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S EP T EM B ER 2016 L E T T ER S

Write to reply Do you have a strong opinion or disagree with somebody else’s views on the industry? If so, we’d love to hear from you – email: healthclub@leisuremedia.com

A new era of ‘fitness streets’?

PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Having watched our industry evolve for near-on 30 years, and more recently spending two years with a large private operator exploring the boutique sector, I feel we’ve entered one of our most exciting times to date. Specifically, I believe the boutique fitness studio option provides numerous intriguing opportunities for operators: ● To capitalise on consumers’ increasing dislike of, and resistance to, buying a membership to the whole of a traditional club when perhaps they only want to use the treadmill, classes or weights. ● To flex their creative muscles by producing a compelling ‘paradise’ for just one or a handful of activities – thereby capturing the imagination, spend and loyalty of a specific fitness consumer. ● To experiment with creating sub-brands – or ‘powered by’ brands – to bring in a new type of fitness consumer who wouldn’t naturally associate with the bigger brand. However, with the boutique fitness market now maturing and becoming more refined, it needs to be a carefully considered, strategic move. In-depth demographic and

location research is needed, as a smaller, single-discipline offering is inevitably going to be a higher risk proposition. In addition, insight into what consumers really want is vital – you can’t simply assume that, for example, indoor cycling and circuits are the way to go. In fact, the multi-site operator research I was involved in showed that running, dance and weights were the most desired formats. Going forward I see the natural progression being geographical clustering of various boutiques, creating ‘fitness streets’ where consumers have many options in one location, allowing them to flit between formats to suit their mood and goal. Although this approach may seem at odds with traditional industry thinking, it offers operators a chance to both feed off and support each other.

Michael Clark

Owner, Creative Fitness UK

There’s a demand for dancebased boutiques, says Clark ©Cybertrek 2016 healthclubmanagement.co.uk September 2016

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Profile for Leisure Media

HealthClubManagement September 2016  

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

HealthClubManagement September 2016  

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