Attracting and retaining customers is paramount for any company and loyalty programs are once again proving their resilience and perceived customer value in regardless of the economy.

While traditional loyalty rewards have always included discounts or free products, a new and compelling trend has emerged – using fitness-as-a-benefit.

This trend is in keeping with a wider macro shift towards a more health-conscious consumer base but has been enabled by the growth of third-party marketplace businesses in overcoming the geographic limitations that come with legacy partnerships involving individual fitness brands.

The Desirability of Fitness-as-a-Benefit

Fitness has always been a desirable benefit for individuals. Whether it’s the pursuit of physical health, mental well-being, or simply maintaining an active lifestyle, people value the opportunity to exercise and stay fit.

As we navigate an era where well-being is increasingly a top priority, the appeal of fitness-as-a-benefit is more potent than ever.

Whilst healthcare providers such as AXA Health and Vitality have long included Fitness Benefits in their programs, now companies across a wide range of sectors, from banking to breakdown cover, recognise that aligning their loyalty programs with the prevailing health-consciousness of consumers is a strategic move.

Historically, many companies offered traditional rewards like cashback, gift cards, or exclusive products. While these incentives were effective, they often lacked a significant emotional connection.

Fitness, on the other hand, offers a personalised and deeply engaging experience for customers. It allows companies to show that they care about the wellbeing of their customers, which fosters stronger brand loyalty.

Overcoming Geographic Limitations

However, one significant challenge in incorporating fitness into loyalty schemes was the geographic coverage of individual gym chains.

Companies that wanted to offer fitness benefits in the past found it challenging to partner with multiple gyms in different locations, limiting their ability to support national loyalty and reward schemes.

This is where third-party marketplace businesses stepped in to bridge the gap. Third-party fitness marketplace businesses (such as Hussle) act as intermediaries between companies and fitness venues.

They offer a wide network of gym partnerships that span across the country. This enables companies to provide fitness benefits to their customers no matter where they are located, thus solving the geographical limitations and making it possible for national loyalty and reward schemes to include fitness-as-a-benefit.

This is a true win-win-win as there is inherent value for the company running the loyalty program that benefits from a desirable, innovative reward. The health-conscious customer gets access to a service they truly value. And the fitness brands that participate gain exposure to large closed-user group audiences that they would not be able to reach alone.

Macro Trends

Several macro trends have converged to make fitness-as-a-benefit an essential provision for any reward program. These trends include:

1. Health and Wellness Movement

The global health and wellness movement has brought fitness to the forefront of people’s minds. Consumers are more health-conscious than ever, seeking ways to stay active and maintain their wellbeing. Businesses that align with this trend by offering fitness benefits stand out as wellness advocates.

2. Distributed Workforces

The rise of remote work has transformed the way people live and work. With greater flexibility in their schedules, employees and customers have more time to invest in their health and fitness. Fitness-as-a-benefit fits seamlessly into this new work paradigm.

3. Stress and Mental Health

The modern lifestyle is rife with stressors. Fitness not only contributes to physical health but also serves as an effective stress-reliever. It’s a powerful tool for addressing the growing mental health concerns in society.

4. Sustainability

Sustainability is not just about the environment; it extends to personal wellbeing. People are looking for sustainable lifestyles, which include making choices that contribute positively to their health. Fitness benefits align with this sustainable approach to life.

5. Technological Advancements

Technology has made fitness more accessible than ever. From fitness apps to wearable devices, customers can track their progress and stay motivated. This tech-savvy approach to fitness enhances the appeal of fitness benefits in loyalty programs.

The Essential Provision

As these macro trends continue to shape consumer behaviour, the inclusion of fitness-as-a-benefit in loyalty schemes has transitioned from a novelty to an essential provision.

Customers expect companies to not only provide quality products and services but also care about their overall wellbeing. Fitness benefits have become a symbol of a company’s commitment to its customers’ health and happiness.

Furthermore, companies that integrate fitness-as-a-benefit into their loyalty programs can benefit in several ways:

1. Enhanced Customer Loyalty

By offering fitness benefits, companies build a deeper emotional connection with their customers. This heightened loyalty can lead to increased customer retention and advocacy.

2. Competitive Advantage

Fitness-as-a-benefit differentiates a company’s loyalty program from competitors. It attracts new customers and keeps existing ones engaged.

3. Employee Productivity

Some loyalty programs extend to employees, offering fitness benefits as part of workplace wellness initiatives. Healthy, active employees are often more productive and motivated, and less likely to take sick leave.

4. Positive Brand Image

A company that promotes fitness and wellbeing reflects positively on its brand image. Customers are more likely to trust and respect such a company.

The rise of fitness-as-a-benefit in loyalty schemes reflects the changing consumer landscape, characterised by a heightened focus on health and wellness. The historic limitations of geographic coverage have been effectively addressed by third-party marketplace businesses, enabling companies to offer fitness benefits on a national scale.

In the coming years, fitness-as-a-benefit is poised to become a staple in loyalty programs. Companies that recognise and embrace this trend will not only reap the rewards of enhanced customer loyalty and brand image but also contribute positively to the well-being of their customers and employees.

Fitness-as-a-benefit is not just a reward; it’s a commitment to a healthier, happier, and more loyal customer base.

To find out how to incorporate Fitness-as-a-benefit into your loyalty program, get in touch with Hussle today.