Wow, what a convention and tradeshow! I’ve probably been to 20 or so IHRSA conferences and trade shows in my career (thus far). This year’s event seemed to be the best I’ve ever experienced. Granted, there is some bias here for me. This was my last IHRSA conference as an IHRSA Board Member. After having the privilege of serving as a Board Member, Committee Chair, Chairman and Ex-Officio over five wonderful years, I’m more attached emotionally and purposefully to this industry and Association than ever before, especially cognizant of the important public policy work and industry community/family.
The words that seem to keep popping into my mind about our industry are “community” and “family.” That may sound cliché. At this particular convention, I realized how many people I have crossed paths with from working together, competing against, and in some cases, both. The emotions around these reconnections are not around differences but around good times and commonality: how together we all seem to make each other better. I can’t imagine another industry where competitors, both in the club sector and equipment and supplier sectors, willingly come together to embrace a sense of community and betterment for an entire industry. The trade show was amazing. The keynotes were thought provoking and inspiring. The sessions, panels and roundtables were action-oriented. Attendees/operators, consultants, vendors, manufacturers and suppliers all added ingredients to a recipe that was simply out of this world.
My advice to the veterans is to stay involved. Public Policy and Health Promotion are keys to our united success. Keep pushing your comfort zone on redefining our business models with touch and technology. Program not only for current members but also for our FUTURE members. Share data so we collectively can improve.
My advice to those earlier in their careers is to get involved. Go to the IHRSA Institute, read the newsletters and reports on consumers, benchmarks, retention and research. Challenge the status quo and network. Share and question everything. We all realize that the traditional club business is still playing to the 15 – 25% of the population that are intrinsically motivated. To be a significant catalyst in activity, we have to appeal to the “normal” people, with non-threatening fun engagement. Communicating their way in their spaces.
Together, We Are Better!
We are at a precipice. The winds could be at our backs, so let’s align our sails to ride the momentum towards the activity tipping point. Employers, insurance carriers, medical providers and the populations we want to serve are all clear; we all need to move more and live healthier lives. Let’s adapt into the external reality and not stay internally focused. Look “outside-in,” not “inside-out.” What can we all learn from what Google, Facebook, Nike and all of the “outside interests” are doing in the activity movement to serve our clientele?
Our new company, Active Sports Clubs is looking at the communities we serve in great detail, and then tailoring what is missing. To win is to serve different unmet needs, not try to beat competitors in a zero-sum game that simply drives down prices and drives up expenses. We must meet needs that are currently unmet and develop sustainable business models that optimize profitable growth allowing for the enhanced evolution of our industry. This requires evolving, smart technology to serve a need and continuing the high touch and human interaction that is timeless
Active Sports Clubs (Operating as Active Sports Clubs; Active Wellness and Active Community) has ten commercial health clubs, one hospital-based fitness facility, several independent clubs (universities, office parks, hotels) and many corporate fitness and community centers. They all have the same goal: deliver for the member in a localized fashion based on the environments in which we operate our lifestyle concept. And, all realize that fitness and wellness are not contained in our four walls.
All benefit from the best practices of a major company committed to People, Product, Programming and Process Im-provement. We share best practices with one another, our teams, our clients and the industry as a whole. This is based on the experiential data and results over many delivery systems. While our model is predicated on a local site focus, with broad programming and facility experience, we also do a lot of testing in our own sites so we aren’t experimenting on our clients. Additionally, owning clubs allows for a much more robust infrastructure in marketing and technology expertise that can be leveraged inexpensively for clients. One of Active’s many strengths is its broad knowledge base and system structure around fitness, weight loss, activity, wellness, technology, along with sales and marketing expertise. I honestly believe we have a great formula in the industry for our newly acquired sites and our clients. We are eager to be of service.
Our “working acronym” is:
- A = Authentic;
- C = Caring;
- T = Teamwork;
- I = Innovative;
- V = Values-oriented;
- E = Excellence.
We help people change their lives for the better around fitness, activity, wellness, weight loss, balance and learning. We believe one’s life is made up of how everything fits together. We create and support active lifestyles. We focus on the unique aspects of the communities we belong to and are localized in our approach. Our mission has been and remains to create inspiring environments to help people make positive changes in our communities through: Expertise, Comfort, Friendliness, Cleanliness, Support, Learning, Fun