What's Happening In The Fitness Business ? Panel Shares Their Views At Club Industry 2011

It is wonderful to be here in Chicago for Club Industry ! A real treat was being on a panel with my partner Robert Dyer, my friend and colleagues Michael Scott Scudder and Bill Rodriguez of Snap Fitness and Mike Grondahl of Planet Fitness, who I met for the first time today. We were talking about where the fitness industry is headed. It was really interesting and the room was completely full. To give you an idea of how entertaining and real the discussion was,  I'll quote Mike Grondahl, who in describing the Planet Fitness Model said:

"I don't know what customer satisfaction really means. How can you measure it ? At Planet Fitness we say hello, goodbye and provide a clean club. Its busy so just deal with it."

I think hat kind of honest feedback to a room full of health club industry players went over well . I found Mike Grondahl to be very funny and insightful as were the other participants. A lot of thanks and credit goes to Michael Scott Scudder for putting together such an eclectic group of participants and for crafting a lot of interesting points for discussion. Michael Scudder continues to elevate the conversation about the industry.

Bill Rodriguez of Snap Fitness spoke about how new technologies and location opportunities (like their recent Flying W deal for Truck Stops) are going to make the Snap brand continue to grow and be viable.

Robert Dyer commented on a variety of topics including understanding customers, health club business models, and how group fitness programming can be and should be leveraged in certain facilities.

I repeatedly talked about bifurcation trends and how technology is going to remake business models. Mike Grondahl was very interesting in a variety of ways. He attributed much of the success of Planet Fitness to atmosphere, the "judgement free" zone and characterized his model as a "$60 club being offered for $10".

There was general agreement that mom and pop operators need to be very careful and that low cost high value competitors will take increasing market share.

So tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, what do you think about where the fitness industry and health club industry are headed ? Did you enjoy Club Industry this year ? Were you able to attend the session? Let me know your thoughts please and thanks to all the panel members for a great session and a great time.

About the author Bryan O’Rourke:

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness and health club business service companies. He is also a partner in The Health Club For Women and Chairman of the Medical Fitness Association’s Education Committee. To learn more contact Bryan here today .