BY CHAD COCHRAN
The list of responsibilities for community association board members runs high, from landscaping and maintenance issues, to everything involved with keeping residents happy. Often times, fitness amenities fall outside of a manager’s expertise and are lower on their list of priorities. However, workouts are a part of many residents’ daily routine and fitness facilities often rank high on their desired list of amenities when looking for a new place to call home.
When building a workout facility or upgrading an existing space, it’s important the board ask themselves a few specific questions about the residents in order to create a facility that provides the value they’re looking for. Here are five questions to consider and discuss with your fitness equipment representative:
- Who are your residents? Are they primarily empty nesters, or a younger demographic who is tech savvy? Different residents place value in different machines and setups. The more you know about the primary user of the facility in your complex, the better recommendations you’ll receive from your fitness equipment representative.
- What are you trying to accomplish with your fitness facility? Focus on what this facility represents for your community. Though it sounds flashy, “state of the art” is becoming commonplace. Today’s technology advancements have given facilities of all sizes the opportunity to have state of the art, advanced equipment.
Do you have an existing space that you want to upgrade with new equipment for the sake of having fitness amenities onsite? Are you identifying your fitness amenities as part of your marking strategy and selling point for moving into the community? For example, consider the comradery that happens within the walls of a gym. You can bring that type of value to residents by bringing the gym to them.
- Who is your competition? It’s a basic question, but an important one. We’ve found that amenities are king, and very important to residents. Consider what your competition is doing in nearby communities. If you’re using fitness facilities as a marketing strategy, you’ll want to have a space that exceeds expectations set by communities around you.
- What type of entertainment value do you need to include in the facility? Historically, fitness facilities tucked a TV away in a corner. Even today, some facilities choose to have little to no entertainment. However, as exercisers are increasingly connected, it’s becoming more common to utilize personalized viewing screens and TVs directly on cardio units. Over the last three years, we’ve seen more entertainment options found directly on the machines, including access to the Internet and exercise tracking capabilities, especially in higher end facilities. We’ve also seen some facilities utilize customizable equipment console screens as a display board for community events and activities.
With all of the entertainment options available, it’s important to have a conversation with a fitness expert to help determine the best setup for the space and how to work with your cable and Internet provider for connectivity.
- Are you considering the top fitness equipment vendors? It’s important to invest in equipment that you know will last. Choosing a top vendor not only gives you the peace of mind of superior manufacturing, long-lasting use and machine reliability, but also lets you rely on your equipment provider’s service team for any service repairs. Your residents will recognize that you have outfitted their community with a leading brand and they’ll know that you are investing in quality equipment to provide them the best workout experience.
Big or small, your fitness facility should be well thought out to address the needs of the residents in your community. Thinking through these basic, but critical questions can help you best determine your needs in planning a new or renovating an old facility.
Chad Cochran is a national accounts manager for Life Fitness.