This month In the Spotlight sat down (virtually) with Frank Guengerich, president of the hospitality and lifestyle division of luxe property developers the Texas-based Williams Group about their luxury development VERDURE Fitness.
Q: Frank, tell us a little about your new development, VERDURE Fitness and what the idea is behind it?
VERDURE is one of our luxury fitness and wellness concept developments. It's an example of our overall approach – concepting, designing and scaling a complex lifestyle product. That means a combination of upscale hotel, apartments, on-site medical and, of course, extensive athletic club and fitness facilities. We have 10-20 developments underway at any one time. VERDURE opened about four years ago and is a true example of what we’re trying to achieve with each development: comprehensive lifestyle offerings. On site we have ten swimming pools, six fitness centers, six independent studios, a shooting range, boxing gym and full care offerings. So that means a large recovery center with chiropractic, massage, physical therapy and even cryotherapy. It’s been a huge hit since it opened.
Q: How does FitnessOnDemand and virtual fitness offerings fit into that model?
We’ve had FitnessOnDemand virtual classes running at Williams group corporate facilities for a few years now. We installed in three separate studios, including cycling and two personal workout spaces where staff can do their own personal, virtual workouts. It’s been really popular. When Covid-19 hit earlier this year, and the FLEX by FitnessOnDemand streaming product launched around the same time it seemed a natural fit for what we’re doing at VERDURE. Offering both on-site and well curated digital classes and content really helped us extend an exceptional lifestyle and fitness experience to our more than 4,000 members. Lots of clubs have tried cobbling together Facebook Live and YouTube content with varying results, but for us at VERDURE, FitnessOnDemand was really more brand appropriate and much more like the five-star experience we create for our members.
Q: How have members reacted to virtual classes and digital content both before and during Covid-19?
Really well. Our model combines live instructor classes in studio, 30 scheduled FitnessOnDemand in studio classes that start at set, scheduled times each day and then the option for members throughout VERDURE to tap into any FitnessOnDemand class, workout or wind-down they choose. We have around 4,000 subscribed members, but we're probably reaching 10,000 people with at-home streaming workouts using FLEX by FitnessOnDemand. Short workouts like ab and core exercises have become very popular with members working out on their own in the club. And for purely at-home members right now during Covid-19, we’re offering a Virtual Remote membership.
Q: What’s next for VERDURE?
We’re adding more virtual classes, and also looking for ways to socialize the virtual workout experience. For members working out in group virtual classes we’re looking at connecting wearables and other heart rate monitors to create both personal and group performance data, encouraging interaction. And we’re continuing with our philosophy that exercise is medicine, so we’re looking at adding more content that can help members not only workout but de-stress and safe guard their overall physical and mental wellness.
Check out this video for a sample of how VERDURE is promoting FitnessOnDemand to their members.