How to Attract Millennial Members to Your Fitness Center
A recent New York Post article postulates that Millennials are "killing" the traditional gym. Exploring the growing popularity of boutique studios, the article opines that the shift toward a non-membership, a la carte model of fitness is going to become the new norm in large part because of its appeal to Millennials.
Whether you agree with that assessment or not, one thing is clear. It is time to take a look at what Millennials want from a gym and assess how your fitness center business can address Millennial desires.
Why Market to Millennials?
Why should you be marketing to Millennials? Hubspot observes: "Capturing and maintaining the interest of the trillion-dollar demographic is an economic essential, as members of Generation Y account for a soon-to-be majority share of national buying power."
As Millennials mature and their spending power grows, it stands to reason that fitness center business owners who recognize the potential of marketing to this powerful group will be the ones that profit the most in coming years.
Millennials and the "Boutique Experience"
Millennials make up anywhere from 32 to 48 percent of boutique members in the U.S. Why does this matter? ClubIndustry.com reports that boutiques drive $2.45 billion in monthly subscription revenue versus $1.49 billion for traditional commercial fitness clubs.
There are several theories about why boutiques are more attractive to Millennials than the traditional fitness center model. But perhaps the most compelling reason is that Millennials are looking for a more personalized, unique experience to combat fitness boredom.
As a generation, Millennials are looking for a "fitness on demand" model. Though they still use standard equipment like treadmills and ellipticals, they are looking for novelty classes, new experiences, and 24/7 convenience.
This need for on-demand fitness may explain why Anytime Fitness franchises seem to be doing well among Millennials. While Anytime Fitness is not considered a boutique experience, the business model has seen explosive growth in recent years, largely due to its ease of access for members. According to BusinessReviewUSA.com, the franchise's proprietary entry system, security, and surveillance technology have propelled its membership growth from 32.8 million in 2000 to 54.1 million in 2014. And Millennials are a huge part of that growth.
Marketing Your Fitness Center Business to Millennials
What can you do to make your fitness center more attractive to Millennials? Here are three things to try:
Provide Personalized Fitness: Michelle Ryan, chief marketing officer of New York Sports Club, told the New York Post: "We found that people wanted a little more of a boutique feel, and that means personal attention."
This goes beyond merely providing Millennials with options to use a personal trainer in your gym. It means personalizing the entire gym experience for your members. From the moment they check in at the front desk forward, you should be engaging with your members on a personal level.
Beef Up Your Social Media Marketing: Perhaps more than any other generation, Millennials are comfortable doing online research before making a purchase decision or signing up with your gym. Therefore, it is imperative for you to establish a strong brand presence on social media. Put your fitness center business squarely in front of Millennials through a robust social media strategy.
Create a Sense of Community: Millennials may want convenience, but they also want a feeling of community. Establish traditions and rituals in your gym that distinguish it from all the other gyms in the area. Millennials value authenticity, so build a genuine community in your gym by hosting special club events, volunteering in the wider community, and offering your gym members a way to stay connected with your gym on the go through technology solutions like the AccuroFit mobile app.
The Bottom Line
Millennial preferences do not automatically sound the death knell for traditional fitness centers. You can effectively market to Millennials by utilizing social media, personalizing exercise experiences for every gym member, and creating a sense of community.
AccuroFit club solutions are designed to help you keep gym members engaged both inside your gym and out and about. Request a demo to explore how AccuroFit products can help you appeal to all your gym members, including Millennials, today!