At this year’s IHRSA conference it was exciting to see the industry fully embrace small group training through various seminars and workshops on building, selling and maintaining comprehensive programs. In addition, it was great to see a vast array of fitness equipment providers and manufacturers that are creating functional fitness equipment for this trend that seems to be, at this point, no longer a trend, but here to stay.
Much of what we experience at Pura Vida Fitness in Denver is a member seeking not only an incredible workout, but also a studio environment that fosters community and belonging. CrossFit studios, boutique boot camp programs and exercise-specific spaces (for yoga, for example) have always done well with developing community-oriented, tribal environments. These create friendship and loyalty that is specific to the studio and the program. As health club professionals, it is in our best interest to emulate these stand-alone studios and focus on creating “clubs within clubs” with a deeper and more emotional member experience.
At Pura Vida, we realized early on that many of the prospects who did not join were looking for a more intimate experience and later went on to become members with programming specific studios — not other health clubs. In essence, our competitors were not who we thought. By developing boutique and program specific studios all under one roof, with each space and offering having its own identity and voice, we have been able to attract consumers interested in a number of boutique spaces. Each of our studios could be their own business and stand strongly as both being separate, but also part of, the Pura Vida experience.
It is essential for our industry to recognize that a new demographic is looking for a more intimate experience, a culture that relates to their desired and specific needs that is much more focused than merely “fitness.”
Keith Moore is the vice president of brand development for Pura Vida Fitness & Spa. For questions on programming, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.