You’d be hard pressed to find a new multi-family residential building without a gym today. Compared to the 1970s when fewer than 30 percent of developments had onsite facilities, today almost 95 percent of developers provide on-site fitness and healthy living options for renters. Working out from home skyrocketed during the pandemic, but as we turn the corner, how do we ensure that on-site fitness spaces continue to work hard and show value for developers, building managers and residents alike?
Don’t Just Sell the Gym Once
That state of the art fitness facility probably cost upwards of $50 to $80 per square foot to build, but it’s all too often just a nice sales stop on a letting agent’s initial tour for each prospective resident. An on-site gym is more than that; it’s a powerful tool to build long term resident contentment and also greater connection throughout your building community. As outside gyms reopen and staying home becomes more optional than mandated, it’s important to fire up amenities communications again to your residents and gym users. Make a plan to regularly communicate with residents about your facility in weekly emails, e-newsletters and on building notice boards as well as across social channels. Go beyond simple usage regulations and opening hours to remind users what they can expect. Make your building’s gym a hub for healthy living. Spotlight different cardio equipment each month, provide simple workout ideas to inspire residents and share healthy diet advice.
Realize Long Term Value with the Right Updates
If you have more than ten people using your building’s gym it’s officially a commercial fitness facility, requiring heavier-duty commercial grade cardio equipment. For even modest developments, but certainly for high residency buildings, that means an initial equipment outlay of tens of thousands of dollars plus more to maintain equipment from heavy use wear and tear. Take the lead of outside gyms and clubs and create a hybrid experience for your users, blending cardio equipment and free weight training areas with dedicated studio space for on-demand, digital small group fitness classes or individual user workouts. On-demand systems show almost zero wear and tear, require only minimal annual maintenance and can be constantly updated with the latest fitness content from world-class fitness instructors and celebrity trainers.
Create New Ways to Engage
One of the things people love about club membership is interaction, competition and motivation from other users. Look for ways to encourage engagement with your facility users. A weekly workout challenge with “leader boards” in the gym and also posted to your social channels. A small group class schedule using your on-demand system that gets people interacting in a safe way again but also may ease the strain on your other facility offerings during peak hours and busy times. Look for opportunities too to profile on-demand instructors or things like specialty classes and short form workouts on your social channels or in-building digital displays.
Take an Integrated Fitness Experience to Every Doorstep
The next evolution of on-site fitness is happening quickly too. The pandemic accelerated the widespread use of mobile, streaming workout content and special classes. Resident access to mobile, on-demand fitness content, workouts and specialty classes - the same content you’re offering in your gym but from the comfort of their apartments – is now fast becoming the new standard. If you’re not offering this through products like FLEX by Fitness OnDemand, considering adding it to your service. Doing so will create even greater on-the-doorstep convenience for residents and encourage even greater interaction and engagement with your building’s overall fitness “brand” going forward.