A vast majority of our members supported the programme exactly as it is. However, here are some of the suggestions we received.
1. Your suggestion:
The initial free 4 weeks should be taken off the outstanding pre paid membership should it be taken.
Good point. We have now adopted this suggestion and the wording of the programme that allows clubs to deduct 4 weeks off any outstanding membership that is taken, should they wish to do so.
2. Your suggestion:
Reduce length of initial free membership to 2 weeks from the proposed 4 as most people would know early on if the club was suitable for them.
While 2 weeks would be enough for the individual, the purpose of the 4 weeks is to allow time for a closed club to reopen. Remember, this programme is not a new membership campaign; it is about creating a good industry reputation and being seen to be doing 'the right thing' by opening your doors to members who have lost their club.
3. Your suggestion:
I don't think that the 4 weeks is generous enough to a member. I suggest that we also offer a free joining fee if they join.
This is a great idea and mentioned by quite a lot of clubs. As long as the concept of the programme is adopted initially, clubs may choose to offer more on an individual basis should they wish.
4. Your suggestion:
I would rather do this myself when the need arises rather than signing a contract to do so. Also, I haven't seen much publicity regarding gyms closing, so isn't that a good thing rather than creating a perceived problem?
Many clubs can and do offer something similar. However, the idea behind Fitness NZ implementing and running this is to create a national programme, with positive marketing, that reassures consumers that a scheme is set in place in the unlikely event of a club closing. In our opinion, if this programme is never used then we are happy! You're correct in your comment of not seeing much publicity regarding gym closure recently, long may this continue!
5. Your suggestion:
The member should pay for the equivalent length of membership before they receive the free month, not after.
The problem we can see here is the reluctance for a disgruntled, possibly out of pocket member, to have to pay out more money to a club they have never used. Most people affected by their club closing may have lost faith in fitness centres. This programme is designed to help restore it.
General questions and answers:
1. How can a member prove to me how much pre-paid membership they had outstanding?
Great question! You would need to ask them for their original membership agreement/credit letter. Failing that you would need to use your own judgement, remembering the overall concept of this programme.
2. What if the club is closed temporarily due to e.g. fire or general damages?
The idea behind the programme is to create confidence in consumers if a club closes permanently for business, not temporarily.