Gyms are bouncing back post-pandemic. Members are returning, new membership applications are surging and competition is becoming fiercer than ever. 

This won’t be news to you. You’ll see and feel it in your club every day. 

Spending on memberships across the industry is growing, but gyms like yours are fighting to attract an increasingly cost-conscious audience. 

What can you do to stand out? 

How can you meet the demands of your members and deliver more? 

We spoke with over 1000 gym-goers to find out, and we discovered six facilities & features that your prospects are increasingly expecting*. 

1. Massage Therapy 

At the top of the list of member requests for their ideal ‘gym of the future’ – is massage therapy.

Massage facilities and treatments are in demand by almost half of those we surveyed, so there’s a large active audience eager for you to introduce new paid-for services. 

This also marks a wider trend towards member demands for something more than just fitness. Of course, they value the fitness offer their gyms deliver, but they would like to see a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing. 

How could your gym adapt? 

  • Could you repurpose unused space or rooms to create a dedicated massage room? 
  • Could you hire trained sport massage therapists? 
  • Could you partner with a provider in your local town? 

2. Spa Facilities 

Alongside massage, spa facilities are also in demand. 38% of gym-goers we interviewed wanted to see them in their gyms, in the near future.

While you might be able to repurpose a small area for a treatment room, more comprehensive spa facilities require a much bigger space. And a substantial investment. So these are naturally going to be harder to implement. 

But there are several steps you could take. You may want to: 

  • Convert unused rooms into a therapy space and hire a spa therapist for facials, manicures and a wide variety of treatments
  • Install mini saunas in changing rooms
  • Partner with other providers in your area to give members exclusive access to their facilities using their existing gym membership details 

Get it right, and you’ll immediately stand out, turning your gym’s offer into a highly sought after, premium fitness destination. 

3. Meditation Studio & Wellbeing Classes 

Further cementing the trend in members looking for gyms to expand their offer and move beyond traditional fitness, meditation was also high on the list of member priorities.

30% want to see more meditation-based classes

Think about how you could expand your timetable to include more wellbeing options, Perhaps you could run breathing workshops or guided meditation programmes? Or maybe you introduce a range of general wellness and wellbeing sessions? 

If you already have a dedicated yoga studio, it’s the perfect place for classes and independent sessions. If not, consider creating a calm, peaceful space in your gym that’s dedicated to meditative exercise, and you’ll really stand out. 

4. On-Site Refreshments & Shop 

Nutrition and supplements are increasingly a core focus for members.

32% of the gym-goers we spoke with would like more nutrition services, and 20% want to see supplements offered. 

The market’s there, but can your gym serve it? If you can give your members everything they need, all in one place, you’re onto a winner. 

You don’t even need to serve them up in your gym – if for example, space is tight or you don’t want to invest in constructing a refreshment counter or café area. As long as you have some capacity in your store room – and the right inventory management system – you can simply source products your members will love and let them purchase as and when required. 

It’s a great way to improve your members’ experience and your bottom line. 

5. Smart Tech & Equipment 

Our latest research into member habits and workout trends showed a large rise in the amount of money spent on wearable tech over the last two years.

Of those who invested in any new fitness equipment or classes, 50% spent on smart watches and fitness trackers.

Given that spend, it’s hardly surprising members want easy ways to use their devices when working out. 

Your gym could meet your member demands and stand out by: 

  • Prioritising treadmills, cross-trainers, rowers and bikes that integrate seamlessly with all types of wearables 
  • Partnering with smart tech providers to support members as they workout and generate additional revenue (e.g. MyZone)

6. Online Bookings & Member Management 

Perhaps most importantly – and paradoxically – to really stand out your gym should be invisible. Invisible in the way you deliver a seamless member experience.

So seamless that your members don’t even notice how effective it is because there are never any bottlenecks or barriers. 

After onerous COVID procedures, this is exactly what your members want. They’re keen to get back to working out as simply and effectively as possible. 

The right gym management software can help you deliver that experience to your members. Software like Xplor Gym: 

  • Streamlines online bookings so members can schedule classes and avoid overcrowding
  • Automates access control to eliminate queues at reception
  • Gives members control of their own membership, so they can manage payments and features more efficiently 

Member demands are changing, your gym can too

There’s little doubt that member demands and expectations are changing, moving away from traditional fitness offers towards a desire for more holistic services. 

If your gym can change with them, you’re certain to stand out. 

If you can adapt and meet those changing expectations, you’ll attract more members. 

*About the research – on behalf of Xplor, Untangld conducted an online survey of 1,065 respondents during December 2021. The sample for the study was nationally representative and defined as people who were members or regularly attended gyms, health clubs, studios, leisure centres or sports clubs pre-COVID.

Article by Xplor Gym

First published: 25 April 2022

Last updated: 19 February 2024