Stepping up: 5 trends in luxury health and wellness clubs
Bringing high-end health and fitness clubs to market or keeping an existing brand competitive requires a keen eye. Though sometimes subtle, the moving dial that deciphers if something is ‘in’ or ‘out’, whether a trend has substance or will be forgotten tomorrow, differentiates a busy marketplace.
We work with a number of premium brands and here’s what we have observed:
1) Discretion versus talk of the town
Though most high end clubs will boast discretion for members as a USP, there is a creeping distinction between those which stick tightly to this rule and those for which their members or committee are their loud and proud influencers. Whether we are revealed a sneak peak through glamorous events documented on Instagram, or through more overt influencer activity like Kim Kardashian taking on the 6 minute ice water challenge at LAs Remedy Place, new clubs would be encouraged to decipher which group they are in before determining a marketing strategy.
The key is this: are you targeting a demographic for whom there is social credit behind a certain membership, or a quieter audience for whom a lack of attention is the luxury.
2) Facilitate talking the talk
From the in-house smoothie bar at your spin studio, to the organic gourmet restaurant at a members club, through to the rooftop bar at your 360 gym, pool, spa and accommodation – you need to know not just how your demographic wishes to exercise and relax, but also where they want to socialise. A food and drink offering isn’t new, but the restaurant/cafe/bar being as good as the facilities often goes amiss. Now is the time to think about your menu, to bring in a chef with great credentials, to curate an interesting narrative for why you serve what you do, to bring in chilled evening DJs worth talking about, and to think about whether the social scene is as lively as your Instagram makes out.
3) Be conscious
Being the place-to-be might be how members clubs started, but this is now just a slice of the shiny pie. For a really competitive offering, yours needs to be the place-to-exercise, the place-to-eat-well, the place-to-unwind and the place-that-cares. The gap is closing between brands which boast sustainability and a humble ethos as their USP, and those which boast pure, unadulterated luxury. Look at the websites of all of the luxury club’s in London and see how many mention the planet or sustainable produce or high-end ethically sourced products – you’ll be hard pushed. One to keep an eye on: The Club by Bamford, launching in spring 2023, and for which sustainable materials and practices are firmly knitted into its offering.
4) Alternative therapies
Therapies which may have once been considered a little left field are now a staple on any menu for the discerning spa-goer. The likes of sound and lunar therapies are fairly commonplace, cryotherapy, red-light therapy and IV drips are sought after, but medicinal psychotics for deep healing and relaxation are where we see things going next. Early adopters of these treatments will likely attract a small but curious audience, before the mainstream rolls in. Look to those being truly market innovative like Woven Science for your starting point.
5) Star jumps are boring
Just like alternative therapies, alternative ways to exercise should be your priority too. Are you dropping cardio machines into your gym and setting up a class schedule of HIT classes and pilates? That’s nice, but it isn’t exciting. Brands who are doing this well are combining cool experiences with exercise, so that the people who attend have something they want to talk about and they want to share. See Repose’s anti-gravity classes for a nice take on this: suspended barre and yoga classes make for a fun twist on the usual. Members clubs would do well to ensure they are offering classes as interesting as premium gyms without the entry criteria.
So, for a health and fitness offering that looks good in 2023, here are the main takeaways:
- Don’t be afraid to use your community as your ambassadors
- Leave generic luxury at the door and bring planet conscious, unique and shareable therapies and classes to your members
- Think about the full experience – give your members reason to stay beyond their fitness class because yours is the club where people rave about the social scene too
For more inspiration, read about our recent marketing campaign for The Club by Bamford