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Cycling boutiques have mastered the art of creating environments so emotionally and socially engaging that customers want to be there. Here’s how.
The boutique fitness segment is something we can’t afford to ignore, with 42% of the 54 million members of health and fitness facilities in the United States now using fitness boutiques. That’s a 21% total share of the $22 billion dollar US fitness market - and it’s climbing1.
Among the most successful are cycling boutiques. Why are they having such success and how can they charge up to USD$34 for a 45-minute class? Largely because they create inspiring studios that people want to be in – spaces that motivate them to push hard and enjoy their overall workout experience. These spaces look and feel good both inside and out.
What’s working for the boutiques can be put to good use in your club. You have the advantage of a whole gym, so you can offer your members the best of both worlds. Your cycle studio is the ideal place to start providing a boutique experience. When Auckland’s Les Mills Newmarket club opened, it’s cycle studio was treated as a standalone experience. After less than 18 months, riding members were visiting 2.8 times per week and 14% of club attendances are in the cycle studio.
Top design tips for a highly motivating studio:
One design factor is non-negotiable – all participants must have a clear and unobstructed view of the instructor. A good capacity benchmark for a high performing cycling studio is one bike per 1.5m2 of studio space. For example, if your studio is 100m2 then full capacity is approximately 66 bikes. For live classes the instructor bike should be on a small stage. Ideally the stage should be 15-20cm high and wide enough to fit two or three bikes for multiple instructors.
The quality of the bike significantly affects the member experience. It’s the primary piece of equipment they use. Investment in this area pays off as members have been known to cancel memberships over the quality of a club’s indoor cycling bikes. A quality bike will last at least five years if well maintained. Bikes with ANT+ sensors (a wireless network protocol) built-in for performance tracking and competition are an additional experience for members.
Great décor and lighting work together to create the overall studio experience. Carpets, colors, wall graphics, marketing materials, patterns and shapes can all be used to create a great sense of energy and movement. Attention to detail matters. In a darkened room décor won’t always as visible so use great lighting to create an environment that draws people in. Stage lighting will amplify the energy of the darkened room, while colored lighting is great for creating mood.
Creating amazing workout experiences relies on a great sound system capable of pumping high volume. Aim for nightclub quality sound so members can clearly hear the instructor and be totally immersed in the music. The positioning of sound absorbing treatments has a huge bearing on the effectiveness of the acoustic properties. Incorrect placement can reveal and accentuate unwanted sounds.
Fitness studios should have an average temperature of 18-20°C. The humidity level should be between 40% and 60%. Air-conditioning which can be set to automatically compensate for environmental changes (such as a packed class in the middle of the day) is ideal.
With live, virtual and immersive experiences, your club’s cycle studio can drive revenue.