Personal training can provide a significant boost in a health club’s total monthly revenue. However, many club owners find it difficult to make personal training a priority or just don’t know exactly how to go about getting more people to pay for one on one personal training services.
Personal training is often the second-largest source of revenue for many health clubs and, in the case of many of today’s fitness concepts, it’s their primary source of revenue.
IHRSA’s Profiles of Success notes that leading club operators generate a median of 10% of total revenues from personal training. Incremental membership growth over the past several years has motivated club operators to seek new revenue sources and, consequently, the emphasis is on monetizing the member experience through personal training (individual and small group). Understanding personal training behaviors and trends can help club operators prosper.
Personal Training Usage Moves Upward
A recent IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report showed that, 15% of health club members and 15.4% of non-members engaged in at least one personal training session. Among the 15% of members who have taken at least one personal training session over the past year, men are more likely to participate than women, with 16% of men and 14% of women engaging in personal training at least once in the past year. Among non-members, where overall participation was 15.4%, men and women were equally likely to engage in personal training. The bottom line is that personal training services are as popular as ever for clients if they are delivered in the right ways.
Personal Training Demographics—The Influence of Age and Income
Adults ages 25 to 34, were the most likely to engage in personal training. Adults between the ages of 35 and 44 closely followed these two younger age groups with 19% of personal training clients derived from this audience. It’s worth noting that adults over age 55 are the least likely to leverage the expertise of a personal trainer, with fewer than 10% doing so.
Personal training has proven to be the domain of the more affluent; 7% of members earning in excess of $100,000 annually engage in personal training—more than twice the percentage of any other HHI group that engages in personal training. No other HHI group has more than 2.4% of its membership group involved in personal training.
In the past personal training was the main revenue source for many health clubs and it still is for very successful clubs. In the past several years the group fitness model became more widespread in its adoption as a way to lower price points and get more clients into group settings. Clients are happy because they pay less, clubs and trainers are happy because they work less and can make more money.
While small group programs are obviously popular, generating revenues with one on one personal training can still have a big impact on the bottom line. Many operators still find it challenging to effectively incorporate personal training into their health club’s offerings. Here are 5 strategies that can give you some ideas on how to hopefully improve the revenue impact of personal training at your health club :
1. Build A Great Team Of Personal Trainers
This is getting harder to achieve today but is so essential to creating a money making personal training program for your health club. Recruiting, hiring, and keeping a great personal training team at any type of fitness facility can be one of the biggest challenges that management confronts.
When it comes to identifying quality talent, your current employees are the best resource. The best employees are normally those referred by existing employees. Health club operators who want to ensure a steady stream of great candidates need to focus their efforts internally. One of the best means of accomplishing this is to create an employee referral program that rewards existing employees for bringing you candidates that are hired.
Another approach to hiring great talent is to create an internship program. This is an opportunity to bring in students who are highly interested in a career within the fitness industry. This should be seen as an opportunity to obtain raw talent that can be trained and developed. Some of the best employees are those who began their careers as interns.
In addition to promoting personal training job opportunities via social media and in online job boards like Indeed and others is to utilize association and peer networking groups. This is the practice of engaging in the activities of professional peer groups and industry-affiliated associations (e.g., national, regional and local). One of the best sources of great talent, second only to that of your employees is the recruiting opportunity that exists when you are actively participating in the activities of these types of groups.
2. Effectively Market Your Personal Training Services
There are a number of ways to market personal training for both your existing members and your prospects. With respect to existing members if you have available staff, have your best trainers perform personal training sessions during your busy hours where people can see them. Let other members be exposed to the extra attention and support offered to clients. It is important your trainers do not check cell phones or engage with members other than their clients. Chronicle sessions via video and photographs and utilize them in your social media marketing. Have clients tell stories about the benefits and their great experiences with your personal training and show those on video and other content on your website and on your social posts.
With respect to external prospects developing strategic partnerships with local businesses to promote training services can really work as well. Approach physical therapists, nutrition shops, health food stores, chiropractors, cycling shops, and other health-related retailers and businesses. Reach out via email, telephone, or social DM to find out if they are interested in a marketing partnership. A marketing partnership can work in several ways to create referrals for personal training. You can do the following:
- Display promotional materials for each other.
- Provide special package offers for each other.
- Have joint events promoting each other’s services or products.
- Post content on each other’s sites and tag each other in posts.
Focus on how the partnership benefits your partners. Reach out to physical therapists in your area and point out that you have 10 clients who could really benefit from their services. Offer to refer them if they would do the same in return.
Follow up with the interested parties until you arrive at those who are the best fit for your health club and personal training services. Once you find the right partners you can help each other out in several ways.
3. Spice Up Your Programming
Instead of your personal training advertisement in a monthly newsletter, post it on site with weekly updates. In addition, keep adjusting training routines with one on one clients as they improve. While this might seem like common sense, keeping your programming fresh all the time will keep interest, and reduce turnover. One of many tools, this is among the most effective because this way nothing feels like routine except for a few basic classes, and you're able to cater to the people that need routine and the ones who need something new. In addition, you can let clients know when you have guest trainers coming in to do special programs, something that will also help overcome the idea of the same old thing.
4. Offer Complimentary Personal Training Trials
Offering complimentary training sessions upon membership sign up and at various times during the year, just plain works. The more consistently you offer it the more people will take you up on it. This also means you might generate leads that aren't good for more than the free trial. If you find that you're getting a lot of bad leads with your personal trainer ads, try integrating automation. By having them sign up on your web page, reminding them of their trial period, and following up with them using automated emails or text messages. You can use this method to remind them to keep up the agreed upon routines, as well as send them an email with their personal stats at the beginning and the end of the training routine. This could boost conversions significantly. Once you gained their contact information, you can even continue to follow up with other personal training advertising campaigns that may be seeing success.
5. Manage Your Personal Training Offering With Systems
Systems for your personal training business are crucial and enable health club operators to measure their personal training team’s business performance. The process of marketing, free sessions, trainer production, and client satisfaction are a few of the components needed to be measured to determine how your PT program is working.
Schedule every new member for an orientation with a personal training director. This allows you to speak with each new member about their needs and goals and whether or not a personal trainer would be valuable to them. If the right plan can be created for their needs, complete a personal training contract that specifies the number of sessions per week and per month and their monthly invoice. Have the trainer reach out to their new client to set up their first appointment.
New members who are interested in personal training often need a little encouragement to get started. Schedule them for a free demo that fits their needs and scheduling preferences. It's important that the trainer understand that they are "selling themselves" to a potential new client. They need to assess this person's needs and take them through a real workout so the client understands how the trainer is going to help them reach their goals.
These figures can vary but if executed properly around 80% of new members schedule an orientation, and about 80% of those actually show up for their appointment. The remaining 30% of members you introduce to personal training should sign up for some form of training including either small group training or one-on-one.
Systemizing not only the sales process but even more importantly back-office functions of this often require attention to detail and well-developed systems. ABC Financial has expertise in advising clients on how to best establish billing practices and other aspects of administering personal training programs. Having expertise in this arena of the health club industry can be very valuable for operators who might need business insights and advice.
You can learn more about the latest personal training trends using IHRSA’s new Fitness Training Report which provides in-depth data and analysis of personal and small group training users. Overall, more than 8.3 million health club consumers used a personal trainer in 2016, representing 12.6% of total club consumers. To help maximize the potential of this profit center, the IHRSA report highlights three key insights from personal training clients.
To learn more about ABC Financial’s Preferred Vendor Partners that specialize in personal training solutions and helping your health club execute personal training systems and offerings visit our website here.
About ABC Financial Services
We are the nation’s leading software and payment processing provider for health clubs, gyms, and fitness facilities of all kinds. Our experience and insights continue to support the growth of leading fitness industry operators. Our seamless integrations and relationships with the world’s most advanced technology solution partners enhance member experience and improve retention and profitability. Your fitness business deserves a proven reliable technology and billing solutions provider. Call us at 800-551-9733 or visit our website www.abcfinancial.com to learn more. Subscribe to our newsletter here (link) or Contact us today to learn more.