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CLUB SPOTLIGHT: PENINSULA AQUATIC RECREATION CENTRE IN FRANKSTON (VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA)

by Les Mills Asia Pacific

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Peninsula Aquatic Recreation Centre (PARC) is located in the heart of Frankston City in Victoria (Australia) and is the premier aquatic, fitness and fun facility on the Mornington Peninsula.

Recently awarded the Health Club of the Year at the prestigious Aquatics & Recreation Victoria Awards, PARC provides a welcoming, inclusive, and memorable environment where safety is the priority and activity and fun is the goal for members and visitors of all ages and abilities.

A state-of-the-art facility, PARC offers innovate, accessible services, supported by friendly happy staff and a true sense of belonging and community.

The facility is managed by Peninsula Leisure Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Frankston City Council, and an organisation formed to maximise the community benefit derived from PARC, ensuring that everyone in Frankston has the opportunity to be active.

We recently caught up with the centre’s Group Exercise Coordinator, Rebecca Roper, who has been with PARC since it opened in 2014. This is what she had to say…

Rebecca Roper: I have been the Group Exercise Coordinator for eight years at Peninsula Aquatic Recreation Centre (PARC – also called “Peninsula Leisure”) and love it. I have been here since the very beginning and have loved watching the journey of our members and guests in the group exercise space grow to love and live for the programming we offer here at PARC.

We have partnered with Les Mills since we opened, as it was key to our member offering. We knew having Les Mills would make us a standout club, as no other programming beats it and our members LOVE it.

Currently, we have a team of 71 instructors and are always adding to our team through recruitment and mentoring, which keeps things fresh and exciting for our members and the ever-growing group exercise timetable. Currently, we have 164 classes on the timetable, and I actively teach seven of these including BODYATTACK®, BODYPUMP®, BODYSTEP® and RPM®.

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LMAP: What happened at PARC when COVID-19 hit?

The last two years were extremely hard, surviving with the strictest lockdowns and constant changes to the way we work and live. We faced two years of interrupted operations and were closed for more than 50 per cent of the year. Despite this, at Peninsula Leisure we were committed to finding new ways to keep our members motivated, connected and moving. We worked hard to create and offer a fun escape from the otherwise bleak new reality.

To align with our vision: ‘To ensure everyone has the opportunity to be active’, we made all our offerings available to existing clients, members and the wider Frankston community.

What measures are you taking to stay resilient post-pandemic?

We are currently running retention initiatives like the My Movement Challenge, where members get a card and for each time they visit PARC for group exercise, gym or swim, they get a stamp. When they attend 12 times during the Challenge period, they earn a special PARC Movement Challenge prize. It’s limited edition and exclusive to winter 2022. In addition, all completed cards go into the draw to WIN 1 of 2 x 6-month Full Access memberships. We are also giving away some great spot prizes for those participating including free personal training sessions, café vouchers and retail store goodies!

How is group fitness performing now?

Since reopening again in October 2021, we have seen a 22 per cent increase in our attendance of all our group exercise classes. We have 164 live classes and 85 Virtual classes on our timetable with an average occupancy of 62 per cent. Since opening 8 years ago, we have retained 94 per cent of our group exercise team.

What’s so pleasing is seeing how resilient our ‘groupies’ are – these are our group exercise loyalists who have bounced back after each lock down and keep coming back to work out and connect with the friends and the PARC group exercise instructors they know and love.

What role does group fitness play in the centre’s overall success?

Our Full Access membership gives members access to the gym, group exercise, pool, spa, sauna. Group exercise is our key income driver for this membership type. Our group exercise members are extremely loyal to PARC and to their instructors, and are our number one member to refer PARC to friends and family. We also have a few group exercise instructors who are personal trainers, and they have been able to gain a lot of clients from their classes. Our crèche and café success also heavily relies on our strong group exercise timetable.

How do you recruit new Instructors?

Our members LOVE Les Mills programs, which is why we have put so many members through Les Mills training. They then also complete the training and development program we offer, which is key to their successful group fitness career. The members love seeing team-teaching and enjoy watching new instructors grow and develop; it is such a great vibe and our members-turned-instructors are always so popular among other members as a result.

How do you typically promote your Les Mills programs to your members?

We have a Group Exercise Facebook page for our members, where our group exercise instructors promote their classes to increase attendance and build our community. Our instructors love teaching so much that they always want to get involved in team teaching our Les Mills classes, having two to three instructors on stage. This is a great way to increase the increase the vibe in the class as well as cross promote other classes. We also promote our classes through social media, emails, Mind Body push notifications, in-centre advertising, PARC Start appointments in the gym and activation events like the Waterfront Festival in Frankston and Party in the Park.

What benefits has the centre seen, from using SMART TECH fitness equipment?

There are countless benefits to PARC using SMART TECH – we love it! It is all very easy to use, especially for a deconditioned person. We use the weights in both studios because we love it so much, and it’s such great quality that we are still using the same equipment we purchased when we opened eight years ago!

Our members are really happy with SMART TECH. We’ve received feedback such as “I really love the quick-release bars and the options of 3.7kg and 7.5kg plates that you offer at PARC” (Linda); “I love the Les Mills Mats, they don’t slip like others, they are heavy but thin” (Sab); and “I love the bars and plates, the bars allow quick transitions with changing weight loads” (Nikki).

Equally impressed are PARC staff, who have said things about SMART TECH such as “I love the variety in which I can use the equipment, it is consistently reliable, and it’s easy to use and very high quality, which gives me absolute peace of mind with my safety in all my workouts!” (Mary); and “So good I ordered my own set during COVID” (Caz).

Here at PARC, we love Les Mills. The classes enable us to trust in programming that is backed by science. In turn, this allows us to confidently teach our members and guests because we, and they, always know it will be the best workout.

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PARC is a great example of how the Ultimate Group Fitness Solution ensures fitness businesses can cater to their members' every new need. To find out more contact your local Business Partnership Manager in Australia or Southeast Asia.