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State of the Industry Report: Predictions for Q1 2022

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State of the Industry Report

Club Solutions Magazine recently surveyed its advisory board on the industry’s top trends, biggest challenges and opportunities for clubs as we near the first quarter of 2022. The following is a state of the industry report from their insights.  

Top Trends 

  • Strength training
  • Mental health and wellness. 
  • Market expansion.
  • Omni channel fitness (including virtual, livestreaming and on-demand).  
  • Marketing automation. 
  • Recovery. 
  • Outdoor fitness. 

When it comes to mental health and wellness, the shift that occurred during the pandemic of operators emphasizing the mental and wellness aspects of gyms, versus just fitness, is expected to remain in full swing next year. 

In addition, many clubs are going to continue their efforts at reaching “the other 80%” via market expansion. This includes reaching special populations and omnichannel expansion through digital and virtual fitness. 

“The trend of people having ‘omni’ fitness interests and how clubs stay a relevant part of the picture is what I find intriguing,” said Ralph Rajs, an industry veteran. “Bringing trends like functional fitness, digital training and other fitness tech as a complement to a dues-based membership is the challenge to be faced.” 

Regarding strength training, many operators are seeing consumers gravitate toward free weights, Olympic lifting and selectorized equipment over cardio. This trend is expected to remain in 2022.  

Biggest Challenges

  • Consumer confidence.
  • Staffing. 
  • Member acquisition and re-building.
  • Supply chains. 
  • Government relations. 

According to Club Solutions advisory board members, many of the challenges clubs faced in 2021 will remain next year, especially in light of the Omicron variant, which is leading some states — like California — to reinstate indoor mask mandates

In particular, friction between operators, government entities and regulations will likely remain a challenge for operators in the year ahead. 

“Communication, collaboration with and cooperation with decision makers who can affect the way we run our businesses are key,” said Lynne Brick, the co-owner of Planet Fitness Growth Partners and Brick Bodies. 

In addition, operators report they will remain on high alert on how to bring back and re-engage members who have still not returned to in-person fitness.  

Biggest Opportunities 

  • Expanding wellness programming. 
  • Heightened focus of the consumer on health. 
  • Medical fitness. 
  • Community.

Many fitness leaders are reporting there is great opportunity for gyms to capitalize on the heightened focus the pandemic has brought on health among the general public. With this in mind, advisory board members are looking to expand wellness and lifestyle modification programming. 

“There is a premium on innovation and generally everything new,” said Aaron Moore, the director of operations at VIDA. “The clubs that continue to evolve and add to their products and services will thrive, while those that stick to business as usual will suffer. Clubs need to offer as much lifestyle ‘one stop shopping’ as possible under one roof.”

Sue Boreskie, the CEO of Reh-Fit, agreed 2022 is a great opportunity for those clubs that can position themselves correctly. “We can position ourselves better than ever before,” she said. “This includes how we can help improve health through physical activity, community, diversion from working at home, reducing sedentary behavior and mental wellness.” 

Regarding community, advisory board members also advised operators to not undersell the social aspect clubs provide. 

“People have been isolated and need to be around other people,” said Maria Gonzalez, the CEO of Club Fitness Greensboro. “One of our greatest opportunities is to provide the community and support everyone needs.”

What did you think of this state of the industry report? Do you agree with the predictions for the first quarter of 2022? Email your thoughts to rachel@peakemedia.com.

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Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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