As body-mind fitness has evolved over the past few years, many creative opportunities have opened up for managers to offer programs designed to soothe members and counteract the stressful effects of their demanding lives. When you create your schedule, think of making your facility a destination resort by offering a variety of multidimensional courses with a broad range of yoga- and Pilates-inspired formats. Ask yourself what types of programs could most help people find balance and lifestyle strategies that would help them meet their needs and desires.
By offering such programs, you can help your club be perceived as the destination for “getting away from it all,” rather than as just another stop in a busy day. Destination facilities are about more than high heart rates and body composition. Some of your programming decisions will be based on a holistic way of thinking that offers education and assistance in areas such as nutrition, stress, mind and behavior, and body image.
Enhance Physical and Emotional Well-Being
You have the responsibility of accommodating the lifestyles and needs of members. When you do this well, it can put you steps ahead of your competition. It is a numbers game, and a full menu of classes can bring holistic nurturing to your current clients, help you get noticed by prospective clients and ultimately generate maximum participation during all time slots throughout the day.
Knowing your business means understanding the needs of your clients. What do they say they want, to make them look and feel better? There are layers to their goals, so asking and listening to them can help you discover their desires, stated and unstated. For example, if a prospective participant says she wants “to look better in order to feel happy,” you might suggest a Pilates-based class as a starting point. That way you are honoring the request for a “physical” emphasis while helping establish a new link to the “emotional” desire. From there you might see the client branch out into other modalities.
Or you might have a student who says, “I’m completely fit and in shape. I just need to relax a little from too much stress, and I don’t want to be stared at.” In this situation, you might recommend a meditation or stretch class that has low lighting and little hands-on by the instructor. In this way, you can address the student’s unspoken fear of being embarrassed, while steering him toward a class that addresses the stated goal of decreasing stress.
As you learn the needs of your clientele, you should begin to add classes that cater to those needs, taking into account the categories that have already gained tremendous popularity. An example of a class created in our facility to address a specific need was “Pilateens,” which came about when a group of young Irish dancers needed sport-specific training to fine-tune their skills for competition. Your knowledge of clients’ needs can aid you in filtering out classes that have run their course, opening up spaces for new classes that will appeal to your loyal attendees while piquing the curiosity of potential participants.
Creative Body-Mind Ideas With Flare and Flavor
Innovative programming can provide opportunities to broaden your marketing channels. Empower your membership teams (salespeople, trainers, instructors, etc.) to think outside your four walls, and direct the efforts of these teams outward as well. By going into the community, you will attract new populations to your facility. Outreach programs can add tremendously to both the club's and your instructors’ bottom line.
For example, present new programs targeting teens to local schools, and market golf programs to country clubs and golf retail stores. For older-adult programs, reach out to independent-living communities in your area that do not already have a varied and comprehensive schedule. If you offer programs for cancer patients and survivors, contact the cancer centers and oncology departments of local hospitals. Establish and maintain relationships with physical therapists and chiropractors, as they can be excellent resources for cross-marketing and profit.
As yoga and Pilates have become mainstream and prime-time, you can capitalize on these successes with new variations on a theme. There are many ways to create fusion and hybrid classes that will enhance your group exercise program and create additional revenue streams In addition to expanding beyond the basics in yoga and Pilates, you can incorporate wellness and related services into your resort destination model. Ideas for the “big picture” include a Mother's Day 3-hour package that includes a mother-and-daughter partner class (strength and stretch), followed by a spa service (foot and hand massages or manicures and pedicures) and lunch at the club's café.
There are also reciprocal marketing benefits in partnering with local business. For example, have professional salon specialists come in to provide facials, manicures and pedicures; or set up a triathlon training program and include sports massage and a shoe clinic, thereby creating cross-promotion opportunities for massage therapists and your local shoe retailer. Another idea is to offer a hot type of yoga series, such as Bikram, in conjunction with a hot stone massage and soup or a smoothie from your café.
From Hard Body to Whole Body
To bring your club into the 21st century, the focus must continue to be on the needs and desires of the whole person. The definition of “getting fit” has changed over the past few decades to include more than just high-impact aerobics and “becoming buff.” Most people who enter a facility nowadays believe that fitness is holistic, and they come to look and feel their best. By expanding your concept of body-mind fitness, you can create programs that inspire, rejuvenate, encourage and nurture the needs of all who enter your club.