Recap & Predict

lessons

Each year, Club Solutions sits down with some of the industry’s best and brightest to recap the year passed and glean predictions for the year ahead. Here, six leaders share their proudest 2017 accomplishments and what trends they’ll be paying attention to in 2018.

Joel Tallman, CEO and President, MÜV Brands

What are you proud to have accomplished this year?

The thing I am proudest of this last year is cultural growth within our clubs in regards to member results. From top to bottom we have seen a commitment to our internal mantra: “Results = Retention = Referrals = Revenue.” Assuming a company has access to capital, all of us can retain the same real estate, equipment and technology. The thing that makes the biggest difference is the people.

What was a highlight at your company?

The highlight of the year was continued growth of corporate clubs and development of our group programming in strength and barre. The launch of franchising here in Q4 is very exciting for us.

What lessons did you learn in 2017?

With the development of our boutique concept and our proprietary strength and barre protocols under the MÜV Training brand, it underscored the value of having great instructors with great drive to achieve member results. Great people are the key to having a great company.

What are your goals for 2018?

Continue to refine technology to most effectively and efficiently operate our businesses. Grow the franchising of our boutique and big-box models. Pursue aggressive growth of our corporately-owned stores.

What trends do you expect will be paramount in the industry in 2018?

First, the growth of boutique concepts. The appeal of the community or tribe-type programming will continue to appeal to the marketplace. One of our focuses for MÜV will be to bring multiple boutique modalities together and offer them for a lower financial investment than current boutique offerings. Second, the development of programming to help big boxes compete with boutiques. We will focus on functional strength, barre, cycling and other new, innovative small group programming. Three, the franchising of new concepts. This is a tremendous period of innovation in fitness. Franchising is an excellent way to grow great concepts using the capital of franchise entrepreneurs. Four, the integration with healthcare. With the huge focus on the challenge of healthcare today, the obvious answers that quality clubs bring as a preventive solution will become more and more relevant.

Cory Brightwell, Co-founder and CEO, Chuze Fitness

What are you proud to have accomplished this year?

Chuze Fitness was able to open our third, fourth and fifth locations in the Colorado market this year. The Chuze brand is really starting to take hold throughout the Denver market, and I’m proud to say that our operations team has been able to replicate the high standards of execution that we’re used to seeing in our home base of Southern California.

What lessons did you learn in 2017?

Due to extremely low unemployment and booming growth, the Denver labor market has presented some challenges in finding the right team members to grow with our company. Luckily, our operations team will not settle and has been resilient in their efforts to bring on great new talent for our Colorado clubs.

What are your goals for 2018?

Our goals in 2018 are to continue to grow our footprints in Southern California and Colorado, while continuing to improve our ability to deliver an amazing member experience.

What trends do you expect will be paramount in the industry in 2018?

I expect the strong growth and popularity of boutique studios to continue into 2018.

JoAnna Masloski, COO, Wellbridge

What are you proud to have accomplished this year?

As a company I am proud that our leadership team achieved the next level of culture in their clubs and for Wellbridge. Pillars of success are transparency, trust and innovation that result in improved coaching for teammates, organic hospitality and execution of new ideas.

What are your goals for 2018?

Our goals for 2018 are to see more growth in our Emerging Leaders program; to drive the further use of the right technology that enhances our mission to offer an epic experience that changes lives; and to continue to give our teammates a voice, a path and an opportunity to celebrate success through their innovative ideas that give our members what they want and need.

What trends do you expect will be paramount in the industry in 2018?

My view of the trends and expectations for the industry include:

Reinvigoration of fitness as the product of epic, organic hospitality. No matter the equipment, studio or facility, the community gets active when they experience a community of like-minded individuals who encourage their activity, celebrate the community and results. We can be a part of that only by providing epic hospitality.

I believe we will continue to experiment with technology that offers our prospects and members a more personalized, convenient and results-driven experience.

Finally, I see a continued decrease in cardio and selectorized equipment in exchange for fitness the way we live. This means the reconfiguration of spaces for new and unique fitness offerings that speak to our members’ lives and make their world outside the club more active, productive and happy.

Geoff Dyer, President, Crunch Fitness West Florida

What are you proud to have accomplished this year?

It’s exciting to be growing aggressively with a great company and business model. We have grown from five to 10 locations this past year and will grow from 10 to 20 by the end of 2018 with new locations in Orlando, Atlanta and Tampa Bay, Florida. We have a solid management team and they are ready for the challenge.

What was a highlight at your company?

At the annual Crunch Convention July 2017 our small company was recognized for three major awards focused around new member sales, personal training and overall growth. That recognition, plus an inspirational presentation by the founder, Mark Mastrov, got everyone excited about the Crunch brand and where the company is headed.

What lessons did you learn in 2017?

We can do a better job leveraging all social media platforms. Our business is built on our individual club communities. We need to build on the levels of engagement we have established now and bring to life the Crunch experience to the friends and families of each and every member.

What are your goals for 2018?

We expect double-digit gains in same-store sales including significant gains in personal training. We have a rock-star leadership team and the fruits of their hard work will pay big dividends next year. We also anticipate an improvement in member retention at every location. We have a number of initiatives in place that will drive this result.

What trends do you expect will be paramount in the industry in 2018?

We are continuing to watch the boutique sector and its impact on our business, which appears nominal. From a growth perspective, there is some concern when we execute 10 to 15-year leases at today’s “market rate” and then see the compounding retail sector store closings and wonder if the rents charged in the future might be less than the rents we are paying today.

Bill McBride, Co-Founder, President & CEO, Active Wellness

What are you proud to have accomplished this year?

Active Wellness has organized itself strategically for growth this year. We have a premium-product offering, great value proposition, talent and infrastructure for exponential growth. I’m proud of our discipline. We focused on our long-term strategy, not rushing to just chase any opportunity that may result in a new account. In 2017 we launched “Live Actively,” our employee well-being program, to improve the experience and lives of our employees both professionally and personally. We’ve done this because while our employees are physically active, we know well-being includes career, social, financial, physical (including emotional) and community well-being. We believe providing support for employees that improves their experience leads to an improved experience for our members. We are also offering our “Live Actively” employee well-being program as a model for our partners to offer a holistic approach to wellness programs for their employees and members.

What lessons did you learn in 2017?

Don’t rush it. This year re-emphasized the importance of our people and our programming. As the industry becomes more and more commodity based in offerings and with the increase in substitution places (parks, hotels, apartments, devices, apps, home experience enhancements, etc.), programming and our people were once again proven as our secret sauce. Technology is great, but without human interaction, it usually falls short. “High tech, high touch” is our approach.

What are your goals for 2018?

We will be launching new sites with expanded programming and cutting-edge technologies. Our Active Idea Lab is flushing out some game-changing technologies that will transform our approach to fitness and wellness delivery. Some may be 2018, some may be 2019 and beyond. We are playing the infinite long game. In 2018 we are going to continue to expand the offerings of our “Live Actively” program and have several pilots scheduled with our partners to launch aspects of the program.

What trends do you expect will be paramount in the industry in 2018?

Technology will be playing a key front-and-center role. As wearables, non-wearable biometric measurement, Apple Watch, coaching or training apps, facial recognition, augmented reality and other technologies continue to evolve, our industry will be positioned to capitalize on these with regards to the user experience. Again, technology is great and we should all embrace it, but the human element is key to the relationship component of our business.

Paula Neubert, President and General Manager, Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club

What are you proud to have accomplished this year?

We completed the restroom remodel in both of our locker rooms. It’s always a challenge to maintain your operations and continue to provide the highest level of service to your members when one of the most-used spaces in the club is under construction. We celebrated our 30-year anniversary on July 1. We are proud to have been a part of the community and be the fitness destination for thousands of members for so many years.

What lessons did you learn in 2017?

You have to continue to fire rifle shots to determine next steps. It’s easy to get stuck doing the same things when they have proven to be successful in previous years, but the moment you stop pushing to improve is the moment your members start searching elsewhere for a better experience.

What are your goals for 2018?

First, continue focusing on the member experience from the moment they pull in the front entrance to the time they leave. Make their visit a favorable memory that drives them to come back for more. Second, streamline expenses by considering new vendors, and look at how operations and systems can be more productive. Three, add more non-fitness services that allow the club to be a one-stop shop for members, such as dry cleaning and package drop-off and pick-up.

What trends do you expect will be paramount in the industry in 2018?

Small group personal training will continue to evolve. We have a very strong private training business and while we continue to grow our small group private training, we will want to focus on capturing a new audience, versus moving the same folks to a different revenue line. We expect to see growth of recovery zones or types of equipment that influence recovery such as stretching tables, HydroMassage and Trigger Point or foam roller classes. With the continued increase in HIIT training, it is important we encourage recovery for all members. Finally, sports performance training for kids is a billion dollar industry. What role are health clubs playing at this time and how do we best capture this audience?

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