With over 10,000,000 people in North America actively involved in Pilates, there’s no wonder facility owners want to implement mind-body exercise into their fitness programs. More and more clubs are looking for ways to satisfy their members’ needs – and as the demand for this form of exercise continues to rise, Pilates is a great way to attract new clients and increase revenue. The problem is that most facility owners don’t know the first thing about incorporating Pilates into their busy clubs – not to mention a great majority of them don’t even know what Pilates is to begin with.
During these particularly challenging economic times, Pilates continues to thrive, but it’s an important time for the industry to accommodate changing needs by becoming more creative. With new innovations in the areas of programming and equipment, the business as we know it is reaching new heights as more recognize the benefits of alternative ways of exercise.
As a result, we caught up with four Directors from JCCs in Atlanta, Milwaukee, Greater Rochester and Newton, Massachusetts who have ample things to say about why and how they implemented Pilates into their locations. These locations are very excited about how they have increased their popularity locally, memberships and client retention by adding Pilates education and equipment. They now realize that Pilates is providing a new outlet for revenue and they look forward to expanding their offerings in the future. They’ve found the secret to success with Pilates – and so can you!
ADD VARIETY TO YOUR CLUB
Becky Devlin, Group Fitness and Wellness Director of the JCC of Greater Rochester, says her facility is always looking for new ways to serve the needs of their diverse population of members. By adding Pilates equipment to her facility, she recognizes the additional opportunities for her members.
“Last year we opened a new studio and expanded our class schedule to offer a wider variety of yoga and Pilates mat class. The logical next step for our program was to open an adjacent studio devoted to Pilates equipment. We decided that four Reformers were a great place to start,” Becky explains.
“The program has been huge success since our launch in January. In fact, we are currently running 13 weekly group sessions as well as several semi-private and private sessions – and due to the overwhelming interest of our current students to add a second group session and from our newcomers looking to begin a group, we are doubling our group offerings in the next session.”
Audrey Edwards, Group Fitness Director of LS JCC Gosman Campus in Newton. Mass, agrees as her JCC has done very well also. Over the past two years they’ve been very pleased with the level of interest and participation in Pilates and also the increase in revenue.
“Our studio is 500 square feet and we couldn’t be happier with the revenue we are generating in such a small space. We are always trying to find ways to generate more income and to also offer our members more with their memberships. Pilates has become very popular around our area - and we saw that our members were going to small studios outside of the JCC to participate in Pilates,” Audrey explains. “We wanted [our clients] to be able to stay ‘under our roof’ and do Pilates.”
Pilates also provides owners a variety of ways to help increase their staff’s skill set and therefore bring more money through the doors. Michael Stinson, Total Health Director of Marcus JCC Atlanta, adds: “With the economy the way it is, I am [always] looking to diversify my centers’ product offerings and continue to increase program revenue. I wanted to give my staff more opportunities to help increase their client base and overall income levels.”
At the moment Atlanta offers private and semi-private training, but they are planning to expand their offerings to group sessions in the near future with emphasis on Pilates for sports conditioning in order to attract a larger client base. “Initially it was the aging population that was interested since Pilates is low impact. We now market to men and women of all ages to educate them on the benefits of Pilates,” Michael adds. “Because [Pilates] is a very specialized type of personal training, tailored to individual needs, clients understand and accept the fact that this type of expertise comes at an additional expense.”
The space you allot to your Pilates studio can be relatively small if you choose to only have one or two items of equipment. Some owners opt for 200-300 sq ft. for one-on-one training or semi-private training to start. On the other hand, if you want to offer small group Reformer training, you would need about 400 sq ft. to house four to five units.
For facilities in which space is an issue, Carol Tricoche, Executive Director of Full Solutions™ for STOTT PILATES® suggests a lightweight, stackable or portable reformer-tower combination. This allows for the option of offering Group Reformer programming in a mat or mind-body studio. “If you have an underused racquet ball court, it can converted to a fully-equipped Pilates studio.”
Once you find the perfect space to implement your in-house Pilates studio, make sure to remain realistic about the amount of equipment that you can fit in the area. Choose equipment that is versatile and offers maximum programming to keep your Pilates program fresh, challenging, and adaptable to your changing member’s requests.