What could be an expanding industry that promises gains at different levels? The unstoppable growth of the fitness&wellness sector shows that opening a sports center and investing in sport is a really good idea. Provided, however, that you can differentiate the offer by offering a service that you really feel the need.
This could be, for example, the case of an old sports center that, in order to attract new customers, programs new courses and activities, or a gym that remains open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, making accessible a service that for many users has been denied by the traditional time limits.
If, in fact, it is true that more and more people go to the gym, it is also true that the growth of this figure has been supported by the specialization of sports centers, which have activated ad hoc courses for particular population groups, such as children, women and the elderly. If you used to go to the gym to reach an aesthetic ideal, today things have changed and you train to feel good, to have fun, to relieve the stress of the day. Sports centers have become meeting places where you can meet new people and socialise.
This change of perspective is partly linked to the indications of the World Health Organization: sport and, in general, physical activity are two of the main allies for the prevention of chronic diseases, for the maintenance of psycho-physical well-being and for the improvement of the quality of life, in both sexes and at all ages.
Opening a sports center is today an incredible business opportunity.
Why Open a Sports Center is a Good Business Idea
The growth of the wellness sector is also due to the new habits of Italians. According to a survey by the Compass Observatory on consumption styles, 55% of Italians dedicate their free time to sport and fitness; 37% take care of themselves; 53% pay attention to nutrition. For all, the objective is the search for psycho-physical balance. These data certify the growth of the sector which, in recent years, does not seem to have suffered any setbacks. On the contrary, new professional profiles have been created to offer increasingly specialised services.
Sports centers, beauty farms and spas are the most popular places to visit in your free time and, once again, this statement is supported by certain data. According to a research conducted by the CartaSì Purchasing Observatory, in the first six months of 2017 credit card movements in Italy showed that 258 million were spent on fitness & wellness (+8.1% compared to the same period of the previous year) and the result was an increase in the number of companies operating in the sector.
According to Unioncamere-Infocamere data, from 2012 to 2017 this number of companies increased by +4% and 12% of the sample is represented by gyms. Lombardy (about 26,000 companies), Lazio (almost 15,000) and Veneto (over 13,000) are the regions in which the companies that operate in the wellness sector are more widespread, but growing percentages are recorded in all regions of Italy, for example:
- Friuli Venezia-Giulia (+5.9%);
- Sardinia (+7.6%);
- Calabria (+5.9%);
- Tuscany (+5.8%).
Some Useful Advice for Those Who have Decided to Open a Sports Center
Choice of Location
To open a sports center that works, the first advice is to choose a precise positioning, identifying a target clientele and, based on that, offer ad hoc services.
The positive signals from the market are clear: opening a sports center is undoubtedly a good business idea, but this step cannot be taken lightly. To do so, it is necessary to offer a quality service. Big brands are the ones that attract the most customers, because they offer a well-known and proven business model on the market.
Opening a franchised business is also the best solution to reduce business risk. You don’t need special skills to start, you just need a lot of passion for sport, ability to relate with others and desire to engage and get involved. The parent company provides the necessary know-how and experience. The franchising formula works both for new openings and to give new impetus to an old gym that needs to be renewed to stay open.
The key to success is to conceive an innovative, differentiated gym that offers more in terms of innovation, course offerings and customer care. A good idea could be to open a franchised gym where opening hours are allowed at any time of night, every day of the year, and where training can also be organized through apps and virtual lessons. Remember that once you start your business, to recover your investment in the short term you must be able to stand out from your competitors.