Getting your membership to the locker room starts at your clubs lobby. First impressions are the difference between membership retention and attrition.
Having a top of the line fitness floor, or the best programmed studios with elite instructors or a locker room with designer amenities is only as good as your first impression.
Your clubs lobby is a reflection of the rest of the club and members will generally come to the conclusion that if the lobby is dull and dingy, they can expect the same of the rest of the facility.
If you want to improve your memberships experience and expectation, paying attention to the offerings and design of your lobby will lead the way for telling your brand story and help retain members by emphasizing up front who you are and what you have to offer.
Hospitality and Wellness go hand in hand, today. Creating energy, interactions and longer time spent on property has many looking at what the hotel industry is doing to shake up their current offerings.
The hotel industry is looking at the thoughts of Malcom Gladwell. He has written a book titled, “Blink: the power of thinking without thinking”. In the book he examines the power behind “thin-slicing”. Thin-slicing is when you or your user makes a judgement about something in as little as five seconds. It is your initial impressions of a new acquaintance, a product or a place. Looking at your facility with this philosophy in mind will help you look at your offering in a new light.
When you walk into a health club, sport resort or fitness center, interior design can affect the way you feel. Whenever you have walked into a dark, dingy cluttered lobby or one with lots of natural light, good air quality and a happy energy; chances are you are making a judgement on your first impression about the rest of the club.
Below are some thoughts and ideas to help you look at your first impression.
CREATE AN EMOTIONAL CONNECTION
A “home away from home” concept is one way of providing that connection.
Designing lobbies with variations in layout and adding unique elements throughout the space—such as handmade goods, unexpected textures, mix-and-match furniture or diverse wall treatments; you can offer your members a more personalized and fresh experience that they will enjoy and seek to relive.
These types of ideas will set the expectation and can also move membership to remain on property which in turn means additional revenue.
Engaging the members senses at the moment they pass through your front door, continue on to the locker room and into their workout with a consistent and thoughtful design will encourage members to seek other areas in the facility including social zones, business centers and food and beverage. All of which can offer their own dynamic sense of emotion and ownership.
The GREENER the better
The use of sustainable and eco-friendly practices will connect membership to your facility. People are gravitating toward more socially conscious spaces especially at places away from their homes.
Millennials are shown to favor eco-friendly properties. Studies show they will actually spend more to be part of “green” properties.
According to a study conducted by Nielsen, 66% of global respondents say they’re willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact. This is up from 55% in 2014, and 50% in 2013.
Among the design elements to consider is the introduction of natural materials .
There is a practice / a study that uses Biophilic design. The benefits of biophilic design can enhance the members overall experience by tapping into the wellness and well-being properties associated with this design trend. Biophilic design is the theory that we have an innate tendency to seek out nature, natural elements, and natural forms. It can be characterized by:
A report from Terrapin Bright Green suggests that guests will spend on average 36% more time on properties that incorporate biophilic elements. This intern means added use and revenue.
Examples of design elements that membership would expect to find in their health clubs are:
Patterns are expected to shift from high-contrast graphics to more visually soothing elements. Textures will include soft and rich woven fabrics and expect to see more natural materials used.
A mash-up of styles will produce whimsical environments, driven by storytelling that is integrated throughout the design helping to create a genuine and engaging experiences that membership will seek. This will stand especially true for the millennial market.
Moving beyond strictly visual elements and focusing on having a space that is more about feeling good, will continue to provide a sense connection.
Looking to what you already have or investing in small touches now (when budgets are critical) can immediately improve the membership experience.
Keep it CLEAN
If you are unable to implement some of these thoughts in to your current facility at least keep it clean.
Nothing can cause a negative first impression more than a dingy and cluttered lobby or reception. If it does not look clean it most likely is not. Members will take their money elsewhere
For additional ways to keep your facility clean read, Member retention worries? A Spring cleaning may help, from the NNL- Architecture blog. Below is a link to that article.
First impressions are everything. Having the best locker room or the best fitness floor is only as good as getting the member past the receptions desk. If you want to improve your memberships experience paying attention to the design of your lobby will lead the way to an excellent member experience, positive club reviews, increased membership retention and additional revenue.
Eduardo D. Lucero, aia
As principal and owner of