Internet Middlemen and the Fitness Industry
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Publisher's Note: In Part I, Stephen and Mark explained the relatively new category of Internet Middlemen and the different kinds of relationships being seen through their utilization. These relationship types include: Symbiotic, Parasitic and Cannibalistic. They also introduced two of the four major U.S. brands in this category. In Part II, they will introduce the other two major U.S. brands, as well as offer some comparisons to be aware of if deciding to use one of these services.
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Another entrant to the fitness Internet middleman market in the U.S. is a company called FitReserve, based out of New York, which launched in the fall of 2014. FitReserve, like ClassPass, offers consumers a monthly subscription that allows them to register for over 35,000 classes at approximately 275 studios throughout the New York City and Boston metropolitan areas. In October of 2015, FitReserve launched in Boston, MA. According to the company's Founder, FitReserve's subscription model (value proposition) is different compared to ClassPass and others in the segment.
First, FitReserve allows consumers to visit each of their partner studios up to four times per month, more frequently than members of ClassPass. Second, FitReserve does not allow studios to "black out classes," meaning FitReserve members have access to a studio's entire schedule. Presently, ClassPass does not provide their members with total access to classes at their partner studios. Third, FitReserve has created three offers that serve the needs of fitness consumers from beginner to enthusiast. The three options are: access to five classes a month at $79 (classes must be used during the month they are purchased); access to ten classes a month at $149 a month; and 20 classes for $249 a month. These rates are designed to be more in line with the pricing offered by studios, therefore supporting each studio's value proposition. Fourth, FitReserve offers its members' additional benefits (e.g., discounts) through partnerships with other Internet-based middlemen, such as Uber and Zeel.
Like ClassPass, the consumer acquires a subscription that offers them a discount ranging on the cost of an individual class/session compared to if it were purchased directly from a studio/club. From the studio's perspective, FitReserve allows them to capture a considerably higher price point than they would from the other Internet middlemen in the fitness segment. In addition, FitReserve allows studios to market their other services through the platform.
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