When members enter your locker rooms, a few key features make a lasting impression. Hopefully, that impression is positive. The following club owners discussed the key features of their locker rooms that made members say “WOW!”
In February 2013, Stafford Hills Club in Tualatin, Ore. received its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification. This prestigious certification guarantees the majority of the club was built and furnished using sustainable materials. This guarantee also encompasses Stafford Hills’ locker rooms, which Jeff Breit, the general manager, said are a key feature of the club. “Never underestimate the power of your locker rooms,” said Breit. “We feature our locker rooms on every tour.”
During tours, prospects will see “green” components and materials built into every aspect of the club’s locker rooms as a result of the LEED Certification. This includes LEED-certified lighting, plumbing and heating and cooling systems, which Breit believes will lead to a 30 percent increase in the club’s energy efficiency. “Special attention was given to all plumbing products, lighting, air handling, amenities and building materials,” said Breit.
According to Breit, one key feature that has continually impressed members are stone counter tops made of solid-surface material resembling granite. “The first impression of the counter area is something you would experience at a five-star spa,” said Breit. “From the waterfall-style faucets to the stone counter tops, it screams unique luxury.”
Luxury in the locker rooms, is ultimately what Breit said was intended for Stafford Hills’ members. “Our locker rooms are designed to create a comfortable and private feel for our members,” he said. “They are often referred to more as a ‘country club’ feel than an ‘athletic club’ feel. Each locker room provides full personal care amenities: towels, hair dryers, private shower stalls, changing areas and individual toilet rooms rather than stalls. It is truly an exclusive experience.”
According to Mary Frank, the sales and marketing manager for Cincinnati Sports Club in Cincinnati, Ohio, privacy is the one feature that continually impresses its members. “Our members love the privacy we offer,” said Frank.
Cincinnati remodeled its locker rooms two years ago to provide for more privacy, after realizing that’s what members were looking for in a locker room setting. “We’re finding, especially with the younger crowd, that members love privacy,” said Frank. “The trend is going away from open-concept locker rooms.”
In order to provide additional privacy, all Cincinnati Sports Clubs’ shower stalls now include private dry-off areas, with closed-in walls, from floor to ceiling without any cracks or spacing, to provide for a private and comfortable space to shower and then change. “There are no cracks in the stalls — everything is perfectly sealed,” said Frank. The adjustments provide an intimate space for the individual to change without being open to other members in the locker room.
Cincinnati Sports Club also boasts lower- and upper-level locker rooms exclusive for separate age groups. The lower level is specifically for women and children only, while a women’s and men’s upper level is adult exclusive.
“The club, from origination, wanted to provide options to our adult members [regarding] if they wanted to be in the presence of kids or not,” explained Frank. “Adult members prefer the option of privacy without having to be concerned about the children in the same area.”
The split-level locker rooms and increased privacy were ultimately what provided Cincinnati Sports Club members with the space they needed to feel comfortable. “Increasing privacy was one of the main goals of the redesign,” said Frank.
Members of Gold’s Gym in Charlotte, N.C., are treated to a variety of high-end amenities upon entering its locker rooms, including saunas, beautiful tiled floors, dark wood lockers and more.
However, the club’s owner, Dusty Mason, believes the VIP lockers to be its defining feature. Full-length and spacious, the VIP lockers boast a built-in keypad combination lock, which once opened, reveal a mirror, electrical outlet and private drawer. Laundry service is included in VIP locker rentals as well. “After a month of being open, they were all rented and we still have a waiting list,” said Mason.
In addition to being popular among members, the VIP lockers have become a profit center for Mason’s Gold’s Gym. “We rent lockers for $45 per month,” explained Mason. “We have 150 lockers. That’s $81,000 per year in additional revenue.”
Another key feature unique to Mason’s Gold’s Gym are arctic ice rooms, which are in the process of being built in both the men’s and women’s locker rooms. According to Mason, the benefits to ice rooms are plentiful. “An ice room works to restore your body’s core temperature back to normal,” he explained. “Everyone who works out at say, early morning or at lunch that has to get to work, knows that trying to stop sweating after that workout can be tough. These rooms will stay at 51-55 degrees. After about 12-15 minutes, normal temperature will be restored. We wanted to offer an option that would allow members to feel comfortable leaving our club after a long workout, before work or at lunch.”
Although the VIP lockers and arctic ice rooms could potentially impress prospects, Mason said cleanliness is still the most important factor in ensuring his members feel continually satisfied with their locker room experience. Mason hired an employee full-time to ensure this is the case. “I think the most important thing we can do above all, is keep [the locker rooms] clean,” he said. “It’s great to have a brand-new club with a great locker room, but the cleanliness of that locker room is what will retain members.”
What key features of your locker rooms impress your prospects and members? Make your club stand out by having one or two amenities or fixtures unique to your club. If they’re appealing enough, showcasing those features on a club tour could help secure memberships, and keep existing members happy.
By Rachel Zabonick