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Expect the best from your health club, Part 2

8 Jul 2011

Based on the example successful club brands like Gold’s Gym establish, what can we expect from the industry looking ahead?

Gold’s story illustrates a couple of lessons to learn from the health club industry: 1) the industry has grown increasingly competitive, and 2) the best companies listen to their consumers and respond intelligently to economic and industry trends. Since the health club industry affects a variety of stakeholders–club owners, investors, professionals, and consumers–there are implications for all.

  • Club owners need to stay in tune with what consumers need and use elements beyond pricing to stand apart from the competition. Not all clubs have to be a low-price/high-volume enterprise. The industry has had a long tradition to attracting the affluent and educated, who will be willing to pay more for more.
  • Investors can consider regional, national, and global chains as potential investments. In 2004, TRT Holdings, a private equity firm, purchased Gold’s, what was then a 600+ predominantly franchise business from the founders. Fitness First, the largest health club company in the world, is seeking to go public in the Singapore Stock Exchange. These are just a couple examples of leading club companies that are owned by investors, many of which are profiled in the IHRSA Global Report and Club Industry’s Top 100.
  • Professionals can expect a strong industry where there is room to grow both professionally and financially. For example, Equinox Fitness clubs offers career-long personal trainers an opportunity to earn as much as $100,000 per year. Other club companies offer entry level staff the opportunity tor grow from a sales/member specialist at a local club to an executive position at regional offices.
  • Consumers: you can expect the best from your health club. The great clubs will stand out: they will go out of their way to understand you, the consumer; deliver stellar customer service; and maintain high quality club programs. Who are they/these clubs? You can find them listed on healthclubs.com.
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