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Chart Your Course! … with IHRSA’s Profiles of Success By Lilly Prince C ongratulations seem to be in order for the health and fitness industry, suggests the newest edition of IHRSA Profiles of Success: The Annual Industry Data Survey of the Health and Fitness Industry. This detailed IHRSA research report, document- ing the industry’s performance in 2013, indicates that it was a productive year for U.S. health clubs, despite the lingering effects of the economic down- turn. Clubs experienced strong growth in three key areas: revenue, membership, and club count—the strongest since the beginning of the recession. Total industry revenue increased by 2.7%, from $21.8 billion in 2012 to $22.4 billion in 2013, while, during the same period, total membership increased by 5.3%. The total number of facilities increased by 5.4%, from 30,500 to 32,150, which was more than twice the growth rate of the previous year. These may be the bottom-line findings reported by Profiles of Success, but this valuable publication, which provides the most comprehensive, up-to- date, and authoritative data on U.S. clubs, also tracks all of the metrics that yielded them. Profiles provides solid statistics on virtually every area of club operations, including, among others, facility, membership, and revenue growth; staffing and payroll; and profit center productivity. This allows owners and operators to compare their results with those of their peers, pinpoint their business’ strengths and weaknesses, and identify opportunities for improvement and growth. Consider the following insightful facts unearthed by Profiles: • Clubs that are part of a chain reported 5.6% rev- enue growth, while independent clubs logged 3.7%. • Fitness-only clubs posted greater net member- ship growth (6.2%) than multipurpose clubs (0.8%). 46 Club Business International | DECEMBER 2014 | ihrsa.org • Smaller clubs generated less revenue per member ($631) than larger clubs ($876). • Total payroll consumed 41.7% (median) of total revenue for all responding clubs. • Clubs reinvested nearly 2% of their revenues into fitness equipment. “IHRSA’s annual industry data survey results indicate that leading clubs are continuing to experi- ence growth and improvements in revenue, membership, and operational metrics,” observes Jay Ablondi, IHRSA’s executive vice president of global products. “This year’s report also shows that IHRSA operators are adept at managing and increasing member traffic throughout the year, not just during the first quarter. The clubs surveyed are clearly able to deal with seasonal fluctuations.” An industry primer In a word, Profiles is a primer on the industry, as well as a rich source of information that operators can simply use as a point of comparison or, even more importantly, as a foundation on which to predicate future action. For example, the report notes that the recent recession has had a major and ongoing impact; operators have implemented and are maintaining conservative operating budgets––for good reason. “One key insight from the current report has to do with the overall economic climate, which is something operators should take very seriously,” advises Profiles author Greg Manns, the senior vice president of Industry Insights, Inc., a research firm based in Columbus, Ohio. “Unemployment and reduced consumer spending continue to create a headwind that clubs struggle against on a daily basis in an effort to increase revenues. In 2013, average consumer spending reached its highest level over the last five years, but was still well below where it was in 2008. > Download the Free IHRSA App: ihrsa.org/app