Millennials have been blamed for the “death” of countless industries, from casual dining to diamonds and everything in between. One industry we can confidently say this generation is not slowly killing? Fitness.
No, millennials have not yet set their sights on the end of the fitness industry. In fact, the trends observed in recent years show quite the opposite. In their 2021 Health Club Consumer Report, IHRSA found that in 2020, millennials made up the largest portion of health club members at 35%.
Although this age group may not be dismantling the fitness world, they are certainly changing it. If you want your gym or club to survive and thrive in the coming years, check out these insights below into understanding, attracting, and retaining millennial gym memberships.
Common Struggles with Increasing & Maintaining Millennial Gym Memberships
Before you can turn your gym into a millennial hot spot, you must understand what this membership group doesn’t want in a fitness center. Let’s explore some of the most prevalent challenges gyms face when it comes to appealing to the Gen Y demographic:
- Pricing: It’s not that millennials aren’t willing to pay for a gym—they actually drop about $7 billion annually on gym memberships. However, millennials are more cautious about how much they spend, wanting to ensure that a higher price tag yields a high-value experience.
- Preference for Boutique Clubs: Big box gyms seem to be struggling the most with the millennial crowd. Smaller specialized studios that offer trending workouts such as spinning, yoga, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), boxing, barre, and so on, are growing in popularity among millennials.
- Quick & Efficient Workouts: Millennials need fitness solutions that conform to their busy schedules. If you can’t offer targeted and accelerated exercise options that get them in, make them sweat, and get them out in an hour or less (or better yet, ones they can complete at home), they aren’t interested.
- Accessibility via Technology: Smartphones have ushered in an era of instant access and gratification that most millennials now expect and rely on. For their workouts, this means features such as self-check-in, online scheduling and payment, fitness wearables (Fitbit, Apple Watch) integration, updated equipment, and direct messaging with trainers are non-negotiable. Gyms that have fallen behind are getting left behind.
1.) Offer diverse and multi-faceted fitness experiences.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to start conducting a full review of your current member management system. Reviewing your current system will allow you to identify any inefficiencies, determine whether you need to seek new club management solutions, and secure those solutions before the New Year’s rush arrives. Only once you have the right tools in place will you be able to create a foundation for a successful year ahead.
Enhance the millennial experience at your gym with different types of workout offerings, effectively creating the boutique-style fitness environment they love. Popular trends include yoga, HIIT, functional fitness training, personal training, group classes, and strength training.
2.) Get on the mobile app train.
Leverage the millennial smartphone obsession by crafting a branded mobile app that gives them all the features and content they crave. The more they can do with a few taps of a fingertip, the better.
Mobile session booking, QR code check-in, automatic payments, online rewards programs, integration with fitness wearables, goal tracking and recording, and live chat with trainers are among some of the most crucial leading innovations to consider.
3.) Keep up with social media.
Being active on social media platforms will help you create a digital narrative and network that appeal to and engage with millennials. Maintain a constant presence with shareable content, such as personal trainer Q&As, exercise tips, nutritious recipes, member before-and-after transformations, and so forth.
Check out our e-book on marketing your fitness club for more social media strategies to help you get started!
4.) Provide at-home workout options.
After the pandemic, nearly half of all health club members do not plan on returning to their gyms in-person. This doesn’t have to spell doom for your membership rates though. Counteract the newly increasing desire to work up a sweat at home by offering livestream and on-demand options for your fitness services.
Virtual fitness is also another opportunity to boost your social media presence. A quick HIIT circuit demo for TikTok or livestream of your weekly boxing class can go a long way to give members a taste of what you have to offer.
5.) Hire millennials on your team.
Who better to convince millennials that your gym is the place to be than other millennials? Hire trainers, instructors, floor staff, and other employees from the millennial generation to bring the right energy for boosting millennial memberships.
Millennials will know exactly how to deliver a motivating fitness experience that keeps other millennial clients engaged long-term. Plus, you’ll have a go-to resource for identifying obstacles to member acquisition and retention and brainstorming solutions for your biggest demographic.
6.) Incorporate other wellness services at your facility.
Millennials are a generation dedicated to wellness. Pairing your fitness offerings with comprehensive self-care and recovery services will put you a step above the rest. Here are a few ideas for holistic wellness services to expand millennial outreach:
- Massage therapy
- Nutrition consultations
- Protein shake/smoothie bar
- Discounts to partner chiropractors, physical therapists, and similar professionals
- Free health screenings with personal training services
- Mental health programs and resources