The fitness company is looking to give gyms a boost & attract a younger crowd.
Les Mills, a group fitness company founded and named for the four-time Olympian, has announced a boutique studio solution that aims to attract younger fitness enthusiasts into gym facilities and clubs. Les Mills will entice the younger crowd with unique experiences and an exciting aesthetic.
The fitness company believes that the boutique concept will help gyms recover and grow in a post-pandemic world. By attracting young gym-goers, Les Mills says facilities can achieve better business goals. Les Mills refers to this population segment as “Generation Active,” and says that the group represents 80% of all fitness consumers.
Keith Burnet, Les Mills Global Markets CEO, told Athletech News that the pilots in other locations have had great success in bringing in young clients. “Being an operator of 12 large clubs in New Zealand gives us unique insight into the challenges our partners face and inspires us to develop innovative solutions. With growing competition from boutiques and digital fitness offerings, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for clubs to attract Generation Active, but we’re confident we have the answer. Through pilots in New Zealand and Asia, Les Mills Boutique has pulled in younger members and driven sustainable growth for clubs – something all operators will be aiming for as we accelerate out of the pandemic,” Burnet said.
The company engaged in a hybrid model during the pandemic, where they pivoted to Les Mills On Demand but also focused on evolving the club space, trying to keep members engaged until they could return in-person. Les Mills hoped to use a creative approach in a post-pandemic setting.
Sean Turner, CEO of Les Mills, was aware that gym members would be returning with a new outlook.
“I think the shift will be in consumer expectations,” said Turner at the time. “They will be looking for that bonus. After seeing so much consumer content, with better instruction and better quality, they will seek a blend from their clubs.”
The Les Mills solution includes customized studio plans, fresh workouts, coach training, and a studio operations guide. The boutique concept can be blended into an existing gym or set up individually. Les Mills has implemented the boutique solution at New Zealand’s Auckland City Club and in Asia. Auckland City reported a near 80% increase in new members in nine months with 90% class occupancy.
“Like every club in the world, one of our biggest priorities is ensuring our offering remains relevant and attractive to younger members,” says Les Mills New Zealand Head of Fitness, Ish Cheyne. “Since adding LES MILLS Boutique we’ve seen younger audiences streaming through our doors and better business outcomes. We’re now in the process of rolling out this studio solution across our entire 12-club estate to ensure we stay relevant with this key demographic by appealing to their love for high-octane experiences and sleek aesthetics.”
Les Mills has three workout programs – Ceremony, Conquer, and The Trip. Ceremony features a 45-minute functional training class for a whole-body workout. Conquer offers a 45-minute boxing class that includes treadmills and floorwork. The Trip, which launched in 2014, is an immersive 40-minute multi-peak cycling workout that features a giant screen and sound system.
“Our partners have been asking for this type of boxed solution for several years now, so having taken our time to perfect the formula, we’re excited to be finally bringing it to market,” adds Keith Burnet, Les Mills CEO of Global Markets.
The fitness boutique is slated to be in clubs by the end of 2022. The company says it’s in advanced discussions with select operators in the US and Europe. In October, Les Mills launched Les Mills+, an omnichannel fitness platform that features 13 fitness programs.
This article was updated to include comments from Keith Burnet.
Courtney Rehfeldt has worked in the broadcasting media industry since 2007 and has freelanced since 2012. Her work has been featured in Age of Awareness, Times Beacon Record, The New York Times, and she has an upcoming piece in Slate. She studied yoga & meditation under Beryl Bender Birch at The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute. She enjoys hiking, being outdoors, and is an avid reader. Courtney has a BA in Media & Communications studies.