Ever wonder if there is a gender divide among fitness participants? Wonder no more. A recent report by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) confirmed what IDEA members shared with us in the 2008 IDEA Programs & Equipment Survey: women dominate the fitness setting. According to SGMA, “women represent more than half of participants” in 18 out of 27 activities measured. The IDEA Fitness Programs & Equipment Survey determined that 66% of facility members or clients are women. The Health Club Trend Report, compiled by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association and American Sports Data Inc., also corroborates the SGMA findings, noting that “women account for 54% of regular exercisers at clubs.” With such strong data, what can you do to attract—and retain—female members and clients?
“Creating a club environment catered to women isn’t much different than catering to men,” states Julian Varela, IDEA member and co-owner of Equilibrium Fitness for Women in San Luis Obispo, California. “The emphasis for us is to pay more attention to the detail, mindset and comforts of women. We try to put as much attention into the appearance, feel and smell of the facility as we [put into] our equipment.” Varela also offers the following tips for creating a female-friendly facility:
- Create a home away from home with warm décor and comfortable furniture.
- Pay careful attention to the temperature of the club; lower temperatures may help reduce the incidence of hot flashes in some menopausal women.
- Make sure the club always smells pleasant. Use essential oils whenever possible.