4 Ways to Differentiate Your Gym From Boutique Fitness Studios

by | May 7, 2019 | Uncategorized

4 Ways to Differentiate Your Gym From Boutique Fitness Studios

Over the last twenty years or so, boutique fitness studios have slowly but surely become a part of our everyday lives. These small gyms typically focus on one or two types of specialized exercises, such as cycling or yoga, and are geared towards a niche audience of members. While boutique studios started off as more of a high-end of luxe workout offering, today’s fitness studios target members looking for specialized workouts that deliver the most ‘bang for their buck’. Boutique fitness is part of a larger shift in consumer trends towards more high-end, elite offerings. The rise of athleisure brands like Lululemon and high-end groceries like Whole Foods are other examples of this shift.

The point is this – boutique fitness studios are here to stay. Boutique gyms account for 35% of the total revenue of the health and fitness industry, and this number is only growing. While this might seem like a cause for panic for health clubs or more comprehensive gyms, there is actually room for everyone in the market. Consumers might be spending more on boutique offerings, but this doesn’t mean that they are spending less at health clubs. All it means is that gyms and health clubs must be able to compete and win in the crowded marketplace.

Here are a few ways gyms can attract more members and differentiate business against boutique fitness studios:

  1. Offer competitive, customizable membership plans

Many boutique studios charge up to 20x more than the average health club because of things like status or tailored workout experiences – and members are fine paying these fees because of the exclusive feel.  Charging more or less for your memberships isn’t going to make you more competitive. Instead, try offering customizable membership plans with add-ons, upsells, and other ‘specialty’ services to create this sense of exclusivity. You can still have an all-inclusive, one-size-fits-all plan in addition to a boxing-only plan, or a 10-visits-a-month plan. It’s all about delivering a tailored memberships experience with health club prices.

  1. Develop a strong digital presence

Unfortunately, boutique studios aren’t the only competitors in the health and fitness space. Social media influencers and online trainers are also taking the fitness industry by storm. Boutique studios, because they are smaller and more flexible, often have strong digital media presences that act as a bridge between consumers habits for online content and their need for in-person training. Developing a strong online presence through social media and website content can help larger gyms and fitness centers compete against these smaller, more in-tune fitness presences

  1. Diversify your services

If you’re a larger gym, potential members probably can guess what kind of services you provide by your name alone. While offering standard services might get new members in the door, mixing it up can help retain them and even get them to tell their friends about your offerings. Create studio-esque areas or classes within your larger gym to give members a sense of exclusivity and personalization. Offer niche classes, like spinning or cross fit, within your larger class schedule. You can also try adding amenities outside of workouts, like child care, spa services, or even co-working spaces, to differentiate your business even more.

  1. Create a culture of member-first experiences

At the end of the day, consumers flock to boutique fitness studios because of the personalized, ultra-targeted services. While larger fitness clubs might not be able to provide one-on-one service at all times, that doesn’t mean you can’t create a culture of member-first experiences. Work with your staff to train them on treating members like individuals, not numbers. This means remembering people’s names, preferences, and even their favorite workouts. Large gyms and health clubs can deliver boutique services – without boutique – by simply changing the way they interact and communicate with their members.

Photo by John Fornander on Unsplash