Since then, a lot has been done in the gyms, but there is still a way to go.
Analyzing the subject from a strictly managerial point of view, it is evident that, in the area of services dedicated to wellbeing, the constant growth of the sector was not followed by a parallel evolution of managerial skills.
While, on the one hand, the speed of the increase in demand and its relative transformation have strongly attracted investments, on the other hand, it has not happened as much with the development of the relative managerial skills.
History and marketing for the fitness centre
Initially, "management" is represented by the entrepreneur who, having had "technical" training, has an equally "technical" approach to service management.
This phase saw the birth of the commercial figure as a new professional figure to be combined with the technical figure and mainly dedicated to the activity of sales consultancy.
In the short term, this transformation, which is based on precise commercial procedures and aggressive promotional policies, has led to a long-term sustainability problem.
Poor customer behaviour is unintentionally encouraged: a limited level of loyalty, which corresponds to a high turnover rate, a high number of early school leavers and a high price sensitivity.
According to his study "Marketing myopia", having ascertained the existence of customer needs to be satisfied, the company operates backwards, first deciding how to satisfy the needs themselves, then realizing the products or services that will allow such satisfaction.
It is clear how important it is in this context to define with precision the profile of the customer in order to be able to identify specific needs, even before idealizing the business model.
In this regard, it is crucial to note that those provided by a fitness centre are defined as proximity services for which the customer is not willing to travel long distances.
Even in the presence of high purchase costs, which would imply an expansion of the commercial area, travel times are in fact relatively limited due to the high frequency of use.
Geo-location of the fitness centre
In the definition of the entrepreneurial project aimed at creating a fitness club, localization is therefore considered one of the most important variables, to all intents and purposes, the first act of the project.
It is a rigid choice because it generates stranded costs and involves a high investment.
Developing different types of geo-marketing analysis becomes therefore a key factor: ex ante analysis, which can be carried out in the mapping of the territory or part of it, and ex post analysis, following the identification of a site with a view to a new opening.
The correct relationship between the size of the structure and the catchment area, between the type of structure and services and the profile of the typical user, thus become essential elements for the profitability of a newly opened Club, whose accurate definition is, in fact, the second act of the project.
It is here enclosed a fundamental step for the financial and management solidity of a modern "gymnasium", that is the need for the characteristics of the Club and the elements constituting the marketing mix to be perfectly aligned, all the more so in an area of relationship marketing in which the relationship with the customer is decisive and the experiential dimension of consumption is acquiring a growing importance for the consumer.
In this context, the synergy between consultant and designer becomes particularly valuable for the entrepreneur, better if they are specialized in this specific sector.
Definition of the Business Plan
Once again, the design process must operate backwards, starting from the definition of the budget identified through the Business Plan tool.
The ideal process involves recursive consultant-designer interactions and proceeds with subsequent refinements.
Thus, once the location has been identified, both its commercial potential (by the consultant) and structural potential (by the designer) are validated in advance.
Summarised as a first business model and its services, the suitability of the environments from a regulatory, functional, distributional and technical-economic point of view is verified, highlighting any critical points.
The creation of a system of the services potentially offered by the structure, the costs underlying their provision, as well as the maximum estimate of the construction cost (deducted synthetically compared on the basis of historical data derived from interventions with characteristics similar to those under examination), contribute to the elaboration of the first draft of the Business Plan.
Interpreting with awareness and knowledge the different variables within the market scenario previously analyzed, in some cases it will be possible to validate the Club model hypothesised for the specific context under analysis, in others to diversify the characteristics of the offer and positioning, until arriving, on some occasions, to recognize the non-sustainability of the business activity in the specific location.
It is clear that at this stage of the process they will be sufficiently clear: the Club's target group, its positioning (low, mid, premium band), the menu of services to be offered, the sustainable budget for each item of expenditure (real estate investment, current costs, etc.).
Gym design, the final look of the gym
This first phase of space modeling and optimization of flows from a functional point of view will be followed by the internal concept phase.
Reference has already been made to the increasingly important role, also from an exclusively commercial point of view, of the context in which the service is used rather than just the service, of the type of experience experienced in the use of the service rather than of the specific attributes of the same.
On the one hand, this will make it possible to differentiate the offer from that of its competitors and, on the other hand, to increase the level of shareholder satisfaction and attractiveness towards wider and more diversified market segments.