Delivering the Exercise Experience to Drive Retention and Revenue

When your members walk through your doors, what is their experience? Do they enter into a supportive, dynamic and social environment? Does your facility offer a sense of community and connection? Are there defined spaces designed for people to interact, encourage each other and socialize as they sweat?

If not, you are missing a key ingredient, and you will likely lose members because of it.

Boutique studios that deliver this group interaction are all the rage. A plethora of studies have shown Millennials want to exercise within a social environment. According to one study done by Technogym, “77% of Millennials overwhelmingly said that they would like their workout at the gym to be as interactive and fun as possible.” They’ll even pay more money for it. Thousands of Millennials are flooding to these studios where workouts have become more like social events.

It’s impossible to offer supervised group training and group fitness classes 24/7. And these days, members demand more than those two options anyway. So the issue has become: How do facilities deliver high touch, shared workouts in a space that’s largely been dedicated to individual exercise for so long?

One way is to turn an underutilized space into a dynamic environment outfitted with self-guided, on-demand training that encourages individuals to exercise together and even do the same workout.

There are several keys to making this work. The most obvious is the programming, which needs to be compelling, results-oriented, easy to follow and safe. Members must be able to engage in different workouts every time, so the library and depth of content needs to be robust.

Another important ingredient is the program format. CrossFit got it right when they introduced the simple Workout of the Day. This formula is social on so many levels. It promotes friendly competition while layering in a “we are all in this together” mentality. It also facilitates post-workout discussion and the comparison of measurables. And most importantly, it drives the desire to come back the next day to do it all over again.

Statistically, the fastest-growing style of exercise is high intensity interval training (HIIT) and circuit-based training. This too, stimulates interaction as participants share equipment and move from one station to the next.

If you can also integrate technology, you have a winner. The ability to track and measure one’s performance against others participating in a common workout enhances the shared experience tenfold.

Transforming underutilized space into a vibrant shared workout area can be daunting when facing it alone. Embarking on the planning and design process involved in creating such an environment requires time, creative strategy and resources. But there are experts to assist you, and it can be surprisingly affordable and scalable. Ask yourself: are you delivering on the social experience? It’s imperative that you do.

Justin Campbell is the senior director of enterprise for Aktiv Solutions. Aktiv designs and supplies dynamic training spaces, including a suite of digital self-guided training systems. Justin can be reached at jcampbell@aktivsolutions.com.

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