Opinion

Founder & CEO

...Simple things can have a big impact on the client experience. Work with your team to hit these five hospitality basics every time and you’ll see an improvement in atmosphere and experience, and an uptick in new client conversions and sales.

shape-Light-Blue.pngThe Fitness Industry Has A Hospitality Crisis. Here’s The Cure.  

Every time a new client walks into your fitness club, it’s make or break. Get it right, and you have an opportunity to change their life and create an advocate for your brand. Get it wrong, and they may walk out the door, decide this fitness thing just isn’t for them, and you’ve lost a potential client. Too often, we’ve found it’s the latter.

In our first year at The Fit Guide we anonymously visited 250 of the world’s leading fitness clubs, collecting and analyzing over 100,000 data points. We’ve found that we’re often missing the fundamentals of hospitality that define the experience and keep clients coming back.

Leading hotels and restaurants have been consistently delivering five star service for decades, but we’ve found that the fitness industry has some work to do to match these high standards.

Drawing on our co-founder Matt Lavender’s background in five-star hospitality training, coupled with the data from our 250 visits, here are five areas where we can improve as an industry.

Using names

It has been said that the most beautiful sound to anyone is their own name. It’s also one of the best ways to show that you care about getting to know someone.

Our evaluator’s names were learned and used by the front desk team in 42.9% of our visits, with coaches and instructors using names 45.3% of the time. Work with your team to help them use names consistently and you’ll already be doing something that the majority of leading clubs aren’t!

Showing an interest

A show of genuine interest is a hospitality fundamental and can be as simple as asking clients if they live in the area, what kind of training they normally do or if they managed to avoid the rain that day. When a genuine question of interest is asked it instantly breaks down barriers and helps strengthen the connection.

During the check-in and check-out process, genuine interest was shown during 43.1% of our visits, highlighting another easy win to help us connect with our clients.

Anticipating needs

Offering thoughtful, anticipatory service is another staple of hospitality. Anticipating the client’s needs and offering things that make their visit more comfortable and convenient creates a strong impression and shows that you care. It can be as simple as offering to validate a parking ticket, letting them know where they can fill up their water bottle or handing them a towel.

The key is to pre-empt what the client needs before they have to ask, delivering service that goes above and beyond their basic expectations. We received anticipatory service in 40.8% of our visits.

First timers

On the nervousness scale, first time clients will range from absolutely terrified to cautiously confident. Regardless of how they’re feeling, everyone appreciates a check in with their instructor before the class. This is where your coaching team can score multiple wins, with a warm conversation that helps them learn the new client’s name, whether they have any injuries and what kind of training they’ve done before.

Our evaluators always arrive early to offer a fair chance for the instructor to score this standard, which we saw in 43.1% of our visits.

After class check in

Following up with clients after their session is another great way to connect and show you care, especially if they are a first timer. Your team can simply ask with a smile, “how was the session?” and let the conversation flow from there.

During our 250 visits, the front desk team checked in with us post-class 42.9% of the time, with the coaches following up in 47.8% of our visits.

Simple touches create big impact

Seemingly small, simple things can have a big impact on the client experience. Work with your team to hit these five hospitality basics every time and you’ll see an improvement in atmosphere and experience, and an uptick in new client conversions and sales.

To receive a copy of our Year One industry report with a huge range of stats and data from across the fitness industry, subscribe to our newsletter at www.thefitguide.com/subscribe.

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