As a community recreation operator, you likely have a few regular members who come into your facility at the same time each day, jump on their designated cardio machine, workout and then leave.
While it’s great to have regular members at your facility, it would be beneficial to have them try out a new piece of equipment and switch up their routine every now and then. But how can you encourage this?
One way the Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation team encourages members to try new pieces of equipment is by getting them involved in the decision process for new pieces of equipment.
For example, when deciding which treadmills to add into the facility when their old ones needed to be replaced, the recreation department set up six different potential treadmill options. Members are able to try out and vote on the equipment over the course of a few weeks.
“Once we had their feedback compiled, we weighed that into our decision on which treadmills to purchase,” said Eric Mehl, the recreation and facilities director for Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation. “Since they were involved in the process, it made the transition to the new treadmills a lot easier. If it’s something we have never offered before, we generally place some instructional signage around the new machine to draw their attention and it seems to get plenty of use.”
The YMCA of Greater Spartanburg in Spartanburg, South Carolina, encourages regular members to break their routine by making sure new equipment pieces can easily catch their eye.
“When we add a single piece of new equipment, I like to have it in a very accessible and noticeable area on the floor,” said John Hamrick, the executive director and association healthy living director at the Greater Spartanburg Y. “Putting it front and center allows for members to see the new investments you are putting into the facility. It also allows for staff to keep a close eye on how members are using it and to be available for help if needed.”
A main deterrent from members trying new equipment is the fear of not knowing how to properly operate it. A great way to combat this fear is to have trained, friendly staff who are eager to help out.
At the Greater Spartanburg Y, trainers and wellness associates are trained to keep an eye out for proper equipment use across the fitness floor. From Hamrick’s experience you can have signs, videos, written instructions, etc., and some members will still use equipment incorrectly.
“Having a staff member available and looking out for members that might need help is always your best solution,” said Hamrick. “If you are a trainer, it might just help you pick up a new client. At the very least it is one more positive interaction you get to have with one of your facility members.”
Mehl said at Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation, for anyone who does not feel comfortable walking into the fitness center and just jumping on some equipment, they offer free fitness center orientations.
“One of our staff members will walk around and show them all the pieces we have to offer and how to properly use them,” he explained. “Additionally, we have staff working in the center who are always available to answer questions, and they help monitor the space to make sure no one is going to hurt themselves.”
While trying out new equipment can be intimidating for your regular members, with the right placement and the right caring staff you can help them break their routine and advance their fitness journey.