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THE FUTURE OF BOUTIQUE FITNESS: PART 2
Whether it’s gamification, classes, niche interests or particular group training programmes, the appeal of boutique fitness can’t be denied. In part two of this special discussion, fitness industry experts discuss the future of boutique fitness and how what we know today is going to evolve and adapt to member behaviour in the future.
If you missed it, check out the future of boutique fitness: Part 1.
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What your search for a “gym near me” will bring up in future.
Emma Barry, former director of group programming and group exercise at Equinox.
“I think the boutiques are going to become the new gym, if you think about it. The big boxes, whether they’re at the budget end, through the middle or premium, have struggled to segment and really understand their customer. For example, I might come for the dance and the barre and the social stuff. You might come for the strength, maybe a little bit of cardio and the golf learning experiences off the side.
“Because we didn’t segment, we didn’t segment through experience either. I’m seeing a reversal of that original model just beginning to happen now. Now, lots of them are offering several things – you might get your HIIT, your yoga and one other thing. Boxing is the big trend right now, and rowing. So it’s sort of creating this new micro, but now it’s three on-trend things and something that’s got a bit of sustainability around it.”
How boutique fitness makes members feel special.
Steve Vlchek, co-founder of Workout Bar.
“You can’t take a big box and compare that to a boutique. The capital investment is one fifth… It could be one tenth! So you can take these boutiques and place them within, our research shows 2.8 to maybe maximum 4.8 miles from some of these locations. How are you going to do that with a big box?
“People are tired of driving to a big box location. Their time is so valuable. I’m still amazed how people make an hour every single day to come and do a workout with us.
“The other thing I find with boutiques is that they really harness that energy of community. I still go to a big box. I still do ours, and I love both. People are going to have their big box gym and they’re going to have their boutique, because over here [in a boutique] you feel special.”
What we’ve learned about the future of boutique fitness.
Matthew Januszek, host of the Escape Your Limits podcast and co-founder of Escape.
“Where we are in the industry, in basic business principles, is niching down on who is your customer. Who are you best serviced to provide? Give them great value. In any industry it’s the same thing: providing great value, and as a result of that they’ll continue to come back.
“In all business you need to innovate, and if you’re doing those things then whether you call yourself a ‘boutique’ or any kind of club inside or outside, you’re going to be successful.
“Maybe the industry’s got a little bit lazy and taken some of this for granted. That’s lead to these young innovators probably working on the gym floor saying ‘well actually, we can do a lot better than this.’”
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