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Fitness, Wellness, and Recreation

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recreation consulting

HSG’s recreation consulting services provide expert guidance in the start-up, improvement, growth or renewal of community sport & recreation facilities.

Our work is consistent with the principles outlined in Canada’s Framework for Recreation.
Feasibility Studies
We provide a Business Case Rationale for any new development. This allows the client to determine the economic viability of a project before taking it forward for approved financing.
We use a suite of proprietary consulting tools to complete the following:
  • Assessment of Market Demographics
  • Competitive Analysis
  • A Study of Market Needs
  • Determination of:

– Facility elements to accommodate market need;

– Facility size requirements or availability;

– User Capacity; and,

– Membership Structure and Fees.

  • A Capital Cost Estimate
  • Start-up Costs
  • An Operating Forecast for 3-5 years
Facility Design
We have worked with Canada’s leading architects and interior designers to develop over 100 fitness and recreation facilities ranging from 2,500 to 100,000 square feet.
Our Consulting Services include:
  • Estimation of space requirements and configuration based on market demographics and available space.
  • Development of space design plans and layouts to ensure operational efficiency and member interaction (working with the client’s designated architect).
  • Provision of interior design specifications (working with the client’s designated interior designer).
  • Guidance on technical specification requirements (e.g. HVAC, electrical and lighting requirements, specialized flooring, audio-visual requirements, etc.).
  • Specifications for fitness area requirements (including weight training and cardiovascular areas, studios for aerobic and specialty exercise classes, indoor running tracks, fitness assessment rooms, etc.).
  • Specifications for special area requirements (including laundry facilities, massage and physiotherapy areas, locker/change rooms/amenity areas, etc.).
  • Equipment specifications for all fitness, recreation and wellness
  • Furnishing specifications (e.g. furniture, artwork, signage, etc.).
  • Computer system recommendations (hardware, integration, etc.).
  • Computer software and net ware specifications (membership service, sales, accounting, facility booking, fitness testing, personal training, etc.).
  • Security and safety considerations.
  • Contingency plans for expansion and contraction of facilities.
Project Development
Developing a facility that accomplishes its owner’s intentions takes considerable know-how. HSG brings almost four decades of experience in the business of developing, and then operating fitness and recreation facilities and programs for our clients.
Once the Feasibility Study and Facility Design have been approved, HSG supports its clients to take the project from concept to opening. We do this by providing the following services:
Facility Completion & Equipment Installation

Working with key stakeholders, HSG oversees the completion work (from an operator’s perspective) to ensure that the facility is completed according to specifications, and is ready to open on time. This includes the selection and oversight of the installation of all furniture, fixtures and equipment.

Business Plan Refinement

HSG refines the preliminary business plan developed during the feasibility stage by confirming all assumptions with the owners and key stakeholders. A more detailed plan for the first year of operation is then developed.

Start-up Operational Strategy

HSG confirms basic operational procedures with the owner(s) and/or stakeholders. We then work with the owners and stakeholders collaboratively to develop the best operational plan.

Installation of Start-up Operational Procedures

Prior to opening, HSG develops a complete set of operational policies and procedures (based on best practices in the industry), including: programming, staffing, marketing & sales, and finance & administration.

Operational Reviews
HSG uses a proprietary instrument to assess existing recreation (including fitness, aquatics, arena, gymnasium) operations, by comparing an organization’s current business processes to industry Best Practices.
Simply put, best practices are the best way to perform an operating process, or an activity within a process, that leads to superior performance within any field of endeavour.
Our adaptable audit instrument was originally developed in 1997, and has been continuously upgraded and improved through its many applications; and, as industry best practices evolve over time.
More specifically, HSG’s Audit instrument measures key factors in the following areas:
  • Governance
  • Member Services
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Staffing
  • Finance & Administration
  • Planning, Budgeting & Reporting
  • Program Management
  • Information Technology
  • Facility & Equipment Management
Strategic Planning
A strategic plan is an active process, where HSG senior consultants work with an organization’s senior management, and owner / stakeholders to set targets and develop processes to reach them. The planning process begins by clarifying the Purpose and Values of the enterprise, along with a Vision of future possibility.
From there, we work to help you develop the forward guidance required to meet your goals. The plan is inclusive of all stakeholders from governing / executive boards, to senior managers and to key operational staff. Although the plan must be flexible, it must also be specific so that your organization can work together towards achieving your Vision.
Training & Development
HSG offers practical workshops for staff (in large or small groups) in areas that are essential to the effective operation of recreation facilities. A few examples include:
Service Excellence Essentials

This workshop helps employees understand the impact they can have on customers, the environment they help create and the outcomes they influence in terms of their own as well as the organization’s potential for success. The focus is on customer expectations, fundamentals for delivering consistent service excellence, keys to building great customer relationships, and the financial implications of a lost customer.

Dealing with Difficult Customers

This workshop concentrates on the factors that drive negative customer behaviour, and how to deal with them to achieve the best possible outcomes. Emotional triggers are identified, and participants learn aspects of their own behaviours that may lead to conflict escalation. An effective process is introduced for successfully diffusing difficult situations and arriving at win-win solutions.

Dealing with Difficult Situations

This program further builds on the skills taught in the Dealing with Difficult Customers workshop. Participants rehearse real-life scenarios and practice the skills necessary to defuse volatile situations. Participants discover their personal habits under duress and how to deal with them to achieve the best possible outcomes.

The Role of Leadership in Creating a Culture of Service Excellence

This program transfers essential skills to managers, supervisors and team leaders for assisting and encouraging employees to excel at serving the customer. Methodologies for establishing motivating, non-negotiable performance standards and systems for tracking and measuring performance are the focus of this workshop. The team leaders gain the tools and techniques required to achieve and maintain high customer service levels.

The Power of Staff Engagement

A key measure of a successful fitness operation is the retention of its members. Member Retention is achieved through engaged members. Effective staff engagement is a precursor to successful member engagement.

This workshop teaches how to create an environment where staff members become fully involved in and enthusiastic about their work and, therefore more capable of behaving in a way that furthers your organization’s interests.

At an Individual Level, we address the 5 key individual staff characteristics that enhance member engagement:

  • Attentiveness;
  • Acknowledgment;
  • Generosity;
  • Inclusiveness; and,
  • Approachability

We introduce you to a simple, but powerful instrument for monitoring the level of Staff Engagement at your facility.

Enhancing Member Engagement

An “engaged member” is one who is involved in, and enthusiastic about their relationship with the fitness facility. Member Engagement is more than member satisfaction and profoundly influences an individual’s willingness to remain a member.

At the Systems Level, it is important to understand and provide a number of programs to create and sustain Member Engagement.

  • New Member Integration Process
  • Program Adherence Process
  • Member Referral Programs
  • Member Recognition Programs

We clarify the key distinctions of these programs, how they integrate and interact, and provide examples of successful events in these areas.

Like staff engagement, Member Engagement can be measured. We introduce you to a simple, but powerful instrument for monitoring the level of Member Engagement at your facility.

Active Listening and Effective Communication for Supervisors

Effective communication provides the foundation for success and learning in every organization. Without it, employees and teams become ineffective due to confusion and misinterpretation. and in some cases conflicts may bring productivity to a screeching halt. Participants in this workshop learn to identify barriers to effective communication, explore their personal communication style and learn to apply five key principles of more effective interaction.

How to Develop a Membership Sales System

HSG assigns a senior level Membership Sales Consultant to work with a client’s Membership Sales Manager. Together they review the 10 Key Factors and Industry Best Practices to produce a practical membership sales system that is tailored to the client’s organization. Factors include:

  • Sales Planning
  • Sales Team Development
  • Supervision of Sales Staff
  • Membership Management Database
  • Accountability Framework for Membership Sales
  • Sales Administration procedures, including:
  • Prospecting for Leads
  • Understanding and Applying the Relationship Sales Process
  • Qualifying Sales Leads
  • The Membership Enrolment Process
  • New Member Integration Process What to do in the first 90 Critical Days
  • Conducting Member Follow-up, as an on-going process
  • Running Successful Member Referral & Retention Programs
  • How to Measure Member Satisfaction & Engagement
Individual Skills Training in Membership Sales

Once the system has been developed, it needs to be introduced to the Membership Consulting staff in a way that they learn how to integrate it into their day-to-day routine.

This two-day workshop covers the following skills and practices:

  • Telephone Skills
  • Reception Routine with Prospective Members
  • Conducting Sales Tours
  • Handling Objections
  • Completing the Enrolment Process
  • Following up on Past Members and Lost Sales
  • Tracking Sales Performance
  • Conducting Sales Meetings
On-Going Management Coaching

Senior Managers at HSG are available to provide on-going coaching assistance to the Owners, Board and / or senior managers of any sized fitness operation. We have experience in providing such guidance and support in the areas of:

  • Member Services
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Staffing
  • Finance & Administration
  • Planning, Budgeting & Reporting
  • Program Management
  • Information Technology
  • Facility & Equipment Management