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Partnership: the fitness centre as media

The fitness centre is not only a place equipped for indoor sports and physical activity, for individuals and those training in groups, but is also an opportunity to convey products and services, offered by certain external partners, related to the activities of the centre and the needs of customers. This definition identifies the core business of a structure operating in this sector: selling subscriptions that allow customers to use the equipment, experience the environments and enjoy the services offered for a certain period.

Competence, professionalism, quality of the environment and pricing are the main drivers that define the strategy of each individual entrepreneur, who, in addition to developing their business, allows users to reach or improve their state of physical and mental wellbeing through agreements with companies that see the fitness centre as an opportunity for product and service seeding.

Secondary services of a fitness centre

After the 1990s, this offer was no longer sufficient to generate sufficient revenues to cover its costs. So most, if not all, fitness centres have well understood that, to increase their profit, it is necessary to activate additional services (or secondary).
In fact, for some years now, each price list has been presenting different lessons and contents that are more suited to the needs and tastes of customers:

  • Personal trainers
  • Special group classes
  • Meetings with nutritionist or physiotherapists
  • Postural check-ups
  • Bioepedentiometric  measurements, etc.

In short, a multitude of services that allow, on the one hand, the centre to increase revenue by decreasing the average value of the individual contract, on the other hand, the user to enjoy a variety of services according to their passions or needs.

This opportunity has allowed many entrepreneurs in recent years, who have integrated in the right way the ancillary services, both to increase their turnover and to offer not only subscriptions, but also personalised wellness.

When does the fitness centre turn into something more than the average?

As often happens in different sectors, once the offer is consolidated, there are always those who try to look beyond and look for new ways to increase contacts and passages within the structure to increase the catchment area, therefore their turnover. That's how some pioneers had the intuition to see their centre with a new look: one using media, a place where many people are coming and going and who all have different passions, interests and needs that can (or must) be nourished. So why not make their wellness experience even more enjoyable by providing tools and elements that are useful for their daily lives?
For example, reflect on the fact that most users of a fitness centre use the shower after training. So why not offer them samples of free body wash to try? If they like the product, why not offer them a discount voucher to buy some at the nearest store for purchase? And again, why not make the initiative known to those who follow the social channels of the centre with dedicated promotional messaging? What if, finally, the centre had the opportunity not to pay for the products in money, but with an exchange of visibility? In other words, co-marketing.

The advantages of partnerships

It follows that such a situation brings many benefits. Among the main:

  • The creation of a co-marketing collaboration with an external brand
  • A caring activity for members
  • Sharing and interaction with targeted posts on social channels
  • The creation of a hook to attract the interest of new potential customers
  • Zero live costs
  • Differentiation from competitors

An educational activity if, in support of the product, there are leaflets providing information on the properties of the product.

It should not be forgotten that, like all actions carried out within a company, these activities must also be planned and managed constantly. In the same way, the selection of partners is important: they are our biggest allies for finding new target users. For this to happen it is essential that the partner has suitable characteristics and offers a product, a service or an activity that, in all probability, draws the attention of the people who work out in the fitness centre or a specific target cluster.

 Accompanying persons loyalty

Think for example of all those facilities that during the afternoon run dozens of children’s activities from six years up with swimming school, martial arts, dance or other sports activities. Normally not all parents or grandparents accompanying the child have urgent commitments to manage between the beginning and the end of the lesson.

Some people are looking for something to do to spend their time. Others really do not know what to do. Why not entertain them with activities that can also allow them to live an entire experience in their facility? In this specific case, do not think about training offers or about the sale of subscriptions or accessory services. It could be the wrong choice. Don't forget that they are in a fitness centre because they are attracted by the activities on offer for their children.

So why not give them the opportunity to come into contact with food or for the hygiene of the child through educational seminars that explain the beneficial properties or by paying homage to a test or tasting kit supported by a digital and interactive portal that explains the characteristics or allows you to get in contact with a professional (from pediatrician to dermatologist, dentist to nutritionist).

Services offered by partners: free or for a fee?

Also in this case, the fitness centre takes on the role of a media, which discloses products and / or services of third parties. In return, can it be for an economic return? It is an avenue that can be pursued.

However it is not necessarily the most useful option if that activity wants to give a surprise moment to certain individuals. The kind where they will talk about it with others, who will probably be curious to know more about the structure. Only at the point of crossing the door to learn more can we return to the core business of the centre: selling subscriptions and accessory services.

Being aware that a fitness facility is a place where you can provide your users with elements useful to their daily lives, which are outside their normal training, is essential to the success of the business.

It is crucial:

  • To know the type of clientele, in particular: gender and age, education and profession, training frequency and time range, means of transport used and most practiced activities;
  • Select the partners who, after having known the characteristics of the clientele of the centre (see previous point), consider to provide a contribution of sure interest towards all users or towards a specific cluster;
  • Monitor the activity to better understand what worked and what didn't, with the aim of improving future initiatives.

Few but careful evaluations allow the centre to be a point of reference and a sounding board on the territory. Visibility and differentiation are the first objectives. Secondly, the choice to pursue this path leads to "pampering" its members and to convey new users to the center.

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