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Brent Williams' Apartment Blog

Thoughts, comments, and ideas about the overall multifamily industry, as well as a property-specific focus on resident retention and apartment marketing.

Providing The Same Dream As The Local Gym

Recently, I have seen more and more similarities with our industry and industries around us. Last time, I discussed our contracts in relation to the cell phone industry. This time, I want to highlight some similarities with neighborhood gyms, which makes a lot of sense considering we have a gym in many of our properties!

When we lease an apartment, we aren't just leasing them an apartment, but rather a view of their life in that apartment. We show them what it will be like honing their skills on the putting green, grilling burgers and hotdogs while sunbathing at the pool, and keeping their car looking flawless at the car care center. We present a lifestyle to them, designed to show them a better view of themselves.

So it occurred to me that neighborhood gyms do the exact same thing. They show a vision to their customers of someone who is 20, 30, 50 pounds lighter, fit and tone, and bursting with energy. They sell a vibrant version of their customer's life, full of achievement and satisfaction. And just like our industry, they have very poor customer utilization of their great amenities. I don't have hard figures, but how many people do you imagine, inspired by a New Years resolution, boldly sign up with a new gym only to use it twice and then forget about it?

The problem is that what we are selling is their potential future self, which may not turn into reality. If the resident chooses to sit lazily in front of the TV instead of swimming laps in the Olympic-sized pool, the amenity potentially no longer has value. It still has a slight value as they still have the opportunity to use it, but for the most part, the amenity is lost on them. So now you have a situation where all your great selling points have suddenly lost their charm and influence over your current residents. They are swayed by a new community who can again show them an inspired view of themselves.

So what do neighborhood gyms do to make sure their customers see long-term sustained value from their decision and their provided amenities? Do they actively market to existing customers to actually use the service? Or do they just rely solely on long-term contracts like we do to bind their customers to them for as long as possible? Maybe I'll take a trip to one to have a chat, if I have time that is!

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