This month, most colleges, universities, and schools around the country have at least a week off. Not everyone goes to Cancun, and parents of small children are likely tearing their hair out, trying to figure out how to keep their energetic young ones entertained. So now is the time for you to be asking yourself: What can my fitness facility or sports center do to help? If you don’t already think of spring break as an event that you should be planning for each year, it’s time to start. Here are a few ideas:
- If you already offer programs for children, consider creating a special, week-long camp that follows school hours and gets kids moving. Soccer, basketball, baseball, hockey, dance, and swimming camps are popular options; if your facility allows for any these, working parents are bound to be grateful and kids will join in with gusto. Plan time for snack and lunch, and alternate activity and rest in hour-and-a-half-long chunks: for example, for a basketball camp: an hour and a half of drills followed by snack, followed by an hour and a half of games, followed by a viewing of a documentary about basketball stars. Also, mix it up: an intense study of basketball in the morning goes well with a relaxed game of dodgeball in the afternoon.
- If your facility isn’t set up for camp, consider offering new classes that kids (and their parents, who might be taking the week off) and college students are not likely to have tried before. The sheer novelty might draw them to you — and once there, who knows? Maybe they’ll stay. Also, you can think of the classes you offer as trial runs. If they’re popular, you might have discovered a new niche for yourself. Options include Kangoo, surfing workouts, barre classes, rockwall climbing— even quidditch!
- Bring Cancun to them. Maybe you have a pool. Sure, it runs on a tight schedule, but can you carve out a few hours one day to turn it into a beach? Let people use their imaginations to fill in the sand. You supply umbrellas, lounge chairs, cabana music, and health drinks. Maybe you can get a beach volleyball game going in one area of the club (again, no sand required — just have players wear bathing suits). It’ll be a party — and it’ll draw prospective clients to you.
- Offer a special membership deal for the week. Existing members can bring a friend to a few classes for free; new members who sign up during spring break get two free weeks tacked on to their membership. Other ideas include offering a free session with a personal trainer or a discount at a local sporting goods store or on the gear you might sell at your own facility. Be imaginative here — there are endless incentives you can offer, with spring break as your excuse.
- Get your gym management software or fitness center software involved. Be sure to enter the names of clients who have never been to you before; so that you can fine-tune these offerings in the future, you want to keep a record of who your audience is. For existing clients who participate in your spring break offerings, make a note of their participation in their profiles — most health club software allows for this. That way, you’ll keep tabs on their interests and be able to target the right crowd for future events.
It’s never too late to start planning for Spring Break 2013, and it’s never too early to think about next year. Make it an annual offering. As a fitness center, health club, or sports facility, you’re in a unique position to keep people active and entertained when regular routines are on hold. Take advantage of it — and have fun!