Have you heard about the new kid in town? Almost overnight, an
innovative, tech-driven business model has arisen in the fitness
industry that’s reinventing how consumers access gyms and experience
exercise. It’s called a multi-studio membership. For one
low, recurring monthly fee (typically $99), fitness consumers who’ve
signed up for a membership gain access to countless studios/gyms and
hundreds or thousands of classes in their cities, and sometimes in other
Consumers simply reserve classes using a central website or mobile app
and away they go to work out. There’s no need to be a member at any of
the gyms or studios. Instead of paying a drop-in fee to the studio where
they take a class, consumers pay a monthly online subscription directly
to the multi-studio membership company, which then pays a preset rate
back to the studio. This relatively new business model goes by names you
may recognize: ClassPass, Fitset and FitReserve, among others.
The model is an obvious boon for those fitness consumers who like choice
and need variety to stay motivated. Plus, the low monthly fee for
unlimited classes removes budget barriers to exercise while allowing
patrons—the majority of whom are women in their 20s and early
30s—admission to specialty and boutique studios they might not otherwise
be able to afford. That’s a huge win for consumers, especially if the
all-access pass helps them stay active. But is it a win for fitness
business owners? Some are skeptical. Drawing on diverse perspectives
from studio owners, creators of these startup companies and consumers
themselves, this article unpacks the advantages and potential drawbacks
of the bourgeoning multi-studio membership trend.
To read a more in depth analysis of multi-studio memberships, please see “The Multi-Studio Membership Model: Partner or Competitor?” in the online IDEA Library or in the September 2015 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.
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