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How Lady’s Gym doubled its membership

Gym especially for women

For many women, it is not natural to step into a gym. Research shows that more than 70% feel watched, followed or uncomfortable. Even though fitness is so popular among women. Lady’s Gym Kralingen responds to this by creating a safe environment where exclusively women can work on their health. Over 10 years ago, Lady’s Gym was established on the Oostzeedijk in Rotterdam. Today we visited Sven in the new premises on Robert Baeldestraat where they will be located since September 2021. 
Want to know how Lady’s Gym doubled its membership in the past year? Read on in the interview below!

Interview with Sven van der Touw, co-owner of Lady’s Gym in Kralingen

Sven, owner Lady’s Gym (centre) with Rick (Magicline – right) and Max (Magicline – left)

Market positioning

What image do you want to project and what are you doing to achieve this?

We try to propagate the safe and comfortable atmosphere offered here as much as possible. We try to communicate this by recently focusing on social media. We emphasize that all women who work out with us can work on themselves without being inhibited because others (read: some men in gyms) cannot behave properly.

What target group do you focus on at Lady’s Gym Kralingen?

Most of our members are between 18 and 35. There are many students living here who go to university. Ultimately, all women, who want to work on a healthy lifestyle, are welcome here. We want to help them as much as possible with their goals.

How is Lady’s Gym Kralingen positioning itself in the post-corona era? Do you have a modified concept or are you going back to where you were before the crisis?

It has forced us to be sharper and more conscious about how we offer our services here. For instance, corona has forced us to offer online services and digitalize further, because otherwise you just wouldn’t have made it during that time. This change has had a positive impact on us and I believe it has taken our gym to the next level.
We started by offering online classes. We now offer a wide range of options that increase the engagement among members, from personalized workout schedules to inviting friends via the member app.

Use of technology and software

Why did you choose Magicline?

At the time – in the middle of the corona period – I was looking for a tool that was enabling us to offer online classes for people with a paying subscription. That was very important to me. 
Actually, I was very happily surprised afterwards with all the other tasks that Magicline took off my hands, because suddenly many things could be automated.

entrance area

What do you appreciate most about Magicline and what features do you like best?

What I like most are the training plans, they help me and thus the members tremendously. It is also a very comprehensive feature. After all, you not only see the exercise itself, but also, among other things, the number of repetitions, the duration of the rest times in between series and an overview with your progression at the end of each training session. 
However, one of the most valuable features for me is the digital and automatic registration process. This used to be a time-consuming task with a lot of manual work and now I no longer have to worry about that.

In fact, it used to be that when someone signed up, I received it by e-mail. I then copied it onto a paper contract and put it into the system. The next time the new member came in, the pass would be ready. It seems obvious when you’ve been doing it this way for years. But considering that I welcomed over 500 new members last year, this is a huge advantage. Now I register members immediately after a trial training session via tablet or smartphone or people register themselves via our website.
Finally, lowering the threshold to sign up for a trial class and simplifying the online registration process is very important.

Now I register members immediately after a trial training session via tablet or smartphone or people register themselves via our website.

I am also very enthusiastic about the financial administration. Thanks to the automated dunning management, I no longer have to worry about cancelled or failed direct debits, as members automatically receive an e-mail with a payment reminder to pay the outstanding amount.

Thanks to automated dunning management, I am no longer dealing with stalled or failed collections.

Reception counter in the Lady Gym

I’d like to briefly pick up on what you just said: “500 new members in the past year?”

Yes, our membership just doubled within a year. After the doors were allowed to reopen after the lock down on 15 January 2022, we grew from around 500 members to over 1,000. Of course, I am immensely proud of our team for making this happen, but we must not forget that everything on the front end is so well organized partly because of Magicline. In fact, today more than half of all registrations come in through our website.

Within a year, we have grown from about 500 members to over 1,000.

The fitness industry is known for offering long-term contracts. This has changed in recent years, including the enforcement of the Van Dam Act whereby subscriptions can no longer be automatically renewed for another year.

Do contracts of 1 or 2 years have a discouraging effect or are they still common? How do you view this?

It depends on what you focus on as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs who look purely at the pennies are not concerned with any customer dissatisfaction and continue long contracts. That does not mean that these no longer exist with us, just that I try to remain flexible. 
Moreover, it depends on your target group. We welcome many international students here who are temporarily staying in the Netherlands. This not only forces us to offer flexible subscriptions, but we also have to be more lenient with exceptions for longer contracts.

We are not only forced to offer more flexible options, but also try to be more accommodating with exceptions to longer contracts

Recruiting new members

An incredibly important topic: recruiting new members. How do you do this?

Essentially, the basics of your gym should be sound, despite the increasingly prominent role of technology within the fitness industry. Indeed, it should not be underestimated how important word-of-mouth advertising still is, especially among our biggest target group: female students. 
Among other things, they go to social gatherings of associations where the topic of fitness is also discussed. Therefore, we need to ensure that this target group is enthusiastic about our gym. Apart from that, it is important that Lady’s Gym also becomes visible among the rest of the women in the area and we use several channels for that. Think of advertisements through Facebook and Instagram or through the local newspapers.

Despite the increasingly prominent role of technology, the importance of word of mouth should not be overlooked.

Future

What is your goal/vision for the future?

I had very specifically set a goal for myself for 2022 to have 800 members. Then the desire was to be at the 1,200 mark one to two years later to then open a new location.
The goal is to be able to open a new location with the rock-solid concept we have in the course of 2023, but no later than 2024, with Magicline as the driving force behind Lady’s Gym. This will therefore involve the same concept, because that is where our strength lies.

Sven looks at the check-in trend and membership growth via the dashboard

What do you think is important for the future of the fitness industry to remain successful?

Responding more to Apps connected to wearables to make exercise insightful and measurable.
Also, using Apps like TikTok, for example. If you know how to use these Apps properly, you can make fitness much more accessible, because people can inform themselves in an accessible way how to train properly.

What trends do you see in the industry that you think you should follow?

Specifically for women’s fitness, I think classes with a high fun content. The more fun and human you can make group classes, the more you can encourage members to come and exercise.
Another special thing to realize is that when Lady’s Gym started 10 years ago, it mainly offered cardio and a bit of strength. This is now completely reversed, which is why it is very important to constantly look at what your target group is doing and what interests them.
It is up to you as an entrepreneur to respond to this constantly changing need as well as possible, because if you lag behind, you run the risk of them going elsewhere ;-).

Thanks for your time and hospitality, Sven!
Want to know more about Lady’s Gym Kralingen? Check out the website and Instagram page!

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on February 21, 2023

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