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interview


24 Hour has an ongoing programme of club remodels and refreshes to drive customer satisfaction


have to worry about their income. Membership counsellors are now paid an hourly wage and then, if the club hits its membership goals, a team bonus allows everyone to share in the success. “So for example, a membership counsellor can give a guest a tour but then, if that person wants to go home and join online, that’s fine – our prices are all online and there’s no pressure to sit down and talk to a sales person. The whole idea is that we’re with you, not against you in a negotiation. “And from our team’s perspective, if


Wendy for example is off one day and her guest comes in, she doesn’t have to worry about someone else stealing her commission. How I describe it is that we’ve gone from an individual sport, where each team member was playing for the name on the back of the jersey, to a team sport where we’re playing for the name on the front of the jersey –


where the individual earns more if the team does well. “It’s had a great impact on our staff


retention. When I got here, we had a little over 200 per cent annual turnover of team members. That’s now dropped to around 60 per cent, in part down to this sense of team and ability to predict pay cheques. We’ve also listened to the feedback from our annual team member surveys and have spent the last four years creating better career paths, training and opportunities to ensure we retain our best people. “When I was in the navy, the first thing I learned was that I would be judged on the success of my people. Were they getting promoted? How much more money were they making year-on-year? Were they being exposed to new opportunities? So when I got to 24 Hour Fitness, I set out to create a really great team of people who would be developed and given the opportunities to succeed. People know


24 HOUR FITNESS – IN BRIEF


n Established in 1983 by Mark Mastrov under the 24 Hour Nautilus brand n Rebranded to 24 Hour Fitness in 1994 n Acquired by private equity firm Forstmann Little & Company in 2005 n Appointment of Carl Liebert as CEO in 2006 n Estate now encompasses more than 400 clubs across the US, with almost four million members and nearly 22,000 staff (including over 4,000 PTs)


n Average 24 Hour Fitness Super-Sport club membership: 9,500 members n Average monthly fees at a Super-Sport club: US$35 n Opening hours vary by location – not always 24/7


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


they can get ahead with us, and that’s a very big deal. We’ve had seven district manager promotions this year and all came from club manager positions – I didn’t hire a single person externally. “We coined the phrase early on that


you either serve members or you serve those who serve your members. For me, it would be a shallow victory if I got to the top of the mountain and the people on my team weren’t with me.”


No commission, no long-term contracts Liebert continues: “Our move away from a commission-based structure has also helped us continue to grow, because members and prospects are starting to see us as very approachable. We’ve tried to de-complicate fitness, working diligently to ensure we don’t intimidate and that we’re open and accessible for people, not only in terms of our geography but also in our approach. “In addition to removing commission in our clubs, we also stepped away from requiring long-term contracts four years ago. We have various packages available, including month-to-month, pre-paid limited term and reduced monthly fees if you pay a higher initiation upfront. Ultimately, we want our members to be able to choose the membership option that best suits their needs. “And if they want to leave, we treat them with the same respect as when they joined, as we believe they’ll come back to us at some point. We have lots of data to


september 2012 © cybertrek 2012


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