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Entries in Stevenson Fitness (13)


How Your Gym’s Cancellation Policy Impacts the Member Experience

This post is an IHRSA Institute preview.

Today’s health club market is in a state of constant flux. It seems like every week there’s a new workout trend or must-have fitness technology, and it’s near impossible for independent clubs to keep up.  

On the bright side, your club is poised to deliver a competitive advantage that will never go out of style: a phenomenal member experience.

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Stevenson Fitness’ Small Group Cycling Goes Head-to-Head with Boutiques

When Stevenson Fitness first began offering small group training a few years back, it was an emerging trend. Throughout the industry, clubs were promoting small group classes in order to supplement one-on-one personal training sessions, and Stevenson Fitness leadership saw an opportunity. 

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This Week in the Fitness Industry: Les Mills US Provides Group Training Education via ClubConnect

Les Mills US Provides Group Training Education via ClubConnect
Les Mills US has signed on as a ClubConnect Education Partner, which will enable fitness professionals at more than 4,500 health clubs to learn the latest workouts with the click of a button. As of Thursday, health clubs that use the ClubConnect software will get access to the Les Mills “Tips and Tricks” videos of each of the 12 Les Mills programs, including how to teach BODYPUMP 101, BODYCOMBAT 71, CXWORX 26, GRIT 20 and RPM 74. These videos will help current instructors teach the newest Les Mills releases each quarter. “Les Mills is seen as one of the top leaders in the group training industry,” Jason Davis, President of ClubConnect, said in a release. “I’m excited that they have put their education onto ClubConnect so that it will be seen by fitness professionals who work at the world’s largest and most successful health clubs. By including their education on ClubConnect, fitness professionals at over 4,500 locations will have 24/7 access to their best in class content.

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Growing Your Gym’s Group Exercise Program

The following post was written Marisa Hoff, general manager of Stevenson Fitness, for our Best Practices series.

Question: We’d like to grow our group exercise program. Any thoughts on how we should go about doing that?

That’s a good question, as some larger clubs with many group exercise formats are having a hard time competing with the growing number of studios.

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5 Ways to Step Up Your Gym's Group Exercise Game

Group exercise, or "group X," has become a staple at boutique studios. You can avoid losing market share—or even make gains—by reviewing your health club's group exercise program and making these five simple adjustments. 

1. Ask your members what they want. Frequent surveys are the best way to keep tabs on your members' needs.

"What owners think members want and like isn't necessarily the case," Marisa Hoff, general manager for Stevenson Fitness in Oak Park, CA, said in a recent IHRSA blog post. "You have to continue to survey; that will allow you to keep your programming fresh and cater to the needs of the members."

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Why You Should Turn Your Health Club Employees into Followers

This post is part of our Session Spotlight series, previewing just some of the extensive education that will feature at IHRSA 2017, March 8-11 in Los Angeles.

Is your health club staff as driven and productive even when management isn’t around?

If the answer isn’t a resounding ‘yes,’ your employees likely view themselves as subordinates.

“Subordinates may or may not do what you want them to do,” says Chris Stevenson, owner and founder of Stevenson Fitness in Oak Park, CA. “I always hear people say at night [after] the manager leaves nothing gets done. So you can’t be successful with subordinates.”

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Train Your Group X Staff to Create a Boutique Studio Experience 

This post is part of our Session Spotlight series, previewing just some of the extensive education that will feature at IHRSA 2017, March 8-11 in Los Angeles.   

Ask any boutique studio member what they like about the experience and they’ll likely tell you the same reasons: the classes feel personalized, instructors foster a sense of community, and the workouts deliver results. 

And it doesn’t hurt that they’re trendy. 

Improving Group X Experience Will Boost Retention 

“There are a lot of different aspects to boutique studios’ popularity, but I think the first and foremost is they provide a real social [and] community aspect to the experience, and people are really looking for that these days,” says Marisa Hoff, general manager for Stevenson Fitness in Oak Park, CA. “We’re not a big-box club, but I’d imagine the bigger gyms have a hard time providing that personal experience. When people seek out Soul Cycle and Orangetheory, they’re in a place that feels like home and it’s really appealing to a lot of people.” 

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Skilled Instructors are Integral to Running a Successful Group Exercise Program

Are you maximizing the ROI on your group exercise classes?

Research by IHRSA and others documents how important group-ex is to members and, in turn, to member satisfaction. According to IHRSA, a remarkable 90% of all exercisers prefer to work out in groups rather than on their own. And The Retention People (TRP), a Woodbury, New York–based provider of customer experience management (CEM) software and services, reports that group offerings reduce the risk of cancellation by 26%—possibly because the people who take part in classes visit the club more frequently than those who are equipment-centric.

Think an impressive array of new, well-maintained, high-tech cardio and strength machines is the key to success?

Well, you might want to think again.

If there’s one word that sums up the power of group-ex, it might well be engagement.

Classes, whether small or large, low- or high- impact, relaxed or high-intensity, produce an ambience marked by camaraderie, cooperation, encouragement, and friendly competition, creating a strong sense of community.

Instructors Are the Essence of a Group Program

Although many group-ex programs may look the same or share the same name, in reality, the instructor defines each class, shaping it in their own image. Even pre-choreographed sessions, such as those offered by Les Mills, vary somewhat, depending on the leader’s personality and style.

“Instructors are the essence of a group program,” said Aida Johnson-Rapp, the group-ex director at the premium East Bank Club in Chicago, which stages 216 classes a week. “They have to have the qualities of a performer; the skills and knowledge to deliver safe, effective classes that members enjoy; and the ability to produce results.”

No matter how trendy your classes are, your success rests,
ultimately, on the shoulders of certified professionals who are enthusiastic about service and helping others enjoy exercise.

“The instructors are the heartbeat, the air, the sunshine—basically, the life—of the program,” said Dori Nugent, the group-ex director at Club La Maison, in Wayne, PA. “Instructors who can create magic in the studio—they’re priceless.”

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Top 3 Strategies to Improve Your Health Club’s Group Exercise Experience

Perhaps the biggest takeaway for health clubs from the increasing prevalence of boutique fitness studios is that the market is hungry for personalized group exercise experiences. 

Unfortunately, the group X program is frequently an overlooked aspect of running a successful fitness facility. But, when managed properly it can increase revenue, referrals, and member retention, making it a key element to the club’s overall success. 

Marisa Hoff, general manager for Stevenson Fitness in Oak Park, CA, will teach health club owners and operators strategies to make the most out of their group X program in IHRSA’s Thursday, July 14 webinar, "Engage & Retain with Innovative Group X Programs." 

Here are Hoff’s top three things club owners should do to improve their group X experience. 

1. Provide Ongoing Member Experience Training for Staff 

Of course, all great group X programs are contingent on hiring great staff—but the work doesn’t stop there. 

“You need to continue to work with them to ensure they’re doing everything they can to create a memorable experience in the classroom,” Hoff says. “During the webinar, I’ll offer lots of tips and tools owners can use to train their staff to do so.” 

2. Make Each Group X Format a Unique Experience 

Many of your club’s group X classes may take place in the same room, but that doesn’t mean they should look or feel the same. Differentiating between classes in this way helps to create a sense of community among members, which the club can foster using social media groups. 

“At Stevenson Fitness, we try to create communities in each format, and one way to do that is to create smaller social media groups” Hoff says. “We also make each format its own special experience; for Zoomba we dim the lights, boot camp is about the grid. We use lighting and different techniques, like candles, to make each format feel totally different from the next so it’s not just one big empty classroom.” 

3. Listen to What Your Members Are Telling You 

“Always listen to your members and engage with them to get their opinion and feedback on a regular basis,” she says. “What owners think members want and like isn’t necessarily the case—you have to continue to survey; that will allow you to keep your programming fresh and cater to the needs of the members.” 

Hoff’s webinar will go in-depth on each of these elements and more. The webinar’s learning objectives include: 

  • Identify the key factors to look for when hiring and interviewing potential instructors.
  • Explore the importance of the group exercise manager's role and the primary responsibilities for that position.
  • Gain insight into how to best design a studio or classroom.
  • Discover important elements for schedule design and balance.
  • Obtain tips on how to design systems in order to maximize the role of the instructor in increasing member engagement.  

“Attendees will leave with some very tangible practices for what to do from hiring to making sure you’re doing ongoing training with your staff,” she says. “I’ll also share actionable strategies that we use at Stevenson Fitness to create a memorable class experience with group X and make sure we keep our programming fresh and innovative. People will come away with tangible strategies they can implement right away—they’re not expensive and the're easy to implement.”

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Boost Member Engagement, Retention with IHRSA's May 12 Webinar

When members first join a health club they can be a little wary. New members are often out of shape, and many made the decision to join a gym because a physician’s or family member’s advice. 

“A lot of times, people don’t come in to your health club for the most positive reasons,” says Chris Stevenson, owner and founder of Stevenson Fitness in Oak Park, CA. “They’ve driven by your facility 100 times and, for some reason, that day they decide to go in and you sell them a membership—make them part of your family. And since they’re skeptical and deconditioned, they don’t know what to do—they’re lost. So ultimately our goal isn’t to sell a membership—it’s to help people get healthier. And when they don’t get that guidance right off the bat, the odds of them continuing are very slim.” 

Stevenson will share proven tactics to help members receive that guidance in his Thursday, May 12 webinar, “Member Engagement: The Key to Retention.” 

“Onboarding is one way we engage with members to make sure they’ll become long-term members, and then we also have ways we track member use,” he says. “If we see a dramatic change in use—if someone hasn’t been in in a while—we flag them and encourage them to come back in.” 

Another retention method Stevenson employs is getting members involved in group exercise or some ancillary services, like personal training or small group training.  

  • During the hour-long webinar, Stevenson will help attendees: 
  • Discover the importance of on boarding members properly.
  • Explore the key strategies to keeping members consistently active and involved at your club.
  • Learn how to develop key tactics to use group X and other ancillary services as retention tools.
  • Review strategic practices to use social media to drive engagement and retention.
  • Learn how to plan diverse events to appeal to your different demographics.

“Diverse member engagement is the ultimate key to retention and keeping people for a long period of time,” he says. “The way competition is popping up left and right, retention might mean members have multiple memberships… The more levels people are engaged with us, the better retention is.”

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