Let’s Get Personal

Over the years, personal training has expanded and transformed. Gone are the days when personal training simply involved one-on-one sessions with a member and a trainer. Today, personal training can encompass not only one-on-one, but also partner training and small group training.

At Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club members have a plethora of options to choose from including individual, two on one, three on one, four on one and then small group training. However, according to Vic Spatola, the personal training director at Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club in Denver, Colorado, individual training remains the most popular, with 66 percent of total business coming from one-on-one sessions.

With such a variety of options, many members at Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club take advantage of personal training. Spatola explained they have captured 15 percent of total membership. And personal training revenue is one of the greatest sources of revenue for the club, aside from membership dues.

“In 2014 we achieved $2.3 million in gross revenue and we were set to achieve $2.4 million [in 2015],” added Spatola. “We have done this with 25 personal trainers, of which 16 are full-time.”

Spatola credits the success of the personal training program to the experienced trainers. “Hire trainers with a strong knowledge base, but who are coachable and will learn how to modify their business in your facility,” he said. “Make sure their style and personality only add value to your training department, without causing major conflicts. Hiring someone who can learn new techniques and can adapt to new trends allows them to fortify their business against outside business threats.”

Various Brick Bodies clubs have also seen great success with personal training programs. Members have the option to choose from larger programs, which average 18 to 20 participants per session and small group training with four to six participants. Despite these choices, Dustin Blackwell, the personal training director at Brick Bodies, said one-on-one still remains the highest percentage of revenue, but the group trainings are quickly increasing in popularity as well.

Depending on the time of year, on average, 12 to 17 percent of Brick Bodies members participate in personal training programs. Blackwell explained several factors have contributed to the success of the training programs. “We are always trying to improve, but what has helped us to date is our trainer induction process and ongoing training,” said Blackwell. “I can’t stress the importance of hiring the right trainers and fostering the right culture inside your club. It is also essential to listen to our membership base. We make a concentrated effort to identify what our members are looking for, then do our best to provide that type of programming.”

In order to collect member feedback, Brick Bodies relies on surveys that help identify what the members are looking for. “Take the time to find out what your members want and then put the best team in place to create and implement those programs,” added Blackwell.

At Chicago Athletic Club, listening to the members is also a crucial factor in maximizing personal training profits. Brandon Yates, the director of personal training at Chicago Athletic Clubs, explained that finding out what type of programs your members want is the easiest way to institute new services that will be profitable.

“It’s not about what we want to offer them, it is about what the members want,” said Yates. “The key to our personal training program success is keeping 100 percent of our focus on the clients’ wants, needs and goals. We are proactive in identifying our members’ needs in regard to new equipment, new small group training programs, so members are able to be successful in achieving their fitness goals.”

An additional tactic for maximizing training profits is to reduce the barriers of entry for members. This is where small group and large group training options can be helpful. The larger the group, the lower the price point, which will appeal to a greater audience.

Finally, take advantage of training multiple clients at the same time. “Training two and three people together represents 21 percent of our total business,” said Spatola. “That, along with small group training, which is another 19 percent of our overall business, has greatly maximized our top trainers’ dollar per hour. It also allows top trainers to reach and affect more members, which increases their basis of referrals.”

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