Experience

10 Gym Features of an Incredible Fitness Business

Jenny20Weller
Jenny Weller
06 May 21
11 min read
person running on a treadmill

A gym isn’t just a place for exercise; it’s the place you go to unwind, socialize and work out. The gym is a whole experience. Some of the most successful facilities have several gym features that contribute to the kind of member experience that drives retention and sales. 

There are various reasons why members choose specific gyms. When two brands provide a similar service, a lot of the time it doesn’t come down to price, but the value you bring. There’s no point in paying for a cheaper membership when it doesn’t meet all your requirements. By integrating top gym features into your business, you can beat out the competition and attract your target audience. In this article, we talk about what makes a great gym and 10 gym features of a successful fitness business. 

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What Makes a Great Gym?

Running a gym is tough. State-of-the-art equipment and competitive pricing are important. But these are just a fraction of what makes a gym great. There are several cogs that work together to create a successful fitness business that retains members and drives value. Although the equipment you have can make or break a member’s decision to join your facility, the fitness experience will increase member retention. 

Ultimately, the fitness equipment you have will be determined by your niche. For traditional facilities, you will need pieces of equipment like treadmills, free weights, and rowing machines. For spinning studios, you would expect high-end indoor bikes and not a lot else. Your gym needs to meet the requirements of your members. The layout and space, people, equipment, and workout all contribute to a great gym. You need the right mixture to deliver the best experience. 

Why Members Choose a Specific Gym  

Joining a gym is a commitment. You have to invest your time and finances. With pay-as-you-go business models, monthly memberships, and digital subscriptions, there’s a membership style that suits everyone. But why do members return to a gym again and again? Even with pay-as-you-go style brands like Barry’s Bootcamp and SoulCycle, it’s common for users to visit the same fitness center. Let’s delve deeper into why members choose and stick with a specific gym. 

Motivation and Accountability 

Whether you sign up for the gym to lose a little weight, gain muscle, or just move more, you’re looking for external motivation. It’s hard to stay motivated and hold yourself accountable. As a fitness authority, it’s your responsibility to motivate members and hold them accountable. Members who lack motivation stop attending classes and, eventually, leave. Fitness challenges, creating a community, and high-quality fitness instructors can increase motivation and boost retention. 

Community and Socializing 

With social distancing and stay-at-home orders, many people are feeling more isolated and lonelier. Mental health is a huge topic right now and creating an environment that nurtures human connection is hugely attractive. Many of the most successful fitness brands have a thriving community of like-minded individuals. They encourage members to socialize and continue to develop their fitness community both online and offline. 

Clean and Hygienic

Cleanliness and hygiene have always been important factors when it comes to investing in a gym membership or visiting a fitness facility. But now, cleanliness is a major consumer priority. There is a new awareness of how germs spread and anxiousness surrounding high touchpoints and close proximity to other people. Your facility needs to be disinfected, cleaned and sanitized regularly in order to meet consumer expectations. It’s a good idea to share your COVID-19 cleaning protocols with members to reassure your community that it’s safe to exercise. 

Equipment and Space 

Your equipment, layout, and space design will play a big part in why members choose your specific gym. Creating an environment that motivates you to work out and providing the equipment to do so is extremely important. Depending on your niche, your gym should have everything your members need. Whether it’s tennis courts, specific machines, or a big space for floor work, the atmosphere and environment are key. Is your gym spacious and clean? Do you have TVs and music so that your members don’t get bored? 

Training Ability 

The training abilities you cater to will play a part in who joins your gym. If you focus on high performance and improving personal bests in a specific area, an entry-level gym-goer isn’t going to sign up. While it’s important to niche down, having options for various training abilities is useful when creating a welcoming and accessible environment. 

Hours of Operation and Location

Finally, your hours of operation and location are important. This really comes down to convenience. Are your members free during your opening hours and are you in a convenient location? The majority of people attend gyms that are either their home or workplace. This is something you don’t have a lot of control over. However, creating a digital fitness platform allows you to open up your services to more members regardless of operating hours and location. 

Adam Zeitsiff, the President and CEO of Intelivideo, talks about the hybrid experience in more detail on The Fitness Founders Podcast. He talks about how fitness operators can deliver the ultimate hybrid experience and how to get ahead of the competition.  

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10 Top Gym Features of a Successful Fitness Business

The most successful fitness businesses use gym features and facilities in an innovative way to attract clientele and retain members. To drive membership sales and build loyalty, gym owners need to think about several features to create a unique member experience. Here are 10 top gym features to incorporate into your fitness business. 

1. Variety of Training 

In terms of fitness and training, everyone is unique. Some people need one on one personal training programs, while others just want to show up for a fitness class. Group training options may be ideal for some and not others. The variety of training is key in creating a great fitness studio business. A good gym features specialized fitness instructors and knowledgeable coaches. Consider different styles of classes and group training for various abilities. Depending on your niche, you can run larger group fitness classes, small group training sessions, and offer individual coaching sessions to keep members motivated and hitting their goals. 

2. High-Quality Exercise Equipment 

All gym equipment should be clean, well-maintained, and in good working order. By creating a highly connected fitness experience and leveraging wearables and heart rate monitors you can simplify fitness. Whether you have cutting-edge rowing machines and treadmills or a yoga sanctuary with mats, blocks, and bolsters, all exercise equipment should help members exercise and meet their fitness goals. Standard gym equipment includes dumbbells, weight machines, kettlebells, squat racks, and cardio equipment. 

3. Thriving Community 

Human social connection is essential for health and happiness. Health clubs are an ideal place to satisfy both physical and social needs. Even though technology allows you to communicate with your members more effectively, gyms need to actively find ways to create thriving fitness communities. When you can build a sense of community and connection within your gym. The key to building a community is increasing member engagement as much as possible. Encourage member involvement, host social activities, and promote group exercise to help build a thriving fitness community. 

4. Well-Designed Space and Facility 

The space and standard of the facility are an integral part of a fitness business. The facility should be clean, well-maintained, and be large enough to allow for social distancing. Your facility should align with your brand and remain consistent. Consistency is essential for growing a loyal membership base. So, members can rely on you to recreate the same experience and environment whenever they visit you. How you design your gym will impact the atmosphere and how members feel when they work out. 

5. Member Amenities and Privileges 

Your member amenities and privileges can be a massive reason why members choose your gym. Certain gym features like a family guest pass, a juice bar, or even childcare services can set aside your facilities from the competition. Some gyms focus on creating social areas that encourage human connection and nurture their fitness community. It’s these elements that can help to drive membership sales and increase retention. Many fitness businesses offer different package levels that cater to various target customers.  

6. Digital Fitness Platform 

The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated digital fitness and the adoption of home fitness as an effective and convenient way to exercise. The fitness industry is hugely competitive. To stay ahead of your competition, a hybrid fitness business with a digital fitness platform is essential. Stream your classes and share on-demand workouts with your digital membership base. Not only can you offer your digital membership to existing gym members, but also extend your reach to the home fitness target market. Digital fitness isn’t going anywhere. You can continue to motivate members and drive value by delivering your services in the most convenient way possible. 

7. Personal Training Services 

Personal training services and programs can help members hit their goals and offer the type of motivation needed to keep going. Trainers offer several benefits for members such as teaching the correct form, how to perform exercises and holding members accountable. Many gyms have personal trainers on staff and offer packages for members. Personal trainers can help reduce the risk of injury as members know how to use equipment and perform exercises both correctly and safely. 

8. Steam, Sauna, and Spa Facilities 

Spa facilities like steam rooms, swimming pools, and saunas can be hugely attractive for some members. High-end amenities and boutique gym features can add to the atmosphere. If you have spa facilities, you can offer more membership packages and services, such as spa days, massages, and relaxation services. One brand that utilizes spa facilities to upgrade the overall experience is Equinox. Equinox fitness clubs and luxury gyms provide state-of-the-art facilities and special amenities and features. 

9. Cleanliness and Maintenance 

All areas of the facility and equipment should be cleaned and maintained regularly. Equipment should be cleaned and disinfected between use and all high touchpoints need to be considered. You need hand sanitation points, spray bottles to wipe down equipment, and fresh towels. A clean and safe environment is essential for following COVID-secure protocols and reassuring anxious members. Member education is a crucial part of keeping your facility clean. As the gym is a common environment for sweat and germs, you need to encourage regular hand washing, cleaning surfaces, and use of personal protective equipment where necessary. 

10. Overall Value 

Although price is a key point in the decision-making process for potential members, the overall value you bring is a crucial gym feature. Elements such as spotless facilities, friendly staff, knowledgeable trainers, and high-quality equipment all add to the overall value. When you continue to drive value to your members and make an impact in their life, people are willing to pay a more premium price. 

Mike Arce, the CEO and founder of Loud Rumor, talks about why you need to deliver more value right now. He shares his insights on how to provide value as your business goes online and key strategies to help your business grow. 

In Summary 

Your gym features are what can set you apart from the competition. Gyms give members access to a wide range of features like exercise classes, equipment, instructors, spa facilities, and personal trainers. When you can create a consistent and unique fitness experience with the right atmosphere and environment, you can build a loyal following. The layout, design, lighting, and cleanliness all play a part in building a great fitness business. The most successful gyms have a combination of features and people as well as an effective workout that gets members results. 

The Customer Engagement Playbook for Your Fitness Business

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