• Despite Discomfort, We're Intrigued By Enhancement Fees

    by Rob Bishop January 2013

    To charge a fee, or not to charge a fee, that is the question. Enhancement fees - one-time annual charges collected from every member of a health club ...

  • 'End Tables' Achieve Separation Between Fitness Equipment

    by Andrew Cohen November 2012

    Fitness equipment is placed in rows because it is space efficient, and because the symmetry of the view helps alleviate the sense of clutter.

  • American Health Clubs Contemplate a Move Toward European-Style Design

    by Andrew Cohen October 2012

    There are all sorts of exercisers, all sorts of health clubs and all sorts of countries. So forgive the many generalizations that follow.

  • Blog: An Impressive Opening to the Technogym Wellness Village

    by Andrew Cohen September 2012

    Cesena, Italy, probably does not see this often. The roundabouts and country roads around the medium-sized city of 97,000 were brought to a crawl as scores of buses and vans inched toward the entrance to Technogym's new Wellness Village, located hard between low walls of the old city and the autostrade. The expansive campus, which houses the company's factory, offices, and workout and spa facilities, is staffed by 1,000 of Technogym's 2,200 worldwide employees, most of whom appear to be here as well, working out on climbers and ellipticals on the massive building's balconies, playing pickup games on the outdoor basketball court, striding by in groups of Nordic walkers, and holding an impromptu-seeming clinic including medicine balls and various other tools of the trade. None of it is impromptu, of course - it is all being done for our benefit, filmed, live-streamed…when our charming tour guide, Rachele Schiavinato, says that the event is taking place because "We are proud of what we have achieved, especially in this economy," it is easy to believe.

  • Rob & Barry: We Couldn't Care More About Our Members

    by Rob Bishop September 2012

    Imagine that you've just tested your pool water and found it to be - the actual numbers are irrelevant to the story - just fine. A member approaches you 10 minutes later, still in her bathing suit, dripping water on your shoes, and says, "The pH in the pool is high." You say, "I just checked it and it seemed fine, but I'm happy to look into it," even though you'd rather say, "Really? You must be a human chemical testing kit, because the water is actually perfect!" At that moment, would you rather be in the fitness business, or on a beach someplace?

  • Blog: Damned Either Way on Cancellations

    by Rob Bishop and Barry Klein August 2012

    Recently, we posed five real scenarios regarding members who asked for special treatment regarding membership cancellations. What we didn't mention is that in each of those cases, we resolved the issue in the member's favor. What we also didn't mention is how little business value we see in those resolutions because those members had no appreciation for the fact that they were asking us for an exception. They just wanted us to do what they wanted.

  • Five Questions to Ask When Purchasing Fitness Equipment

    by Rob Bishop June 2012

    After years of trying out new fitness equipment, weighing the many options out there and regularly pulling the trigger on breathtakingly high-priced purchases, we feel like we have a handle on the process.

  • The Challenge Faced by Mid-Priced Clubs

    by Rob Bishop May 2012

    So, let's say you operate a fitness facility that's about 15,000 square feet in size. You offer a little bit of everything — weights, cardio, personal training, classes of all kinds.

  • Blog: It's Hard to See a Downside to Hosting Tournaments

    by Mary Helen Sprecher May 2012

    Confession time: I love sports, but I'm actually more of a sports facilities enthusiast. When the pitcher starts kicking at the mound, I'm looking at the dirt and trying to figure out what kind of a blend it is. When I hear about a soccer complex, I want to know how many fields are natural and how many are synthetic. And don't even get me started on Olympic facilities. I turn into the most obsessive know-it-all alive. Nobody wants to be around me.

  • Blog: Balance Training Yes, Checkbook Balancing No

    by Rob Bishop and Barry Klein February 2012

    You've heard of the nanny state? We're feeling a lot like the nanny health club lately.

    It seems that many of our members expect us to balance their checkbooks for them, track their monthly expenses and keep them out of credit card debt. They also expect us to use divine intervention to know when they want to cancel their memberships. These requests aren't by any means new to us, but there sure have been a lot of them over the past few weeks. Some examples: