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Why Peloton Could Be Coming to a Gym Near You

By Jeremy Bowman and Jason Hall – Sep 28, 2021 at 8:00AM

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Is this how the connected fitness leader goes mainstream?

Peloton (PTON 13.00%) has come to dominate the workout-at-home segment of the fitness market, but can it expand to gyms as well? The company acquired fitness equipment maker Precor to help it do just that, so it's clearly a goal of the company.

In this segment of "The Five," recorded on Sept. 1, Fool contributors Jeremy Bowman and Jason Hall size up the opportunity for Peloton in gyms and whether the connected fitness leader can successfully make that transition.

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Jason Hall: I think part of it, too, is it gets back to that engagement thing. It is like the diametrically opposed way to make money in the fitness business from the way gyms make money. Get a bunch people to pay, to have the option to go to the gym, and only one in every five actually show up and you're profitable. With Peloton, the vast majority of their users are hyper-engaged, and that's the thing. It's sticky, and they stay with it, and they get results, and they tell their friends, and their friends get one, and they get results. And if I'm a gym operator, I'm aware. Maybe if I'm not hyper-threatened by it, because at the end of the day, I think it's like you were saying, Trevor, I don't think they're necessarily "or." These are "and" in a lot of ways, and people that are very, very, very active and become your fitness enthusiasts can be a Peloton member and also be a member of multiple gyms, depending on where they live and travel and having access to that kind of thing.

I think my point is, though, if I'm a gym operator, I want there to be some way to have Peloton part of my gym experience. I want people to be able to walk in and go get on a Peloton bike in my gym, whether they're Peloton members already or maybe they pay the gym an extra five bucks a month, and I as the gym operator get a dollar or two of that and Peloton gets three dollars of it. And that means when they come in my gym, they can get on a Peloton. They have, like, the Peloton gym membership. So there's all these different iterations of membership they can have that the acquisition of -- what's the big commercial fitness machines that Peloton made? I'm drawing a blank right now. But, so basically, they bought manufacturing capacity.

Jeremy Bowman: Precor?

Hall: Yeah, Precor. A lot of that was buying capacity, so they can try and scale up their manufacturing footprint quickly. But I think that's a huge opportunity, too, not just in the gyms, but thinking about travel and hotels. Getting a Peloton device in the gym. Precor already sells gym equipment through the Marriotts of the world and the Hiltons of the world and that kind of thing. So you already have the relationship. You build a Peloton module, and people can use their Peloton membership to access it. Maybe the hotel, like, they give you the internet that doesn't work for free, and then they charge you $10 a day for the internet that works. Maybe you pay an extra few bucks and you can try Peloton.

There's all of these ways that they can monetize it, but a lot of it comes back to just marketing that they actually make money on. But it could really allow this to be a bigger business than I think people like me and you, Jeremy, maybe me and you think it could be.

Bowman: Yeah. I think that's a good point. I know some gyms and apartment buildings and stuff that have Pelotons in them, and I don't know if they've made any deals yet with, like you said, major hotel chains or upscale gyms. But yeah, that seems like a great growth opportunity. And also, to your point, to have an evangelical customer base the way they do is a great, great thing to have and a credit to the business.

I think what's interesting about Peloton is they took SoulCycle, if you guys remember that, that was the same kind of spinning fad, but more as a growth business, because it was brick-and-mortar and they digitized that. They got instructors that people love, I guess, and it's worked out really well. So I think as running a business, they've been really savvy.

Hall: Yeah, it's funny, you're comparing it to SoulCycle. It's pretty amazing what happens, instead of having the operation expense of building a gym and buying equipment, putting in it, you get your gym operators to be your customers directly that are paying you. They're also your members. So they take on all of that expense. It's an interesting model, and I'm still not a shareholder, but I'm paying more attention.

Jeremy Bowman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Peloton Interactive. The Motley Fool recommends Marriott International and recommends the following options: long January 2023 $115 calls on Marriott International. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

Peloton Interactive Stock Quote
Peloton Interactive
PTON
$13.30 (13.00%) $1.53
Marriott International Stock Quote
Marriott International
MAR
$165.63 (0.27%) $0.44
Hilton Worldwide Stock Quote
Hilton Worldwide
HLT
$141.42 (-0.62%) $0.88

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