Every year around this time of year, it feels like someone has turned the dial up a couple notches. Whereas earlier in the fall everything was just busy, suddenly now everything is insanely chaotic. Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving break mean quite a few no-school days, and there always seem to be a couple professional development and parent-teacher conference half-days around the same time. At work, everyone is scrambling to finish projects before the end of the year, and all of those projects seem to land up on your desk at the same time. Meanwhile, you find yourself invited, in the span of three weeks, to more parties than you’ve been invited to all year. And then there’s the holiday shopping, cooking, planning, and wrapping to do (don’t even ask me about season’s-greetings cards — I gave up on those years ago).
What this means for your facility is that client visits will slow down. Fewer client visits equal less revenue, either in the short term, because you’re missing out on class payments or members aren’t spending on personal trainer sessions, massages, and other extras; or in the long term, because if a member goes for a month or two without making it to the gym, she’s less likely to renew her membership when the time comes. What can you do to help your clients make it to the gym in the midst of their busy schedules?
First, remind them that the most important time to maintain gym-going habits is now, when stress increases and tempting, sugary foods abound. Come up with a simple slogan: something like “Make Time,” for example. Hang up motivational signs bearing the slogan, and reiterate the message via email and on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets.
Consider extending your hours for the season, and if you’re able to do so, then widely—and proudly—advertise your extended hours.
If possible, have your instructors or trainers develop abbreviated workouts. Give these a snappy name, something like Twenty-Minute-Holiday-Workout, and, again, advertise heavily: Let everyone know that you’ve got a new program created specifically to address the trouble we all have making time to exercise right now. Luckily, the high-intensity interval training workouts widely praised these days for their dramatic results and intense health benefits are perfectly suited to short workouts; pull together a few of these and you’re all set.
Finally, craft a message specifically for patrons whose records indicate they haven’t made it in for a while. If you have a fitness concierge, have him or her send the message personally, with an invitation to call and discuss their difficulties making it to the gym. Offer to help devise a plan. You won’t hear from everyone, and there may well be a client or two who disappears and never renews, but chances are you’ll reach at least a handful who will feel grateful to you for reaching out, and who will re-apply themselves with new vigor. Happy holidays.