UNSW Fitness and Aquatic Centre has been operated in partnership with the YMCA since 2013, with 4,000 members during term time fluctuating down to 2,800 in university holidays. Around 85 per cent of members are university students or staff, and the Centre generates approximately 600,000 visits in total each year. The Centre includes a 50m pool and provides swimming lessons for more than 1,800 children a week, and squads for more than 320 swimmers in addition to lessons.
Group fitness is a popular offering with 50 classes a week, and a female-only training area provides somewhere for women to train away from the more masculine power-lifters. Special programs are also offered for seniors as well as a unique offering to help those suffering from mental health problems, called Brightside, which enables patients referred by their doctor or case manager to access the gym for 60 days for free, with a follow-on fee assistance program also offered to those in financial need. Local competitors include Snap Fitness and Fitness First.
When the YMCA partnered with UNSW in 2013, centre manager Damian Ragusa and his team made a number of changes to improve the Centre. One of their biggest challenges was attracting female members because the club was popular amongst weight lifters and perceived to be skewed to male members.
YMCA Management decided to install Precor cardio equipment, and move the location of the cardio area to the front of the Centre, where it is clearly visible to prospective members. With female members visiting gyms predominantly for cardio training, having quality cardio equipment that is simple to use and looks great is a key strategy for increasing female member numbers.
“Previously we had very dilapidated, old cardio equipment, and it was definitely time to upgrade to meet the expectation of the market and enable us to remain competitive,” said Damian.
“We chose Precor because it was well-priced, but fantastic quality, as well as being aesthetically great. It’s very appealing equipment, very sleek and modern and that is definitely helping us attract more female members,” he said.
“Precor also offers great after sales service, and all of our team has been thoroughly trained on the equipment by Precor too, so they can help troubleshoot any problems.”
The Centre has definitely seen an impact on membership numbers as a result of the new cardio equipment.
“We increased our member base to 4,000 in the first four months of having the new Precor equipment which is a great result, and we get lots of positive comments on the new cardio,” said Damian.
“We’re pleased with our new equipment and the support we have received from Precor before, during and after the sale,” concluded Damian.