The average gym-goer or individual who pays for personal training is interested in more than achieving optimal physical conditioning. People join gyms and other fitness centers for a multitude of purposes. Some are looking for social stimulation. Others want to escape the cabin fever of the cold winter months. Plenty of people are looking to establish friendships with other fitness-minded individuals. There are countless other reasons why people choose to exercise in fitness facilities rather than at home or at a local park at no cost. Gym owners and managers who understand these motivations will stand a better chance of retaining current members and recruiting new ones.
Think of Your Gym as a Community
Though some people initially join a gym to burn off the fat or build muscle, most stay because the gym is a place to connect with others and have fun. Fitness centers are social spaces where important relationships develop. Whether it is in on the racquetball court, in the pool, at the free weights or in a step aerobics class, people forge bonds with fellow fitness-oriented individuals at the gym. In some instances, people renew their gym membership to maintain the social bonds they have formed or because they hope to develop new bonds. This is the communal purpose that every gym serves.
Most people are strapped for time. From the 9 to 5 work grind to parenting responsibilities, duties as a pet owner and other life demands, the average person has little time remaining to be social. The gym provides such an opportunity while simultaneously empowering members to stay in tip-top shape.
The bottom line is that people are spending more time at work and glued to their screens, from smartphones to computers, video games, TV and beyond. People are desperate for social interactions. Every gym owner and manager should realize the societal development toward isolationism and do everything in their power to encourage social interactions in their facility. Think of your facility as a place that provides members with the opportunity to enjoy the company of others, have fun and establish social bonds that have the potential to change lives. Here's how to do it:
Create and Tout Group Events
One of the best ways to provide a sense of community for your members is to come up with some fun group events. Set aside some time and space for weekly or monthly group activities, whether it is a social get-together, a chic group fitness class, rock climbing, a run through town or even a group outing at a restaurant. These are excellent opportunities for members to get to know each other and deepen their bonds. Keep in mind that gym members who enjoy one another's company and develop friendships with other members are much more inclined to renew their membership. They are also more inclined to recommend the fitness club to others, be it friends, co-workers, family members or others.
Even if your group event is as simple as a one-time group fitness class that occurs on a weeknight each month, it will prove as an excellent way for your club's members to establish new friendships and bolster somewhat-loose bonds that were previously formed. The group event doesn't have to be centered on fitness and health. It could be anything from playing cards to a video game night, a hiking expedition, a pizza party, an outing at a theme park or anything else that is fun and socially oriented.
Make it clear that members can invite their friends and family to these group events. The more the merrier as guests will witness the chemistry between your facility's members in-person, further motivating them to sign up for a membership and be a part of the crew.z
Rewards for Participation
Gym members crave positive reinforcement. Track members' attendance, participation and achievements. Reward them for attaining goals, whether it is a certain amount of hours spent at the gym, attending group fitness classes without an absence or achieving a physical fitness benchmark. The positive reinforcement can be anything from public acknowledgment to tickets to a sporting event, a gift card or merchandise featuring your gym's branding.