Keke Lyles, Director of Fitness and Recreation at The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe (Calif.), says it helps to begin with the edge of the puzzle, by using easily captured data metrics that provide a basic snapshot of how a fitness operation is doing. Metrics such as daily participation and the demographics of those participants can provide a good read on the demands that need to be met.
As it goes in countless areas of life—from determining the best home to purchase to figuring out which schools to send your children to—collecting as much numeric data as possible helps to inform important decisions. With the development of sport technology and the capability to collect endless numbers on individuals within a moment’s time, trends and predictions can be extrapolated, which can have a profound impact on not only an individual, but on a team, within athletes of a particular sport, or even across sports.
The accessibility of this extensive body of numeric data can be overwhelming and confusing for someone who is not a trained sports scientist or data analyst. The key to utilizing numeric data is to take a step back and consider how the information can help make things better. This all begins with the question: What problem are we trying to solve?
When assessing a country club or resort’s fitness operation, many additional questions need to be answered, including: What programs are being utilized? How many participants do you have? What are the costs of the different programs? What outside services should you bring inside? When should you replace older equipment? Are member needs being addressed? Are the members who use the fitness facility getting better? What role does your fitness center have in the overall experience? Is there any experience, or is it just an amenity?
Some of these questions are easily answered and tracked, and others are much more complex in nature.
It helps to begin with the edge of the puzzle, by using easily captured data metrics that provide a basic snapshot of how the business is doing. Metrics such as daily participation and the demographics of those participants can provide a good read on the demands that need to be met. With this information, for example, a club is better informed when allocating resources to develop better programming. Market research will guide decisions on when to add or remove programs, based on objective information.
Then the rest of the puzzle can be attacked, by trying to answer harder questions while still utilizing the data to uncover the appropriate answers. The goal with these metrics is to capture a good understanding of your club’s offerings.
For example, questions to consider at this level include: When should we replace equipment? Should we expand or reduce retail offerings, or change it altogether? These questions can seem more personal and based on experience and feel. However, proper data tracking will make it easier to determine the right answers.
How do you know when to replace equipment? Is it at the first sign of wear, or do you let it go a bit longer until it is really worn down? To answer questions like this, consider how often a particular piece of equipment is being used. A frequently used piece of equipment should be replaced sooner than later.
Measuring retail performance may appear straightforward, by tracking sales. But how does a club know if it is exceeding what sales should be, or if it’s under-performing? Looking at sales allows clubs to spot the trends. Does the club have consistent sales, or only at special events? Understanding these trends will help guide you to the best course of action.
The final pieces of the puzzle, to round out the overall picture of how a club is doing, involves examining questions such as: What new initiatives is the club looking to roll out? Are people getting better? How is the member experience?
These answers are all individualized and can vary greatly. But the more a club can understand those individual needs, the more successful it will be in providing a life-changing environment.
One good solution for simplifying the process of getting useful answers is through surveys. Quarterly or bi-yearly surveys are the best way to capture the collective ideas of all members and get a good read on how things are going overall. While it’s not possible to meet each member’s specific needs, understanding the general trends can show how to build more diverse offerings.
When putting all the pieces of a club’s puzzle together through numeric data and metrics, it’s helpful to keep in mind the questions the club wants to answer with the information that’s collected. This information will simplify the decision-making process, and the end result will be a great member experience.
Keke Lyles is recognized as a leader in human performance, with experience with professional athletes and Navy Special Warfare operators. He now leads fitness initiatives at The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe.