Gyms and sports facilities missing a trick when it comes to attracting and retaining customers

Only 21% gyms offer recovery treatment and equipment Sports massage, physiotherapy and yoga the most common treatments provided


As gyms, studios and sports facilities face serious pressures to retain and attract customers, new research reveals they are missing a trick, and all-important revenue, when it comes to their inventory and equipment offering.

With a growing emphasis on maintaining a healthy lifestyle to combat the threat of Coronavirus, research published in the Everyday Elite Report from CryoAction, which looks at the growing health and fitness habits of the average Briton, found just one in five (21%) sports and fitness facilities are offering specific treatment or equipment for physical and mental recovery.

The research by the UK’s leading provider of whole-body cryotherapy, into the fitness and recovery habits of Britons, found that 40% of people took part in some form of activity to aid their recovery from sport or exercise. With recovery techniques proven to aid performance, this means that the remaining 60% risk injury, missing out on personal bests, the opportunity to perform at the highest level, or be as active as they would like.

Sports facilities that do offer recovery treatment and equipment are most likely to offer sports massage or physiotherapy, 30.3%. With more than a quarter (28.2%) of gyms and fitness centres also offering advice on recovery by staff or resident personal trainers.

Following its resurgence, yoga was also offered at more than one in four (26.1%) sports and fitness venues, while 19% offer meditation classes. Sports facilities are also diversifying and creating further revenue streams in an attempt to bolster revenues, with a fifth of venues offering recovery products, such as nutritional supplements, supports and tape, and anti-inflammatory medicines or gels.

CryoAction cryotherapy

Interestingly, only one in 20 (5.6%) fitness centres and gyms provide access to a cryochamber despite increased uptake in use among professional sports clubs and celebrities.

Ian Saunders, director of CryoAction, said: “Gyms and the wider fitness industry have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and they face the challenge of trying to regain the trust and interest in fitness from the public. In the post-pandemic world, fitness venues need to take every opportunity they can to attract and retain customers and diversify their revenue streams by offering new and alternative facilities and equipment.

“Despite the UK’s rising appetite for recovery treatment, gyms and fitness centres seem to be lagging in offering treatments and equipment to their customers, meaning they are missing out on additional revenue and even increasing their membership numbers, as potential customers have to seek out the advice and therapy at specialist centres.

“There is a clear opportunity for sports, health and wellness businesses to focus on recovery and expand their offering into post-workout treatments and activities, especially as our research suggests that younger customers are more likely to prioritize these in order to maximise recovery and performance.”

More than a third (36.2%) of fitness enthusiast surveyed didn’t use a sports facility showing even greater appetite for new visitors and members with the right offering. 

A substantial 37% of 18-24-year-olds and 43.9% of 25-34-year-olds said their facility or venue did not have a recovery offering – and yet these are the groups most interested in such products and activities. Meanwhile, a more diversified offering could attract older groups too.

Saunders, continued: “Taking parting in recovery classes and treatment means that customers can train for longer and more intensely too, increasing their satisfaction of using fitness facilities. Recovery also prevents future and long-term injures, again leading to an increase in the use of facilities and a greater propensity to spend at a gym or fitness centre. Therefore, offering recovery equipment will make a fitness centre’s proposition stand out from late adopting competitors.

“Covid has led to an increased consumer demand for exercise and fitness generally, and more people exercising further increases potential for injury and the demand for recovery treatment. Fitness venues which stay ahead of trends by offering these kinds of facilities are equipping themselves to be a more attractive venue for customers.

“Cryotherapy chambers for example have seen an increase in use, encouraged by their use in elite and top-level sports. CryoAction chambers are used by Premier League sports stars but are also accessible to the general public, so they can experience the same high-level and quality recovery.”

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