If you are a gym and fitness center owner you will most likely find that you have to compete in a crowded market, where everyone is trying to court the same clientele. Having a fitness club where the customers are drawn in by the mere fact that you unlocked your front door is a luxury that most owners will never have. To compete effectively in the modern fitness market you’ve got to be able to offer something extra to your clients.
Well, all of that pretty much states the obvious. But did you know that being able to train and support clients from special populations are very good ways to expand your market? Having special population certified trainers can help you reach more people. Outstanding customer service will help you to maximize your proposition for the customers you can reach. Catering to special populations will help you reach more customers.
There are many things that could be described as best practice for gym operators. It’s an industry where service is as important to customers as the facility itself. To be popular, i.e., to grab a profitable share of the market, a club must be clean and well maintained, records and billing must run without incident and customer service has to be so smooth that the clients feel like they are just carried along for the ride. But any gym owner that’s paying attention tries to do that, don’t they?
Reaching out to special populations will increase the number of potential customers that you can sign up. So, if you aren’t already doing this, it’s like adding another dimension to your strategy. That can be a very rewarding choice, both as a source of revenue and as a way to make a very fulfilling contribution to a larger part of the community. It gives you a larger pool of potential clients to draw from that just the healthy, fit and motivated people, who find it easy to get the most out of a gym on their own initiative.
The key to your success is simple: It’s your people, and what they can do for your customers. Special populations are groups that require specialized knowledge and gentle handling. Seniors are a large and growing special population. Providing resources that help them be stronger and more independent is an expanding market.
People with disabilities and weight loss issues are other groups, in addition to seniors, that need the kind of guidance that only certified trainers can provide. It’s critical to have staff and trainers that are qualified to work with special populations. Not only because of the service levels but also because of the risk of liability claims against your gym.
So What Are The Benefits And What Should You Offer?
Some of the benefits that special populations, such as seniors, receive are improved mobility and range of motion, increased bone density and reduced stress. Workouts set at a pace suitable for seniors will work well for people with other health issues or injuries, so there’s quite a bit of overlap. Some examples of classes are low impact aerobics, ballroom dancing and classes designed to increase the range of joint motion. Additional aqua classes if you have a suitable pool on site, such as water based stretching, aerobics and Pilates. Again, the one key thing is to have trainers with special population certification to lead classes and work with these kinds of members.
By all means focus efforts on serving your existing market segment with the highest possible level of service. But take some time to consider broadening your horizon to include the growing special populations that can be a whole new segment. One with which your fitness club can draw a healthy new build revenue stream. Customers aren’t just lining up outside the door (unless you’re exceptionally lucky); you have to go seek them out. It never hurts to have another place to find them.