By Bryan Green It is not uncommon for apartment management personnel to view a fitness center as merely a “value-added” amenity, established to reinforce a positive tenant experience. Granted, this is without question, a valuable role. But, at the risk of sounding harsh, it’s a perspective that is often short-sighted and may eliminate a wealth of profit-generating potential inherent to any fitness center when managed with an eye toward generating revenue. When fitness is embraced as a valuable business-development platform for your property, there exist significant opportunities to drive revenue. These are in addition to passive revenue channels, such as helping to command a higher lease rate from prospective residents as well reducing unit churn through a higher level of tenant satisfaction. Today’s families are more fitness-conscious than ever before—and there’s no slow down in sight. If they can’t satisfy their personal fitness needs on your property, they’re going to do so elsewhere. That means they’re going to make an investment in a local health club, personal trainer or perhaps find an alternative property down the street as a more suitable place to call home.There simply is no reason that this investment in fitness can’t be coming your way either through the capture of increased rental rates or by supplemental revenue streams emanating from a strong offering in fitness. The multifamily industry has one very significant advantage over any alternative wellness offering—and that is convenience. Saving residents time, gas money, and eliminating health club membership fees amongst other potential spending add up to a significant home court advantage! How is your property capitalizing upon this opportunity to build additional revenue via its fitness amenity? I spend a great deal of time working with clients to illuminate the various revenue-generating vehicles that can be brought to bear with any fitness center, whether they be through retail offerings, training programs or other unique platforms. That being said, I thought it would be valuable to break some of these down and demonstrate just how a fitness center can go beyond merely pumping up your residents and pump up your property’s bottom line.Incorporate retail and fitnessOne of the opportunistic attributes about a focus in health and fitness is that it carries a unique and built-in merchandise demand. From bottled water and sports drinks, to headphones and yoga mats, a moderate inventory investment in these products supportive to fitness can be turned into easy and high-margin sales. If it’s available for purchase at the local health club, there’s no reason it can’t be offered at your fitness center. With the increase in entertainment-based fitness equipment featuring viewing screens or digital music technology, consider that rentable headsets, I-pods and other electronics devices or accessories can also provide an additional revenue source. Every fitness environment brings with it a sustainable demand for healthy refreshments and snacks. In fact, pre- and post-workout supplements are no longer just for the gym rats. They have become common fixtures even in the regimens of moderate fitness enthusiasts. So don’t underestimate the potential revenue that comes from the simple elements like bottled water or energy drinks, and other pre- and post-workout refreshments.Personal and group training programsAnother valuable revenue-generating vehicle comes through offering personal training and group exercise services. Obviously this carries a need for qualified trainers, but that doesn’t mean you have to hire a full time training staff. There are independent training companies in every market that can provide ample qualified training staff to accommodate the needs of your fitness center’s unique programs, whether for personal or group training. Several companies provide a third-party-managed solution that often can be supported with as little as a shared revenue agreement.A fitness center can also capitalize on group exercise programming. In a multi-dwelling community, tenants enjoy unique “communal” and social benefits that don’t exist in single-family home environments. Weekly social mixers and activities are common and an attractive offering to many tenants. Your fitness center can capitalize on this by offering weekly group exercise platforms where tenants can come together and socialize while getting a great workout. Many facilities are seeing wonderful returns for group training in the hottest fitness trends such as yoga, outdoor “boot-camps,” and other mixed-fitness or fusion classes. Should you outsource fitness management?Property managers that oversee a facility’s fitness services likely have enough on their hands to keep them thoroughly busy. So a legitimate question may be, “how can my property implement and manage all of this effectively?” Well, once again, establishing these revenue-generating components for your facility doesn’t mean you have to become super human. There exist experienced fitness management companies available to do the job for you. Companies such as WTS International and Plus One Health Management have the expertise to implement the full spectrum of revenue-generating services and then manage them ongoing both domestically and abroad. This means they can manage everything, including maintaining adequate merchandise inventory, developing and managing personal and group training, maintaining and servicing equipment, and just about any other aspect of your fitness center. Hopefully, this has opened your mind to some of the various opportunities that can drive measurable revenue, stemming from the investments you have already made, or plan to make in fitness. Keep in mind that a fitness center isn’t a stagnant entity, but rather is a living and evolving environment. Fitness centers require ongoing attention to detail in order to keep up with state-of-the-art fitness modalities and technologies.Further, contemporary standards of safety and hygiene and your renters’ ever-changing expectations in terms of amenities and unique services also should play a vital role in your business focus regarding fitness. So, considering all this work and effort, it makes sense to ensure that the revenue potential of your facility is being maximized every step of the way.Bryan Green is President and CEO of Advantage Fitness Products, a company dedicated to the planning, design, supply, and ongoing care of specialized fitness and wellness environments world-wide.
Maximizing the Revenue Potential of Your Fitness Center
5 min read