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Inside the Club: Avoid Assumptions When Analyzing Programs


Group X programming.Does your programming differentiate your club, or does it define your demographic?

Programming can be complicated in a multitude of ways. If I enter a club and the vast majority of the programming is centered around weight loss and dance-focused Group X classes, I have a tendency to feel I’m in the wrong place. However, I don’t want to attend a club that is all things to all people.

I respect a gym that understands its demographic well enough to program to the heart of its consumer base. This doesn’t have to be a mom and pop gym either. Any gym, big or small, can truly program to its demographic — even a large fitness chain.

If you want to make an excuse for why your programming isn’t successful, it can’t be, “It’s what corporate requires of us.” As a leader it’s your job to speak up about what your demographic wants. What may work for some clubs won’t work for all.

Size and structure shouldn’t determine your programming. Additionally, what’s hot shouldn’t necessarily determine your type of programming, unless members at your club have a tendency to follow trends.

A great way to get to know your members better is through a simple survey, or through your club management software (CMS). Survey Monkey can be used as a quick and easy way to generate surveys to poll your members on their desires and attitudes towards your club. Although, with a little digging you may discover that your CMS will allow similar processes to take place.

If you have a trusted CMS in place at your club your programming could be that much more simple. A lot of the questions you may want answered via your survey may already exist in your CMS if you are inputting the right data about club useage and your member demographic.

You should be able to keep the numbers on every Group X program you’ve ever launched at your club. Indoor cycling is a hot commodity at this moment, but that doesn’t mean its for everyone. Maybe you live in a small town in the south where the demographic simply needs to get moving, and Group X classes like indoor cycling are too extreme for your members.

If you spend too much time tweaking the indoor cycling class by changing out instructors and music styles, you may overlook the useage of Zumba and how it has created an immense community among your members. With a CMS you will be less likely to miss these trends, because you’ll be aware of trends in reports.

A lot of times clubs forget that they don’t necessarily establish their demographic. Sure, when they open they may believe they are targeting one or another demographic, but members actually have the final say in who comes and who doesn’t. What reality presents you as a leader will come to light in your CMS or other surveys. So I ask, when you are programming for your actual membership, are you making assumptions, or programming from data?


Tyler Montgomery is the Editor-in-Chief of Club Solutions Magazine. For thoughts on his blog, the print issue or the industry, reach out to him at tyler@clubsolutionsmagazine.com

Tyler Montgomery

Tyler Montgomery is a former writer for Club Solutions Magazine.

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1 Comment

  1. Michelle Cook October 30, 2014

    I couldn’t agree more that programming on the group X schedule needs to be a reflection of the demographic wants and needs of that club. The problem is that even in a single community, members will have a variety of interests! Virtual group fitness makes a great compliment to live group fitness programming to help clubs who are looking to serve “the majority”, still offer that wide variety of programming for everyone else – whether the “everyone else” in that club are cyclists, beginners, athletes, de-conditioned, older adults, kids, dancers, or anyone in between. http://wellbeats.com/who-does-virtual-group-fitness-attract


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