Let’s start with an acknowledgement: the global health club sector has done an incredible job in making gyms safe in the face of COVID-19.
Yet the public has had over a year for new habits to form, and in many cases nervousness around social exposure remains. It is likely to be the case for some time yet.
As clubs re-open for good in the aftermath of the pandemic, one of the biggest challenges all operators will therefore face will be encouraging members to come back. Even harder to encourage new prospects to invest in membership.
We’d like to offer five simple pieces of advice.
#1 – Create a digital-only offering
The simple fact is this: there will be many, many people in the aftermath of this crisis – even former regular gym-goers – who have fallen off the exercise wagon. They don’t even need to have had COVID themselves for that to be the case. They will simply, after months stuck at home, have lost their workout mojo. They might even be a bit embarrassed about the shape they’re in. First step: offer them a great digital-only offering to re-engage them in exercise and get them feeling a bit better about things before you try and tempt them back to the club.
#2 – Engage top instructors to produce content
Make your digital offering really, really good. Use your top instructors – faces your members will recognize from the gym. Make people feel part of your community again, so they’re champing at the bit to come back and experience it in-person.
#3 – Mirror in-club and online
In line with point #2, consider running your standard in-club schedule live, or pseudo-live (pre-recorded, but set to play at the correct time), through your own-branded digital platform. Not only will it get members back into a routine – a routine they will be able to continue once they have the option and confidence to return to your club – but it will, while social distancing measures remain in-place, give members the chance to take part in their favorite class even if there isn’t space for them to do so in-club.
#4 – Make in-club classes bookable
Increase members’ confidence to return to the studio by making all classes bookable, guaranteeing them their own socially distanced space in-class. You might even consider rewarding loyal online members, offering regular online attendees priority booking for (limited capacity) in-club classes with that same instructor.
#5 – Build digital into your membership tiers
This will help members switch between digital and in-person, choosing whatever suits them best on any given day and making your offering ever more relevant in this new world of omnichannel fitness. It will also help protect you against cancellations should the worst happen and we enter lockdown again: members will be able to turn to the online aspect of their membership while clubs are closed.
For more information please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org