On April 8, REX Roundtables and Club Solutions Magazine presented the first installment of a weekly virtual roundtable series aimed at helping clubs navigate through the COVID-19 crisis.
Panelists included Paula Neubert, the president and general manager of Club Greenwood; Bill McBride, the president and CEO of Active Wellness; Blair McHaney, the CEO of MXM and owner of WORX health clubs; and Frank Lawrence, the CEO of The Athletic Clubs. The discussion was led and moderated by Brent Darden, the founder of Brent Darden Consulting and chair of REX Roundtables.
Following is a summary of top takeaways from the discussion, including tips for approaching government assistance, the importance of employee engagement, and what the industry could look like after the crisis is over.
- If you haven’t already, be sure to look into the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Currently, the program is being marketed to small businesses with no more than 500 employees. However, McBride acknowledged that are some exceptions for affiliate businesses, so be sure to do your research first.
- Concerning government assistance/loans, consider opening a separate bank account to deposit these funds into. This will make audits easier, and ensure these funds are going to the appropriate areas and that no funds are being withdrawn that shouldn’t be.
- When evaluating your finances, be sure to go through every single line item. Make sure no dollars are going to waste. Are there subscriptions, like Spotify, you can put on hold or cancel?
- Club Greenwood is continuing to bill so they can retain their employees. This has proven to be a good source of PR for the organization. “If you take care of your employees, your team is probably posting about it,” added Neubert.
- Utilize your department heads to keep in touch/reach out to members during this time.
- Consider holding exercise challenges for your team — promotes wellness and team bonding.
- McHaney has doubled marketing spend in his community, utilizing radio, TV and more to talk about how their processes are changing in response to the virus. If able, consider using this time to lead the way in the marketplace, even if it’s just through social media.
- For any virtual programming you’re offering, think ahead to how you can package this as a profit center/offering in a few months. How can virtual programming be packaged as a true product line that can be used down the road? McBride is considering a product line that includes live streaming, daily workouts/emails and virtual personal training, for example.
- The panelists are utilizing a number of technologies to implement virtual programming, such as Myzone, PTontheNet, ClubConnect, Aktiv Solutions, Stroops, YouTube, Facebook Live, and Zoom.
- Check out this article from Darden on why this is an opportunity for a fresh start in the industry. Read it here.
- When planning for the re-opening of your clubs, consider the psychological impacts the crisis will have had on your customer base. According to McBride, there is very likely to be increased levels of anxiety, depression and fear, and club operators need to be sensitive to this. This includes being sensitive to humor surrounding the virus. Think hard about how something may be received.
- The value of personal space is increasing. Social distancing will likely continue for some time.
To watch this webinar on-demand, click here.
UPCOMING: Don’t miss the second installment of our virtual roundtable series, “Successful Strategies for Shaping Your Future: Surviving to Reviving” on April 15 at 2 p.m. EST, in partnership with REX Roundtables and Club Solutions Magazine. Limited seats are available. Click here to reserve your spot.