The fitness industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus shutdown and luxury fitness has not been immune. Studios have had to quickly make the move to digital in order to give members high-end fitness classes from home.
“We spent a good chunk of the last 30, 45 days focusing on how to stay engaged with our members and our community, and we've done that through our digital offerings, whether it be through our virtual personal training, or Variis,” Harvey Spevak, Executive Chairman and Managing Partner of Equinox Group, told Yahoo Finance’s The Final Round. Equinox Group includes an ecosystem of brands including Equinox, Equinox Hotels, Precision Run, PURE Yoga, Blink Fitness, and SoulCycle many of which have been directly impacted by the mandatory shutdowns.
Variis, the company’s newly launched platform featuring on-demand access to video and audio content from its brands, is an effort to bring Equinox brands to members’ homes while they are unable to get to a club. The SoulCycle at-home bike, a competitor to at-home fitness giant Peloton (PTON) had an accelerated launch amid the pandemic to give members another way to feel like they’re back in the studio. Spevak said “the future is going to be more about marrying the online and offline together, and that's where we're uniquely positioned.”
Spevak is confident that Equinox clubs will be full after the shutdown restrictions are lifted.
“There's a lot of unknowns here, but we do think most people will want to come back. Some will come faster than others. We've had many people demanding for us to open as fast as possible.”
There are a few states including Texas and Georgia that are slowly starting to reopen, but Equinox Group has chosen to keeps its clubs and studios closed for the time being. Planning ahead, Spevak said the company has a task force that is evaluating the best practices for sanitation and hygiene for when their locations do reopen.
“At the end of the day, what we do is heavily physical. People want the community and no matter what you do and no matter how great the digital is, the community is being together and people are learning how to do it virtually right now.”
Sara Dramer is an associate producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @saradramer