The Fit Guide's Evaluation Process

The Vision

Our original vision at The Fit Guide was to introduce to fitness what hotels and restaurants have had for over 100 and 50 years respectively - an industry standard of excellence.

In the belief that the best fitness clubs and experiences should be recognized and celebrated with an independent and unbiased process, The Fit Guide was born.

Our process has been built with contributions from leaders in both hospitality and the fitness industry. To ensure our process accurately reflects the member experience, in our development phase we conducted hundreds of test runs, gathering feedback and input from club owners, managers, coaches and consumers.

Phase One

Our first year saw us launch in five of the world’s leading fitness capitals: New York, London, Singapore, Sydney and Dubai. Our teams of highly-trained Experience Evaluators have visited 250 of the world’s leading clubs across the globe.

We take this responsibility very seriously, following a stringent, comprehensive and closely-monitored process with each city we launch in, and every club that we visit.

We want our process to be transparent, so below we have detailed our process when launching The Fit Guide in a new city.

Pre-Launch Research

Before we launch in any city, we conduct extensive research to help us draw up a list of the leading clubs and studios. We speak to experts on the ground, we check local media and we see which clubs have the best reviews and rank highest on search.

If a leading boutique fitness brand has more than four locations, we will visit two locations. If it has more than nine locations, we visit three locations. We choose which clubs to visit based on the most primely-located or which is highlighted as a ‘flagship’ or founding location.

An Incognito Visit

The integrity of our process is everything, so our visits are conducted by incognito Experience Evaluators without the club knowing of our visit. This ensures we get the same experience as the average client.

We do not assess the workout from a coach or instructor’s perspective; every coach and instructor will have their own subjective opinions about which workout is best or most effective, making it impossible to quantify in a fair and objective way.

We also do not evaluate clubs from the perspective of someone who's already within the club’s clique or community. Rather, we evaluate the experience from the viewpoint of the average, first-time visiting client. Some clubs do a great job catering to their regular members, but fall short in providing a smooth and welcoming experience for newcomers. These clubs would not score well in our process - if your favorite club hasn't scored as well as you thought it should, this may explain why.

The Process

Our highly-trained experience evaluators score the visit across 250 objective standards across five categories.

After the visit, each report goes through an extensive and thorough review process by one of our quality control auditors to ensure that each standard has been evaluated correctly and consistently.

Once the reports have been reviewed and signed off, we contact the club about our visit to offer more context on the report.

The Report

Each report is essentially a complete review of every aspect of the client journey, from first contact by phone, to the online brand experience and post-class sales and service.

The reports contain a huge amount of information that will help a club’s management team identify which areas they are doing well in, as well as areas for improvement.

We make the report fully available to each club that we visit and actively seek to connect with every club’s owner and manager so that we can explain their results and how to use the report to improve their club’s experience.

Frequency Of Evaluations

We typically visit each club once during our pre-launch phase, with additional visits conducted if there were any unusual circumstances to the class, such as there being a very low number of class participants or, for example, if a fire alarm went off halfway through the session.

We will also consider a revisit if the result is inconsistent with reviews and feedback that we’ve received.

Some clubs insist that we must visit on a particular day or join a certain coach’s class. We do not allow clubs to pick and choose as we believe that someone’s opinion of a brand and experience is formed by what they experience on the day they visit.

We urge club owners to develop systems, consistency and a strong culture to help ensure that every visit is a great one. 

The very best clubs, just like Michelin-starred restaurants and five-star hotels, get it right every time.

Caught You On A Bad Day?

We do, however, understand that people and clubs can have bad days. Whilst these must be kept to a minimum for success, if a club’s management feels like the report does not strongly represent their typical experience, we offer the opportunity for a revisit.

Where a revisit is conducted, clubs cannot dictate on what day or when the visit will be. Re-evaluations are underpinned with the same principles of integrity and consistency as the original visit and, as such, an improved score is not guaranteed.

Launch Of The Fit Guide

We’ve set the bar high for inclusion in our official city launches at The Fit Guide. Any club that does not achieve 70% in our evaluation, across 250 standards, will not be featured or included, although we do make the full report available to club owners so they can use the information with their team to improve.

Therefore, every club featured in The Fit Guide is of a commendable standard.

We publish club profiles which highlight the reasons that clubs achieved their Recommended, 4-Star or 5-Star Award status.

Annual Visits

For our official launches of The Fit Guide, we visit each city annually, offering a chance for featured clubs to track their progress and improve each year.

Our visits are at no cost to the club, offering a layer of accountability to coaches and front desk staff. We strongly encourage clubs to let the team know that any client could be an incognito experience evaluator from The Fit Guide. We’ve seen that this, alongside solid systems and training, can quickly improve the service offered.

Bettering The Industry

From day one, we wanted The Fit Guide to be more than just a rating system. We want to help the industry improve so that we can continue to impact people’s health, fitness and lives.

We offer free resources such as our industry newsletter, as well as articles on how to improve the service and sales at your club.

We also offer services such as regular, indpendent evaluations for clubs, as well as consultancy and video courses on sales, service and creating five-star experiences.

Contact us to set up a free consultation on how our resources can help your club lead the industry.

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