Virgin Active is one of the largest health club businesses in the world, with over 170 clubs and more than 900,000 members spread across the UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal and South Africa.
Virgin Active is currently developing sites across Australia. The Virgin Active club located at 138 Bourke St, Melbourne officially opened in May 2009. Virgin Active opened its first Australian club in French’s Forest, Sydney in December 2008. Virgin Active offers convenient class times as well as fast classes for busy CBD workers. It boasts a range of unique facilities including a 25 meter swimming pool, relaxation spa and sauna, dedicated mind/body studio, internet café, a rock climbing wall and even sleep pods for a quick daytime power nap. Current Business Strategies
In an article from the Virgin Active Australia’s website that was also published in The Daily Telegraph the “holistic approach to health and fitness” is mentioned, this is the main strategy used by Virgin Active. “From machine waiting times and intimidating environments to high fees and poor customer service, consumer dissatisfaction with the current gym offerings is clear,” said Mark Blackman, Managing Director, Virgin Active Australia. “Virgin Active will redefine the gym experience in Australia with world class facilities, a friendly, welcoming environment and that great value for money and customer service that people have come to expect from Virgin.” Matthew Bucknall, global CEO, Virgin Active added, “With a proven formula that has seen rapid growth and expansion overseas over the last nine years, we believe that the Australian market is ripe for the new, holistic approach to health and fitness that Virgin Active offers.” Virgin Active has made a large effort to emphasis that it is not simply a gym but a health club and that it is not a contract but rather a relationship. The strategy shown is extremely personal and this makes their members feel important and eager to work out and spend time in the clubs. The focus has been placed on an overall healthy lifestyle and enjoyment in achieving members personal goals, instead of a bodybuilding mindset where looks are everything. Virgin Active attempts to cater for everyone from 3 month olds in the kids club to over 55s with a ‘young at hearts’ membership. Virgin Active offers unique ‘flexible’ memberships where rather than being locked in for an entire year, new members are locked in for an initial 1 month period and after this period members can cancel whenever they like. This is a risky strategy where members can leave anytime but has been proven to be successful in the health and fitness industry. This is because the public are more likely to sign up if they know they can get out if they are not satisfied with the service on offer. This puts pressure on Virgin Active to perform and provide great service for their members in order to retain numbers. Strategies have been implemented to encourage members to consistently workout and enjoy themselves. French’s Forest has 160 classes a week which caters for most. Floor staff are always on hand to help members with any difficulties and to give advice. Assessments/programs are developed for every member and evaluated every 6 weeks. Competition
Fitness First and all other local sports and health clubs are competition and a threat to Virgin Active. Although at this stage they should just be looking to establish themselves as they only have 2 clubs in the country now which is not nearly on the same scale as Fitness First. Virgin Actives competition does not share the same holistic view of health and fitness. Fitness First for example have no obligation to their members once the sign up process is finalized because members are locked in for a year. This puts less pressure on other clubs to perform in the short term but in the long term members will leave in order to receive a more personal service such as what is on offer at virgin active. Virgin Active employs all...
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