While this principle is often applied to durable products (e.g., the “aesthetic fidelity effect”), it’s also applied to ambience, color schemes, acoustics, and environmental soundscapes. From the customer experience this is known as “service atmosphere.”
Researchers looked at the effect of service atmosphere on customer loyalty in the hospitality industry, a sector that shares similarities with the health club industry. They found that “interior elements such as illumination and decoration have a positive influence on customers’ psychology and it would be a good idea for managements to consult specialists on this issue.”
This also applies to flooring. You don’t just have to keep acoustics, durability, and vibration control in mind. Your flooring has to be consistent with the color palette and aesthetics of the rest of your club. With brand identity so important these days, you need to stay consistent and on message.
Avoiding the ‘Crazy Quilt’ Situation
An added complication these days for club owners is the design and space considerations for group X and small group training (SGT). In the past, clubs had a separate room with hardwood floors that was considered the “aerobics” room. With the proliferation of group concepts, you need more than a space with hard floors for a small selection of classes.
This is evident in the increase in spaces reserved for FT in some clubs, as reported in this article in Club Business International. This is the “boutique studio within a club” concept that’s fast becoming commonplace in mainstream clubs. Sometimes these spaces are branded separately, sometimes not.
Many of these designated studio-style spaces have different flooring demands than the rest of your club. Usually these group training sessions are FT, HIIT, bootcamp, or other high-intensity workout that punishes the floor and creates more noise than your cardio or resistance machines. Much like the free weight area and squat racks, you need thicker, more resilient flooring than other areas of the club.
What you don’t want is to only satisfy the function aspect of your flooring. You don’t want a club that has a checkerboard of clashing colors. When a member walks into a club, they don’t want to be met with a crazy quilt of different flooring that makes the club look slapdash and amateurish.
Acoustics and color schemes are not only important for aesthetic satisfaction, they’re a factor in health outcomes. One mega-study titled, “Associations between Positive Health-Related Effects and Soundscapes Perceptual Constructs: A Systematic Review,” concluded: “Better self-reported health-related conditions were always associated with reduced noise annoyance.”