Written by James Charles
With indoor group exercise resuming across the UK after the third Covid lockdown, Ben Edwards, National Health and Fitness Manager for Village Gym, talked to our Customer Engagement Coach, Julie Allen about how our software, Clubcount allows him to manage a successful group exercise programme across the operator’s 30+ sites.
Q1 – How have you found the re-opening phase?
It has been really busy and quite euphoric in our clubs as group x returns to the big indoors – it has been great to see so many smiling, happy and also grateful faces. I don’t think people realised fitness was such an integral part of their lives until the gyms were closed. It’s true what they say – you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone!
Q2 – Tell us about your role at Village Gym and what you love about being part of the Village experience
My role at Village Gym is National Health and Fitness Manager and before that I spent two years running a couple of the Village Hotels as General Manager. My passion though, and my experience, is built around health, fitness and the opportunity to help people. I like to get into the clubs and improve fitness staff, even by as little as 1 or 2%, so they can collectively go back to their clients and members and provide them with a better experience.
Q3 – So how has the big return following lockdown been for you?
Electric. Euphoric. We’ve managed to really integrate a lot of our traditional forms of group exercise with some new ones. A lot of fitness clubs offering group x timetables might look to amend each quarter. Most operators will do this, but traditionally it will kind of stay very similar. We wanted to use this time as an opportunity to introduce some new concepts, change the times of certain things and get some great new instructors so that when members came back it felt fresh and energetic.
Q4 – How has the use of data helped you with this?
Data is king! We’ve definitely used the data from Clubcount to help with this process. We can run reports and look at occupancies in a way the club can’t formulate without the software. It just allows that part to be done with ease and the knowledge that there is great integrity and authenticity in the data we use to support our decision making.
Q5 – How long have you worked with Clubcount now?
Clubcount has been in the business for some time but I personally have been using it for around three years. It is used as part of my day-to-day, weekly and monthly reporting so I get a lot of use out of it!
Q6 – How useful would you say Clubcount is for your role as National Health & Fitness Manager? Are there any real pain points that Clubcount has removed to make operations easier on a day-to-day basis?
It’s been massively beneficial and particularly from a data perspective. The way that you can manage instructors, check the qualifications, and upload these at the click of a button is really useful. With Clubcount we know that we can amend occupancy quickly, rather than have to go through a whole myriad of tasks manually.
Q7 – Which Clubcount feature is most important to you as a Health and Fitness Manager?
I would say the reporting. If I want to get an overarching view of the group’s performance, I can do so. If I want to segment into individual clubs and take a closer look at this data analysis I can also do that. It can strip the report into mini segments, so if I want to see which instructor is the most popular in a particular club in order to allocate them more classes, I can do that with ease.
Clubcount also gives me visibility on time slot performance which is important because sometimes we perceive certain time slots in clubs to be more popular – for example we might set a class for five o’clock or six o’clock, but the data might actually tell us that off-peak members come in at 10 am and go to classes a lot more frequently plus those classes are a lot busier. It allows us to see all of this at the touch of a button.
We also get some really good genre and programming analysis where normally we make assumptions such as ‘we believe indoor cycling classes are the most popular or the busiest program in our club’ when really it could be something else like BODYCOMBAT. It gives us accurate, authentic data that enables us to run classes that members actually want and need.
Q8 – With a portfolio the size of Village Gym’s how does Clubcount help?
Without compromising on output or member experience, Clubcount saves a lot of time and allows us to focus our efforts on other areas of the business that are also important. I can react to a group exercise problem super fast and find a solution based on the data that I’m receiving.
Clubcount is an integral part of Village Gym’s group exercise offering as it allows us to provide members with the programming they want, and support the people delivering these classes. I’d like to thank the team at Fitronics for always being there to help and point us in the right direction.