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Highland Fitness: Engaging Members through Technology


August 2022 Club of the Month, presented by ABC Fitness Solutions:

Highland Fitness, est. 2003

Highland Fitness was founded in 2003. Boasting two locations in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Highland Fitness strives to provide a friendly, relaxed and inviting experience to help members find balance in health, fitness and overall wellness.

Here, Zachary Gouff, the CEO of Highland Fitness, shares more on how they are creating an inviting environment and engaging members through technology. 

What are Highland Fitness’ key differentiators?

We are a full-service fitness facility that offers general fitness, individual training, group training, group fitness and nutrition programs. Many other facilities in our area are more target specific in group training or general fitness. We believe our friendly and inviting atmosphere sets us apart from our competition, and we find our members/clients are of all demographics.

As an owner-operator, how does your involvement shape the program and affect the member’s experience? 

I like to be a hands-on owner-operator. I want to be a go-to for all staff questions so I learn all programs, maintenance and processes. My goal for my employees is to achieve a more efficient and relaxed environment so I continuously analyze our processes and question if we are doing it the best way we can. It’s a main part of why we partner with ABC Fitness Solutions currently. After researching billing companies and features offered, we felt ABC’s next-generation club management solution, IGNITE, was the best fit for our future.

How are you engaging with your members when they are not working out physically in Highland Fitness?

With our transition to ABC, we are currently evolving our skills in IGNITE Engagement and IGNITE Sales to better stay in communication and provide accountability tools for our members. We are excited as features continue to progress with IGNITE Engagement. These new forms of touches/communications are newer for us and are in process as we figure out the best way to utilize and reach our different demographics. We currently are excited about the Smart Meal Plan generator and adding custom food and meals.

What feedback have you received from your members regarding your engagement strategy at Highland Fitness? What effect on your business has your engagement strategy had?

We have received feedback about communication with classes and introduction to the club. We have always offered two complimentary training sessions to help onboard a member, but with the improved technology of IGNITE Engagement we hope to streamline additional tools to provide an all-round better introduction to the club.  

What’s a trend you’re seeing in the fitness industry that other operators should keep on their radar? 

I know these aren’t new, but I believe these are some industry trends to focus on to diversify revenue streams or add value to a member’s experience: 

1. Recovery. We believe overall health and spiritual health within the last couple years is becoming a focus for many, not just getting a workout in. I believe saunas and recovery tools — massage guns, cupping, meditation, yoga, chiropractic, etc. — are great ways to set yourself apart and add value. Either offer or partner with local businesses. 

2. COVID-19 created high stress and poor habits that got people out of routine. Many people drifted toward social media for workouts, motivation or to escape. We believe being integrated with new, innovative technology will give you the capabilities to provide at-home workouts, program writing and, most importantly, an avenue to improve your service to provide the best accountability through technology.

3. Increase in need for personal coaching for workouts and motivation. Again many are struggling to find motivation in the last few years. Having a personal trainer, increased accountability touches and more consistent assessments will help them find their balance again.

If you could give one piece of advice to other gym operators, what would it be?

My advice for other gym operators would be to continuously analyze your process and market. Compare your process to others. You will either find out you are already doing great compared to your competition, or you will generate new ideas to improve your company.

Created in partnership with ABC Fitness Solutions. Visit abcfitness.com for more information on how they can help your fitness business.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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