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How Gyms Can Build Winning Wellness & Recovery Spaces, With WellnessSpace Brands

How Gyms Can Build Winning Wellness & Recovery Spaces, With WellnessSpace Brands

WellnessSpace Brands president Kevin Conway shares best practices for clubs, gyms and studios looking to build top-class recovery and wellness areas within their facilities

Offering a dedicated recovery and wellness space has become table stakes for fitness industry operators. Over the last few decades, facilities have evolved from exercise clubs into the health and wellness clubs they are today. 

For modern-day clubs, if the wellness piece is missing, so too will be acquisition and retention.

When we think about creating wellness spaces from a business perspective it’s not just about bringing in new equipment, it’s about generating ROI. If done properly, the wellness space will become a highly desired destination for self-care – a destination that keeps members coming back and that can be monetized.

“Members expect to see strength and cardio in every club, and wellness/recovery has joined that list as well, said Kevin Conaway, President of WellnessSpace Brands. “It is non-negotiable now. And the good news is in addition to increasing retention and acquisition and creating a new revenue stream, you can build a space that doesn’t require additional staff, so it won’t be a drain on your time and resources.”

Kevin Conaway (credit: WellnessSpace Brands)

Conaway has been with WellnessSpace Brands for twenty years. The company – previously called HydroMassage – offers multiple products that seamlessly integrate into gyms to support members’ physical and mental health.

“We develop products that are innovative, easy-to-use and highly desirable to drive repeat usage and therefore engagement over the long term,” Conaway says. “WellnessSpace products are designed to swiftly facilitate multiple members with no assistance needed, creating a high return on value for clubs.”

Where To Start

Conaway says the biggest challenges for gyms include discerning exactly what their wellness space should entail, including which equipment and services should be offered as well as placement.

“A good way to start is to ask members what they desire, and then gain an understanding of the options,” Conaway explains. “Kick the tires, try things out and get out in front of what your members want and need.”

Next, he says it’s critical to understand how different concepts might work – or not work – within the gym’s model.

“Hands-on massage is wonderful but may not be practical to administer to multiple members,” he says. “Conversely a HydroMassage Lounge facilitates a full-body massage in ten to 15 minutes with no staff necessary. In that same vein, cryotherapy chambers are great, but they require a full-time team member to administer the service, while the CryoLounge+ offers a smarter self-guided option for comfortable cold therapy.” 

credit: WellnessSpace Brands


Location, Location, Location

“Give your wellness space the maximum amount of visibility and awareness possible as a focal point in your club,” Conaway recommends. “Allow everyone to see the great things taking place… the rejuvenated, relaxed happy users. It’s like a restaurant … if you drive by and there are no cars in the parking lot, you keep going until you find one with the line because you know that’s the one that’s going to be good.”

Monetizing Your Wellness Space

Conaway says there are a couple of ways gyms can generate ROI.

“By far the best strategy I’ve seen clubs use is to create a premium package for members that includes access to the space and all of the equipment and services,” he explains. “When members or prospects understand that they can work out and get massages, cold therapy, mindfulness, and more, it’s not a hard sell. In this scenario, I typically see 50% to 60% of members opting for the premium package.”

credit: WellnessSpace Brands

Other clubs choose to offset the cost by adding a small increase in each membership package, then offering the space to all.

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In either scenario, operators add value to their offering while increasing ROI.

Your Wellness Space Will Market Your Club

“The most effective marketing for any club is when members advertise for you,” notes Conaway. “When others see your members posting on social media about their fabulous HydroMassage after their workout, they take note.”

He also smartly suggests positioning your staff as influencers. 

“Give your trainers and staff free access to the HydroMassage and CryoLounge and they will become your biggest advocates and influencers,” says Conaway. “Imagine the cycle instructor in front of a 40-person class raving about how his massage relieved his tight legs and is helping him to cycle more miles and get even more fit. That’s hugely impactful.”

Supporting members on their journey to total wellness alone speaks volumes.

“Even if you don’t get a single new person in the door, your wellness space illustrates to current members that you are investing in their overall health, and that will help drive retention rates,” Conaway notes.

Lastly, Avoid This Pitfall

Conaway points to an important pitfall some operators make when getting into wellness.

“I’ve seen clubs try to ‘dip their toe’ in with only one piece of equipment, and that’s a mistake,” he says. “No member wants to go and use the one piece of equipment in the corner by themselves. Plan properly for the space, support your member’s needs, and your wellness space will become a destination with a great ROI for your club.”

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