With the 2019 State of The UK Fitness Industry Report recently being released by The Leisure Database Company; the aim of this blog is to highlight some personal thoughts about how the information presented in the report, affects todays Personal Trainers and Fitness Instructors.
The report states an abundance of positives about the current situation within the UK industry. The total penetration of the industry has gone up from 14.9% in the 2018 report to 15.6%. The total number of sites has increased from 7,038 in 2018 to 7,200 and the total market value climbing to £5.1bn from £4.9bn in 2018.
Within the forward of the report, written by David Minton, was the importance of operators providing more than just a gym, and to consider developing the fitness offering into an experience.
There is widespread agreement that the customer EXPERIENCE is different from, and more complex than, service quality and customer satisfaction…. (Schembri 2006)
According to J. Pine & J. H. Gilmore [The Experience Economy] there are distinctions between services and experiences.
Services are tailored, intangible activities delivered at the request of a client, they [services] achieve a specific task a client wants done, but not by themselves. These activities could include; computer repair, gardening, haircuts, painting and decorating. 
Experiences have slowly, over the last 20 years, began to materialise to create new value in the mind of the client. Experiences are fundamentally personal; no two clients will have an identical experience. Experiences are sensational, they are memorable, and they evoke unique feelings. 
Services are intangible, experiences are memorable. Services are customised, experiences are personal. Services are delivered, experiences are staged.  So, what does this mean to PTs an instructor? What can we learn form other industries that have already embraced the experience offering?
As the industry continues to grow and clients have more choice. Current clients as well as potential clients will have more services to select from. Choice can be good or bad. At a certain level, choice for a client is good, the opportunity of variety is a positive, potentially creating more client value. As more choice becomes available choice can be seen as a negative, they may be a point at which choice becomes limitless, that it causes frustration, stress, and even anxiety. Either way PTs and instructor need to consider how they are going to differentiate themselves.
PTs and instructors will fundamentally still be required to provide a service, but as is mentioned in the 2019 State of The UK Fitness Industry Report, it’s the experience that will connect the client to a PT or instructor, at a much deeper level, establishing a spot in the clients head and heart.
The outcome or goal (fitness or appearance) will still be an important part of a client’s reason for choosing a PT or instructor, but the reason that makes them stay/remain will depend more and more on the experience that is provided. The feelings, thoughts and sensations that are aroused during each and every visit.
The overwhelming challenge to successfully manage the EXPERIENCE (Klaus)
Outcome can be achieved and measured by breaking them down into short, medium and long-term goals, and by the manipulation of the FITT principles. Managing experiences is very different. The Customer EXPERIENCE is based on feelings (feelings affect thoughts, thoughts affect behaviour, human behaviours are key to success). Experiences are measured and enhanced by improving the processes and continually refreshing the offering.
The 2019 State of The UK Fitness Industry Report released by The Leisure Database Company, has provided detailed information on our industry and the current situation. But is has also questioned the future of the industry. What are we going to do to create more client value, more growth, and more employment?  Adapted from-The Experience Economy (J. Pine & J. H. Gilmore)
We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Written by: Keith Smith