As more luxury gyms enter the U.S. market, so do super luxe, super high-tech amenities. Steam rooms, underwater treadmills, and outdoor climbing walls are just a few of the perks new fitness centers are offering. But most studios out there barely have room for a smoothie bar, never mind a driving range. We’ve come up with some basic amenities that still go a long way in keeping your clients feeling pampered year-round.
TOWEL GAME STRONG
No one likes bringing his or her own towel to the gym. It’s a hassle. Let’s just cut to the chase: If you’re not offering free towel service, you should be. We talked to Deborah Collard, co-owner of RiDE Oakland in Oakland, California, and she said, “Fresh, clean towels is at the top of the list of what our members value most. No one wants to pack a drenched sweaty towel back into their gym bag, or a towel that feels like sandpaper.”
But no one wants a free, tattered towel, either, so be sure to quality check your towels once or twice a month to ensure they are clean and soft.
If you want to go a step further, take a page from Equinox’s book, and offer chilled, scented towels. The gym chain stores these beauties in mini fridges, and clients go bananas for the refreshing eucalyptus smell after a tough workout.
Beyond towels, there are a few other items that should be on offer in your locker rooms. “We have always provided hair ties—they are essential to a good workout,” Collard told us. She opts for the thicker Goody brand and keeps them in an amenities basket alongside “paper showers” (read: deodorant, body spray and tampons).
If you have showers on-site, consider offering shampoo and conditioner. Yes, supplying these items can be pricey, but so can constantly cleaning up the bottles your guests will inevitably leave behind in the shower stalls. A way to decrease cost would be to partner with a shampoo brand that is willing to offer you discounted prices in exchange for exposure to your clientele. Another must for shower-equipped gyms? Blow dryers. For some members, there is nothing worse than leaving the gym with wet hair, especially in the winter.
YOU CAN SIT WITH US
On the outset, seating might not seem like an amenity, but it is! When your members have a few minutes of down time before or after class, a cozy seating nook with magazines and free WiFi (be sure to post the network name and password on a nearby wall) will serve as a refuge. Not only will this earn you a few hospitality brownie points, it will also go a long way in bolstering your studio’s community. Your goal is that members will strike up conversations here, and teachers (and you!) will utilize the space to socialize and connect with students.
THINK OUTSIDE THE STUDIO
The Setai Club in New York offers all its members priority reservations and a 10-percent discount at the hotel’s in-house restaurant The Reserve Cut and its spa. With this in mind, consider partnering with other business owners in your neighborhood to offer your members a variety of discounts and perks. Carve out a selection of businesses—think clothing stores, restaurants and spas—that are like-minded in their offerings and clientele, and see if they’d be willing to engage in a partnership aimed at introducing your businesses to each other’s clients. The downside is you’ll have to lure these customers with some type of perk (like a discount, priority offering or freebie), but the upside is huge when you consider the exposure.
From a new client’s perspective, learning that membership to your studio comes with a list of businesses that offer your students a discount is a pretty big selling factor.