Arguably, the number one competitor to full-service health clubs is not another health club or full-service gym. Instead, the top competitor is private studios that focus on one format or program and do it exceptionally well.
Studios that focus solely on indoor cycling, ballet barre, dance and of course, Pilates and yoga, have made full-service health clubs step up their game in the last couple of years. No longer is it okay to have studio programs that are not truly exceptional and holding their own individual identity.
While researching other health clubs in your market in order to understand your competitive advantage is always an excellent idea, ignoring specialty studios as competitors would be a mistake. Our industry has changed immensely in the past few years in terms of what the consumer is looking for in fitness. And, the success of specialty studios is a great hallmark of that.
Millennials in particular are looking for experience-based programming that offers community, as well as classes or workshops that inspire. These classes not only offer a way to sweat for an hour, but promote a sense of wellbeing through affirmations and a positive vibe. If you are not seeing Tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts from your members after the class, assume that you need to turn it up a notch and make it click-worthy. Just take a look at SoulCycle’s Twitter —the interaction with its handle is envy inducing.
Study your given market, understand what is offered and which studios are successful. Look at similar brands that attract your club’s demographic (think Lululemon). Within the club environment, emulate what your members and prospective members are responding to.
Your club’s desirability goes far beyond the treadmill and with a keen understanding of what the consumer is looking for in fitness, you are sure to interest more members. It’s time to step up your game and compete.