With rigs of all shapes and sizes now being a regular feature on the gym floor, and with a huge variety of quality small equipment available that together can contribute massively to a group experience, the aim of this blog series is to explore how these factors can contribute to the success of ‘Group Training’ on the gym floor.
This is this fourth and final feature on’ Success in Group Training on the Gym Floor’. The aim is to focus on timetabling, marketing and session content.
As before, this feature is not meant to be a deep educational piece of work around fitness industry standards, or the roles and responsibilities of staff: it is purely a personal view of the ingredients that should be considered to ensure group training or a group space is successful.
The aim of these features is to investigate the importance of understanding the facility AUDIENCE, and to explore how the design and creation of the space is a key factor in the overall experience. To explore the staff PERFORMANCE and reinforce the notion that staff behaviours [teaching and interaction], should reflect the mission and values of the facility and aim of the group space, adding to the overall group experience.
Before moving on, when using the term ‘experience’, we are talking about ‘occupying a space in the customers’ (exercisers) mind beyond the primacy of the product (fitness) . The fact is that ‘EVERYTHING MATTERS!’ and if the industry is moving away from providing services, to delivering experiences, then every single thing matters.
Facts or stories, what drives behaviour? In the book [The Myth Gap – A. Evans], the author argues that stories are far more powerful than facts and statistics, and states some very recent situations where this is the case. The author also goes on to mention that the modern-day storytellers are in-fact marketeers.
Marketing and the marketing department is a key factor in the success of Group Training [Gym Floor].
Marketing tells the story, by spreading the word through various channels. They communicate with the audience, and put the group offering into context, creating interest and adding value to membership, thus getting exercisers excited about the overall experience.
The power that stories have over facts and statistics on behaviour is huge, therefore marketing should be involved in the facility group offering from day one. Know your audience, be clear about the context, have a story and get marketing involved as early as possible.
If group Training is going to be successful, timetabling the sessions is key. Members want to know when the sessions are being delivered, so that they can plan their diary.
For those members not wanting to take part in the sessions the timetable helps raise awareness that something is going on in the space. Delivering session as, and when does NOT work, no-one knows what’s going on, so there will be confusion and disappointment.
Ensure that the timetable is visible all around the facility, with clear information of how to book a place in a session. For new members introductory sessions should be timetabled, so that the individual feels comfortable with the space and the exercise offering.
Session content is crucial, it should match the audience, the facility values and beliefs, along with the marketing communications. There should be a range of different sessions throughout the week, that offer the opportunity for variety to the exerciser. Whether a 3rd party is responsible for the content, or it is created in-house, having quality session content that supports the overall experience is key.
All new content needs to be reviewed and evaluated by a number of staff to ensure it is appropriate. Internal training needs to be enforced whenever the content changes to ensure consistency of delivery.
There are many factors that contribute to the success of a new piece of equipment or concept within a facility space, the final factor in relation to this series of articles, is the importance of REASONING over reproducing.
Reasoning is about ANALYSING what is on offer, from both a trend, competitor and supplier perspective. EVALUATING how that might or could be utilised/delivered in line with the facility mission and audience, and finally CREATING something that that adds a significant difference to a facility offering and is in line with the target audience.
The fitness industry is growing up, just reproducing what other facilities are delivery is not going to add value to an offering. There has to be something different in order to stand out. REASONING with what is happening and considering how the factors impact specifically on a facility and its audience, is an approach to creating exercise offerings that are unique and that add value in the mind of the member.
 adapted from j. trout (differentiate or die)