Ian Saunders, CEO and co-founder of CryoAction, looks at how health and fitness providers can future-proof their offering
The UK healthcare and wellness industry has continuously grown over the past five years, with total spending on healthcare, wellness and fitness forecast to be £209 billion in 2020.
More people than ever are willing to invest in their healthcare and wellbeing, which has led to a 5.3 per cent increase in market size for the private sector, and a three per cent rise for the wellness sector respectively.
This growth has been fuelled by changes in consumer fitness trends and has allowed for new businesses to enter the market. These new entrants might not have been considered competitors in previous years, creating a lucrative opportunity for them to become industry “challengers” and increase their market share.
Health and fitness providers can broaden their repertoire and secure even more market share by offering customers something new. The definition of “health” and “fitness routine” is unique to each customer, so providers need to consider how they can improve their facilities, taking into account the full spectrum of wellness, including new fitness techniques, new classes and emerging importance of recovery from exercise.
Therefore, we will consider how fitness centres can ensure they continue to attract and retain customers at the start of the year and beyond by expanding on the type of services they offer, and refreshing their business strategy.
A connected clientele
As consumers’ appetite for technology increases, its usage for health and fitness purposes does too. Mobile devices, social media and wearables have all experienced considerable growth in the fitness market, according to research by Accenture. Wearable devices can be used to collect data and monitor a person’s health, allowing them to accurately track their progress inside and outside of a gym. Using an app for your gym or health club, and even to connect to equipment inside the facility, allows gym-owners to send notifications and updates directly to users, and keep them engaged and motivated.
Bring a friend
Demand for group fitness training has also grown, research by Les Mills has found that people are 26 per cent less likely to cancel when training as part of a group as opposed to a gym-only member. What’s more, 35 per cent remain loyal to the gym or health club when training in groups. Plus, put simply, more people in a gym long-term means more money from memberships and supplementary services, providing a revenue boost. So, simply running a “friends go free” referral scheme will get more people through the door and increase their chances of converting to full time members.
Incorporate restorative health
Active recovery and restorative health has been named as 2020’s top fitness trend by Gold’s Gym USA, and Canadian fitness education company, canfitpro, and it’s something that will no doubt quickly move over the pond. Offering simple accessories such as compression leggings or socks will speed up recovery by directing blood, and the oxygen it carries, to muscles to allow them to grow and repair at a quicker rate.
Also consider incorporating more substantial medical grade facilities, such as cryotherapy chambers, to a sports club or gym. Sessions of the treatment are affordable for all levels of fitness enthusiasts, and a three-minute, extreme cold -135 degree, whole-body cryotherapy treatment, can reduce inflammation and boost circulation, enabling users to recover faster, and spend more time on using other services at a fitness facility.
Make more merchandise
Forgetting a gym towel or water bottle is a common occurrence for consumers, so why not allow them to buy a replacement from reception. As well as being a source of convenience, offering branded merchandise creates an additional revenue stream, and provides a means of marketing. Hundreds of loyal and engaged fitness enthusiasts wearing and sharing the gym’s branding with their friends and family will no doubt have an impact on the facility and help ensure it is there for years to come.
Understanding and incorporating these suggested elements into a health clubs’ business strategy will lead to multiple revenues, and create a more sustainable business model that doesn’t rely on gym goers renewing their annual membership.
Adding equipment to a gym or fitness club will no doubt drive new inquisitive users and provide a chance to acquire and retain members that would otherwise have become disillusioned with fitness beyond the new year health kick. Ultimately giving gyms and fitness centres more opportunity to claim a stake of the market currently worth $83 billion, globally.