Leisure center customers are demanding a bigger, better experience. They want more fitness options, more facilities and more benefits from their leisure center… but they’re also highly cost-conscious.

Our exclusive research surveyed over 1,000 gym and leisure center attendees, and 74% said health, fitness and wellbeing have never been more important. Despite that, consumers are hesitant to spend any more on fitness than they currently do.

So, how can leisure centers give customers what they want without increasing prices or breaking the bank?

1. Streamline operations across your leisure centers

The first step towards maximizing value is to reduce your costs. Ideally, your leisure center team should identify as many ways as possible to streamline operations and cut unnecessary processes.

For example, you could:

  • Eliminate manual processes – such as joining procedures, payment changes and class bookings. These fiddly processes are costly in both time and money, and they can be easily reduced with the right leisure management solution partner;
  • Improve stock management – with integrated software that syncs inventory, ordering and POS systems;
  • Automate onboarding processes – by setting up new, streamlined workflows for both new members and new trainers or instructors. This will help minimize admin costs, keep engagement rates high and deliver a stronger experience to customers and team members.

2. Improve efficiencies at every possible opportunity

Once you’ve reviewed and overhauled unnecessary processes, the next step is to improve efficiencies in other areas of your operations. You’ll need to identify where your centers are losing money, where they’re underperforming and where revenue is falling behind.

To do that, you need relevant insight – accurate, real-time data on your operations.

With the right leisure management software, you’ll get the oversight you need to make better decisions. You’ll ensure you’re tracking the right KPIs to see where efficiencies can be made, and understand if you need to increase conversion rates, improve retention, sell more stock and so on.

3. Showcase everything your offer includes

Often, customers don’t realize the full value of their memberships because they’re only focused on one or two aspects of it. Maybe they only use the gym and pool and don’t know about outdoor classes? Perhaps they only attend fitness classes and don’t realize they get discounts in your café?

One of the easiest steps you can take to maximize value for your customers is to simply talk more about your facilities. Communicate with your customers as regularly as possible, promoting every part of your offer, big and small.

This could include:

  • If you have a small unused room or quiet space, encourage customers to use it for individual meditation;
  • Remind customers they can pre-book classes, so they never miss out on a session;
  • Promote bring-a-friend weekends, so customers can show off the facilities they use.

Sometimes, the smallest of things can add massive value, like a set of armbands behind reception that little ones can use in case they forget theirs. The key is making sure your customers know just how much value they’re getting from your leisure center.

4. Give your members more control

As with many other industries, rapid developments in technology have seen more and more of us looking for ways to ‘self-manage’ our experience. From taxis and meal delivery services to mobile banking, we’re all using software, apps and technology to give us more control over services and facilities.

Your leisure center should look to embrace this too, because your customers value the ability to manage their own health and fitness journey. They want the freedom and flexibility to make changes themselves.

With the right leisure management software, you can easily let your customers:

  • Join online;
  • Book their own classes and sessions;
  • Update their own payment details.

You’ll give them more value, and you’ll reduce costs for your own operations.

5. Embrace the socializing aspect of your centers

It’s all too easy for leisure centers to focus on health and fitness, while overlooking the importance of socializing. But socializing is an area that’s integral to our overall wellness and wellbeing.

And it’s highly valued by customers.

A survey carried out by our UK team showed that many customers – particularly those from older generations – missed the socializing aspect of their leisure center visits during lockdowns. Of those who reported a negative experience during the pandemic, 22% said it was because they missed that community feel.

It’s unsurprising that 46% of respondents in the same survey said they wanted more community and social elements from their leisure centers in the future.

So, how can your leisure center maximize value for your customers socially?

  • Create new areas specifically for socializing or add a dedicated ‘Chatty Cafe’ table to encourage conversations;
  • Run community events like fun days or monthly themed evenings;
  • Start a weekly coffee morning.

These events and ideas won’t cost you much – especially if you ask for suppliers and team members to volunteer their time and services in support of the community. Most importantly, though, they will have a huge impact on the value your leisure center offers.

6. Improve the entire customer experience

Ultimately, if you want to maximize value for your customers and give them more for less, you need to focus on improving their experience in every way possible. That’s the finding of our report – What do members want from their leisure center?

From better hygiene to easier access to simple joining procedures to quicker payment management, your customers want a streamlined experience surrounded by an incredible health and wellbeing offer. One that isn’t just focused on fitness.

If you can anticipate those demands from your customers and exceed their expectations, you’ll have no trouble delivering more value and offering the services and facilities your community wants.

Ready for the right leisure management solution partner? Reach out to us.

Article by Xplor Technologies

First published: July 18 2022

Last updated: May 20 2024