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Is Your Health Club Ready to Clean Up in January?

If you’re going to succeed in long-term membership growth, you need to look your best. Here’s how.

“You only have one chance to make a good first impression” is a cliché that has endured for a good reason: It’s true. And it’s one that health clubs should take to heart, especially as they prepare for the January rush.

Having a clean facility is one of the most important factors for retention. A previous IHRSA report on cleanliness stated it plainly: “Dollar for dollar, cleanliness might be the most powerful tool to maximize member satisfaction, member retention, and average revenue per member in the club.”

“Having a clean facility is one of the most important factors for retention.”

The data backs this up. According to IHRSA research, 90% of members say they were more likely to renew their membership if their facility was clean. And it’s not just your locker room. Keeping the perimeter of your facility spotless is critical to your club’s brand. For 10% of members who have recently quit a gym, the unclean environment of the entire club contributed to their decision to terminate their membership.

Facility hygiene also plays a major factor in a person’s decision to join. Brian Kosa, general manager at the Cherry Hill Health & Racquet Club, says that “on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the highest, the impact that a clean club has on a member’s decision to join is a 10.” And John Craig, brand development director at Planet Fitness, stresses that “the cleanliness of our club is generally the first or second comment a prospect will mention during a facility tour.”

Other industries have found similar consumer concerns about cleanliness in the establishments they visit. According to Retail News Insider, “Nearly a quarter of all shoppers say they shop at a competitor versus their local grocery store due to cleanliness issues.” And a survey by Cintas found that “95% of consumer would avoid an establishment in the future if they found the restroom to be dirty.”

Of all the market pressures out of your control—and they seem to grow by the day—cleanliness is completely under your control. Your investment in housekeeping and facilities matters.

Five Reasons to Spruce Up for the January Rush

Making a first impression to numerous new prospects is exactly what you’re doing in January. All of those New Year’s specials, coupons, advertising, social media marketing, and other expenses to bring in new members will be wasted if your locker room and perimeter looks like a germ-infested mess.

Here are five reasons why you need to clean up your act before the January rush.

  1. A clean health club is especially important to women. While all demographics believe cleanliness is important, hygiene is essential for female members. Tracey Wakeen, owner of the Momentum Female Health & Fitness Club, in Mechanicsburg, PA, suggests that hygienic and clean locker rooms for women are a matter of dignity. “A clean, beautiful locker room is our way of showing respect. We provide a space where women can put themselves first, feel great about where they are in their health journey, and walk out of the club ready to take on the rest of their day.”
  2. A cleaner club will impress former members. One of the most fertile areas of recruitment for the January push is former members who quit but still live in the area. A cleaner, more pleasing environment may help convince them to give your club another try. After somebody breaks up with, you always increase your chances of a reconciliation if you look better than ever.
  3. You’ll reduce the spread of harmful germs. Last year was the longest flu season in a decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and chances are that the upcoming year will be just as bad. Flu season peaks between December and February, and you’ll want to do everything possible to keep your members from spreading germs. Having dispensers with antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizers, and other cleaning products readily available will help.
  4. A “clean-first” policy will keep your staff focused and productive. One of the attributes of successful clubs is a staff dedicated to brand enhancement at all times. That means every employee—trainers, front-desk staff, managers—should clean up when they see a problem. A clean workplace also increases productivity. A study by architect and design firm HLW International found that a clean office led to a 5% gain in employee productivity. This is key when staff needs to accommodate all of the new prospects coming through the door in January.
  5. Housekeeping is a cost-effective investment. Supplies and janitorial staff are a fixed cost that usually amounts to 2-3% of overall operating expenses. That’s a minor investment in what can produce a big payoff. Buying highly rated cleaning products and ensuring your janitorial staff is well-managed should be a key consideration of your leadership.

The Right Tools to Clean Up

With facility hygiene so important to building and retaining membership, you need cleaning supplies and services that do the job in high-traffic environments. This is where Diversey comes in. Diversey has 95 years of experience in delivering revolutionary cleaning and hygiene technologies to facilities, hospitals, and retail and food businesses. By taking a customer-centric approach, Diversey understands that a clean facility enhances human capital and gives your brand greater prestige with your members.

Diversey’s “Internet of Clean” philosophy integrates chemicals, machines, and sustainability programs to work with your staff in generating the highest levels of club hygiene possible. Some of their notable products include:

  • IntelliCare Dispensers. These aesthetically pleasing dispensers can switch seamlessly from automatic to manual as it dispenses soap and sanitizer to staff and members.
  • SoftCare Hand Sanitizing Wipes. These alcohol-free wipes are perfect for members to wipe down equipment and sanitize their hands easily and efficiently.

Diversey’s green policies are perfect for brands seeking to project a reputation for sustainability, which is important to today’s consumers, especially Millennials. And the company also offers robotics and other advanced technologies that will help you deal with the January rush, which, hopefully, will lead to a busier and more successful club year-round.

For more information on Diversey’s range of services and products, visit their website today.

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Jim Schmaltz

Jim Schmaltz is a contributor to IHRSA.org