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value for money their membership, which ends up in a noticed that you have only used our club
A payment system where members on cancellation. Although pay-as-you-go three times this month, so we are only
a set contract may be offered a methods work well for leisure centres, going to charge you 25 per cent of the
discount each month if they go to the they take away the ‘club’ effect that full membership price’.
gym less than an average amount many operators want to achieve. “The drawback to this system is that
“Monthly electronic fund transfers (EFT) “I’m in favour of modifying current operators risk a reduction in revenues
have played a significant part in the EFT systems to give better value for by moving away from guaranteed
development of the modern fitness money. For example, if a member pays monthly dues. On the other hand, the
industry over the last 15 years,” says £50 per month to use a club, but only no-usage scenario is not sustainable
Rod Hill, who runs a project funding goes three times in one month (which is and attracts bad press and a negative
consultancy called Calgary. “However, as well below average usage) we could public perception. Another possible
the industry has matured, we’re seeing think about reducing the amount of solution could be to develop an Oyster
one large flaw with the EFT system: if a money we take from that person's card-type system, where people
member doesn’t use a club very often, account. This could be accompanied by a pre-pay for a certain amount of visits
they’re not getting value for money from letter saying: ‘Dear member, we've and only pay for what they use.”
software support
fi s e r v e
Fiserve’s i4 software has two very
different membership payment
options. Firstly, a value for money
option can be operated where
members on a traditional contract
are charged less in a month where

they use the club less than a pre-
set quota. These members would
be batched together and an email
merge message sent out advising
them of the discount. Secondly, and
in complete contrast, is the incentive
bonus scheme which is popular in
the US. Here, club members are
offered monthly discounts if they
meet an agreed quota of gym visits.
Under this payment scheme,
customers only pay for what they use
each time they visit the gym
“One of the fundamental principles of
local authority leisure provision is that it
will be socially inclusive and accessible to
all sections of the community,” says
Steve Philpott, CEO of DC Leisure, one
of the UK’s leading private operators of
local authority leisure centres.
“As a result, we're in a different
position from private fitness operators.
A pay-as-you-go method is regarded as
essential in our sites, with annual or
monthly direct debit payments viewed as
a convenience option for users.
“The ability to pay as you go has
defi nitely proved valuable for some people
during the economic downturn, as it’s
Flexible use Pay-as-you-go given them greater fl exibility and enabled
has allowed those out of work them to continue exercising without the
due to the recession to keep commitment of a monthly payment.
exercising, says Steve Philpott “One of the disadvantages of this
system is that it lacks the fi nancial
54 Read Health Club Management online july 2009 © cybertrek 2009
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