2020 has been a tough year for everyone and the fitness industry is no exception. Prolonged closures mean gyms and studios (like many businesses) have lost substantial revenue. But now the end is in sight and facilities are starting to reopen, how can you encourage members to return?
In this article – we share 5 ways to tempt members back to your gym or fitness studio.
Concerns about returning are completely understandable. Protecting people’s health has to be the #1 priority. This is why fitness facilities have invested a huge amount of money and effort into precautions that ensure they are a safe environment.
Industry research shows the impact on health clubs and members has been significant…
- 64% of the world’s fitness sites were closed due to the pandemic.
- More than 10 million UK gym memberships were frozen when gyms closed in March.
- When surveyed in April 2020, 41%of US members said they were unsure when they’d be comfortable returning to the gym.
This might sound a bit bleak but the question we now need to answer is this – WHY don’t people want to come back? Get to the heart of their concerns and you’ll be able to find ways of addressing them.
Top 3 Reasons Members Aren’t Returning
Here are the most common reasons why members are choosing not to return to gyms quite yet…
- Concerns about hygiene – they’re worried about catching covid from fitness equipment or being in enclosed spaces with other people.
- Uncertainty about the future – will gyms remain open long enough for them to make full use of their membership?
- No compelling reason to return – they assume your gym will be there again once this is over or that virtual training is a decent alternative.
If you can address these objections satisfactorily, then you’ll be able to tempt them back. Let’s look at some practical ways to do this…
#1 – Show How Clean Your Club Is
You’ve probably been working super-hard to keep your facilities cleaner than ever. You might have even posted about it on social media. But despite this, not everyone will know just how clean your club is…
Use social media to showcase your cleaning efforts (and distancing measures too). Post regularly about the precautions you’re taking. Just because you posted some photos a few months back doesn’t mean everyone saw them or remembers now. Include a variety of…
- Images – showing your club set-up and the protective measures in place.
- Videos – of staff cleaning the facilities and equipment to reassure members.
- Member testimonials – because people trust reviews and testimonials.
This is especially helpful for people who have just started to think about returning. So, make this type of content a consistent part of your social media strategy.
#2 – Offer Day Passes
Let people try out your club and experience the new normal. Offering day passes enables them to see your cleanliness and social distancing measures for themselves. It’ll reassure them that precautions are in place and your gym is a healthy place to be!
Remember not to diminish the value of your memberships by offering them for free. Assign a price tag to them, even if you decide to discount or offer them as complimentary. Make sure people know the value of the pass even if they don’t have to pay for it, to minimise objections about price later on.
#3 – Spotlight The People Behind Your Brand
People will be missing social interactions so remind them about all their fav staff from your facility! Members love your chirpy receptionists, hardcore instructors, and knowledgeable trainers. There’s a lot more to fitness clubs than equipment so share stories from your team members.
- What have they been up to while your club was closed?
- Have they learned any new training techniques or developed a new skill?
- How have they adapted their fitness routine?
- What are they missing most?
Share videos, photos, and articles about them on your social media channels and website. It’ll humanise your brand and remind people of the many reasons they love training at your facility!
#4 – Be Open With Your Community
If your business is struggling financially then consider being open with your community about it. No-one wants to see local businesses going under and they may not realise that you’re on the brink of closing.
If they know the reality, it may encourage some people to renew their memberships and support the gym. Even if they’re not quite comfortable with returning yet, they’ll want to ensure that your business is still operating when they do.
#5 – Be Flexible
Uncertainty about the future is another barrier for many gym members. They don’t know if more lockdowns will happen and whether they’ll be able to fully use their membership. So, be as flexible with membership commitments as possible.
Short term gym memberships or studio session bundles can help. They directly address the objections around commitment and uncertainty.
Considering offering a monthly pass or 15-session bundle in addition to your usual membership options. This provides more flexibility so a greater number of members will continue paying (instead of cancelling all together).
Getting Members To Return
All gyms face a challenge in getting members to return. But these five approaches can help you address client concerns and misgivings. Demonstrating your cleanliness, offering day passes, showcasing staff stories, being open, and staying flexible will all have a positive effect on retention.