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LESSONS FROM

BOUTIQUES What’s driving the success of the boutique fitness studios, and how can other clubs emulate this? Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson of ClubIntel report

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n 2015, a whopping 35 per cent of US consumers claimed to be users of boutique fitness studios – far more than the number of people who visited any of the more traditional forms of fitness facility. This according to IHRSA’s 2016 Health Club Consumer Report.

Little wonder, then, that a number of mainstream operators are already dipping a toe into the boutique market (see our two-part series on this topic in HCM Aug 16 and HCM Sept 16). But even those who don’t have the time, money or inclination to venture into new sectors could take learnings from

these shifts in consumer behaviour. Fitness professionals should strive to understand what’s driving the success of the boutiques, because at the heart of this success are value-drivers that nearly any fitness business can leverage to thrive in the future. So what are the 10 factors behind the power of the boutiques?

1

SPECIALISATION

In her book Riches in Niches, Susan Freeman says: “No matter what or whom we’re talking about, from movies to chiropractors to books to financial planners, the consumer hankers after specialisation”. That hankering for specialisation also extends to the world of fitness, and is one of the primary forces fuelling the appeal and growth of boutique fitness studios. So why is specialisation such a powerful and influential force? ● First, by focusing on one product or experience, it frees the operator up to do it better than anyone else, and to very clearly target/meet the needs of a specifi c audience. ● Second, consumers perceive specialisation as a badge of expertise. They believe that with specialisation, talent is more focused and better qualified. ● Third, consumers associate specialisation with passion. They believe the people who offer specialised experiences love what they do, which lends an air of inspiration to the whole experience. If you want to leverage the power of specialisation, you first need to discover where you can deliver this. Be openminded about the core capabilities of your business, and be willing to explore 60

Consumers perceive specialisation as a badge of ‘best in class’ expertise what your customers want the most. The key is finding that perfect meeting point between what the consumer wants most and what your fitness business does best.

2

TRIBALISM

Seth Godin, in his book entitled Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, says: “Smart organisations assemble tribes… And it turns out that it’s tribes – not money, not factories – that can change our world, that can change politics, that can align

healthclubmanagement.co.uk November/December 2016 ©Cybertrek 2016

large numbers of people.” His point, and one espoused by many others in the business world, is that in today’s highly competitive and copycat business landscape, tribal-driven brands rule. A tribe is a community of people bonded by a deeply held and shared sense of purpose, a compelling ideology around a given topic or practice, and a shared belief in each other. Tribes require leaders who walk and talk the ideology of the tribe. Tribes are enriched by rituals and traditions that celebrate their achievements, and that

Profile for Leisure Media

Health Club Management November December 2016  

Health Club Management is the magazine and online community for decision-makers in the global health club, fitness and gym industry.

Health Club Management November December 2016  

Health Club Management is the magazine and online community for decision-makers in the global health club, fitness and gym industry.

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