Sean Turner, the CEO at Les Mills U.S., shares how to engage younger members at your facility.
Gen Z and young Millennials are now the biggest cohort training in clubs.
In an industry where revenue is driven by the acquisition and retention of members, it remains crucial for clubs to take an ‘always on’ approach to engagement. The size of the prize is now bigger than ever, with Generation Active — comprising Gen Z and young Millennials — now making up to 80% of the fitness market.
If the pandemic was defined by clubs’ use of technology, the next phase of club growth will undoubtedly be driven by operators’ ability to win their share of Generation Active.
But holding the attention of this elusive cohort is notoriously challenging. Clubs that manage to attract their interest often find it tricky to engage them beyond the gym floor, making it harder to secure long-term loyalty with retention drivers like group fitness.
Despite such challenges, this market offers latent potential, with appetite for workouts among Generation Active showing a strong upward trajectory. According to the 2022 McKinsey Future of Wellness Survey, 40% of Gen Z deem achieving better fitness a ‘very high’ priority, compared to 35% of Millennials, and 32% among the rest of the population.
Strength training is back in a big way, with a recent Mindbody report declaring it the most popular fitness genre of 2022. Again, Gen Z drives this trend, with strength training identified as their favorite way to work out, followed by cardio and yoga/Pilates. For a generation that grew up on social media and has a passion for inclusivity, it’s no surprise hashtags like #girlswholift and TikTok videos are inspiring growing numbers of young women to take up strength training.
That’s not the only social media trend getting this digitally savvy generation talking. TikTok reports the hashtag #fittok has been viewed 46 billion times. With content being produced at such a prolific rate, there is a high likelihood of misinformation. As a result, there’s an opportunity for operators to cut through the noise of influencers and leverage their credibility by offering safe, science-backed advice that delivers on the results this generation craves.
But there’s also room to harness the affinity this generation has with smart devices. Adopting an omnifitness approach with live and virtual, then supporting with a high-quality digital presence, you’re helping this generation remain loyal to your club even when they’re not in it.
Consumer expectations are shifting, and younger generations are a huge part of that. They want fitness services that meet their needs whenever and wherever. By incorporating digital into your current member offering, you’re helping thesemembers tie their training activities outside the club to your brand, encouraging loyalty and linking their successes back to your name.
Capturing a new generation will require many of the ‘old’ ways of thinking, too. Rockstar instructors, an unbeatable social experience and an onboarding journey that seeks to understand what members are looking for remain key.
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