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interview


people to come back to us because of the results and the service we provide.” Although the company’s monthly charges are signifi cantly higher than those of many traditional clubs (see information box, right), Long is quick to point out that they are much lower than those for personal training, against which the product and the results it delivers are more directly comparable. “What we’re working to deliver is that personal training experience that people pay US$50–US$100 an hour for, but at a quarter of the cost,” he says.


SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE When it came to rolling out the franchise concept, Long and Kern were able to draw on their extensive experience with both Massage Envy and European Wax Center. “One of the key things we’ve learned is that the selection of the right franchise owner is critical,” says Long, adding that the company currently has 25 franchisees on its books. “Franchising provides all the systems and tools for success, but with Orangetheory we wanted people who believed in the product, who believed in fi tness and who were ready to be fairly hands-on. We believe this is a hands-on business and owners need to be involved. “We also put a lot of effort into helping franchisees pick the absolute best location. We target larger anchors, such as shopping centres, and we look for a combination of visibility and walk- by traffi c. We love it when people can see the signage from the road. We’ve


The group setting ‘provides a lot of energy,’ says Long


ORANGETHEORY FITNESS BY NUMBERS


 There are currently 11,000 Orangetheory Fitness members across 19 US sites


 The brand has a further 16 US sites and three Canadian sites in development


 The target for each site is 500 members


 A basic pre-paid package of 10 sessions costs US$180 (US$18 per session)


 The most popular monthly membership package – the Elite Package – costs US$99 for eight sessions a month (just under US$12.50 per session)


also designed the look of the brand to encourage people to stop by and look in. We’re confi dent that, if we can get people to come in and try the workout, we have a good chance of them becoming clients.” In terms of who the brand appeals


to, whenever a new Orangetheory Fitness site opens, the gender split of members tends to be 75 per cent female to 25 per cent male, says Long – but once the site has been open a few months, this usually corrects to a more even ratio. “We have different theories around why that happens, such as women being more comfortable taking group classes, but once the location is open and we’re able to spread the


word about what we really do, we soon start to get more men.” Long is also keen to point out


that, while the largest segment of Orangetheory members are in their mid- 20s to mid-50s, the brand also attracts a signifi cant proportion of people in their 60s and 70s. The reason for this is that, despite its basis in high-intensity interval training (historically more appealing to young, athletic men) the Orangetheory workout – with its integral heart rate monitoring system – is designed to be safe and effective for people of all ability levels, not just the already-fi t. “Our goal is to make this a product for everyone,” says Long. “It doesn’t matter how old or unfi t our members are – we educate them to go at their own pace regardless, and our trainers will help them to fi nd exercises that are in-tune with their bodies.” Far from neglecting the out-of-shape


market, Orangetheory actively goes after it, with reward-based weight-loss challenges a key component of every new opening campaign. “We want to attract people who aren’t fi t at all, who need to lose maybe 30–50lbs,” says Long. “And these people really get amazing results with us. They have a longer way to go to get fi t, but they quickly get in their stride and feel comfortable with the programme.” In fact, according to Long, as many as half of new members signing up to Orangetheory have weight-loss goals of 10lbs or more – unsurprising, perhaps, given the company’s claims that, as long as they also stick to a healthy diet, men


32 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


july 2012 © cybertrek 2012


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