The rise in attendance at boutique fitness studios has been fast and huge. People are leaving their local big box gyms in droves for more specialized training, techniques, and personal attention, even though the cost to members has been shown to be significantly higher.
So, why the shift?
Personalization. Consumers today are more in-tune with their overall health and wellness and are willing to pay top dollar if they feel they are getting the best value and convenience out of their options.
So, how can your studio make sure you are reaching new members and keeping them engaged? By offering them amenities they can’t get at their local big box gym. You are already providing them with the best workout; make sure you are also giving them the best experience from the moment they walk in the door until they leave.
Here are a few amenities you should implement that will help differentiate you from the competition:
Studies show that millennials make up the major demographic attending boutique fitness studios. But, guess what? They’re getting older too and are now creating families.
Studios like Peerfit partner, CAMP in Tampa, FL, offer child care services during some of their classes to help accommodate families. The best part? The schedule varies to provide coverage before, during, and after working hours and even on the weekend.
“Our child care offering is so popular that there is often a wait list and we recommend signing up in advance. People LOVE the amenity and the convenience of child care. Families are able to work out together and take classes when they otherwise would not be able to. It is a complex part of the business and requires a lot more staff and space to manage, but it is absolutely worth it for our guests. We built a business based on accessibility; a big part of that is providing amenities for families with young children.” - Jen Azzarelli, Director, CAMP
This is certainly a big expense to offer your members, but if you have the space and the member demographic, look into adding this option to your schedule.
This should seem pretty standard, but you wouldn’t believe how many studios overlook this feature. Yes, your old warehouse-turned-CrossFit gym may look cool, however, bringing in a huge vending machine and charging $2.50 for a 12oz bottle of Aquafina is not a good look. Plus, nobody is carrying dollar bills in pocketless workout pants.
If you anticipate your members burning upwards of 500 calories per class, those 12 ounces you’re selling isn’t going to cut it. Not only is a water fountain more eco-friendly and potentially cost- effective in the long run, you also don’t want to seem like you’re nickel and dime-ing your members at every chance.
Nothing says convenience like being able to work out and grab a snack immediately after. Juice and smoothie bars have become all the rage due to the health benefits they provide and many are providing this benefit directly inside of their studio. Not only will your members love it, it could be an added source of revenue during slower hours, like lunchtime.
If you aren’t able to go as far as housing a juice/smoothie bar in-house, look into different local health food brands, like granola bars, protein bites, or pre-made juices. Keeping your members fed while supporting small businesses is a great way to provide sustenance without the cost of going full smoothie bar.
The After-Class Extras
Nothing says personalization like taking care of members even after class ends. So, think about some additional touch points you can incorporate. Peerfit Studio, Big Fish Yoga in Jacksonville, FL provides lavender scented towels to their members after all of their yoga classes. How about coconut water shots to re-hydrate after a heavy circuit class? Free apples and bananas for an energy replenishment after cycle? These added touches show that you are making your members’ well being and experience a priority.
In addition to your current members, think about the impression these touches make on first-timers. It’s the little things that can go a long way.
There is no greater feeling than leaving a class soaked in sweat, but there also is no worse feeling than sitting in sweat all day. If you’re offering 6 am classes, attendees are more than likely going to head to work right after. Giving them an option to get ready before they head out is a great added benefit.
And don't forget about the baggage! If attendees have one gym bag, one work bag, maybe a purse or even a diaper bag - they'll need a place to store their belongings during class. Have sufficient and secure storage for these items and don’t forget to have extra shampoos, soaps, hair dryers, and hair ties (especially hair ties) for their use. It’s like a hotel, without the overnight guests.
Gear & Swag
There's nothing worse than showing up to yoga class without yoga pants - unless naked yoga is your thing, no judgement!
But, as a studio owner, make sure you have extra gear and swag around to help out those who forget. Remember, class attendees may be coming from somewhere other than their home e.g. workplace, errand trips etc. and may have packed their gym bag many hours before their actual class.
Provide access to purchase workout shirts, pants, or sticky socks so they feel ready for class. It’s another potential revenue stream while you teach. And don’t forget the little things as well- hair ties for women (you never seem to have one when you need it), reusable water bottles, or extra equipment to rent.
Want more ways to enhance your members' experience? Check this out.