Locker Room Products and Amenities
YOU'VE HEARD IT before, but it bears repeating: The state of your locker rooms can make or break a potential new member's decision to buy a membership. Therefore, you want to keep your locker rooms clean, in good working order and as attractive as your budget allows.
Members also appreciate amenities: soaps, lotions, towels, hairdryers -- any convenience you can give them will be a perk. After all, it's one less thing to carry in their gym bag, and one more way you can show your members you care about their convenience. It's also a nice way to earn some extra income, if you choose products your members like that you can sell to them.
Sell what works
The World Gym Express of Fairfax, a boutique fitness center in Fairfax, Va., has a wonderful facility with clean, well-appointed locker rooms filled with flowers, mouthwash, hairdryers, soap and shampoo in the shower, and more. To earn additional revenue, owners Scott and Sharron Gryzbowski also sell a line of skincare products. The Gryzbowskis found a product line that worked well for them, and decided to share it with their members at a convenient place where members can take the time after a workout to pamper themselves. The Gryzbowskis buy these products wholesale, and then place them in an attractive basket on the sink counter tops so that members can try them if they choose. It's a soft sell that works well.
These "for sale" items aren't all they offer. "We provide affordable luxuries for our locker rooms," says Sharron. "We buy spray bottles of deodorant ... [and] we also provide shaving cream and razors. ... Our clients love them!"
The skincare product line was a natural progression for the Gryzbowskis. "After exercising and working hard to look and feel better, people generally start taking better care of themselves in other ways, too, like taking better care of their skin," says Sharron. "We just facilitate that by offering great products at affordable prices." Offering a product you believe in and one you use yourself can only be a good thing.
Take-home locker room amenities
Fitness facilities can turn locker room amenities into profit centers in a variety of ways. For instance, your fitness center's sauna will attract new members as a relaxing way to soothe sore muscles after a workout. That's a fact. Some of those new clients will have home saunas (and with the increase in luxurious home fitness centers and bathrooms, these clients are becoming more commonplace). By providing luxurious products for your sauna/spa experience, you will be able to sell your products for use in your client's home. You can even make your profit center more special by personalizing the products with your fitness center's name on the packaging. There are plenty of products that offer this special packaging.
You don't have to stop at products to put on the skin or in the spa. Embroidered bathrobes, after-shower hair wraps, towels for use during a workout and more can all advertise your fitness center and its personalized touch in both your fitness center and your clients' homes.
Reminding your clients of the pleasant experience they had at your fitness center is a wonderful idea. You'll find these specialized products at trade shows and in the Products and Services section at www.fitnessmanagement.com.
No expense spared -- or is it?
The Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz, N.Y., just opened a luxurious spa and incorporated not only the best in treatments, but the best in locker room amenities. Spa Director Holly Beckwith, who has worked at some of the finest spas in the world, was sure to include her favorite amenity, learned from her years in Malaysia and Mexico: An antique bowl filled with ice, and small bowls of iced cucumber slices and bottles of organic lemon grass chamomile spritzer. This treat, found in the women's locker room opposite the steam room and sauna, provides a wonderful and luxurious touch. The men have their luxuries, too: a large TV so they can watch sports.
The great thing about the ice bowl is that, while it is such a wonderful treat after a hot steam or sauna, it is inexpensive to offer. Beckwith found a pretty, large bowl at a nearby flea market and filled it with ice. That's it! Of course, if you use this idea, you want to be sure the cucumbers are always fresh and the spritz bottles are always full. Add a few fluffy towels, some ice water and glasses, and you have a nice vignette your members will love! (If you are going for luxury but can't use glass glasses, at least use clear plastic ones.)
When choosing what specialty amenities to offer your clientele, Beckwith suggests focusing on the area in which you are located. For instance, in warmer climates, such as when she worked in Malaysia and Mexico, a nice but necessary amenity was talcum powder and talc-based foot sprays. However, in the mountains, where she now works, she found that the Mohonk Red Witch Hazel tree, an indigenous species, could be the signature ingredient of several spa treatments. The products used in these spa treatments are also sold in their retail shop. Also, the Mohonk region is very rocky, and with that rock, Beckwith creates pumice stones for body treatments. Thoughtful niceties like these contribute to a guest's pleasure and to your bottom line.
Mohonk completes the experience by selling robes and slippers, and offering Essential Elements products offered at no charge in the locker rooms -- all with the Mohonk logo.
Corporate fitness amenities
If you work at a corporate, hotel or other type of site where fees are not charged for membership or amenities, that doesn't mean that amenities aren't equally appreciated. Even free fitness centers, if not well-run, will not see business. That's why the SAS Institute Inc., Cary, N.C., provides free fitness classes, pool facilities, salons and massage therapists for employees, spouses and domestic partners. There is a nominal fee charge for the salon and massage services, but the fee is equal to what the contractor charges.
SAS fitness managers make sure that what they offer, whether product amenity or service amenity, is top-notch. Pam Cole, assistant manager of the Recreation and Fitness Center, says that, the more SAS can keep their employees on campus by providing a wealth of necessary services -- and services of the finest quality -- the better for the employee and for SAS. More convenience means less hassle (which means more time at work!).
SAS' locker rooms (and there are many in four different recreation and fitness buildings, and on remote buildings on campus) have towels for both showers and pools, a bathing suit dryer for the locker rooms attached to the pool, soap, shampoo, hair dryers, saunas and steam rooms. The company also give employees permanent, complimentary lockers.
The women's locker room has a women-only private workout area, complete with strength and cardio equipment. This is important for women who may not want to exercise in front of men, and also important for a company with a multi-cultural workforce where men viewing women exercising in shorts and T-shirts may be inappropriate. This special amenity is appreciated and used by many, and it's another way SAS makes sure its employees are happy and healthy.
Amenities for every budget
Whether you charge for amenities or not, make sure that what you offer is the best you can afford. Cole recommends starting with locker rooms of adequate space for your membership size. Also, offer big lockers so people don't have to stuff their gym bags inside, and provide a hanging area for clothes. Offer plenty of stools and benches for comfort, as well.
On top of that, the sky is the limit with what you can offer, provided it is within your budget. "At first, it is difficult determining what supplies cost and what cost of sales you can expect," says Beckwith. Mohonk Mountain House works off an expected occupancy percentage to budget its future costs and revenue. You can do the same to budget your locker room amenities by determining to what membership capacity your fitness center is filled, and what percentage of people use your amenities.
Beckwith also uses industry guidelines for her planning. She likes the organization ISPA (www.experienceispa.com), which also has some fitness information and statistics to share.
Your locker rooms can sell themselves. There are plenty of great products out there to attract members and that are attractive to your bottom line. Start with a great locker room, and offer products you believe in and that your clients may try at no charge. Add a little marketing so they'll know they can enjoy that same experience in the comfort of their own home, and watch your revenue grow.
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