PT – A pathway to profit for health clubs

The annual Fitness Industry Survey, conducted by direct debit billing and financial solutions provider Ezypay Australia, has identified that an enormous opportunity currently exists for health clubs offering personal training services to their members.

Since 2008, the Fitness Industry Survey has been the largest fitness survey in the world, with over 20,000 gym members interviewed last year, as well as gym owners and managers from across Australia and New Zealand. In 2014, the Fitness Industry Survey has been extended to include gyms in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Results to date have identified a surprising trend, whereby across these five countries, more than half of the gym member respondents (54 per cent) have never actually used the services of a personal trainer (PT).

Personal training was previously considered a luxury that was only available to and affordable by celebrities and elite athletes. Here, in Australia, that stigma surrounding personal training was reduced, suggested by the thousands of newly qualified personal trainers who graduate from the 100+ registered training providers across the country every year. However, this survey has revealed that, in fact, a mere 46 per cent of gym members in Australia have actually tried personal training. The survey has also found that, on average, members only used their personal trainer for three or fewer months, and most members stopped using their trainer due to financial constraints.

Ryan Hogan, CEO of Australian Fitness Network, which is one of the country’s leading fitness education providers, believes that in order to ensure maximum member accessibility, clubs need to offer a wide variety of fitness programs, led by qualified trainers, which are available at different price points.

Interestingly, in New Zealand, gym members report the highest use of PTs with 56 per cent having tried the service at least once.

Richard Beddie, CEO of Fitness New Zealand and the Exercise Association of New Zealand says this an encouraging result and he believes the future of personal training lies in smaller group training, where a PT has a group of (for example) four people, who they train together for 30 minutes, and then collect $15 (or thereabouts) from each of them.

By comparison, in Hong Kong, a mere one in three gym members (33 per cent) have worked with a personal trainer at least once, while in Singapore just 23 per cent of gym members have used a PT. In Malaysia, personal training is the most poorly experienced among the five countries surveyed, with just one in five gym members (20 per cent) having used the service at their gym.

For health clubs in Australia, the implication of these figures is significant. Those that actively promote or offer personal training services could potentially attract this untapped market who have never tried PT before; and in doing so, a potentially lucrative profit centre could be established. The result of which could be a boost in member retention, a reduction in attrition and, of course, an increase in revenue.

Click here to find out more results from the Ezypay Fitness Industry Survey and their potential implications.



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