to stop by the IHRSA booth (booth 110) at the trade show, which is open until 2 p.m. today. 

Only One Month Left to Apply for IHRSA 2017 Awards

Don't miss the November 11 deadline to apply for the following IHRSA awards, which will be presented during IHRSA 2017, March 8-11 in Los Angeles. The Woman Leader Award is in honor of Julie Main, whose tenacious drive and unbreakable spirit was an inspiration to all who knew her. IHRSA celebrates Julie's legacy by offering the Woman Leader Award—including a scholarship to attend the annual International Convention & Trade Show—to a woman who exemplifies Julie's qualities of leadership and drive. The Outstanding Community Service Award recognizes an IHRSA club that has made a longstanding commitment to making a difference in and beyond their community. Learn more and download the applications on the IHRSA awards page. The deadline to apply is November 11, 2016. 

Netpulse Announces Lead Sharing Integration with InTouch Technology
Netpulse, a health club mobile app provider, announced Wednesday that its mobile platform now integrates with InTouch Technology’s lead management solution. The integration enables health clubs to automatically track mobile referrals and guest passes by seamlessly creating and updating leads in the club’s sales management system. This initiates customized prospect follow-up and reminders for the club’s sales team, which decreases the chance of missed sales opportunities. “Netpulse is the clear industry leader for creating mobile apps for clubs, so we felt that it was important for our customers to continue expanding our integration and relationship with them,” said Dana Milkie, president and CEO of InTouch Technology. “Digital lead generation via mobile apps is a priority for sales departments in health clubs. Netpulse and InTouch Technology customers will immediately benefit from a stronger lead management solution.” Read the full Netpulse press release on its InTouch Technology integration.


What Can Wearables Do for Your Health Club Members?

You may think you are familiar with wearables, those tracking devices that nearly everyone and their mother-in-law seem to be sporting on their wrists these days.

But do you really understand what they—and the mobile fitness apps that work with them—can do for you, your members, and your club?

Rythm's Dreem

You’re probably aware that smartwatches, such as Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone, and the Apple Watvh, can count a user’s stops and track the distance they travel. Some can monitor a person’s heart rate, and, using global positioning system (GPS) technology, can map walks, runs, and other activities, generating a wealth of data about their fitness level—or lack thereof.

But if that is all you know, then you may be missing out.

Depending on a wearable/app package to do little more than amass data is a thing of the past. Using them to effect lifestyle change—now that’s the wave of the future.

Think of it as “Wearables 2.0”.

“In the past, wearables have been primarily focused on tracking. The thought was that providing data and making people aware of it was going to prompt behavior change,” says Michael Rucker, the vice president of technology for Active Wellness, based in Sausalito, CA. “Now we know that we need to present data in a more meaningful way.”

In his capacity with Active Wellness, Rucker oversees the digital strategies for the company’s 10 Active Sports Clubs, as well as its corporate wellness partners.

You may be thinking, “Wearables 2.0? I haven’t yet begun to think about Wearables 1.0.”

If so, you’re not alone.

That’s such a common predicament that, recently, IHRSA devoted an entire Webinar to the topic. The title: “Wearables 2.0: Leveraging the Evolution of Digital Health Technology for Fun and Profit.”

The presentation, led by Rucker, was designed to help club operators maximize the potential of these devices, and the need for it quickly became apparent. When polled, 63% of the participants said they were exploring the use of wearables; 20% indicated that they were using wearables via a club-based program; and 10% said they were collecting data from them.

In case you missed this informative and illuminating event, CBI spoke with Rucker to find out more about how your club can use these devices to effect real behavior change, and, in the process, have a positive impact on virtually every aspect of your business.

Continue reading "What Can Wearables Do for Your Health Club Members?"

Click to read more ...


A Dying Breed: Mobile vs Desktop

This is an associate feature post, sponsored by Netpulse.

Consumer behavior is changing. Not too long ago desktops and laptops were the only way to stay connected to the online world. For clubs, that meant creating websites that were optimized for desktop consumption. Members had to be at home or work to log online and register for classes, update their account information, or email their club.

But all this has changed...

Mobile Has Taken Over Desktop

With nearly two-thirds of American owning smartphones, consumers are shifting away from desktops and trending towards mobile phone usage. According to a 2014 report by internet analytics company comScore, time spent on mobile apps has risen over 50% while time spent on desktops has remained relatively flat. In fact, this rise signals that today's consumers are spending more time on mobile than they are on desktops.

Furthermore, when looking at which device sees the most internet usage on a per-day basis, mobile has significantly overtaken desktop, 51% to 42% in 2015.

With consumers spending more of their day on their mobile devices rather than on computers, it is forcing businesses to optimize their services for mobile. Many functions and activities that were previously considered to be more fitting for the desktop are now being shifted towards mobile.

For example, the Local Search Association reported that in 2015 mobile has overtaken desktop in searches for local information and 60% of adults now typically choose smartphones or tablets over PCs to find information before buying. Whether to make dinner reservations or purchase the latest best-selling novel, consumers are more regularly turning to their smartphone over their computer.

In the future, BIA/Kelsey, a media and advertising agency, is forecasting that mobile search will continue to increase exponentially while desktop search will actually decline. It's more clear than ever: the future is mobile.

Continue reading A Dying Breed: Mobile vs Desktop.

Click to read more ...


CBI: How to Use Push Notifications to Pull in More Business

Smartphones have become ubiquitous around the globe, enabling savvy health club owners to promote their business in the palms of consumers’ hands using push notifications.

Push Notification Basics

Push notifications refers to any message or alert that’s sent to a smartphone or tablet user via an app or a text message, the most common form of notification. When the phone is turned on or taken out of sleep mode, a small, red, numerical “badge” will appear, which signals there are unopened text messages. Most phones also have a feature that presents the sender’s name or phone number, and a portion of the text message, on the face of the phone.

Another common function is an alert that notifies users of an appointment or event. A smartphone’s calendar creates a “pop-up reminder” that remains on the screen until the user acknowledges receipt. Apps have these same features.

When to Send

The two questions that operators ask most frequently are, “How often should I send out notifications so members don’t opt out of them?” and, “At what time of day should I send them?”

App developers such as the San Francisco–based Netpulse suggest that two to three notifications per week represent the tipping point at which you’ll begin to get opt-outs, but the operators CBI interviewed for this article are taking a much more cautious approach. Except in unusual circumstances, none of them are sending more than one notification per week.

Kim Kenyon, the managing partner of Gold’s Gym in Dutchess County, NY, which operates two clubs north of New York City, uses her app to deliver various and sundry messages to her members.

“Notifications about snow days, new classes, new trainers, and open houses are the most common type of messages, and we’ve had no complaints,” she said. “In fact, with all the weather issues we had last year in the Northeast, our members appreciated any updates about club hours or conditions that impacted their usage.”

For more push notification strategies, including demographic targeting, personalization, and driving app usage, read the full “Engage, Don’t Enrage” article in the December issue of CBI


Introducing: The Club Connectivity Score

This post is sponsored by Netpulse:

As the commercial fitness industry has grown increasingly competitive, club operators have been pressured to innovate in order to compete and stay relevant. To  quote my friend Neil Tejwani  of GymIt, “the old bag of tricks doesn’t work anymore.” Indeed, the days of just stocking a club with machines, keeping it clean and sending a direct mail piece to drive walk-ins just doesn’t cut it anymore.

The popularity of the low-price, high-value model has attracted many new competitors to the fitness market. Combined with the rapidly expanding studio market and competitive pressures from ClassPass, the health club industry has entered a challenging but exciting position to grow and succeed by leveraging innovation and technology.

Now that clubs are adopting technology, how do we measure progress? It requires a new metric, so we’re excited to share The Club Connectivity Score. This score is calculated based on how many technology tools a club is leveraging. The more tech-driven a club is, the higher the score.

Learn more about how to calculate your Club Connectivity Score.

Click to read more ...


Bearable Wearables

The latest fitness craze is not CrossFit or functional training, or group exercise classes involving drums or ballet barres. And it isn’t about crunching abs. In reality, it’s more about crunching numbers.

The latest, fastest-growing, and, potentially, most disruptive trend is the explosion of so-called wearables: small, sophisticated, and mobile devices that can, among other things, count steps, track movement, and analyze sleep patterns for users with impressive accuracy. Analyzing data has become one of the most popular pastimes for fitness-minded folks.
The implications for health clubs?
Significant, yes.
Understood—not very well, quite yet.
The industry currently resides on the lower steps of the wearables learning curve.

An estimated 21% of the U.S. population currently owns a wearable

device, according to a recent report from Pricewaterhouse Coopers—that’s one out of every five citizens, or some 67 million people ... And another study puts the number at one in four.

Among the most popular devices is the Apple Watch, released in April, which offers a tempting assortment of health-and-fitness activity and tracking features. Also in great demand are dedicated fitness and activity trackers, such as the Fitbit product line, Jawbone’s UP activity trackers, and the Microsoft Band. Worn on the wrist or clipped to one’s clothing, these units can track factors such as the user’s physical movements, sleep rhythms, calories burned, and heart-rate function. Other wearables make use of earbuds, heart-rate belts, and even skin patches.

The data generated is generally delivered via a Website or mobile app, allowing users to set activity goals, detect patterns over time, monitor food intake, and make appropriate lifestyle modifications. In many cases, wearables also can be used to share results or engage in friendly competitions with friends owning the same brand of device.

Bottom line, wearables can quantify a user’s movement and dining activity; motivate them to move more and eat more wisely; set exercise and nutrition goals; and create a supportive, healthy-lifestyle social circle.

It’s easy to see why some club operators view this popular, and rapidly morphing, technology as the new competitive kid on the block. If someone can obtain all of this information, guidance, and service from a $99 device, why would they want to pay $99 a month for a club membership?

That’s the as-yet-unenlightened response to the advent of wearables.

However, the experts that CBI queried agree that anyone with that mindset is looking at wearables the wrong way. In fact, this technology, they say, could prove to be a boon for the industry.


Read More

Click to read more ...


Introducing the Member Profile Formula

This post is sponsored by Netpulse:

Are all of your members the same? Absolutely NOT! Understanding member profiles is the next big thing for the fitness industry. This means using data to understand exactly who your members are, what they care about most and how to keep them retained, engaged and purchasing additional services from your club. On the surface it may sound complicated, but creating member profiles can actually be quite simple.

Learn more about the Member Profile Formula.

Click to read more ...


The "Psychology" of Small Groups

Have you ever wondered what, exactly, attracts people to small-group training (SGT), and why the approach has become so popular in recent years?

SGT is proliferating in clubs and studios across the country, manufacturers are creating SGT programs for their equipment, and, as a result, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has designated small-group personal training one of the top 10 exercise trends for 2015.

No doubt, each club member has their own reason(s) for participating, which might include, among others, its cost-effectiveness, the support they obtain from the trainer, and the camaraderie and motivation provided by other participants.

But, regardless of why someone initially joins a group, smart trainers will do whatever they can to understand the psyches of both their individual SGT clients and the group as a whole, in order to deliver the ultimate exercise experience. That way, their students will continue to come back for more and are likely to refer their friends.

While it’s not easy, it’s possible—with a little extra thought and attention to individual and group dynamics—to understand the emotional/psychological dimension of SGT better.

To start, it’s important to keep in mind that, no matter the size of the group, the end goal for each participant is the same––achieving success. Results can be measured in any number of ways, but the first priority is to determine what each person really wants, as well as what they don’t want, from the experience. The trainer then utilizes that personal, individual information to inform and shape the group format, to provide the experience that members seek and expect.

Read more

Click to read more ...


New Club Metric: Engagement Rate and 5 Easy Ways to Measure It

This post is sponsored by Netpulse:

The old way of 'stock a club with equipment, keep it clean, and retain memberships' is dead.

Competition is fierce, costs are increasing and there are more non-traditional options, like ClassPass. Keeping members and selling them additional services, like PT, pro shop merchandise and supplements requires more than the old-school greeting at the door and nurture phone call twice a year.

Today’s members need to be engaged beyond the front desk. Engagement in the fitness industry is now a far more holistic process, that happens both in and out of the club.

The Member Engagement Formula

Engaged member = participation + social reinforcement + additional purchases

Historically, we measured member engagement as “active members,” i.e. those who check-in to the club regularly. That’s old-school. Now, members that are engaged are associating your club’s brand with their fitness goals. That may mean they are participating in club programs, purchasing additional services and viewing the club as an important part of their fitness-social life.

For a club to have engaged members, you need to be associated with their workouts, whenever and wherever they happen.

Learn 5 ways to execute on that and measure results.

Click to read more ...