Fitness and Health Industry in Times of Coronavirus

Franchise Relations

Thursday, March 26, 2020; 3pm-4pm

Fitness and Health Industry in Times of Coronavirus

Panelists: Charlie Graves / Dave Mortensen

Webinar Summary –

In the “Fitness and Health Industry in Times of Coronavirus” webinar, member leaders from Athletic Republic and Planet Fitness discussed the effects of COVID-19 on the fitness and gym space, franchisor-franchisee relations, and steps taken now and after the pandemic ends to communicate and retain members, and retain the customer experience. The panelists outlined the health and sanitation guidelines and differences for open versus closed locations, and emphasized important cost control strategies that they as franchisors are taking and recommending to guide and support franchisees through the economic turbulence.

Key Bullets -

  • Important to build a communication cadence internally and externally – communicating to members about closures, sanitation procedures, and membership
  • Adapt to current realities – moving key gym aspects online and creating new areas for revenue with home fitness capabilities; offer extensions/credits to current members
  • Advise franchisees on cost control measures, including: rent deferments; working with lender relationships; freezing monthly recurring costs with vendors; team member retention strategies
  • Be prepared and nimble to understand and adapt to new government and health agency advisories and recommendations as you plan to re-open and re-engage with members, and be sensitive to their concerns

Full Bullets -

Athletic Republic à

  • Communication cadence
    • Frequent playbooks
    • Webinars on Tuesday/Thursday
    • Franchisee phone calls -
    • Materials posted on intranet
  • Draw on core values
    • Dealing with the realities of a very difficult time. Enabling our values and communicating
  • Different approaches: For Open centers
    • Strict athlete hygiene
    • Low ratio of athlete/trainer
    • Extra cleaning between sessions
    • Deep/Steam clean
    • Removing hard to clean items
  • For Closed centers
    • Streaming and online classes
    • Moving proprietary classes that have certain equipment needs to home with purchase
    • Offering gift card sales – members wanting to support the staff
  • Cost control strategies
    • Rent deferment
    • Loan deferment
    • Staff retention
    • Temporarily waived marketing fund contributions
    • Membership – issue credits vs. refund … offer extensions vs. cancelations
      • Membership base has gotten behind this and supported it
  • Plan for Re-opening
    • Marketing engagement
    • Introduce new programs and products
    • Training center maintenance and cleaning
    • Trainer education and development
    • Moving forward with e-learning platform

Planet Fitness à

  • Emergency Response team
    • Daily scheduled calls
    • Dedicated email for franchisees and team members
    • Increased member services team
    • Templated Member/Team member communications
  • Franchisee connects
    • Bi-weekly franchisee leadership Zoom calls
    • Weekly all franchisee calls with open Q&A
    • Committed to a one day turnaround on any member inquiry
  • Understanding the distinction between “clean” and “sanitary”
  • Over 2000 locations worldwide were closed
  • What are we doing while closed? Increased member engagement
    • “United We Move” campaign
    • Facebook Live daily workouts
    • PF Mobile App workouts
  • Cost Control Strategies
    • Rent abatement/deferral
    • Working lender relationships
    • Team member considerations
    • Vendors have all frozen monthly recurring services and costs
    • Membership – frozen all member fees and extended all contracts
  • Franchisee resource (Planet Fitness University)
    • Organized a section on Covid-19
    • Templates for member communications
    • Template for landlord communications
    • Holding weekly leadership development sessions for franchisee team members
    • Revised/enhanced – cleanliness and sanitation courses
    • Accelerated required training courses
      • Consumers will re-emerge into a different world and preparing for different possible outcomes
  • Reopening plans
    • Preparing for government mandates – keeping an eye on guidelines to come
    • Enhanced cleanliness and sanitation protocols
    • Revised marketing approach
    • Revisit social distancing impacts