Could this be Australia’s best gym? Craig Mac talks to the man with the vision, Leigh Wetton, owner of EMF Performance Centre in Robina, Gold Coast.
CM: Club number five for the EMF group and its first Performance Centre. Robina is now home to the largest gym in Queensland—what’s been the secret of your success thus far?
LW: As a company we try to adapt each new club to improve our member experience through offering a slightly different design and layout.
We want our members to go to any EMF club and have a great experience, and having the variety of equipment and facilities allows you to explore your training options.
The idea behind the performance centre was to provide an environment where any of our members you can explore a variety of training and options giving them the opportunity to achieve the results that a performance athlete would.
CM: You are located on the first floor within a (very large) shopping centre, are there any drawbacks from this type of location?
LW: We’ve had our challenges with tenants below and the vibration generated from dropping weights and the cardio equipment, but nothing serious. The foot traffic through the shopping centre is a solid source of lead generation.
CM: You have both a Cardio and Functional Altitude Training Rooms, is this a membership ‘add-on’ and has this type of training/service been popular with your members?
LW: We have had an amazing response from our members with the altitude training rooms.
The theory of ‘Less Time, Less Effort for the Same Results’ means that the everyday exerciser can improve their fitness when they incorporate a 20-minute altitude session into their workout.
The altitude rooms are a membership ‘add on’, however, we offer complementary instructor led group altitude classes which gives members an opportunity to experience the effects and benefits of altitude training before upgrading their membership.
CM: You also have the world’s first altitude training pool. Where did the inspiration come from to include this?
LW: We wanted to have the ability to cover all training outcomes and altitude swimming was something that no one could achieve. Whether a competitive or an average swimmer, now there’s a 25-metre altitude swimming pool at their doorstep. 90% of the time our pool is used for everyday swimming and Aqua Classes. In a very short period of time we can take it to altitude and have competitive athletes improving their times in a world-class training environment. A number of swim schools, triathlon clubs, pro athletes and teams have shown interest in training in our altitude pool, which reinforces the decision to include it within the EMF Performance Centre here at Robina.
CM: It’s hard to not to give you bragging rights — a private ladies only training room, powerlifting room, military training room, sprint track, X-fit training room, boxing room with cage, Pilates reformer studio, Kinesis rehab section, physiotherapy team, athlete coaching, nutritionist, dietician, sports and remedial massage, supplement store, café, men’s and ladies sauna and steam rooms, kids boot camp, holiday program and crèche, as well as courses for self-defence, altitude training and pre and post natal, (in addition to a ‘normal’ gym) — did your research tell you there was a big enough and hungry enough market to create such a facility?
LW: We set out to create a one-stop shop for fitness. A gym visit to maintain a strength base, a weekly Pilates or yoga class for meditation or flexibility, spin class or functional class for endurance. An equivalent package elsewhere could set you back over $100 per week.
The model at the EMF Performance Centre can allow couples to train at the club everyday with totally different training goals or likes.
Our facilities offer most members a training experience they have never tried before in a safe environment that’s so much fun and get results. Our current members love the variety of training.
CM: Where did you start when it came to selecting the right fitness equipment?
LW: We use two main suppliers for our cardio, strength and functional training systems. We travelled extensively and tested many different types of equipment. It was important that whatever the aims or aspirations of our members, if they decide to change their training program to achieve a new fitness goal we had the equipment to cater for that change. Using suppliers that have a vast range of equipment made that easier for us to achieve.
CM: What are your membership costs?
LW: We start at $21.95 per week, which gives a member group fitness, weights, cardio, boxing room, yoga and Pilates studio access, rehabilitation equipment, a functional X-training room, strength / powerlifting room, swimming pool and aqua classes, 24-hour access plus entry to 4 other facilities on the Gold Coast.
CM: What are your two most successful marketing initiatives?
LW: We spend the majority of our time and money on creating the best member experience. Our membership growth comes predominantly from word of mouth. We also focus heavily on cleanliness and basic customer service. The feedback we receive from our members gives us the confidence that we are meeting their expectations on not only a great training environment, but also a clean, safe and friendly club.
CM: You also operate 24-hour access to the centre. Was this to overcome any joining ‘objection’ a potential new member might throw at you considering you are surrounded with 24-hour gyms?
LW: Not necessarily for this reason. A lot of people have flexible and long work hours, in fact members that train after hours make up a large portion of our membership base, so we cater for them with 24-hour access.
CM: What’s next from EMF?
LW: We have several facilities on the horizon in the future. We also have some new training solutions and ideas that will certainly turn heads. Can’t give too much away but stay tuned for some exciting news!
For more information visit the website www.emfpc.com.au.
Article written for the What’s New in Fitness Magazine – Spring 2017 Edition.