The Top 3 Energy Killers of Your Sports Facility First Impression
Step inside any sports facility and you can immediately feel the energy — or the lack of it. It is all about you sports facility first impression.
Sports and fitness businesses depend on projecting intensity, passion and top-tier competition. And while you may not need to be as high-octane as a Nike commercial, your facility needs to at least be inviting to potential customers.
After years of working with thousands of sports facilities, we have noticed that certain unfavorable factors tend to creep into a business’ operations. These energy-killers can be tough for most owners and managers to notice.
Here are three examples and how they can be prevented.
Energy Killer #1: Emptiness
What it is: You walk into a sports facility and it is eerily quiet except for the buzz of the lights and the sound of one or two athletes.
Why it hurts your business: Most of our facilities are not like this all the time. But think of the impression it makes on any potential clients. Your customers should feel the action as soon as they come through the door.
How to fix it: If you notice your facility is mostly empty during certain days and times of the week (and you should if you’re encouraging advanced scheduling), consider changing your schedule. It costs money to keep your doors open — some of the most common expenses are heating, cooling and staffing. But the cost of projecting a slow, gloomy vibe could cost even more in the form of missed opportunities.
If you are open during non-peak periods, make sure staff is ready to enthusiastically greet customers. You can also provide a livelier experience with energetic music and good lighting.
Energy Killer #2: A Locker-Room Attitude
What it is: Gym bags. Headphones. Dirty socks. You can tell that staff and athletes feel right at home at your sports facility because they leave their personal belongings lying around. The bathrooms may be neglected, the equipment may not be put away, and staff and clients may use casual or “adult” language.
Why it hurts your business: This attitude can turn off potential clients. Namely, anyone who would not feel comfortable at a frat party. That includes most parents, especially those of younger athletes. Parents need to feel extremely comfortable dropping off their kids at your facility.
How to fix it: If you have hired a bunch of young guys fresh out of college, you may be at risk for this. The best way to combat untidiness is to use checklists for cleaning, opening, closing and any other problem areas. You should also frequently check the break rooms and offices to make sure they remain in order. Camaraderie is a great thing, but keeping staff occupied with lessons and activities can minimize locker-room-type behavior.
Energy Killer #3: A Daycare Vibe
What it is: You are more likely to see elementary school-aged kids chomping down pizza than athletes training. Or to hear a toddler screaming than a bat cracking against a ball.
Why it hurts your business: This is the flip side of the Locker-Room Attitude — where facilities become almost too family-oriented and begin to alienate the serious athletes. By having too many children in your facility, you make your adult athletic programs vulnerable to your more professionally focused competitors.
How to fix it: Focusing on families is great and can be very profitable — as long as older athletes also feel at home in your space. Keep family and athlete programs separate by running them at different times, or create member-only areas that accommodate professional-level training.
The next time you walk into your sports facility, look at it with fresh eyes. Make sure what you see is in line with your business’ brand and mission.
One of the best ways to manage energy-killers is with sports facility software. eSoft Planner allows the most efficient staff and client scheduling so that your facility is scheduled efficiently and leaves a favorable impression on all who enter.