David Collignon Aims for Value-Based, Premium Experiences at Blink Fitness

SVP of Operations David Collignon speaks to Blink Fitness’ “feel good” experience and the technologies he implemented to enhance the experiences of members and employees

When you enter any Blink Fitness gym, you will be greeted with a smile. You will see brightly painted workout rooms, carefully cleaned equipment, and people all around you ready and willing to help make your gym experience all that it can be. According to Blink’s David Collignon, that clean, welcoming, “feel good” experience is exactly why 50 percent of Blink employees are former members.

David Collignon Blink Fitness
David Collignon, Blink FitnessPhoto: Courtesy of Blink Fitness

“That’s actually a bit of a phenomenon, the conversion rate we’ve seen from members to employees,” says Collignon, who is the senior vice president of operations. “And that tells us that members in our gyms today know that we respect them—they like how we treat them, and they like the community that we create. They choose us because they know our values and the experience we provide.”

But, as Collignon explains, it’s not easy to build a team and operational system capable of consistently delivering that kind of member experience. “When you’re in the business of operations, your work never really ends,” the SVP says. “Every single day, you have to figure out how to deliver that experience, what the experience looks like, and how you can support it as the business continues to grow.”

A cornerstone of Blink’s success in consistently delivering on that member experience is the company’s mood lifter certification. According to Collignon, Blink has exhibited a mood lifter mentality long before they introduced the official certification—being a mood lifter is all about having an enthusiastic, service-oriented approach in everything that you do. And it’s not just anyone who can bring that level of service and create those kinds of personal connections every single day.

“We start with group interviews to identify the most qualified candidates,” Collignon says. “We look for people who exhibit leadership qualities and people who can bring a sense of confidence to the mood lifter position. It’s not easy to find those types of attributes these days, especially with the advent of technology, but we are so proud of our mood lifters because they really are our brand.”

“Members in Blink gyms today know that we respect them—they like how we treat them, and they like the community that we create. They choose us because they know our values.”

In addition to finding and hiring the right people to bring onto the Blink team, Collignon strives to ensure that he is hiring those individuals “at the right time.” In fact, according to him, his efforts to hire the right staff at the right time represent the most difficult part of his job.

“It’s challenging to hire teams and create a culture and an environment where people are proud to work,” he says. “Becoming an employer of choice has been about attracting people who come to us and say, ‘I want to work for you out of all the other options out there in the hospitality industry, from restaurants and hotels to other fitness players.’”

As Collignon notes, a critical part of creating an attractive work environment—especially as Blink continues to grow its national footprint—is finding a way to consistently meet the needs of both the business and its employees. And he has found a perfect solution in Legion Technologies Inc.

“When we create employee schedules here at Blink, we have to account for experience levels and skill sets that are the same—suggest experience levels, employee availability, roles, and responsibilities. That’s hard to do without analytics and data from multiple sources,” Collignon says. “That’s where Legion Tech has come in—it was paramount to us to get the right technology in place so that we could get rid of all our old spreadsheets and manual processes and make things easier on our managers.”

Legion’s technology can determine exactly what’s needed at any given time, on any given day, at any given Blink location to meet our members’ needs, Collignon says, and it provides all Blink employees with ready access to their schedules through apps on their phones. “We’ve seen really strong results by implementing this technology,” he remarks. “And I think it speaks to our values as a company, to have this technology creating a frictionless experience—and an enhanced experience—for our members, which in turn enables a more positive experience.”

I think it speaks to Blink’s values as a company, to have this technology creating a frictionless experience—and an enhanced experience—for both our members and our employees.”

Now, Collignon says, he and his team can evaluate the effectiveness of employee schedules immediately after posting them, which means they know right away whether they are serving their members and employees well.

“As Blink Fitness grows and is entering new markets across the country, most recently in Chicago, Houston, and Miami, it’s really important for our employees to be able to look back on their experiences here and think, ‘Wow, Blink really cared about me,’” Collignon emphasizes. “We are committed to developing all of our employees. We always spend time talking with our employees about their journeys at Blink, especially because it was often something about the member experience that they loved enough to become part of our team in the first place.”