So you want to know what’s hot in boutique fitness right now? We picked the brains of those in-the-know to get these three top trends:
First and foremost, boutique fitness is getting ever more personal in its approach, often operating a pay-per-class system. This is a nod towards our general demand for greater variety and choice, as well as the option to do what we want, where want, and now. Dawn Tuckwell, who specialises in health and wellness PR, has noticed a similar trend: “The biggest thing we see is people wanting fitness on demand,” she says. “More apps are being developed to assist with this, for example, providing fitness equivalents of Uber and AirBnB. The ways in which boutique fitness businesses elicit loyalty are changing, it seems; experts insist that instead of locking people in with membership fees, brands are creating a following via social media, blogs and added extras (for more, check out our next blog about ‘Building Consumer Love’).
Environment and space
Next: the boutique world is leading the way in terms of its preoccupation with environment; the impact of where you exercise, as well as how. It may begin with architecture but can extend all the way through design and decor to choice of materials and light (think: nightclub style lighting in spin studios and more greenery in reception areas). Recently-launched Biofit, is a great example (). Brand founder Matt Morley previously worked in property but is now focussed on creating spaces (in offices, hotels or pop up venues) that enhance visitors’ positivity before they even begin to exercise – improving their health both physiologically and physically by way of ‘biophilic’ nature design principles. Many of these are used in wellness workplace areas in Holland and the US, such as using certain plants to improve air quality, concentration, productivity and have a calming effect. Morley says: “We ask what’s the nature hack we can use to allow people access to nature [particularly in urban environments] that isn’t as real as sitting Japanese forest [but as close as possible]?” As always, integrity is important – the BioFit training method aligns with the nature-centric concept behind the entire brand, involving a combination of playful natural movement drills, strength building and also some ancient combat arts.
Community and wellbeing
Being ‘fit’ is no longer deemed a one dimensional nor a solitary activity, with many successful boutique fitness business catering for consumers’ thirst for social interaction as much as overall wellbeing (that includes how you eat, drink, sleep, socialise and think). “I see the boutique fitness world as centring more and more on the development of community and offering a full lifestyle rather than just a place to workout,” says Boom Cycle founder, Hilary Rowland. She adds: “our newest studios are to be much bigger, with more communal space for people to meet friends, chill and have a coffee.” Innovative boutique fitness brands are responsible for raising awareness about holistic health by offering ‘extras’ such as in-house juice bars, 24/7 internet support, social opportunities, laundry services and more. “Adding value is key, especially if you’re going to put your prices up, says Robert Tynan, founder of Central London boutique studio, Ultimate Bodytec. “Our place is more like a local bar than a fitness hub. We currently have 150 members so it’s a close-knit community. We add value by getting to know our clients really well and understanding what’s going on in their lives as well as offering unexpected extras like Christmas presents for everyone, occasional juices on-the-house and networking opportunities.”