The challenge for any gym is how best to maximise space, and so the trade-off with increasing the size of changing facilities might be reducing the available space for F&B, which may then impact secondary spend or even reduce space on the gym floor, so maximising the existing changing space will be important.
Ultimately, changing room trends will be led by the whole gym experience; we’ll see a smarter use of space and more consideration given to layout that encourages social distancing and a shift away from tightly packed changing facilities, to ensure members feel safe and comfortable.
We’ve seen some operators adapt their space to restrict access to certain lockers, vanity units, benches, toilet cubicles, etc, to help manage social distancing, however this is more difficult to implement in smaller changing rooms.
Cubicles enforce social distancing, however they’re confined spaces with more surface area, so require thorough cleaning.
Ideally each cubicle would be sanitised after use and before another member occupies it, however this can be difficult for staff to manage and puts more responsibility on members.
We’re seeing more use of tech – using contactless via a mobile app to secure lockers is one example, and a way of reducing contact with surfaces.
We’re yet to experience a significant shift in how operators are designing their changing rooms. I think a key reason for this is the unknown in terms of how the pandemic will progress.
It’s important for any new facility to have a gym design and layout that’s flexible and can be adapted – we’ve seen this with existing spaces – gyms are putting in temporary measures to help manage social distancing and keep members safe, while still providing a quality of service and experience that encourages them to return. New changing facilities should be no different.
We’ll see a smarter use of space and more consideration given to layouts that encourage social distancing