Can Clubs Be More Welcoming?
Sean Ellis Hussey, the content experience specialist at Club Automation, shares three ideas for creating a welcoming club in your community.
While plenty of people care about the presence of a fitness club in their communities, they also expect the facility and offerings to be accessible and fit into the needs of their busy lives. Building a welcoming facility is crucial, and clubs must create an authentic, accessible and inclusive experience that will attract loyal members who want to keep coming back for more.
Everyone knows the value of greeting members with a smile and a clean, bright space. But quality customer service and a pristine facility only scratch the surface when it comes to welcoming members. Here are three ideas to get the wheels turning and inspire a deep dive into creating a welcoming club.
Members have a lot on their minds. Balancing their day-to-day responsibilities while remembering the offerings at their fitness center can be tough. Remind your members you’re there to help with simple strategies that meet them where they are. Get in their email inbox and post on social media to remain top of mind. Find creative ways to make buzz around success stories, highlight new classes, give some insight about the staff with a question and answer series — the sky’s the limit. The key is getting in front of members and humanizing your facility.
More than ever, members expect to be able to engage with clubs on their own time. This can mean signing up for classes and purchasing memberships online, taking virtual classes at home, or participating in associated events like cycling and hiking groups within the community. For some members, the idea of setting foot inside a fitness club can induce anxiety. Extending your programs and services beyond your brick-and-mortar building sends the signal your club is welcoming and accommodating to all types of people.
Attention to diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are foundational to building a welcoming space. This can often feel like a steep cliff to climb, so start with small questions like: Is the music we play welcoming to a broad demographic? Are there small shifts in class formats that will help the space feel more accessible? For example, maybe some people don’t want to face the mirrors. The best way to learn about what your members and prospects want is to get involved and ask them.
Physical fitness transforms lives. A welcoming club attracts loyal members to a space that will benefit them. Investing thought and care into building this environment is vital to connecting with members.