When thoughtfully planned and executed well, there are a variety of opportunities to generate revenue out of robust health and fitness programs in senior living communities. But you might be thinking, “I didn’t realize there was ANY revenue potential."
In terms of expenses, there is the initial startup cost of thousands of dollars worth of exercise equipment and the necessary square footage to house it. Then there is the maintenance cost on that equipment and a range of budgeting that needs to be considered for fitness staffing, ranging from a dedicated full-time employee (or multiple FTEs) to simply having group fitness instructors. Don’t get me wrong, fitness centers absolutely give back to the community from a marketing perspective. Consumers are demanding quality fitness programming in the senior living market, but calculating the true ROI is next to impossible.
Revenue Opportunities in Senior Living Fitness Programs
If you are looking for potential ways to get revenue out of your program, consider these opportunities:
- Fee-based personal training: Whether you are in a commercial fitness setting or private fitness studio, all consumers expect to pay for individualized one-on-one attention via personal training. Having select fee-based services that are tailored and custom to individuals will not shock residents that there is a cost associated with it. In fact, many older adults and their adult children are coming to expect that this service be available in a comprehensive fitness program, and they are willing to pay for it. Thoughtful consideration should be given to establishing competitive rates, allowing for trainer commission, and securing high-quality trainers, but this service can be a nice opportunity for communities to generate a revenue stream.
- Specialty group fitness classes: Requiring residents to pay for specialty group fitness classes like yoga, Zumba, or Barre is a fairly common practice. A quality instructor must be secured and paid for each class, and including a slight upcharge to the instructor rates is an additional means by which a community can generate revenue while also benefiting from having a well-rounded and robust group fitness schedule.
- Nonresident participation: Some communities explore opportunities to provide fitness center memberships to nonresidents—particularly marketed to those 55+. Sometimes this is for full access to the amenities and services, and sometimes it is allowing participation only in select programs like group fitness classes. Strong consideration needs to be given to rates, available space, and how this will impact your existing residents, but in the right situation with proper planning, participation from nonmembers can not only be a revenue source, but it can also help increase exposure of your community’s lifestyle to a broader market in your area.
Revenue Goals, Marketing, and Investing the Extra Income
When implementing some or all of these practices, consider a revenue goal for your fitness program and how you can creatively promote each opportunity to support that goal. The annual revenue generated is rarely a cash cow for communities, but it does create opportunities to further support your fitness program needs. The cumulative total at the end of the year may be enough to purchase a piece of equipment, offset the cost of your preventative maintenance service agreement, or pay for a new class on the schedule. Give some thought to how these revenue opportunities can help fund your fitness program.