Hardware or Software? Which is more important for your buildings tenants?
Looking at the title, you probably think this is a post about computers somehow. Sorry for the misunderstanding, but I am no computer expert. The Hardware and Software I am going to discuss is actually the fitness center amenity and the fitness programming that Commercial Building and Residential Building Property Managers and Owners will be deciding on putting in for their tenants.
The Hardware is the actual equipment and materials, and that can range from fitness equipment to locker room equipment to flooring and lighting. We notice that the standard rule of thought is for buildings that are putting in fitness center amenities to concentrate a lot of work on the Hardware, the stuff, to make it very appealing and pretty so that it helps with the landing of tenants on the walk through or sales tour. The Hardware must indeed be appealing and with the sophistication of today’s customer, long gone are the days of putting a treadmill, a Bowflex and a pair of dumbells in a room and calling it the fitness center. So attention to the look of the fitness center is important, but is it as important as it has become?
Looking at it through the lense of the customer, we start to see something interesting. First, lets make sure we all know this simple fact…the overwhelming majority of people in the US have never and will never join a fitness center or health club. More people have joined over the last 20 years, yes, but the population of the US keeps growing so the percentage has not changed and it has not moved past a quarter of the US population. So the majority of people don’t want to join a fitness center and the main reason they keep giving is that they don’t feel they are in shape enough to join yet. They feel it really is an exclusive club and they don’t have any idea what to do or how to make things work so they don’t want to join for fear of being judged or made fun of for trying.
They don’t join but we know that over 90% of people don’t have their dream body and wish they could be healthier and have a better quality of life than what they have now.
That is a huge disconnect. So the last thing that commercial and residential building owners and managers should do is put in a miniature version of the place that most people don’t go to in the first place. It needs to be a place of fitness for sure, but don’t make it a carbon copy of the huge commercial gyms because you are alienating most of the tenants.
How to make it different?
It comes back to the Software then. What is the Software in this explanation? It is the programming that will connect with all the people of the commercial or residential building and help them achieve the results that they desire. The programming is the next great battleground in the pursuit of tenants and customers. Without the Software, the Hardware cannot come alive to everyone. Much in the same way your smartphone would be nearly worthless to you and most people if it had no operating system or the ability to run apps. Only the highest level of computer expert would find it useful, much in the same way that only the biggest fitness enthusiast/expert finds the fitness center amenity in their building at all useful if there is no programming in place to help people develop a plan or take them through classes. In fact, we find the majority of people that will utilize a fitness center inside a commercial or residential building with no programming, those people actually pay for a commercial gym membership outside of their building and just use the fitness center amenity as a backup to their fitness plans. The people that need the most help, the ones with no plan, won’t use the fitness center area because to them it is just a room full of metal.
We have done enough building fitness amenities to know that without a plan to have the Software in place, the building is really throwing money away and might be better served NOT to have the fitness center amenity, if we are talking strictly the business bottom line. We know it won’t happen as the fitness center will always help to close the sale so its value is not always looked at in terms of “Who are we helping to achieve results?” But the converse of that is also interesting, because we have put programming in place for commercial and residential buildings WITHOUT the fitness center amenity and shown huge increases in customer satisfaction and building loyalty. This includes programs like health fairs, fitness classes and personal training in conference rooms and online training access, programming that does not need a designated fitness center. Now of course, the most successful buildings will have both Hardware and Software in place and we have many successful examples in that category too.
So if it comes down to the choice between the Hardware or Software, which one should a commercial or residential building owner/manager choose? It all comes down to if helping tenants achieve results and getting a better quality of life is at all important. Each building has to determine that for themselves, but Unicus Fitness will always be around to help them craft a plan of attack that is right for them and their budget.
Contact us for a FREE Consultation for your building and a pdf download of our services that we provide for commercial and residential buildings that want to upgrade the fitness experience for their tenants/customers.