What Do Fitness Consumers Say About the Multi-Studio Membership Model?

By Amanda Vogel, MA
Dec 7, 2015

Fitness pros will always have opinions about what we’d like to see more or less of in the industry. But what about consumers’ points of view? If multi-studio memberships are attractive to our customers—sometimes more so than traditional gym memberships—shouldn’t we dig further into why? Here are some answers.

SOCIAL AND CONVENIENT

“Working out is becoming more of a
social experience, and consumers are now allocating the money they would have spent on other group activities, such as happy hours and Sunday brunches, [to indoor cycling] classes and yoga classes,” says Megan Smyth, MBA, CEO and cofounder
of FitReserve in New York City. “At
the same time, consumers (especially Millennials) are seeking variety in the types of workouts they do and convenience in terms of working out when they want and where they want.”

“All my friends now have ClassPass, so instead of brunching together, we take classes together on the weekend,” says fitness enthusiast Lauren Hoffman, an avid user of ClassPass who writes about her experiences in a blog called www.class passtriedguide.com (however, she is not directly affiliated with the company).

The social side of fitness improves exercise adherence, but convincing all your friends to join the same gym location might be tough if everyone lives in different neighborhoods. Multi-studio memberships solve that problem. And with community in mind, ClassPass’s platform allows users to share workout schedules with friends who are also in the system.

Another draw is that technology makes booking classes simple and fast: It takes just a few taps on a mobile device or clicks on a computer. ClassPasser Jennifer Rogers is an interior architect in Washington, DC, and fashion/lifestyle blogger at www.southernanchors.com. “I loved the convenience of signing up online,” she says. “Everything is laid out for you in a simple manner.”

COST-EFFECTIVE AND FLEXIBLE

Not surprisingly, both Hoffman and Rogers praise the competitive pricing. Hoffman says she can work out at popular studios in Los Angeles, where she resides, at a cost well below the normal $20–$30 drop-in rate.

Hoffman joined ClassPass after realizing that a more traditional gym membership wouldn’t work for her budget or lifestyle. She had signed up for an indoor cycling studio at a special introductory price, but that offer was about to expire. “I loved the small classes and the elevated studio vibe, but I [could not] afford their monthly, unlimited subscription price,” she says. A multi-studio membership was less expensive than any of the individual studio memberships she had researched, and it gave her access to all those studios anyway. “It’s the best of both worlds,” says Hoffman.

MOTIVATING AND PERSONALIZED

Consumers who are not bound to one gym’s class schedule or hours of operation can personally curate all aspects of their own workouts—from location to format to time and instructor. This makes the multi-studio membership a truly consumer-centric, personalized experience. “Cross training is a huge benefit for me,” says Hoffman. “There
aren’t individual studios that can offer the variety that I get through ClassPass.”

Rogers says the biggest advantage
of her multi-studio membership is the motivation to try new things. “It got me excited about exercise and was a way
for me to ‘find my groove’ again,” she says. “I had never tried barre because
I was tentative [owing to] the hefty price tag, but with ClassPass I was able to go, and I fell in love with it. Now I understand the price and am going to become a fulltime member.”

Hoffman is also motivated to exercise more. “I am always moving
in some way, and that’s not something I was doing before ClassPass,” she says. “I am finally able to have the fitness routine and gym membership I’ve always wanted, and I am in the best shape of my life.”

To read more about the multi-studio trend, 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.

Amanda Vogel, MA

Amanda Vogel, MA

Amanda Vogel, MA, is a fitness professional and the owner of Active Voice, a writing, editing and consulting service for fitness professionals. She writes for IDEA, Health, Prevention, and Self, and has co-authored books on postnatal fitness and yoga. With a master's degree in human kinetics, Amanda has worked in the fitness industry for more than 15 years, including time spent as a program director and vice president for a chain of all-women clubs in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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