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‘Listening to members’ behind Fitness First’s GymBetter exit

‘Listening to members’ behind Fitness First’s GymBetter exit
July 14, 2015

The surprise news that Fitness First has ended its participation in Medibank’s emerging GymBetter initiative has been explained by the leading fitness chain.

One of the three foundation partners, along with Anytime Fitness and Goodlife Health Clubs, in the no contract, pay as you go gym usage pass introduced by Australia’s largest health insurer early this year, Fitness First withdrew from the initiative as of 1st June.

GymBetter, which now also includes access to Fernwood Fitness and YMCA gyms, provides Australians with access to fitness centres with no joining fees or contracts.

GymBetter passes cost $8.50 for Medibank members with both hospital and extras cover, and $11.95 for non-members. Participants only ever pay for what they use, and for those purchasing eight passes in a calendar month, any subsequent visits are free – meaning exercisers can have a no-contract gym membership for $95.60 a month, or $68 if they are Medibank members.

Of the pass fees received by Medibank, Australasian Leisure Management understands that clubs receive $6.50 per visit from the health insurer (a sum not confirmed by Medibank), with implications for gyms that if current members convert to being regular GymBetter clients, the clubs’ user yield will be $52 per client per month.

In a feature in the May/June 2015 issue of Australasian Leisure Management, Editor Karen Sweaney suggested that “for clubs used to higher yields per member/user this may well present a financial challenge, particularly as GymBetter offers club members who attend irregularly the option to opt of membership and to pay for each visit that they make.”

In a statement on the group’s exit from GymBetter on its website, Fitness First explained “we want to ensure that first and foremost we provide the best fitness experience to our most valued customers – our loyal members.

“With an overwhelming response to the Gym Better program we needed to ensure that our member experience was not being compromised.

“After careful consideration, we have made the tough decision to exit the program.

“The Medibank GymBetter program gave the public the opportunity to try the club along with a couple of our competitors, and access to all of the offerings at Fitness First clubs at a price comparable to those offered at budget operators.

“Generally speaking, the lower prices at budget gyms reflects a limited fitness offering, primarily access to equipment, unlike the combined offering of classes, leading edge equipment, fitness expertise, programs and premium club environment offered at Fitness First.

“We listened to our loyal members who were right to suggest that access to our complete fitness offering at below current rate prices was providing a different level of opportunity to non-Fitness First members.

“We owe it to our members to ensure that a fair price is paid by those who want to experience all that Fitness First has to offer.

“Therefore effective 1st June 2015 Fitness First will no longer be participating in the existing Medibank Gym Better program.”

With Fitness First having left the GymBetter network, participants who previously used a Fitness First gym through GymBetter are encouraged to visit the app and locate their nearest alternative gym from our network.

Participants can register for GymBetter through Apple phones and, more recently, Android devices.

Click here for more information on GymBetter.

Click here to read Fitness First’s full statement.

12th July 2015 - MEDIBANK’S GYMBETTER EXPANDS WITH FERNWOOD FITNESS AND YMCA PARTNERSHIPS

23rd June 2015 - FITNESS FIRST TO INVEST $20 MILLION IN AUSTRALIAN CLUBS

28th May 2015 - FITNESS FIRST PARTNERS WITH LEND LEASE TO OPEN TWO NEW GYMS IN SYDNEY’S BARANGAROO DEVELOPMENT

8th April 2015 - GYMBETTER INITIATIVE GIVES CLUBS ACCESS TO 3.9 MILLION MEDIBANK MEMBERS

13th May 2015 - FITNESS FIRST OPENS FIRST MELBOURNE HIGH PERFORMANCE CLUB ON COLLINS STREET


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