Communicable disease prevention for both employees and members is something that Active Wellness is highly focused on every hour of the day. But there are other business risks requiring planning to mitigate the immediate and long-term financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Chief Operating Officer Michele Wongs shares some recommendations on protecting and minimizing risk of your fitness center business during this time.
- Cleanliness + virtual programs should be at the top of your list - Fitness centers that have been known for their cleanliness and have maintained virtual programs have a better chance of retaining more of their members as well as adding new memberships.
- Manage your relationships - Protecting the sustainability of the business requires a balancing act between revenue and expenses with safety placed at the forefront of the new member value proposition. It is not only important to look at sustaining relationships with members and furloughed employees but with suppliers and industry partners. Operators are not only struggling but also the suppliers who provide service. When you communicate regularly and maintain positive relationships with a commitment to on-going partnership, suppliers are more likely to work with you on payment terms and short-term relief.
- Do everything you can do to keep members and employees safe - Our safety protocols include daily health screenings for our employees, enhanced cleaning processes, upgraded air filtration systems, requirements to wear masks, social distancing of equipment, and signage to ensure distancing is maintained.
- Update Member Liability Waivers - All waivers should address participation in virtual programs and exposure to communicable disease. We have configured our member management system to require each member/participant to sign an updated waiver the first time they join a virtual program or visit a club. Once they have completed the updated waiver, they are no longer prompted to complete it upon check-in. This has been a non-negotiable for us.
- Prepare for Insurance Changes - It is unlikely the industry will see favorable changes in business interruption coverage and we should expect to see exclusions at renewal that address member contraction of communicable disease. We are expecting the insurance market to be hardening. Rates will likely be going up and the choice of carriers will be decreasing. Managing risk, reducing claims exposure, and maintaining partnerships with carriers is going to be important for managing increases at renewal time.
While there is uncertainty during these times, there are things that you can do to mitigate risk and problems for your team and business.
If you have a fitness center business in financial hardship, Active may be able to help. Contact us here to learn more.
Michele Wong | Chief Operating Officer
Michele is Active's Chief Operating Officer. Her focus is on building healthier communities through the delivery of integrated fitness, nutrition, health coaching, and medical services. Michele has a master’s degree in Kinesiology, serves as an ACE subject matter expert on health coaching, and is a Wellness Council of America Faculty Member. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family including her two adorable dogs.