(Editors' Note: This article is part of Club Industry's report, "Trends That Will Affect the Fitness Industry in 2019," sponsored by Precor. You can download this report for free by going here.)
Fitness trends come and go, but one trend—the growth of boutique fitness studios—is continuing into 2019. The reason for studio growth can be laid, at least in part, at the feet of millennials. Millennials have an appetite for specialized fitness experiences that offer variety and energy and that feed into their sense of adventure. This is something boutiques offer. Millennials tend to bundle multiple fitness experiences as part of their “wellness wallet.” The brands and activities they take part in reflect their individuality. Although many millennials belong to a traditional gym, they seek additional specialized fitness opportunities that align with their unique identity.
What are some of the main features that millennials look for in their exercise environment? Check out these five features they want:
1. Uniqueness. Millennials look for the fun and adventurous side of fitness. Although they still use treadmills, ellipticals and strength equipment for their workouts, they supplement their routines with something that’s different and thrilling.
2. Motivation. Millennials want to be inspired and pushed to achieve their fitness goals.
3. Transparency. Boutiques typically list their prices upfront without requiring a membership, a form of transparency that millennials like. Studios usually have mobile apps, which makes it quick and easy to sign up for and cancel classes.
4. Locality. Millennials enjoy engaging with staff who get to know and appreciate their clients. Even though many health clubs offer a friendly hello and goodbye at the front desk, studios tend to take engagement to a greater level.
5. Tribe Mentality. Millennials flock to boutiques where they can form strong bonds with their fellow exercisers, who often are like-minded peers. This deep sense of connection helps not only with motivation but also the feeling of locality.
Use this information to your benefit if you are looking to appeal to the younger generations.
Some ideas for incorporating these features into your more traditional facility include:
- Emphasize community by developing a special space to create that community. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to do this. You could simply add some tables and chairs outside of your group exercise studio or front desk so members can talk before and after classes to help form the tribe-like mentality that they are craving.
- Poll current and prospective members to determine the types of specialized classes and experiences they enjoy, especially if they are pursuing those classes outside of your facility. Try out new class styles based on your findings.
- Be genuine in your marketing efforts, particularly of the digital variety. Millennials tend to head to social media, company websites and review sites before making big decisions like joining gyms. List your prices upfront, and avoid tacky marketing techniques like using too many emojis or overgeneralizing about younger generations.
Katie Dobbs is the content marketing expert at Precor, a fitness equipment manufacturer whose mission is to develop personalized health and fitness experiences that help people live the lives they desire. For more information about the fitness industry, tips for facility operators and workout ideas, visit the Precor Resource Center.