Tap into the trends

With memberships still not up to pre-Covid levels, Rob Clarke, director of health and fitnesssolutions company Motive8, shares his thoughts on how operators can attract users. 

ALMOST all major operators and a lot of smaller independent operators are utilising the availability of on-demand, virtual exercise. Whether this be through partnering with the likes of Les Mills or creating bespoke content on their own platform. We don’t see this trend disappearing, but we do already see a shift in class numbers creeping up to pre-Covid levels depending on the location of the studio. Central London studios and others in major cities are struggling more than those in commuter towns and those that form part of larger health clubs. This is simply down to the hybrid working culture that a lot of companies are adopting.

create some space

Gym design will play a key part in tempting consumers back to gyms. Whilst a lot of people are more than happy mixing in public with minimal social distancing, there are still plenty that aren’t. For these people particularly, creating a little more space in a gym could be the difference between choosing one gym over another. We have tweaked how we plan our spaces, allowing an extra 20 per cent or so to each of our gyms. The great thing with this approach is it provides easy flexibility to add equipment as trends change and we emerge further from the pandemic, while also providing a sense of security to the slightly more Covid-conscious gym user.

mental wellbeing

Linked to design is a topic we are all more aware of than ever: mental health. The changes to our lives over the last couple of years have had a tremendous impact on the nation’s mental health. As gym operators we all have a duty to ensure that we are looking after the mental wellbeing of our members as well as the physical.

When looking at the physical environment, natural light and plants, along with some good ventilation to get plenty of fresh air in are key to promoting good mental and physical health. Alongside the usual plethora of group exercise classes there are plenty of alternative classes and services that gyms can offer such as meditation, sound baths and breathwork.

Using existing technology within gyms it is often possible to create groups or clubs to bring like-minded gym users together with people they may not otherwise meet. Creating this bond and social element to a gym user’s journey will not only help with the group’s mental health but could also help with membership retention.

consideration for the planet

Consumers have become more and more savvy about how and who they spend their money with, based on their own values and what is important to them. Sustainability and the environment are one such area. Tailoring your offering to your target market is key and as sustainability is more than likely important to your customers then making some small changes could go a long way.

Carbon Neutral is a phase used an awful lot by large organisations who have set targets of going Carbon Neutral by a certain date. However, calculating a business’ impact on the environment is incredibly difficult and time consuming, so what can smaller businesses who don’t have that resource do? One example that motive8 is exploring for 2022 is partnering up with a tree planting organisation and linking the number of trees planted to the usage patterns of members.

Initiatives like this could encourage slightly more environmentally conscious users to not only join your gym but to attend more often, potentially decreasing the chances of them leaving.


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