The demand for pilates programs in fitness
facilities has grown rapidly over the past
decade with 10.7 million North American
participants a year. This is an extraordinary
increase of 602% since 2001. Members want
to enjoy their experience at a fitness facility
and be able to get all of the services they
want in one location.
More and more clubs are realizing that the
“one-stop-shop” theory is what the market
is demanding. With the documented increase in people interested
in pilates, many clubs are jumping at the chance to offer pilates programs
as well. Owners are already reaping the benefits of running
successful pilates studios in their clubs with monthly gross revenues
as high as $30,000 per month.
What are other clubs doing?
Owners who have recognized the benefits of offering pilates to their
clients are establishing “storefront” designated pilates studios at their
location. These studios essentially operate as an additional personal
training service. This “business within a business” offers private, semiprivate
and group training opportunities. These facilities are not only
seeing additional profits, but they are also experiencing increased instructor
and member retention, and additional non-dues revenue.
Some facilities simply do not have the space to accommodate equipment-based pilates programming. Consequently, members are paying
for these services outside of their regular fitness facility. In order
to keep members from going elsewhere, it is important for owners
to find a way to make space in their location to accommodate their
Storefront vs. In-House Pilates Studio
Creating a full-fledged, permanent pilates studio in your facility is
a lot more advantageous than running a storefront pilates studio. A
club offers additional cardio programs, childcare, locker room amenities,
and other fitness programs such as cycling and kick-boxing – so
why not bring that pilates experience into your club and treat it as a
business within a business? A designated space for your pilates program
increases your revenue opportunity and gives you the ability to
offer private, semi-private, and group training throughout the day,
without the interruption of sharing the space with other programs.
It’s About Space
The space needed to establish a designated pilates studio can be as
little as 400 – 800 sq. ft. The 800 sq. ft. space is approximately the
size of a racquetball court and can comfortably accommodate a fully-equipped pilates studio: 4 reformers, 2 trapeze tables, 4 chairs, 2
ladder barrels, and other accessories. You need to allow room for 4-6
instructors to work simultaneously in the same space while offering
private, semi-private and group training. A smaller 400 sq. ft. studio
can hold approximately 4 professional reformers so at the very least,
you can offer programming associated with this one essential piece of
It’s important to use your imagination when envisioning a pilates studio
within your facility. A racquetball court that is only used a few hours a
day could be retrofitted to hold an 800 sq. ft. pilates “profit center”. By
double decking the court, your facility could actually gain 1600 sq. ft.
of extra useable space. All you have to do is think of a minimum space
of 400 sq. ft. in your facility that could be sectioned off with partition
walls. What about an empty office space or utility area?
Once you find the perfect space to implement your in-house pilates
studio, make sure to remain realistic about the amount of equipment
that you can fit in the area. Choose equipment that is versatile and
offers maximum programming to keep your pilates program fresh,
challenging, and adaptable to your changing members’ requests. For
example, you can fit four reformers within a 400 sq. ft. space. The
STOTT PILATES V2 Max Plus™ reformer maximizes the use of space by
offering mat, reformer, and cadillac exercises and V2 Max Plus™ programming
all on one piece of equipment.
Opportunities for Your Staff
With a designated space in your facility, you now have the ability
to offer pilates career opportunities to your staff. A studio for private,
semi-private and group training allows instructors to work together
in the same space while training clients up to 5-6 hours at a
time. Your current pilates instructors may be coming in to teach 1-2
mat classes per week depending on other fitness class schedules and
room availability, which makes it difficult for you to offer them more
hours of work. When you have your permanent pilates studio, you
are able to offer more sessions – which makes not only your instructors
happy, but also your members.
With your own pilates studio,
you can offer instructors part-time or full-time positions according
to the studio’s demand. This creates a win-win situation where your
facility increases non-dues revenue, while instructors have the ability
to earn an income.
You may want to consider recruiting and cross-training your existing
quality personal trainers and group exercise instructors to be pilates
instructors also. Personal trainers can subsidize their current client
base with alternative training methods, and grow their personal training
clientele. Group exercise instructors can’t teach 4-5 hours in a row,
but they can train pilates clients 4-5 hours in a row. With a designated
studio, you ultimately achieve more instructors working for you exclusively
in more than one venue within your fitness programming. Here’s your chance to show those dedicated individuals who are already helping
you increase membership that you care about their professional
growth, which in turn, means growth for your facility.
For a successful pilates studio, you need the proper equipment, quality
instructors, and fresh programming. Pilates education doesn’t
stop after certification. It is vital to make sure that your instructors
are attending continuing education courses and workshops at specified
fitness venues or you can host workshops at your new facility.
STOTT PILATES offers over 100 workshops for continuing education annually:
from rehab for back care and breast cancer, to pre and postnatal
workouts, to athletic conditioning, pilates for golf conditioning,
and more. All of these workshops can be accessable within your facility
for your staff.
The End Result
Once you have designated a space for your new pilates studio in your
facility, and have agreed that equipment-based pilates programming
is essential to satisfy all of your members’ needs. All you have to do is
make it happen. Run your pilates equipment program as you do your
Personal Training program and you’ll maximize your club revenue
in no time.