It is clearly essential that clubs re-opening after lockdown need to focus on limiting access, restricting equipment use, developing clear social distancing guidelines and improve cleanliness; all of which are solved by changes to the operational structure of the business.
On the other hand, the essence of outstanding interior architecture and design lies in future-proofing space for longevity; which is why, when it comes to design solutions, the focus should be on long-term goals.
At zynk, we are advising clients to use this period of club down time to take a step back from the daily demands of running a business and re-evaluate the brand and its proposition. This time of lockdown has altered the value system of consumers, so aligning a brand to these new motivating factors will be key to attracting members back into the gym.
Understanding who the target market is, and why the business appeals to them, is key to defining the brand proposition. This information will ultimately drive the interior architecture and design direction, ensuring the coherent communication of the brand throughout the venue. Members can then be exposed to these values at key touch-points using bold statements, subtle design elements and carefully chosen materials.
It is this successful synchrony between a brand and its interior space that reinforces member experience, creates loyalty, and differentiates it from the competition.
People will be returning to the gym with a much better sense of community. Most will have been working-out in a virtual community and enjoying the interaction during this time of lockdown. Outside of the gym, there has also been an overwhelming shift towards solidarity within the general public.
This sense of community should be capitalised on and maintained post-lockdown. It can easily be achieved through design by enhancing the initial meet and greet elements, revising entry point communications and telling the story of how members, staff and trainers adjusted to lockdown. All of these will enhance the connection between a brand and its members, further enhancing the sense of belonging to a tribe.
When social distancing measures are lifted, Clubs can think about creating additional interaction points, seating areas and socialising hubs to encourage further community cohesion. Such areas can be just as effective outside of studios and on the gym floor as they are in reception areas and Cafés.
Consumers have embraced technology during this time; they have adopted new ways of accessing virtual workouts, embraced wearable technology to monitor participation levels and they want this to continue. Operators need to find ways of incorporating this into their Clubs, connecting members back to instructors and the community.
Creating virtual environments within a Club will also be crucial to maintaining engagement and retaining members. Pre-lockdown, indoor cycling had already successfully shifted towards delivering virtual workouts. Lockdown has just accelerated the wider introduction of this element into other exercises.
This shift towards virtual training will prompt an emergence of new ‘Chameleon environments’ within clubs. These accented zones can easily adapt their ambience to suit different exercises classes using enhanced Audio-Visual technology to change light and sound.
It is essential that members feel safe when they return to the gym. Communicating cleaning regimes clearly and consistently through the Club will encourage better hygiene and re-assure members that it is safe.
Cleaning equipment after use is already common practice within indoor cycling studios, so members will adapt to this concept relatively easily. The key to its success will be the installation of enough cleaning stations to make it easy and quick for members to keep themselves and the equipment clean. These stations will not be removed after Coronavirus. Members will expect and demand easy access to cleaning products from now on.
There is no doubt that Coronavirus has put a massive strain on the health and wellness industry. However, it is also renowned for innovation, so the zynk team is excited to see how it responds to current events and comes back stronger than ever.
zynk’s designers are currently working on an exciting Blueprint for the ‘Club of Future’. if you would like to receive a copy of this please email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
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If you would like to know how zynk can help you business, contact managing director and founder, Stavros Theodoulou on 07866556610 or email email@example.com.