This week we spoke to Susan McEntegert, one of Ireland’s top fitness business consultants and owner of the Cornershop Gym, Co. Laois.
Susan has 18 years of experience working in the fitness industry under her belt. Starting out as a receptionist, Susan worked her way up the ladder and now owns her own functional training studio while also running a training and consultancy business for established fitness businesses and fit pro startups alike.
We asked Susan to discuss her prediction of the top 4 fitness industry trends for 2016:
Trend ① The Boutique Studio Explosion
Boutique studios and gyms are set to become a global phenomenon, continuing to disrupt the health club industry. These boutique micro gyms are known for providing a great service thanks to the increased sense of community that results from smaller class sizes.
What’s more is the decreasing cost of setting up a fitness business in recent years. An increased focus on group exercise means the extremely high overhead costs associated with fitting an entire gym with equipment can be bypassed.
Trend ② Snapchat for Business
In 2016, we’re going to see more fitpros running aspects of their business via new digital channels; in particular to drive their marketing efforts and acquire clients in new and exciting ways.
Consumers are always looking for ‘the next best thing’ and by staying up to date with the most popular digital platforms, you’ll have a greater chance of staying relevant in your client’s eyes. Our guess is that Snapchat will be the fitness business platform of 2016 as it offers a great means of actively engaging a large member base!
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Trend ③ Virtual Classes to Expand Reach
Virtual classes are becoming more and more popular, particularly in the UK. Platforms such as Periscope and Facebook live stream give trainers the ability to provide classes online on a ‘freemium basis’. For example, the basic class could be provided free, however a more intense class may have a cost.
These online classes where thousands can train together online shrink costs back even more, making the boutique studio or microgym business model even more doable. Social media has given us the ability to increase our reach and build a profile far beyond our local communities. In 2016, we’re set to see early adopters embracing this and achieving a great advantage.
Trend ④ Digital Fitness Tracking
Hands up if you received a fitness tracker such as Fitbit or digital garments for Christmas? The reality is people are using them more and more and pretty soon (if not already) these technologies will go unnoticeably as part of our daily routine.
Just like survival of the fittest, the reality is that businesses who do not adapt to these changes risk being left behind. So what’s on the cards for 2016? We’re likely to see more and more gyms and studios integrating these technologies into how they deliver their service.
For example, Susan regularly asks her clients to share the information they’re tracking such as steps and calories burned with her so that this information can be taken into account and enhance the service she provides. In this way, clients will feel like they’re combining technology with your service, not replacing it.