Maximizing the Revenue Potential of Your Fitness Center

Bryan Green is president and CEO of Advantage Fitness Products, a company dedicated to the planning, design, supply, and ongoing care of specialized fitness and wellness environments worldwide. For information regarding Advantage Fitness Products, visit or call 310-559-9949.

Often, hotel and resort managers view fitness centers and related services as merely a value-added amenity, provided to reinforce a positive guest experience. Granted, they do provide this valuable role. However, this perspective is often short-sighted and may eliminate a wealth of profit-generating potential inherent to any fitness center when managed with an eye toward generating revenue.

I spend a great deal of time working with clients to illuminate various revenue-generating vehicles for their fitness center, whether that is through retail offerings, training programs or other unique platforms. With that in mind, I’d like to break down some of these ideas and demonstrate just how a fitness center can go beyond merely pumping up your guests and instead pump up your bottom line:

1. Fitness Retail. A focus in health and fitness carries a unique and built-in merchandise demand. From workout apparel to bottled water, to headphones and yoga mats, a moderate inventory investment in these fitness-related products can be turned into easy and high-margin sales. Fitness-minded guests often forget to pack workout clothes or headphones. Others prefer to work out within the privacy and peace of their own room or suite, especially those doing yoga, mat and resistance band-based exercise modalities, and female guests in general. An in-room fitness workout is often a quick, safe and potentially less intimidating way to stay fit while on the road for many travelers.

As entertainment-based fitness equipment featuring viewing screens or digital music technology grows in popularity, so does the opportunity to rent headsets, iPods and other electronic devices or accessories to guests. Every fitness environment also carries a sustainable demand for healthy refreshments and snacks.

2. Personal and Group Training Programs. When on vacation, guests typically look for (and are willing to pay for) something more than they experience day-to-day at home—better restaurants, better activities and thrills, better clothes, and toys. You can capitalize on this impulsive mindset by offering customized personal training and group exercise services.

Establishing such programs within your facility can generate considerable revenue. However, doing so requires qualified trainers—but not necessarily full-time training staff. Independent training companies can provide enough qualified training staff to accommodate the needs of your fitness center, whether for personal or group training. For a larger facility or those attached to spa offerings, several companies offer third-party management that often can be supported with as little as a shared revenue agreement.

Personal training is always attractive for guests who want that individual attention they may not pay for at home. It’s the idea of being “pampered,” even when they’re breaking a sweat. Another aspect common to vacation travel is the preponderance of group activities. Whether its scenic tour groups, group fishing and diving exhibitions, or group arts and crafts, travelers come prepared to engage in such group activities. A fitness center can capitalize on this with its own group exercise programming. Many facilities are seeing wonderful returns for group training in the hottest fitness trends, such as yoga, outdoor boot camps and other mixed fitness or fusion classes.

3. Specialized Equipment and Service. A handful of specialized services can command incremental revenue. The emergence of high-tech products is one area to investigate, in particular, vibration training products, which offer the ability to train the entire body in a fraction of the time of conventional methods. Furthermore, they represent arguably the most low-impact, yet effective form of training. This opens the door to travelers who don’t want to devote much time to exercise, elderly travelers for whom higher impact training isn’t an option, not to mention die-hard fitness enthusiasts who want to try the latest innovations in high-tech fitness. Fitness centers and spas can incorporate the use of such high-tech devices with the supervision of a trainer or certified clinician and the investment in such equipment. However, the economic returns can be substantial with the proper program promotion and revenue model. Additionally, other services, such as body-fat analysis, heart-rate monitoring and diet/nutrition analysis, can be valuable for those travelers who use their vacations to kick off new commitments to better health and more active lifestyles.

4. Management. Fitness center managers and spa directors that oversee a facility’s fitness services have enough on their hands to keep them thoroughly busy. So, just as you can outsource the personal training aspect of your facility, you can do so with the management aspect. Experienced fitness management companies can implement the full spectrum of revenue-generating services and then manage them ongoing, both domestically and abroad. They can maintain adequate merchandise inventory, develop and manage personal and group training, maintain and service equipment, and handle many other aspects of your fitness center.

I hope these ideas have opened your mind to some of the opportunities that can drive measureable revenue stemming from the investments you have already made or plan to make in fitness. Keep in mind, a fitness center isn’t a stagnant entity, but rather it is a living and evolving environment. Fitness centers require ongoing attention to detail to keep up with state-of-the-art fitness modalities and technologies. Further, contemporary standards of safety and hygiene and your valued guests’ ever-changing expectations in terms of amenities and unique services also should play a vital role in terms of your business focus regarding fitness. So considering all this work and effort, it makes sense to ensure that the revenue potential of your facility is being maximized every step of the way.

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