IHRSA 2014 - A Busy Schedule In San Diego. Hope To See You There

This year IHRSA 2014 will be one of the best ever. I am particulary delighted to be speaking at the Medical Wellness Association forum, sharing views with the leaders of IHRSA Federations from around the world, conducting a technology roundtable with some great industry experts and sharing views on mobile technologies and their impact.

One really special aspect of the event will be Gary Vaynerchuk's talk on Friday morning. If you are attending IHRSA this year, do not miss it. I've included Gary's video discussing health clubs and how social media and consumer change are impacting the industry. You might find it very amusing and insightful.

Hope to see you at IHRSA this year. Watch these videos on my two main presentations on Thursday and Friday at 1:30 pm. Hope to see you there.

About Bryan

Bryan O’Rourke is considered by many to be a thought leader on technology, health club, consumer and wellness trends. He has been quoted in periodicals like the Wall Street Journal, and has been published in journals around the world on his views of how technology will create the dawn of a new era of opportunity for the health club and fitness industries. In addition to being an industry expert, Bryan is a keynote speaker, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several companies. He has spoken on a range of business and trend topics on four continents. As a contract executive and advisor, Bryan wears many hats, including working for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 750 facilities in the US. He serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, sites on ACE's Industry Advisory Panel and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org . To learn more contact Bryan here

 

Public Policy And The IHRSA 2013 Summit For A Healthier America

Speaking at IHRSA's Summit For A Healthier America this year in Washington DC was a great experience. It was my third time attending the event along with some of the leading thinkers in the fitness industry. IHRSA and the public policy council do a great job educating the membership and informing public policy leaders on the opportunities available to curb the exploding cost of sick care and position the health club industry as a solution to this challenge. Their legislative initiatives and state level efforts at protecting and promoting the health club industry are very intense and effective.

If you have not made a contribution to the industry defense fund please do so and learn more about it here http://www.ihrsa.org/industry-defense-fund . Below is my content from the event. What do you think ? How do you feel about IHRSA's efforts at impacting legislation ? I'd love to hear from you.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He works for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and serves as CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org . To learn more contact Bryan here today .

 

Collaboration: What Do Transmissions Have To Do With Health Clubs, and Fitness and Wellness ?

 

I’ve deep respect for so many of the leaders and innovators in the fitness, wellness and health club business. I don’t want to appear as though I’m kissing up by naming names (you know what i mean). But, and this is a BIG BUT, some of those on that list might be suffering from a little short sightedness. You see I think scarcity thinking is holding us back from big opportunities by working together with an abundance view in our industry. What does that mean ?

Ford and General Motors recently announced they are teaming up to design new nine-speed and 10-speed transmissions for use in a variety of vehicles, a move aimed at improving fuel efficiency for the rivals' vehicles. Now you might ask why would rivals work together to design technologies that can provide a strategic advantage ? Because they understand the big picture that’s why. In this case the big picture is dramatic impacts on fuel efficiency. This opportunity pressed against the cost of attempting to develop it alone leads rational business people to conclude working together is truly the best decision.

Enter the fitness and health club space where the largest and smallest of exercise equipment manufacturers seem focused on developing independent solutions for every opportunity. An example are technology platforms and interoperability among equipment brands. Outside of C-Safe , a technology standard created by FitLinxx and generously provided to the industry years ago, there has been little if ANY collaboration around this. The same could be said about many other aspects of the club business, and the fitness and wellness industries in general (not wanting to pick on you equipment folks alone) where fear of competitive advantage prohibits many from working together on universal standards as they could. From caloric burn rates to communication protocols, there is a lot of opportunity for us to agree and move things forward.

Now there have been collaborations. The NSF facility standards, for example, were recently agreed to after many many years of effort. IHRSA has been driving initiatives like the Public Policy Council which relies on contributions to promote public policy and legislative agendas that benefit the industry. FIT-C has started with a group of forward thinking people to create technology standareds. There has been some collaboration among various service providers as well. But its not been enough and that collaboration has taken to long in my view.

Looking at other industries provides many examples of the benefits of industry collaboration. Without a protocol like Wi-Fi there would not have been wide spread adoption of mobile computing. In the instance of WiFi, industry leaders created standards with a vision to what would be possible, like GM and Ford are today. They realized that the benefits of collaboration outweighed the cost because the work would grow the market considerably for everyone and at a faster pace. 

What if competitors in our arena did more of the same: thought about opportunities for collaboration instead of identifying the uncommon ground? I just don’t think there is enough of that type of thinking in our industry today. Often people are too busy protecting their turf as opposed to seeing the bigger picture: the delivery of primary prevention as a larger commercial aspect of people’s health management in the future. If we are going to grow the market beyond the 16% of US adults using bricks and mortar fitness facilities in the US and in the rest of the world we will need to change our orientation. We will have to grow up and meet the promise of the future by seeing what that future will be and by working together to achieve it.

If we don’t spend more effort on this undertaking the risk will continue to rise. If we don’t collaborate more, organizations from outside our sphere are going to enter the space and meet the demand for services with technologies and business models that we weren’t contemplating. While free market economics allow for survival of the smartest and that is good, 

What do you think ? Is there enough collaboration in the health club, fitness and wellness industry today ? Why do you think so ? Thanks for reading and feel free to contact me to discuss your views. 

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He works for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and serves as CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To join FIT-C visit www.fit-c.org . To learn more contact Bryan here today .

IHRSA 2013 Attracting, Selling and Retaining The Connected Health Club Consumer

 

There are many views one can take on business in general. I like Drucker's saying "Business has only two basic functions-marketing and innovation". Today Drucker's thinking must be put in the context of the connected consumer, because marketing has fundamentally changed so much since Drucker's time. Nowhere is that more true than in the Health Club Industry. There is a new digital landscape that is a big part of consumers lives and practices. When contemplating how to attract, sell and retain members, digital engagement must be part of the equation. 

That's why I am looking forward to being on a panel with a group of well respected health club industry leaders during #IHRSA2013. Bill McBride, Patch Evans, and Blair McHaney are all very forward thinking, smart and accomplished. Discussing how to attract, sell and retain members in today's changing world, where there are often more questions than answers, will be very refreshing with this group. I hope you will try and attend on Tuesday March 19th between 2:00 - 3:30 . In my view, what marketing, selling and retaining health club members was in the past isn't going to work very well anymore because the consumer has changed. We've got to try some new things.

You might find interesting the recent Hangout with Brian Solis in advance of his upcoming book What's the Future Of Business . During this talk Brian explores the new paradigm of digital engagement. Here's a quote: " The Live web is the future: it's bigger than social media...."You have to be present on every front, every day."  -@briansolis . Check out the entire hangout below to learn more.

What do you think about attracting, selling and retaining health club members ? I'd love your point of view. Hope to see you at #IHRSA2013 .

 

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He works for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and serves as CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To learn more contact Bryan here today .

 

 

Why Quality Group Fitness Programming Is So Important To Facilities In 2013

Well its 2013, and the rush for health club memberships is on (see Regulars Bemoan Influx Of New Members) as people embrace their new years resolutions to keep fit and be healthy. With annual membership attrition rates exceeding 40% for most fitness facility operators, however, the question I have is, "what do you do when the membership rush is over?".

With any business, keeping a close eye on industry trends is a good idea to be competitive in the long term. IHRSA's recent 2012 Health Club Consumer Report provides some interesting information on key trends. I suggest you get your hands on a copy.

Most notable in the report are the fitness classes and group fitness trends . Did you know the most affluent health club members are those that participate in group fitness classes ? From 2009 - 2011, growth in fitness programs set to music soared over 15% and mind body and yoga classes grew 17%. There are a number of other interesting trends, including the growth of small group training formats.

With the market increasingly going through a "consumer hour glass" or "bifurcation" trend, if you are not either a low cost or key club competitor, offering very compelling group programming that addresses overall trends is very important to your success as a health club or as any fitness facility.

If you'd like to learn more about how you can enhance your group program offerings at your facility please let me know. We'd be happy to help. Keep an eye out for my upcoming report on Group Trends as well to learn more.

What do you think about these group fitness trends and the 2012 IHRSA Report ? Let me know your thoughts and happy new year !

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He works for Fitmarc, which delivers Les Mills programs to over 700 facilities in the US. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and serves as CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council. To learn more contact Bryan here today .