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High-value, low-price (HVLP) clubs suffer from the stereotype of fitting as many people as possible into their four walls and not worrying about the experience.
Shaking off this perceived notion is the reason Zone Fitness Clubs was founded back in 2013. Owner and founder Tim Forrest wanted to prove a health club could be affordable while delivering an experience akin to that of a “high-end” health club.
“My inspiration for Zone Fitness was to offer a quality health club experience that has an affordable membership and affordable training,” said Forrest. “I was seeking to make sure consumers and members can experience exceptional service in a quality club, but also get tangible results through effective programming.”
Forrest’s mission statement, “members first,” has worked well for Zone Fitness, which opened its second location in Carrollwood, Florida, back in 2016. Many successful practices have spawned from this mission, one of the most popular being “Scrub the Club.”
“We’ve learned scrubbing the club and keeping it clean are really important to a member’s satisfaction, but we also wanted it to be visible,” said Forrest. “Throughout the week, management — myself included — and the front desk staff go out on the floor, pass out Gatorade shots and nutritional bars, then come right behind members and scrub the equipment around them.”
According to Forrest, this tradition goes a long way in helping members see how much care his staff puts into creating a high-quality experience.
However, Zone’s engagement doesn’t stop with “Scrub the Club” — it also understands the importance of empowering members with fitness knowledge and instruction.
“We offer experiences out on the fitness floor called ‘Fit in 15’ where a certified trainer will offer 15 minutes of educational workshops during the peak hours of the club,” said Forrest. “They can get guidance without having to buy a trainer.”
Practices like “Scrub the Club” and “Fit in 15” are Forrest’s way of maintaining a culture of exceptional member experiences and giving members the tools they need to succeed. “I wanted to make sure members can experience something exceptional here and engage with our staff, while seeing us working for them,” he said.
While Zone’s facilities are clean and staff members engaging, its programming is top-notch as well. The “Zone Workout” is the club’s signature workout, integrating Myzone technology into a 60-minute group training class that is equal parts challenging and affordable.
“We offer memberships that are $90 a month for unlimited training,” said Forrest. “That way, people can continue to come every day and use our Myzone technology to monitor their workouts in small groups. It’s allowed us to give people amazing results at an affordable price.”
As he’s watched his club’s brand grow over a short period of time, Forrest has leaned on his staff to help his vision become a reality. And constant education has been critical to his staff’s success.
“As operators, we have to remember training or onboarding for 90 days isn’t where training ends,” said Forrest. “You have to continue to live and breathe your mission statements, culture and core values.”
Living and breathing the mission statement, “members first,” has been the catalyst of Zone Fitness Clubs’ success. Blending the best of both worlds with an affordable base membership of $10 per month and a high-end member experience, Forrest’s brand is out to change the outsider perspective.
“I think we’re proof you can have a low-price club and provide very high-quality service and very tangible results,” said Forrest. “A lot of times in the industry, people think the high-volume, low-price clubs are just as easy of a sale for members, but I’ve learned the same objections you’d get in the sales process for a $200-per-month membership are the same ones you’d get for a $10-per-month membership.”
Low-price gym or high-price boutique, Forrest believes a club’s focus should always be on the member experience. “You have to sell solutions, you have to provide great experiences, and you have to provide a clean environment and exceptional value,” he said.