With so many fads and trends constantly entering the fitness industry, it’s easy for business owners to lose focus or get sucked in by these trends, even if they don’t necessarily believe in them.
Personally, I think one trend in particular has significantly and negatively affected the industry—price discounting. When I entered the fitness industry in the early 90s there were no electronic cardio machines in most gyms. When they were introduced, most included coin slots, which allowed people to use them for an additional fee.
Unfortunately, this all changed when gym owners removed the coin slots without increasing gym membership prices, in order to beat their competitors. This trend has continued since then and as a result, many gym memberships are cheaper than they were 20 years ago. Hence the only way for owners to make money is to sell more and more memberships, then hope that people don’t turn up—otherwise their facilities would be overcrowded. As a result, customer service has fallen, which reduces the ability for people to achieve results. Moreover, consumers now expect gym memberships to be cheap.
“Among other factors, I believe this has contributed to the rising obesity rates in Australia, despite the number of fitness facilities skyrocketing.”
Fortunately, I’ve been able to regularly draw upon John Maxwell’s great quote and remind myself not to be been sucked in by this trend. As a result, we’ve been able to afford to provide great service to our members so they get results. While I know that many other industry leaders also share my philosophy, I think it’s high time for the countless other gym owners to stop trying to beat each other through discounting and focus on delivering quality service to stand out, so the fitness industry can truly be seen as a vital part of the solution to the obesity epidemic.
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Written by PaySmart’s Fitness and Leisure contributor Andrew Simmons. Andrew is the Founder of Vision Personal Training, Australia’s largest Personal Training studio franchise with 50 studios across Australia and New Zealand. Vision was voted Emerging Franchise System of the Year by the Franchise Council of Australia in 2008, and National Personal Training Business of the Year in 2003 and 2010. Inducted into Fitness Australia’s Roll of Honour in 2013, Andrew has presented at international health, fitness and business conventions since 1995. Andrew is also the author of two best-selling books on health and fitness: “Fat Loss Take Control” (40,000+ copies sold) and “Ready Set Go — 3 Steps to better Health” (10,000+ copies sold). www.visionpt.com.au