Key Operational Questions Before Reopening Your Health Club [LIST]

We’ve put together a list of key questions to consider as you begin to navigate your operational strategy when opening your business following COVID-19 closures.

Updated October 27, 2020.

As countries slowly begin the process of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s time to plan how you’re going to resume operations once you’re allowed to open your doors. It’s unlikely that many of your processes will operate as they were before; some will be eliminated entirely, and new processes will become necessary. This can sound like a massive undertaking, but with planning and a solid strategy, you can position your club to reopen, rebuild, and thrive.

Since the original version of this article was published, we have developed some critical resources to help your club stay open/reopen in addition to the key questions below. These include:

We’ve put together a list of key questions and items to consider as you begin to navigate your operational strategy when opening your business following COVID-19 closures.

What areas of your facility will need attention following an extended closure? Consider:

  • Full deep cleaning/disinfection needed from closures, in addition to COVID-19 cleaning
  • Revisions to entryways and traffic flow to accommodate safe distancing
  • Reconfigure equipment: reposition or remove of machines, weights, mats etc.
  • Swimming pools, spas, sauna, and steam room: Check drainage, moisture, tiles, etc. Check out more details here.
  • Examine your HVAC systems and utilities to determine necessary changes in usage.

What technical operations will need review? Plan to:

How will your staffing levels change once you reopen? You should:

What updates, upgrades, or new digital systems will help manage your club operations? Think about how you can:

How will you structure your marketing strategy to capture and engage members after reopening? Some next steps:

  • Review use of digital marketing and media platforms used
  • Review and expand target markets to attract a universal fully inclusive market
  • Post images that promote new club changes
  • Share content that supports physical activity as a benefit to healthier immune systems and improved mental health
  • Partner with local businesses (schools, charities, restaurants, etc.) to increase your impact on your community

What does the future of your programming look like? Consider ways to:

What changes will need to be made to membership sales and service? Plan to:

  • Consider incentives for loyal members who remained active during closure
  • Explore new membership categories, incorporating virtual offerings, and limited club amenities
  • Re-evaluate your new member onboarding process—move meetings, orientations, and even club tours to virtual models if possible
  • Update waiver/liability clause and contracts if necessary

What planning can you do now to grow and protect your business in the future? Consider how to:

  • Create a structured plan for the possibility of a pandemic resurgence and subsequent future closures or increased restrictions
  • Review floor plans and the possibility of reintroducing equipment
  • Strategize increased class capacity as safety guidelines allow
  • Continually review membership and pricing structures as operations grow and change
  • Hybrid memberships or “phygital"

There may seem like an infinite number of things to consider as you navigate through an unprecedented situation, but we hope that by answering these questions you will be able to reopen your health club with a solid foundation and a well-thought-out plan to get your business up and running again.

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This article was a team effort by several IHRSA experts.