With the Fitness Industry continuing its rapid expansion, with no signs of relent, the significance your fitness amenity represents to your overall community has never been more prominent. With gym memberships rising 20% from 2010 to 2020, combined with the users desire to efficiently incorporate fitness into their existing schedules – multi-family housing, hospitality, corporate & educational markets possess the greatest opportunity to deliver unique value with the application of a thoughtful & complete fitness offering.
As it is with most opportunities, the gold exists within framework of a present & overlooked problem. At scale, commercial fitness amenities continue to be developed with a desire often to almost exactly replicate existing fitness spaces (even local competitive facilities)! This phenomenon is largely due to the common misunderstanding of the purpose of fitness amenities.
In short, your fitness amenity is not simply an accommodation you provide, as a courtesy, it is the primary sales feature of your overall property – a way to add value, differentiate from nearby competitors & excite new business opportunities. When the true function of a fitness space is realized, the desire to copy or otherwise emulate the offering, aesthetics, performance & format of an existing fitness amenity becomes mute.
“your fitness amenity is not simply an accommodation you provide as a courtesy, it’s the primary sales feature of your property.”
Now that we’ve established the opportunity a unique fitness offering possesses, let’s assess what makes a fitness amenity exceptionally captivating to the user, your client.
Flow & Aesthetics
How your fitness center looks, feels & flows is the very first impression the user receives when entering the space. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine it’s present status –
· Is the equipment organized attractively?
· Are all products & stations formatted correctly allowing for & encouraging use?
· Is there a unique theme, energy or appeal? (wall art, décor, color use, etc.)
Though the aesthetic presentation is one of the most fundamental considerations, it is often the most seamless & affordable ways to energize the space.
The organization of a fitness center not only tells the user a lot about the care afforded to the amenity itself but speaks to the standard of the property. For this reason, it’s imperative that products are laid out in with thoughtful consideration and the space is regularly maintained with the level attention you desire to communicate to your client.
In addition to a fully equipped and efficient exercise experience, many users expect entertainment features to be made available. With the progression of personal electronic devices & streaming capabilities, the users desire and expectation for entertainment remains in constant evolution. What used to be, and for some applications still is, a demand for touchscreen technology on all cardio equipment – Virtual Reality (VR) fitness programs are starting to make their way to mainstream fitness environments. However, when assessing the entertainment functionality your users may expect/desire, it’s important to consider the user demographic your facility serves to appropriately cater.
Functionality & Safety
At the end of the day, fitness centers are only as good as their safe & functional condition. According to Premier Fitness Service’s Director of Operations, Michael Martinez “Annual analysis shows that, over the last 5 years, an average of 7 out of 10 fitness centers have either major operational and/or safety concerns present, with 5 of which being completely unaware of the present concerns.”
Consequently, it remains imperative that fitness amenities are regularly monitored, and the optimal performance of the equipment is ensured. The easiest way to discourage a fitness user are the overwhelming presence of ‘out of order’ signs or under serviced products.
Ease of Access
Comfort for many fitness users is key. A compact, over-crowded or improperly spaced facility can be a significant turn-off for many users. Contrary to popular opinion of fitness equipment distributors, when it comes to fitness center layout, we’re believers that ‘less is more.’ Why? Well because an open floor plan is innately more inviting, less intimidating, more functional, offers greater mobility & the space can continue to be built out (with value adding products and stations) long into the future.
Unique Facility Qualities
As with any business concept, it’s imperative to ensure that your fitness center positively & uniquely differs from other local competitor’s fitness offerings. Here are some questions to ask when assessing your space –
· What products & accessories aren’t commonly found in the average fitness space?
· Does our fitness center offer any of these unique qualities?
· What do our competing properties offer & how can we exceed their value?
Implementing unique products & features can easily be accomplished, without breaking the bank, with thoughtful consideration of your user demographic and analysis of industry trends.
Sufficient Product Inventory
A fitness user who must regularly wait to use equipment or stations is not going to be thrilled regardless of how captivating the space is. Consequently, ensuring sufficient product quantities to meet the volume of use your facility receives is essential to maintain the satisfaction of your client.
With the continuing integration of social media into our daily lives, fitness trends & new information has never flowed more rapidly. As a result, this information is now being consumed, at scale, by your client. Your consideration of these trends & incorporation to your amenity is now mandatory. Here are questions to ask to help you identify the most relevant trends to offer the user demographic you serve –
· What fitness programs are on the rise?
· What trends are losing steam?
· With the development of new technology & increasing product popularity how can our facility become forward thinking and get ahead of the curve?
All-inclusive & Time Efficient
With our daily lives becoming more streamlined with the application of technology, our future has never appeared busier. The next wave of fitness user is going to be increasingly time sensitive, so ensuring their capability to receive a complete & efficient exercise experience is key. Therefore, offering a complete Cardio, Strength, Functional & body weight workout experience is a must. Before becoming discouraged with the size of your fitness amenity or the cost to incorporate all necessary stations, understand that the fitness industry now has extremely efficient ways of not only consolidating exercise benefits into smaller footprints but within less physical products. At the end of the day, giving your user the ability to seamlessly integrate fitness into an increasingly busy schedule is the priority.
Daily Inspection & Assessment
Inspect what you expect. Much like restaurants check their restrooms every 15 minutes, it’s imperative that we take the time to daily review & affirm that the essential sales feature, that is your fitness center, is in acceptable & presentable condition. Having a member of your team inspect the amenity, at least daily, will help ensure it’s safe, correct, optimal & cleanly condition. If your staff identifies an issue, this will further allow your team to process a resolution prior to your users encountering the same concern.
Professional Maintenance & Care
Having a professional fitness organization support & provide the relevant expertise has been proven to be an invaluable partnership that will serve your amenity well. An effective fitness organization will provide support with –
· Regular maintenance
· Equipment Repair
· Facility management & presentation
· Enhancement Recommendations
· Industry Expertise & Consultation
· Product Replacement & Upgrade
We’re confident that with thoughtful consideration & application, these concepts will successfully guide you in cultivating your fitness amenity as a prominent sales feature to your property. Give your client a reason to cancel their expensive & inconvenient gym membership while further rooting their identity to your organization.