A Hybrid Approach
Club Fitness, Addison Park District
Like many municipal fitness facilities across the country, Addison, Illinois Park District's Club Fitness provides full-service community fitness center amenities for a reasonable rate in a heavily competitive marketplace. Contending with big box clubs, personal training boutiques and low-cost 24/7 gyms for the community's membership dollars, Club Fitness was challenged to match the offerings needed to stay competitive.
Greg Vitale, manager of fitness operations, got to work developing a competitive group fitness program that consisted of 34 live instructor-led classes per week held at peak times during mornings and evenings. He quickly realized, however, that high instructor fees and underutilized classes were expensive to maintain.
"Once we realized how much money empty rooms were costing us, we knew we had to do something," said Vitale. "Our members wanted more classes and more class times. I needed to find a solution."
Keeping the studio filled throughout the day was a priority for Club Fitness. Vitale explored some unconventional ideas, including Fitness On Demand, which allows members to take advantage of the latest and most popular group fitness classes whenever they want with just a touch of a button. Using a touch-screen kiosk, users can select from hundreds of classes. Moments later, members enter the studio to find their custom-tailored selection presented on a life-sized projection screen. Just a few seconds later, a giant projector screen will be lowered in the studio, and the class will begin automatically.
With Fitness On Demand, members can attend regularly scheduled digital classes or play their own classes on-demand when the studio is free. The system is easy to use and features more than 100 functional strength, cardio, dance, yoga, Pilates and cycling classes taught by certified instructors.
"It was an easy decision to choose Fitness On Demand," Vitale said. "We wanted to introduce updated technology to our club and were very impressed with the quality and variety of classes."
Club Fitness was able to drop two underperforming live classes from its 34-class roster and supplement off-peak times. Vitale also found that Addison Park District was able to better control group fitness costs while offering more to members. It also was able to provide an option for guests during holiday weekends and off-peak hours. "It also made a huge difference in touring prospects," Vitale said. "People were like "Wow, technology!"
Addison members rave about the class variety available. "People who may have felt intimidated to join our live classes try Fitness On Demand and love it," Vitale explained. "Next, we see them trying a live class. It's been a great complement to our live group programming. Our instructors have stepped up their game and our overall group fitness program is flourishing."
Addison Park District immediately saw a $1,500 monthly savings in instructor fees. In the first year, Club Fitness eliminated nearly $7,500 from the bottom line and the park district expects to more than double this savings in year two.
Greendale YMCA of Central Massachusetts
Many facilities desiring to offer best-in-class group fitness programming are looking to Fitness On Demand to help present a hybrid of live, instructor-led classes combined with on-demand digital options.
Danielle Trubia, fitness director at the Greendale YMCA of Central Massachusetts, was looking for a cost-effective way to add more group classes for her 12,000-plus members.
"Members wanted us to add more live classes, but we couldn't incur the extra cost," Trubia said. While she loved the variety that Fitness On Demand provides, Trubia explained that her instructors were worried that the service could replace live classes. They also expressed concern over the quality of classes.
"After seeing the quality of digital workouts offered, they've changed their tune," Trubia said.
As for their concerns about being replaced, she added that they experienced the complete opposite. "Since adding Fitness On Demand, we are seeing more members trying group fitness, both our on-demand and live classes."
James River Family YMCA
At the James River Family YMCA in Jamestown, N.D., Executive Director Cory Anderson's instructors were excited for Fitness On Demand right away.
"Our instructors felt Fitness On Demand would feed their live class participation by creating an opportunity for someone to start group fitness with a virtual class who wouldn't otherwise try a live class," Anderson explained. "They also like to take Fitness On Demand classes themselves to get new ideas. The content is very high-quality." Regardless of the size or type of facility, Anderson feels that the program is the right choice for anyone looking to create a successful group fitness program.
"Whether you are starting a group fitness program or trying to supplement your live offerings, Fitness On Demand is a great addition," he explained. "Take a look. It pretty much sells itself."