Member Focus Brings Profits
Anne B. McDonnell
According to Meng, Fitness One is the only fitness center in the area that has fitness floor staff members who circulate "around the workout floor specifically to help those in need and demonstrate equipment. ... Members can [also] go to any manager or the front desk and have one of our fitness floor staff paged." The facility also offers three free training sessions and one fitness assessment to every member, and Kids Klub for ages six months to 12 years old is free with membership.
In addition to the amenities that come with membership, Fitness One also offers speciality programs. Programs include an infant water survival class, Boot Kamp 4 Kids, swimming lessons for all ages, martial arts for children and adults, classes just for older adults (which is a large part of the facility's demographic) and a weight-management program that includes meetings with a nutritionist and personal training. For women, it offers Boot Camp for Chicks, which is held outside overlooking the lake.
Most of these specialty fitness services provide additional revenue for the facility. Also a profit center is its café. Fitness One is the first fitness center in the country to have a Nature's Table Café, which is open both to members and the public. Another successful profit center is the sale of gift cards. During the holiday season, Fitness One sold several thousand dollars worth of cards, which can be redeemed for any purchase that can be made in the facility, such as new memberships, personal training, apparel and café items.
When choosing programs and equipment, the combined 45 years of experience that the management team has is the facility's No. 1 resource. Says Meng, "Before opening Fitness One, our managing partner visited numerous top-rated health clubs around the country to get a feel for what the most successful clubs were offering. ... [Also,] our general manager does ongoing research on upcoming, innovative programs. ... [Finally,] member feedback is a very valuable tool in determining programs and equipment."
Accommodating members' needs and requests is part of Fitness One's philosophy. Explains Meng, "We have a couple hundred members who are 'snowbirds,' who have residences in ... the south here [in Florida] for the winter, so the winters really stay busy for us. We have a freeze policy that allows us to retain the members who leave us during the summer, which is a good selling point for us."
When marketing the facility, management focuses on its strength: customer service. "We believe if we serve our members beyond their expectations and above the competition, word-of-mouth marketing will drive our sales more than any other type of marketing. While we do some local print ads, we rely on referrals from our current member base as our primary source of marketing," Meng says.
Success for Fitness One can be seen in its numbers. Membership has grown to 3,000 members in 16 months of operation, and continues to grow each month. Its personal training department has grown every month since it opened, for a total increase in department revenue in 2007 of 250 percent. Pro shop sales (including Fitness One-branded apparel and accessories) have steadily increased, as well.
Fitness One continues to succeed because, dictated by its own business model, it must work hard every month to keep members happy. Programs, equipment, amenities and customer service all work together to create an environment that helps members succeed and keeps them coming back.
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