5 Star Fitness and Nutrition Centres opened their first club location in 2008 in Hamilton, Ontario. The owner, who was new to the fitness business and had purchased the club as an investment, hired management staff with extensive expertise in the industry and its pulse on the Hamilton/Stoney Creek market.
Within months, 5 Star became a popular, go-to facility. While deciding to open a second location and build from scratch, the opportunity arose to purchase an existing club with two locations already up and running. By 2013, 5 Star had four locations and saw its membership grow by leaps and bounds, reaching 6,000 members in 2019.
The clubs provided a range of services, including group classes, physiotherapy, corporate wellness programs, competitive and non-competitive boxing, personal training and partner training. Its mandate was to stay ahead of big box facilities and outpace other small franchise clubs by being nimble, responsive and dedicated to customer service.
But the clubs’ software needs were growing and did not meet its demands for a robust and responsive service. The search for new fitness management software and a new provider began and in January 2019, 5 Star Fitness found its match with Antaris Technologies/Merchant Treasury Services club management system.
The Antaris/MTS system was ideal for several reasons: its fitness management software is focused solely on the needs of Canadian fitness club owners; it has 25-plus years of fitness club software development experience; team members have extensive fitness industry experience with an understanding of both club management and club member perspectives. By listening to fitness club owners, Antaris/MTS is able to help streamline key processes, deliver cutting edge services and help clubs maximize their profitability.
And that met 5 Star’s requirements.
Vince Guagliano, Regional Manager of 5 Star Fitness, and Perry Tucciarone, Director of National Accounts and Business Development at Antaris/MTS, discuss their partnership and the benefits of their working relationship.
Why the change?
Vince: We were using a large software company system previously that did not suit our needs in terms of function, ability or even something as small as daily support. The Antaris/MTS support team hasshown its ability to cater to our individual needs, and are always just a phone call away. Customer support is a huge factor for us. With our past supplier, we used to have to wait until west coast time to get on the phone with support. We never have to wait now and most of the time, Antaris/MTS support is proactive in contacting us for updates and changes.
Perry: Our system is extremely robust and provides more automation than offered by any other fitness club software provider. We utilize the power of automation to give the control and functionality you need, reduce costs and increase revenue in areas such as front desk administration, online registration and account changes, KPI tracking, targeted mass email & SMS marketing campaigns, billing, virtual capabilities, notifications, reporting and more.
Customer service representatives are available to answer calls with no menu to navigate to reach a live agent when you call our customer service line. We also provide timely responses within 12 hours to email inquiries. There are no fees for ongoing support and we are happy to coordinate additional training tutorials whenever requested. The combination of our leading-edge software automation with our extensive customer service experience ensures front-line staff and back-office administrators get the support they need to excel in their roles.
How has COVID affected your business and your ability to deliver services to your membership?
Vince: COVID has definitely disrupted our regular business, as it has for everyone. Since the fitness industry does not have a “take out” or “call ahead pickup” option like other industries, we are stuck waiting to open as soon as we can. A normally very busy January for sales is reduced to zero and pausing membership dues is the only option for extended closures. Throughout the year we have learned to adapt quickly from 50-person capacity to 10, from not wearing a mask to wearing a mask and even having members learn to work out based on appointments, or not have shower or locker access. We will come out of this better prepared in the future but it does come with a financial cost.
How has Antaris/MTS helped during these times?
Vince: Antaris/MTS has helped us immensely during COVID. They have adapted quickly and have made adjustments to their systems to cater to our staff and clients’ needs. They have also taken a proactive approach by giving industry updates to us in regards to new COVID guidelines, shutdowns, procedures and even HR recommendations. If we need billing to be paused, started or even for refunds, it is as easy as a phone call or email.
Perry: As soon as the COVID pandemic started we were already designed to automate operations to provide the required applications to support fitness clubs’ safety protocols to keep staff and members safe, plus provide real-time data to manage contact tracing.
Our system features included an online booking system; online and mobile-ready COVID-19 screening forms; real-time member counts; automated capacity management; contactless check-ins; and seamless contact tracing.
Our functionality gives our clients the control and speed they need to streamline their business while providing significant savings on their billing and software fees. Our clients see a substantial and immediate positive impact on their profitability.