What’s driving your Box’s current membership strategy? There are many points to consider. Have you ever considered the importance of Box cleanliness?
Cleanliness is something more and more people expect from the Boxes they join, no matter what kind of hard-charging programming is available. Yet, too many Box owners and managers overlook cleanliness as a membership recruitment, retention and safety strategy.
To be more specific, I’m referring to the cleanliness of equipment surfaces members touch as they charge through their workouts. One member’s sweaty “calling card” can be the next member’s virus or infection. Shared — touched and/or sweated-on — equipment surfaces should be sanitized after each use to minimize the spread of germs.
Cleanliness oversight offers big opportunities to Boxes that adopt cleanliness as a key part of their membership strategy. Use cleanliness as a marketing and membership sales tool, and as a primary strategy to create and maintain a good reputation and retain members. Why? Three reasons:
1. It’s different. Most Boxes are likely to offer top-notch equipment, training programs and highly motivated trainers. Promote cleanliness, too. It will set you apart.
2. It’s appealing and safe. People spend time in Boxes to get stronger and healthier, not to come in contact with germs and viruses that can live and breed on the surfaces of dirty, shared-use, equipment. Unfortunately over the past several years, gyms have been cited as the source for the spread of germs and viruses to members. Specifically, uncleaned body contacted surfaces of gym equipment — sweat soaked or not — have been linked to the spread of staph/MRSA infections, seasonal flu viruses, E. Coli bacteria and several more. Also, regular equipment cleaning eliminates gym odors. The rapid pace of Box workouts is no excuse for not sanitizing equipment regularly, sometimes as often as after each use. Convenient cleaning only takes a few seconds; it’s well worth the time investment compared to the down time associated with a gym-acquired illness or infection.
3. It’s green and sustainable, but better. Today, it’s expected that businesses — Boxes included — embrace sustainable practices; in this case, equipment cleaning. Yet, while green claims may abound in the fitness industry, just raising your hand and saying “Me, too!” won’t make you different. You have to prove it every day. Deploy environmentally and economically sound equipment cleaning and sanitizing products throughout your facility. Offering non-waste producing equipment cleaning products —reusables, not disposables like wipes and paper towels — is the best and most environmentally friendly way to go. Place these products regularly and visibly throughout your facility, amid your equipment areas. Your members will enjoy a healthier environment, you’ll save money, and you’ll have a genuine, defendable green strategy to promote to current and prospective members. No way to wash towels on site? No problem. Take a bag of towels home or to the laundromat once per week. It’s well worth the effort.
Industries change over time, and the fitness industry is no exception. People will always choose clubs based on many factors. But, experts agree cleanliness has quickly risen to the top of the list. Gyms that continue to ignore cleanliness will put their members at increased risk for illness, and leave their own reputations vulnerable. Either way, it’s not worth it — especially when there are effective, inexpensive and environmentally friendly solutions available.
By Bruce A. Sherman, Ph.D. Sherman is the inventor of the GymValet — holder for equipment sanitizing spray bottles and towels — and is the president of GymValet/B & D Specialty Concepts, Inc., in Shaker Heights, Ohio. You can contact Dr. Sherman by phone at 216.378.4298 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the GymValet website at gymvalet.com, and the GymValet by Dr. Bruce Sherman Facebook Page at facebook.com/gymvalet.