Your club has the best workout equipment. You have a qualified and caring staff of personal trainers. You have daycare or tanning, or maybe even both. New member numbers are up, but will all you have be enough to keep them long term? Member retention has become a pressing issue for new fitness clubs and established ones alike. Member retention means stable revenue and the chance to grow your business rather than to constantly rebuild it.
When you consider what makes your members stick around, the common mistake can be to overlook the basic things. The simplest needs of members often become major factors in their decision-making process. Take a walk around your club during peak hours. Is it too hot? Is the air humid? Do your members look comfortable? The key to member retention is, more often than not, member comfort – and climate control in your facility can be critical to your members’ comfort.
Big Fans for Big Comfort, and Big Revenue
High above facilities like Gold’s Gym, 24-Hour Fitness, the Aggieland Fitness Dome in College Station, TX and the Fit Club in Shelbyville, TN, big things are happening. All of these clubs, and many more like them across the country, have installed giant ceiling fans. The fans are one big solution to all of the factors that affect member comfort.
Ranging in diameter from eight feet to 24 feet the industrial-grade ceiling fans use their size, not speed to circulate air evenly throughout facilities as big as 20,000 square feet. Because the huge fans move slowly, the air movement is gentle, not disruptive like a small personal fan blowing directly in a member’s face. (A seemingly small thing, but a factor that many guides to choosing a health club will specifically cite).
The physics of air movement and its effect on temperature is simple. Fans don’t cool the room temperature, but they do make it feel cooler. The illusion of coolness comes when sweat evaporates off skin. Fans help speed up the evaporation process. Good air circulation can make a person feel as though the ambient temperature is as much as eight to 12 degrees cooler. According to Dan Meus of Graham/Meus Architects, designers of fitness facilities nationwide, having ceiling fans makes people feel more comfortable. “Once you start moving air across people, then they will feel cooler. The more sweat and water you have on you, the cooler you are going to feel with air going across you.”
The air circulation of these behemoths also works to alleviate damaging and dangerous condensation on club floors and equipment. High humidity, a problem for clubs without proper air circulation, can wreak havoc on sensitive mechanisms in treadmills and other cardio equipment. Controlling humidity through proper air circulation means equipment will need less maintenance, and club members will stay happy.
A Breeze from Above
An added benefit of using huge ceilings fans in health clubs is the increased safety over the more commonly used floor fans. Floor fans not only take up valuable space, but they can leave a tangled web of cords, and a tripping hazard for unwary members. The ceiling-mounted take on air movement keeps moving parts up and out of the way of members and staff.
Smaller scale floor fans traditionally use high velocities, generating disruptive air movement that affects a minimal amount of space. That same high velocity also creates a lot of noise. Large scale ceiling fans can move big air using only one to two horsepower motors, meaning the big fans cost only about 10 cents per hour to operate. On average, a single 24-foot ceiling fan, using the latest in big fan foils and “winglet” design, can replace over 20 standard floor fans and use less electricity than just four of those floor fans.
Happy Members, Small Energy Bills
Big fans are definitely a smart choice for keeping members comfortable and increasing your retention. What many owners didn’t expect when looking for a way to control their climates was the fact that big fans actually save club owners on their year-round energy costs. A single 24-foot big fan used in conjunction with a facility’s air conditioning or heating system allows you to raise or lower the thermostat as much as three to five degrees with no loss of comfort. The fans themselves are energy efficient. With such low operating costs and less stress on heating and cooling systems, fitness facilities stand to save 3% to 5% on energy costs for every degree the thermostat is raised or lowered, (depending on the time of year). That translates into a 25% or more savings on energy costs annually.
Think big when it comes to member comfort and retention. Don’t overlook the basic things that keep members happy and coming back. Climate control can be critical. Simple, cost effective solutions like large scale industrial ceiling fans are an easy way to make your club the place where members want to stay.