Gold's Gym 2013 Convention - Building Stronger Connections

This year was my fourth Gold’s Gym convention in a row. Its always energizing to see the franchisees, executives and vendor partners who attend the event because so many wonderful people are a part of this legendary brand. The opening event included CEO Jim Snow, followed by the head of the Gold’s Franchise Association Mike Epstein, and finally Gold's VP of Fitness Tim Keightley. I appreciate all of these leaders for different reasons and attending the opening remarks is a great way to learn details about where this iconic brand is heading.

Gold’s has been around for nearly 5 decades and this convention’s theme, which CEO Snow shared, was about “Building Stronger Connections”; connecting with members, communities, vendors and each other. Jim emphasized 3 golden nuggets. First , participating in the Gold’s vendor program saves franchisees money; second, better customer satisfaction results in higher profits; and third new marketing tools and Gold’s new web site will enable higher lead flows that will enhance revenues.

Jim shared the brand’s goal of becoming the number one franchisor in the health club industry. Using an annual survey of franchisees he showed how the satisfaction level with the brand had improved significantly with franchisees in the last year. The CEO also set forth its growth plans, which has brought the brand to 675 locations today. Gold’s has been active in acquisitions and more aggressive in its plans for the express club model as well as international expansion.

Mike Epstein, a leader in the Gold’s Gym Franchise Association, spoke of the importance of community and addressed the commitment of Gold’s Franchisees to its members and communities. We love the GGFA and their team of folks including of course Ginger Collins. The franchisees are the heart of the organization and Mike had an inspirational video that displayed his Gold’s Paramus work with Sandy relief and Mike and his partner Art and their team was named Best Tour de Cure Team for 2013 at the Convention! See the video below, my partner Robert Dyer loves the Bruce Springsteen song We Take Care Of Our Own, and so do I.

Finally, Tim Keightley, always a profound and warm speaker, shared the inspirational stories of Gold’s members and their families . This moving and emotional introduction of members and their stories as shared by Tim brought more than a few tears to my eye. What a great and motivating presentation that was.

It was another great Gold's show and I've got to give a shout out and thanks to the many many friends we have with the Gold's brand. What a privilege to be there and here's to an even better 2014 show.

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 and heads up the firms Integerus and Fitsomo. He advises successful global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank and is CEO of the Fitness Industry Technology Council (To join FIT-C visit ). Recently Bryan was named to the ACE industry advisory panel.  To learn more contact Bryan here today.

Gold's 2012 Convention - Insights Into The Future Of The Iconic Brand

What a few weeks its been. From San Diego to San Francisco, and from Las Vegas to Vancouver; now I'm back home on this Sunday morning reflecting on what was one of the most interesting legs of my travels; the Gold's Gym 2012 Convention. It was the best I've attended to date.

Our company Fitmarc enjoys close ties to GGI's leadership as well as dozens of its franchisees, who we service through our Les Mills distributorship and via Fitsomo, our social media company. This along with our close relations with the Gold's Gym Franchise Association enables my partner Robert Dyer  and I the chance to learn a little bit about Gold's, which is arguably the most iconic brand in the health club business today.

Notable during the conference, which provided Jeffrey Gitomer as an excellent keynote speaker, was CEO Jim Snow's opening remarks. Here are a few things he said that struck me and showed he has some keen insights into today's health club industry:

"How do we prepare to survive during this era of intense competition and massive consolidation?"

"Social media today won't make our brand but is could break our brand."

"Quality and consistency are more important than quantity."

"We have to change our ways. We have to create a customer service culture."

Jim explained that his goal is to reach a 50 Net Promoter Score for the Gold's brand by 2015. Currently, GGI's NPS is a 32. He shared that the company is seeking to open 25-50 express clubs in the next year and that he feels the real estate market is the best he's ever seen for expansion today. Jim's grasp of the problem the online image of Gold's has reflects a deep understanding of the impact that the web and the connected consumer are having not only for Gold's Gym but for the health club business in general. Although Gold's faces many challenges for its future, hearing its leadership opine on these key challenges makes me think its future is bright. If GGI truly believes that "We are all in it together" as Jim told its franchisees and vendor partners, then there is the potential for a significant upside.

What do you think about the future of the Gold's Gym brand ? Please tell me Bryan O'Rourke, do you think Jim Snow and the leadership of GGI are targeting the right things to enable the company to reach its true potential ? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

On a final note, many thanks to Giger Collins, Deborah Collins, Tim Keightley, Michael Bruno, Bill Austin, Jim Snow, Marnie Saylor, Todd Scartozzi and many others for their support, hospitality and for allowing us to contribute and participate in the 2012 convention. It was a terrific show. You guys rock.

About the author:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He consults with global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, is Chair of the Medical Fitness Association’s Education Committee, is President of the Fitness Industry Technology Council and a partner in Fitmarc, Integerus, Fitsomo and the Flywheel Group. To learn more contact Bryan here today .