One of the strategies was to see members attending the training/fitness lessons for more than 100 times a year.There were growing desire by the Americans to join health clubs in the country. There are many factors, which have gone to contribute to the need by people to join the fitness clubs. Some of the factors include reducing stress, to meet new friends at the fitness center, to get shape of the body and the growing desire to lose weight. For those who go ahead to join the fitness clubs have to determine the kind of fitness and health clubs to join.
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Some of the determining factors when joining the fitness clubs include the facilities available at a particular club, the friendliness of the staff at the club, the cleanliness of the club, the ability of the staff to persuade new members, the convenience of the club in terms of location and the recommendations of associates and friends. Other factors that sway those who want to join health fitness clubs include brand name and the safety of the club. Initially targeting those at the age of 18-34 years, the fitness lessons at the Bally has over the years continued to diversify to the older generation by ensuring that they also know the importance of healthy living(Barney and Hesterly, p. 3).
Many people over the years made the decision to choose health fitness centers as their most efficient mode of doing exercise. Some of the activities offered at the bally fitness center include facilities for gym, machines for weight lifting, swimming pool among other facilities and are at all times inclusive in the fees the members subscribe and renew their membership. Bally’s has availability of trainers to offer the service to members who have no idea or do not know how to do the fitness activities right. The training is at extra fee. Health fitness clubs distinguish themselves by the clients they focus. Some clubs will focus on women, the youth, sports personalities and others focus on the older generation.
The strategy to get the low-income masses by Bally Total fitness is through scrapping the commitment charges earlier sought by the club for members to commit themselves for three years. This earlier strategy proved expensive for those interested and thus edged out of the services. People with low income could therefore not afford the charges required for the three years and were out to look for cheaper fitness centers. The strategy to revise the requirement by Bally was to attract that group of people to the club. To be able to attract new customers the club engaged the services of sales representatives. The sales person’s payment was through commission when they register new members. The sales representatives’ commission came from deductions done on membership and subscription fees from the enrolled members. To attract new members, Bally Total Fitness had to run several promotions, promoting and emphasizing the importance of body fitness. The need to attract members saw the club discount on the enrollment fee and simultaneously reduced the monthly fees substantially (Barney and Hesterly, pp. 1-2)
Another Bally’s strategy is to cut on the cost of labor. Labor accounts for a large section of the clubs expenses and therefore the need to put checks on it. The club over the years experienced a big challenge in retaining the motivated, friendly and skilled members of staff. The cause was demand for trainers in other clubs, which had come up recently, and the fact that they offered to train the trainers. The strategy by Bally was to motivate the workers since people consider working in fitness clubs as less glamorous. This is due to the kind of work done such as cleaning the facility and collecting towels left disorderly by the clients. Bally’s fitness centers other strategy was to introduce control for the accounting system.
The club took in enrollment fees at once and consequently incurred one time expense in customer acquisition. Previous system of accounting had some leeway on the time to recognize books expenses and revenues. By introducing a better accounting, the system will ensure profits are not inflated, monitored as they rise and accounted for. It is important to recognize revenues and expenses as they accrue and not when the one managing the system cannot recall when they accrued or from where they were coming from especially when the recording system is faulty ((Barney and Hesterly, pp. 3-5).
The trend by teenagers to be obese has continued to worry many people and so the reason the club has come up with a strategy to target that section of the society. The aim is to ensure that the club accomplishes its social responsibility as it continues doing business. Not only are young people obese but also other people within different age blankets, which the club focuses to incorporate. The strategy’s aim is to target those who have the problem and lack or cannot afford the fitness amenities traditionally found in the society. Obesity is a national concern for the U.S and that portends a big opportunity for business for the Bally Total Fitness to incorporate weight management program in its strategy.
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Another of Bally’s strategy was to sell off outlets like what it did in 1996 and 1997. The purpose was to rationalize the functions and improve the brand name. This saw the clubs return to profitability. Through the strategy of geographic distribution, Bally was by 2004 having outlets in 29 states in United States which translated to high profitability and brand loyalty by the members. Bally also went ahead to introduce different products to meet the clients needs in the market. Through Paul Toback in 1990s, the club introduced nutritional products such as vitamins, energy drinks, protein powders and snack bars. The introduction of various products was a diversification strategy to meet several customer needs in one roof besides driving revenues from outside the membership and enrollment fees (Barney and Hesterly, p. 4-5).
Evaluation of the strategy
The various strategies adopted by Bally Total fitness saw the club grow in size and profitability. For instance in 2003, non-club products such as energy drink and protein powders contributed largely to the registered $150 million of the clubs revenue. By targeting different age groups other than the previous 18-34 category contributed to the clubs expansion and broadening of its base thus attracting more customers and ensuring trust. This way the clubs incorporated the Hispanic community to its service delivery. Pay-as-you-go strategy introduced instead of the previously 3-year commitment saw the club regain confidence in the eyes of the public. The customers in applying the three years commitment accused the club of harassment and use of unorthodox methods to collect fees from the clients besides failure to honor various requests.
The strategy also helped the club save the brand name from accusations of customer abuse and consequently increased the membership base. Through staff motivation, promotions and constant training the club was able to retain qualified, skilled, friendly and motivated employees who ensure customer satisfaction. The strategy to compensate the employees competitively resulted to motivated staff members who work to deliver good services and have had great impact in club growth and expansion. The introduction of accounting control system solved the problem that saw the club report 2003 results in august 2004.
The new system went along way to save the club from losses associated with poor accounting system, which is not reliable. The strategy to carry out a survey on what has always kept people away from the gym was quite helpful to the club. The lessons learned from the survey made the club to initiate more changes by scrapping the ‘hard-bodies’ and replacing them with persons who belonged to various sizes, ethnicity and age tasked to tell the society how the club had helped them achieve their desire to be fit (Barney and Hesterly, p. 5).
The fitness club therefore achieved the intended or emergent strategy, as it was able to get new members, retain them and offer the services expected by the clients. The intended strategy was to do an overhaul to the old way of doing things and adopting new methods of getting better results and improving on the profits. However, it was not without challenges since as mentioned earlier, the strategy earlier adopted to commit members for three years led to a lot of criticism thus making the company rethink its approach and moving to adopt another popular strategy of pay-as-you-go (Barney and Hesterly, p. 6).
Bally Total Fitness, Chicago: Bally Total Fitness, 2004, Web.
Barney Jay, Hesterly, William. Strategic Management and Competitive advantage. New Jersey, 2009, Prentice Hall. Print
U.S Department of Human Health and Services. Overweight and obesity threaten U.S health gains 2001, Web.
Stefano Della and Ulrike Malmendier. Over-estimating self-control: Evidence from the health club Industry, Stanford Graduate School of Business working paper 1880, Web.