Trends & Features

Five things to know when opening a fitness studio

Recent data sourced by business management software provider, MINDBODY, has shown continued growth of the fitness and wellness industry in the UK. Moreover, revenue among gyms has increased by 5.5 per cent since 2013 and by two per cent for Yoga and Pilates studios, according to recent reports from IBIS World.

The data highlights that competition is at an all time high, as consumers become more demanding and open to switching between studios, classes and gyms with ease. This competitive landscape, combined with the influx of large global brands opening UK locations and the continued expansion of ‘boutique’ operators, means that opening a new studio can feel like a daunting challenge.

Know your niche

It might sound fairly obvious but defining the niche for your new studio is key when starting out. MINDBODY discovered in its recent Insight Report that consumers are unique and a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work within the fitness and wellness industry. What your studio offers will be (and should be) very different to the next, to meet the increasingly individual needs of the consumer.

Consider introducing elements of ‘added value’ throughout the studio, to give you a unique edge on competitors. Justin Rogers, Creative Director at MINDBODY studio, Ten Health & Fitness, explains why the launch of Ten Clinical (which bridges the gap between the fitness and medical community) has been instrumental to the studio’s growth: “Ten has always been more than just another boutique fitness provider – with our ability to offer an end-to-end solution, helping people from rehabilitation to full-function fitness, we were already well on the way to achieving this. Ten Clinical takes us one step further within that strategy. It also means we can reach a new and growing population for whom exercise isn’t just a lifestyle choice, it’s a genuine need. The response has been amazing so far.”

Your people are key

MINDBODY’s latest consumer research looked into the importance of fitness instructors and personal trainers when it comes to driving repeat visits and customer loyalty. The data showed that one in five (20%) consider a good PT or instructor the most important factor when choosing a studio. So, once you’ve nailed your niche, make sure to do thorough research into your trainers and teachers to ensure they are a perfect fit for your target audience.

Naturally, what makes a ‘perfect’ instructor will differ depending on your offering. However, according to MINDBODY insight, Yogis preferred a teacher with patience, HIIT fans want a trainer that pushes them, while women consider a friendly personality to be the most important trait in a personal trainer or instructor.

When it comes to the trainers and coaches themselves, Brendan Chaplin, founder of Strength and Success Business Coaching, said: “Knowledge of their client’s goals, desires, fears and beliefs are key when it comes to getting long term transformational results.

“Taking the time to really get to know your ideal customer really does pay dividends down the line. Very often as trainers we try to instil in people what has worked for us rather than what is truly best for them. We are teaching them to read from our map of how things should be. The art of effective coaching is to learn to see the world through their eyes. Only then can we make real progress and build a sustainable business.”

The price is right

MINDBODY’s 2018 Insight Report showed a positive correlation between the most popular MINDBODY studios and introductory offers, proving these offers can really have an impact.

Insight from the report also showed that price is a driving force for customer loyalty, so when you consider prices for your classes, think about rewarding return customers. For example, MINDBODY customer, XtendBarre, offers ten per cent off retail when joining as a new member, and it’s not uncommon for studios to offer better value to customers when purchasing a ‘package’, or even offering ‘buddy credits’ to encourage return visits with a friend.

Get tech-savvy

Research conducted by MINDBODY, showed that 15 per cent of people think using technology as part of their fitness routine helps improve motivation and keep goals on track, meaning technology can be a great way to add value to your service and keep clients engaged. With FitMetrix by MINDBODY, clients can sync up Heart Rate monitors to get results in real time on a group leader board to track performance, and with results emailed to them immediately after class, they can access all their information, learn from it and aim to improve on results next time they visit your studio.

MINDBODY research also found that locations with online bookings enabled saw higher customer numbers than those without, showing how an online booking system or accessible website is a key factor in attracting customers.

Spread the word

Another key piece of data from MINDBODY Insight Report was that word of mouth continues to be the best performing marketing channel, with over half (58 per cent) of people saying this is how they find a new studio; online searches and advertising (22 per cent and 19 per cent) are increasingly important; showing that these platforms are vital in building awareness for your studio.

These platforms aren’t just great for attracting potential customers, but are also important in engaging existing customers with inspiring content and, if nothing else, reminding them that you are open!

For more information about MINDBODY business software solutions, please visit:

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