Extended access – Hybrid Fitness Centres

What is a Hybrid Fitness business and why would I join one?

Simply put a hybrid fitness business is a combination of  the best of the “traditional fitness business model” and the “24 hour gym business model” that has seen enormous growth over the last 2 years in Australia.

Who doesn’t want the best of both worlds?

Features of a hybrid Fitness Business

Staffed hours-during high use periods of the day a staff member (fitness industry qualified at minimum with a first aid certificate) is employed directly by the business to assist all the clients in training. This does not include a personal trainer conducting  private sessions.

This feature helps maintain a safe enjoyable environment for clients of the business, with the staff member enforcing gym policies, such as towel use and facilitating the sharing of equipment as well as providing feedback on exercise technique.

Automated access & Extended Trading hours

Our busy lives demand that our exercise be convenient. By investing in automatic door technology that syncs with their data base, Hybrid fitness businesses can provide for this consumer demand, by extending their opening hours to 24 hours (Your Fitness Vaucluse)  or to 5 am to late (Regenesis Fitness at Edgecliff) for example.

This both provides greater access to facilities for consumers, but also allows the traditional fitness business’s costs for staffing to be fixed and no longer directly related to the opening hours of the facility.

Both models that the Hybrid model has been developed from have their weaknesses from both a business and customer experience perspective.

Weaknesses of the Traditional Model

Expenses for staffing are higher in comparison to the 24 hour model as there is a direct relationship between the hours of operation and staffing costs. Historically rent and then staffing are the greatest costs to a fitness business. With the prevalence of 24 hour clubs this has started to change as the staffing hours of such clubs are fixed and limited to the staffed hours(usually determined by a Franchise agreement) and typically limited to a club manager working office hours.

Opening hours in the traditional model typically has been  limited to 6 am (we used to think this was early) to 9 or 10 pm on weekdays and shorter on the weekends. Public holidays would be Sunday hours or closed. With access to the internet and online services 24 hours a day, we have become conditioned to having access  to services when we want them and the traditional models inability to deliver this is its major weakness related to customer experience.

Weaknesses of the 24hour model

Staffing is provided during the non peak times for admin sales and management tasks.

Club rules / etiquite is not monitored by a staff member during busy times.

There is a lack of developing rapport with clients and staff / the business due to limited interactions as a result of the automated approach to business. Can lead to less client loyalty.