How a Vaccinated World Will Reshape the Fitness Industry
By Denise Prichard
The past year has stretched fitness businesses in new and unexpected ways. Across the globe, studios and gyms were forced to turn on a dime—having to react and evolve quickly to protect the health of their clients and their staff. It left a lot of folks wondering if things were ever going to be “normal” ever again. Good news is on the horizon, though, with vaccines becoming more accessible each day. Additionally, clients have shown how important their wellness and fitness routines are—most think taking care of themselves is more crucial now than ever.
Across the country, fitness studios were quick to pivot to a hybrid business model to accommodate client needs while also maintaining a steady revenue stream—this included offering socially distanced in-person classes, taking sweat sessions outdoors, and creating virtual offerings. This new landscape also required a complete overhaul of safety and cleanliness requirements—it was now considered necessary to do temperature checks upon arrival, mask mandates, frequent hand-sanitizing, and continued social distancing. Depending on where your studio is located, you may still be experiencing capacity restrictions—or have decided to put these guidelines in place on your own—in order to keep you, your clients, and your staff safe.
No matter what your situation is currently, the fitness industry is poised for a major comeback. Here’s what you can expect from consumers in a vaccinated world:
Consumers are ready for the in-person experience
Mindbody surveyed over 1,000 US consumers about returning to in-person fitness classes and gym sessions, and the results were very encouraging. In fact, 68% plan on doing the same amount of or more exercising at a gym or health club post-vaccination, while 61% are eager to jump back into group fitness classes. Over half (56%) of those planning on exercising more at a gym or health club stated their main reason for getting back to in-person workout sessions was to be healthier and half stated they felt more motivated when training at a studio or gym.
But, virtual fitness is here to stay
Exercising at home with video on demand or live stream classes skyrocketed during COVID with the latter doubling during COVID. Video on demand workouts increased at a lower rate, however, these types of workouts are still more popular than live stream (36% VOD vs. 28% live stream during COVID).
Even though consumers have reported they're ready to get back to the gym, virtual offerings will still be a very reliable source of revenue. Post-vaccinations, 71% of those who use video on demand workouts plan on doing the same amount of or more video on demand workouts, while 65% of those who use live stream workouts plan the same with live stream. These types of workouts will be used to complement in-person workouts—with hybrid workouts poised to grow from 53% to 65% post-vaccination.
And, your clients still expect increased safety and cleanliness protocols
Even post-vaccination, consumers are still wanting fitness studios to take a strong stance on adhering to increased safety and cleanliness measures. While it has always been important for fitness studios to provide a clean and safe environment for their clients and staff, you should plan on continuing to go above and beyond with these efforts to keep clients at ease when visiting your establishment.
When asked how concerned they were about resuming in-person activities, 72% of gym-goers still had concerns about cleanliness in gyms and health clubs, and 68% of studio-goers voiced the same concerns for boutique fitness studios. Clearly, these numbers are nothing to sneeze at—it’s still important to continue to enforce social distancing and frequent disinfecting of fitness equipment.
Some folks will be looking for a new fitness studio
Unfortunately, fitness studios and gyms were forced to close their doors permanently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those who are less inclined to return to group fitness classes (28%) say it's because their favorite fitness studio or gym went out of business during COVID. This means these consumers are on the hunt to find a new fitness studio to frequent.
Attracting new clients to your business in a vaccinated world
Fitness-minded folks love the Mindbody app because it's easy for them to find fitness businesses, browse their schedules, and sign up for classes. Make sure that your business is listed on the Mindbody app so you can catch the eye of consumers who are looking for their new spot.
Mindbody Flex is a recurring monthly membership built to connect people all over the country to your existing live stream classes. Once you've listed your virtual schedule on Flex, you’ll be paid for every attendee who joins your live stream classes. It’s a passive revenue stream that attracts new clients to your business nationwide. Give them an exceptional experience and you could convert them into long-term, virtual members.
Mindbody. “Return to In-person Wellness Survey.” February 2021.