CONTENT BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Power Systems
Congratulations and a round of applause for all of the new and returning members that made it over the Feb. 7 fitness cliff. However, a tempting new distraction is coming soon: spring time. Although we may welcome the warmer weather and the longer days that Daylight Savings Time brings, the health club industry is bracing for a drop in check-ins and group class attendance.
How can we compete with warmer temperatures and an extra hour of sunshine after work to enjoy what spring has to offer? After months of cold weather, we can understand the appeal of taking that gym cardio time from the treadmill to the open road. Here are a few group exercise class promotion ideas that you can use to boost your class attendance this spring.
Sample Express Classes. Several of your treadmill-only and elliptical-only members secretly want to try a cardio class but are intimidated by the winded and sweat-drenched folks that leave the class. These members are hesitant to step away from their cardio routine because they worry they can't hang in an hour cardio class. Offering a 20- to 30-minute, shortened version of those hour-long cardio classes can boost attendance in more ways than one.
First, it can draw in those members who worry about lasting the full hour in a cardio class. Second, it can appeal to some of the cardio class regulars as shortened versions of their favorite classes will allow to them to catch a quick class and still get home with enough daylight left for a bit of yardwork or playtime with the kids. Cardio class regulars also might like the opportunity to enjoy two types of class offerings within an hour instead of one. They can change up their routine by taking a 30-minute indoor group cycle class followed by a shortened 30-minute cardio boot camp, for example.
How can you integrate these sample classes into your regular programming? Amend your spring group exercise schedule and call it "Spring Training." The seasonal group fitness promotion will reassure your class regulars that it is a temporary change, and it will provide an opportunity for existing members who might be too intimidated to take a full-hour cardio class.
Bingo Game. There's nothing like a game or a little competition to boost the energy in the club and engage your members this spring. Create a fitness Bingo game comprised of both quick fitness challenges and classes to attend. Assign some Bingo squares to classes on your group fitness schedule and other squares to quick fitness challenges such as "drop and give the fitness manager 20 push-ups." Put a four- to six-week timeframe on the game in which a Bingo results in a free gym T-shirt or smoothie at the juice bar.
Class Passport. If you are concerned about supplying multiple winners with a prize, try the Class Passport challenge instead. Create a group fitness passport with four to six "destinations." At each destination, the instructor will "stamp" the passport with their signature. Give your members four to six weeks to complete their passports and turn them in for a drawing in which they have a chance to win a prize pack full of goodies. Put together one or two large prize packs comprised of in-house promotional items such as branded T-shirts, towels and water bottles along with some promotional swag from neighboring businesses. Reaching out to a few local businesses for cross-promotion is a great way to create a prize pack worthy of competition.
Don't know where to start? Try local massage therapists, nail salons, tanning studios, healthy restaurants and vitamin and supplements shops, just to name a few.
Offer Classes in the Sunshine. Certain cardio classes have flexible formats that can be offered in several venues, including the great outdoors. Some cardio boot camps and even yoga classes can be held outdoors on a beautiful day. If you have some outdoor space that can safely accommodate a class, use it to your advantage. It is a great way for your members to enjoy the extra minutes of daylight and the springtime temperatures while using an outdoor annex of your facility. In addition, outdoor classes give you free advertising as those driving by see your members working up a sweat.
Use this spring to challenge your members to try something new and give them a reason to keep coming back. They have put in two great months of work so far this year and are due for an excuse to reignite their fitness goals. Whether it's an express cardio class to get a member in to the group fitness room for the first time or an outdoor boot camp to get the your members outside, the change of seasons is a great time to offer new class formats or a new challenge. Try a couple of these in-house group fitness class promotions and watch your class numbers grow this spring.
Elisabeth Fouts is the education and trade show coordinator for Power Systems. She has 10 years of experience in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, a fitness manager and a regional fitness director. Fouts holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and is certified in three Les Mills group fitness programs. When Fouts isn’t teaching group exercise classes, you can find her training for or participating in an obstacle course race or watching Tennessee Volunteers or Dallas Cowboys football.