There is a great chance that your members are not allowed into the gym yet, or at least not all of them. Therefore, it might be a good idea to decide to freeze the memberships of all your members if the gyms are still closed after a specific date. Your membership traffic should increase over time, but for now, you may have to get creative. How do you make up for the months you were closed?
A global study states 40% of members say they plan to exercise at home more frequently after the outbreak. – Source: Global Web Index Monthly Study, April 2020
The fear & habit of home workouts
Many members will have experienced the home fitness concept for the first time. There is a possibility that they liked it and wish to continue using this form of sports. The other scenario is that, they may dislike it and feel the urge to get back to working out at the gym! Either way, it’s essential to retain your members during the lockdown. Retaining your existing members is much more cost-effective than attracting new members.
Try to think in solutions. In case your gym is still closed, consider renting out bikes or accessories: medicine balls, kettlebells, mats, resistance bands and even dumbbells. An incentive like this in combination with live streaming group classes in the facility will make sure that the number of members that join an online class increases! You can do this by yourself, or together with other gym owners in your area. Life Fitness contributes with home solutions such as our Digital Coach platform and the ICG Online Coach and ICG World Tour Series. Combine these with packages of accessories to ensure a complete home workout. Grasp this opportunity and try to engage with your members!
Year-round offers instead of temporary promotions
Even though members may also face financial difficulties, try to ask them if you can continue to collect the regular membership fee during closure. This way you can still meet the fixed costs (rent, personnel, group exercise licenses etc.) and their favorite club can continue to exist. In exchange you can offer them free extra months after their contract period. The advantage of this is that each membership has a different end date which means those free weeks or even months distribute equally. In this way you spread out the ‘pain’ of giving away these free months.
Try staying open during national holidays – in other words; make up for the time you were closed and stay open at days you normally close.
Save on rent
Medium and large chains may decide to strategically not re-open their gyms to have leverage with their landlords in not paying rent, until they see the opportunity of breakeven or a better environment. We understand this can be an issue for smaller chains or standalone facilities.
Another option is to collect a certain percentage of the membership which is sufficient to meet fixed charges. For example, 10 dollars that will be paid on re-opening or will be compensated with collections that will take place at that time. This is also a form of ‘spreading the pain’ to be able to keep your business afloat.
Offer temporary alternative memberships
Are you able to open parts of your gym such as your swimming pool or outdoor group classes? Give members the possibility to subscribe and pay only for these facilities. Freeze their current memberships and offer them a temporary contract for limited services. This way, you are still able to welcome them, they are happy to perform their workouts and you will still receive your basic cashflow.
Did you know that people stay because of people?
10% of current gym members say they expect to cancel their gym membership. When gym-goers consider leaving or cancelling their subscription, they might do it because they feel like they are losing their fellow gym-goers. Improve the group spirit so that people are less likely to leave. How about a ‘Bring-a-friend’ promotion? This might be tricky given social distancing. But if possible, these promotions are proven to be very valuable for you as a gym owner, as well as for your current member and potential new member. Also, try to offer vouchers for your bar or shop for cashflow. There’s one thing that almost everyone loves: Free Stuff! One of the easiest ways to retain members is to compensate the membership fee with a goodie bag, perhaps include a customized face mask?