Summer is here. This is the time of year when people take vacations, have fun outdoors and generally take it easy. It is not the time of year when people flock to gyms for intense workouts. However, your fitness facility member engagement does not have to tail off when the weather warms up. Follow the advice set forth below to keep your members thoroughly engaged with your facility, staff and fellow fitness fanatics.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Members who do not frequent the gym during the summer or merely show up once a week should be handled with great care. Do not let these key members fall through the cracks and never return to your facility! Stay in touch with them so they understand their business is valued. Send e-mails, texts, snail mail and other forms of correspondence to remind these members that your gym is constantly evolving. These refreshers will engage members who are considering canceling for the summer.
Craft messages based on member visit frequency. Carefully compose each message to member "personas" and send them at strategic times. If executed properly, this communication will make your members feel more connected to your gym community, improve awareness of your facility's latest offerings and convince them to continue paying membership dues.
Conduct Personal Training and Other Activities Outdoors
Though you have certainly invested plenty of money in your fitness facility, this does not mean every single activity has to take place under your roof. Implement summertime personal training sessions, yoga classes and boot camps outdoors.
Your members will jump at the opportunity to engage with your experienced staff while taking in the sun and fresh air. Use your facility's front or back lawn for these sessions. Or, coordinate a meet-up at a local park. The bottom line is that your facility benefits from frequent member interactions with fellow fitness fanatics and staff. These interactions motivate members to return to the gym and renew their membership across posterity.
Launch a Running Club
Keep fitness at the forefront of your members' minds by starting a gym-related running club. Fellow gym members who spend time together outside of your fitness club will be more inclined to frequent the facility to continue developing these relationships. This enhanced sense of community and commitment to physical fitness will benefit your gym in the long run.
It is Time to get Social
Host parties, activities and events of all varieties for members and their families. These activities can be fitness related. They can also be related to nutrition or plain old socializing. Consider communal hikes, barbecues, gaming at arcades, treasure hunts and so on.
Flex Memberships to Prevent Summer Cancellations
Too many gym members cancel their memberships for the summer and claim they will return once the weather turns cool. Unfortunately, many of these former members never return to the facility. Do everything you can to please your members so they do not cancel once the weather warms up. However, you should not overtly discourage members to renew their membership even when they insist on canceling. Such pressure makes members feel uncomfortable. They will inevitably spread the word about these pressure tactics and convince other members to also leave the gym.
Consider implementing sideline memberships that retain members in some fashion rather than losing them completely. This style of membership keeps the gym-goer on board but does not force him to pay dues during the summer months. Membership dues resume in the fall and extend all the way to the next summer. It is even possible to implement a sideline membership in which members are allowed to attend the gym once or twice per week or month while paying a percentage of the typical monthly membership cost.
Allow for Friends to Work Out at no Cost in the Summer
If a member indicates he plans on canceling due to the warm weather, try to retain his business by letting one of his friends work out at the gym for free during the summer months. The presence of a friend will encourage the reluctant member to frequent the gym even when it is nice outside. This is a powerful motivation that gets the member in shape while simultaneously showcasing your facility's features to his friend. This friend is a prospective member who might end up joining the gym after his initial no-cost summer session.
Offer Summer Memberships Limited to Certain Portions of Your Facility
Plenty of members are interested in using select machines, classes and other portions of your gym during the summer months. Yet they might not want to pay the full membership fee as they will not use the majority of the facility's equipment. Offer a stripped down summer membership at a lower cost and it just might help retain your valued members.