One of the early, surprising, discoveries that GYMetrix made, was that each gym we measured the equipment usage, the customers demand pattern was different, and therefore the equipment requirement was different.
We did not expect this, and it was particularly surprising with gyms that had identical demographics and were geographically very close to each other. We expected these gyms to have very similar demand patterns, but in fact each gym we measured was different.
This disproved 2 common industry assumptions.
WARNING: Demographics of neither existing members nor those of the surrounding population determine a gyms equipment requirement!
WARNING: There is NOT a single "golden", one size fits all equipment ratio model, each gym has an individual equipment requirement!
Often we say the equipment usage information we provide operators is not the answer sheet but the question sheet. The answer is not 'This is what equipment usage is!' rather the questions is 'Why is equipment usage like this?' and 'What can we do about it?'
So when we were measuring different demand patterns at every gym we had to ask ourselves the question, "What causes each gym to have a unique demand pattern?"
Viewing Each Gym Floor As an Ecosystem
We began by viewing a gym floor as an Ecosystem that has four components that interact with each other in a way that determines the overall demand pattern.
Then we looked at each individual element within the Ecosystem and asked what influences each element of the Ecosystem, starting with what has influenced Customers Equipment Choices.
Some of the Factors Determining Customers Equipment Choices
When we surveyed gym customers for one project we asked what had determined their equipment choices. 40% of customers responded that they were doing either what their original induction had taught them to do or what a past PT had taught them to do.
Induction programs and PTs play a hugely important role in determining the customers equipment choices, this role is far larger than what the demographics of the members is.
Some of the Factors that have determined the Types, Quantities and locations of Gym equipment
Until GYMetrix started trading the sad truth for gym customers is that what their demand actually was for equipment was not a factor in determining what equipment, and in what quantities operators bought!
In the main operator were using the 7 deadly assumption when refurbing gyms - we now have hard data proving these to not work.
Some of the Factors that determine the influence Gym Instructors will have on Customer Demand Choices
The influence that Instructors can have over gym customers equipment choices should never be underestimated!
A single proactive, enthusiastic, persuasive instructor who is inducting customers thoroughly on equipment they think customers should be using, will have far more of an impact on the customers equipment choices than any demographic data of the surrounding population.
GYMetrix information on equipment usage is not just used to help operators match their equipment supply with existing customer demand, but in every project we look at where 'Demand Side Management' can benefit the gym and its customers through instructors changing the customers equipment choices through induction programs and education.
Examples would be:
1)Where functional training equipment usage is low the answer is not to remove it to a level that matches customer demand, but rather the instructors educate customers more about how to use it, and its benefits, to increase customer demand.
2) Where (commonly) ab machines have high usage and therefore low 'availability' and this is creating customer dissatisfaction don't get another ab machine, but get instructors to teach customers alternative ab exercises with swiss balls etc or do 'Ab Floor Classes' in peak to reduce the demand on the ab machine.
This provides 'value add' staff interactions with customers educating them with better methods of working Abs.
Once we look at all the different combinations and permutations of the influences on each element of the Ecosystem, and then realise that each element will be interacting with the other elements, we begin to understand why each gym has a unique demand pattern.
Indeed we can see how improbable two gyms having the same demand pattern are, and therefore the same equipment requirement ratio.
The larger the gyms get the larger the variance there is.
From its inception GYMetrix has been getting asked what the 'Golden equipment ratio' is that is best for all gyms. What our research has proved is that there isn't a Golden ratio. One size fits all ratios will produce a sub optimal customer experience and a sub optimal return on operators equipment investment.
To get the best customer experience and return on equipment investment the answer is to measure each gyms unique demand pattern and then accurately cater to it, otherwise there will be equipment shortages leading to customer frustration and equipment excess which is waste for the operator.
When buying gym equipment small mistakes cost a lot of money!
Lots of small mistakes cost huge sums of money!
Get in touch?
If you are interested in finding out what your customers unique equipment demand pattern is, either to help you match your equipment supply to it if you are doing a refurb, or see where instructors could add value by intervening and adjusting it, then please get in touch.