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Beyond Fitness: 7 Ways To Diversify Your Community Offer

Over the last two years, COVID has changed the way consumers see fitness, health and wellbeing. 

For leisure centre customers, a healthy lifestyle has never been more important, but the way in which they achieve that has shifted. The way they workout has changed. 

Our latest report reveals 8 must-know findings, and one of them explores how your community is looking for a bigger and more varied offer from your leisure centre. 

Here’s how you can deliver on your customers’ desires: 

1. Create Or Extend Social Spaces 

Our unique research* found that 53% of leisure centre attendees want to see more community and social elements as part of an extended fitness offer from their leisure centres. 

They want more interaction, more engagement and a stronger, more sociable experience every time they visit. 

Look for ways to make your centres places that your customers want to spend more time in. Places where they can relax. Don’t just think about your centre as a location for fitness and exercise.

Explore ways you can dedicate specific spaces just for socialising. Maybe you create cosy snugs in alcoves, add ‘chatter and natter’ tables to refreshments or set aside some space near reception for a meet and greet area that doesn’t block any access points. 

2. Explore Spa And Relaxation Therapy Treatments

Those leisure centre attendees we surveyed want to see more relaxation facilities too. 42% want to be able to use spa facilities and 43% would love their leisure centre to offer massage treatments.

For wellness services more generally, 47% would like them to be a major part of their leisure centre’s offer. That could be jacuzzi’s, steam rooms and saunas, it might include beauty treatments and it could even extend to holistic therapies. 

Installing a new spa area is a huge project, but even if you can’t currently prioritise a big expansion, there are lots of smaller changes you make. Perhaps you could convert part of a changing room area or under-used storage space into a relaxation chamber. Or maybe you could repurpose rooms and turn them into a therapy area, hiring a masseuse or even bringing in a sports injury specialist. 

3. Partner With Rehabilitation And Recovery Experts 

When it comes to sports injuries, it’s another area that leisure centre attendees would like to see more of. Recovery, rehabilitation and physiotherapy services. 

You could hire trained, dedicated members of your team to provide some of these services, inclusive to memberships or as an additional add-on feature. Or you could partner with external providers and simply promote these services on site as a separate paid for offer. 

There are lots of avenues to pursue. With the right provisions in place, you’ll have a great opportunity to partner with local health authorities and the NHS to get patient referrals.

4. Start A Meditation Programme Or Breathing Workshops 

Another quicker and easier way to develop a wellness offer in your centres is to offer meditation classes or breathing sessions. 

31% of leisure centre attendees want to see more of these services and classes delivered as part of their membership. 

This could be as simple as weekly breathing workshops added to class timetables, or it could give you the opportunity to create a more in-depth, more focused wellness programme that includes several weeks of exercises and sessions for members to complete. 

5. Merge In Person And Online Workouts

Some of the changes to health, fitness and exercise habits brought about by the pandemic are here to stay. One of those is online, on-demand classes. 

At least of those we surveyed expect online classes to continue alongside in-person classes. 

This is a great way for your leisure centre to diversify its community offer, because it means you can continue to use digital resources to reach those still isolating or those who are home-bound for any number of other reasons. 

There are several ways to run online classes and workouts, and you might find yourself trying a hybrid of options. You could stream live classes from your leisure centre, you can have your trainers record on-demand workouts, or you could partner with dedicated digital providers to include them as part of your membership options. 

6. Develop Or Expand Your Cafe Or Refreshment Area 

Wellness is clearly front of mind for leisure centre attendees, and the health and wellbeing of your members is dependent on good nutrition and healthy eating too. 

Over a third of leisure centre customers would like to see more nutrition services offered, including healthy eating advice and support and nutritional supplements. 

You could hire a nutrition expert or partner with an external specialist company to help members directly, or you seek advice on how to create a healthy menu or healthy refreshment bar for inside your leisure centre. 

And the addition or expansion of a dedicated eating/drinking refreshment area will also provide further opportunity for that all important socialising that your members are demanding. 

7. Open A Health, Fitness And Wellbeing Shop

Following on from a nutritional offer, supplements are another holistic fitness service requested by leisure centre customers, particularly younger generations. 

If you can tie protein shakes, vitamins and other supplements in with your nutrition offer, you could create a one-stop shop for your community to access all their health and fitness needs. A single location to pick up everything required for a healthy lifestyle. 

Many customers would also like to see more fitness clothing and gym wear for sale at the places where they train, so why not add these products to your shop. Promote the kit recommended by professionals – along with lots of other small exercise equipment and training tools – and you could become the go-to specialist in your area. 

Not only will you be delivering a brilliant service to members, a health, fitness and wellbeing shop will also provide a great additional source of revenue. 

How Will You Diversify Your Offer? 

There are lots of ways to diversify your offer. The trick is focusing on those which will have the biggest impact – and be most relevant – for your customers.

To do that, you need to understand what leisure centre customers are thinking, and understand what they want to see more of. That’s where our report can help. 

You can download The Expectations and Demands of Leisure Centre Customers here.

Use it to help you diversify in the right areas, and you’ll keep your customers engaged and happy, building a strong reputation in your community. 

*Research taken from an online survey of 1,065 respondents during December 2021, conducted by Untangld on behalf of Legend’s parent company, Xplor Technologies, in December 2021