Hosting Events that Drive Membership Sales

Angela Cuocci has more than 17 years of experience in the fitness industry with15 years of experience as a club owner. She is the CEO of Ladies Total Fitness, a full service women-only facility including group exercise, personal training, child care, weight loss programs, salon and spa services, and children's dance and baton. She is also the CEO of Cuocci & Stamm Consulting Group. In this role, she helps other club owners maximize their profit by attaining more leads, elevating closing percentages, increasing revenue at point of sale and implementing a systematic approach to maintaining operations.

If you’re in the health club business, then you know that every club has three main priorities: retention, revenue and referrals. Club parties are the perfect way to drive revenue while creating an experience that makes your staff and members want to stay for the long haul.

The two T’s: timing and theme. Before sending out the guest invitations, you need to set your budget and choose a theme that you can successfully execute. If you want your event to be successful, give it flair. Consider a charity tie-in so that you can solicit free advertising and donated prizes, gifts, food and giveaways. You also need to choose a day and time that allows you to reach the most potential guests.

When planning your party, mind your demographics by making sure your theme is a good fit. Here are some potential themes: casino night, member appreciation, costume party, Christmas bazaar, lunch with Disney Princesses, member luau, birthday/anniversary celebration, “Deal or No Deal” game night or outdoor movie night.
You also need to have a can’t-miss-it event agenda by planning activities such as celebrity appearances, master classes, free fitness assessments, product sampling, fun games for kids and refreshments. Whether you’re planning an event in the fitness business or not, everyone comes for free food.

Create a guest list. Every invitation must have a personal touch. Don’t do the same old thing. Mail out handwritten invitations, send e-cards, personally hand out invitations and call to invite. The time your staff members spend working to personalize your message can be counted toward your advertising budget and will produce a greater result than any printed publication. After sending out the invites, make an RSVP list and ask people to commit to attending the event.

Successful parties 101: picking perfect incentives. Choosing the right incentives is three-fold: employees, members and prospects. Incentives should be fresh, exciting and not your typical day-to-day giveaway.

Ask yourself….”What would make ___________ want to come to the event and refer new business or purchase additional services?”

Here are some tips for incentives for employees, members and prospects.


· Choose activities that get your entire team psyched to participate; remember that they are your greatest promoters. You need staff buy-in to organize a successful event.
· Offer a cash/ancillary service incentive for all team members who personally generate new business. Make it worthwhile.


· Offer an incentive for giving referral leads you can personally invite. Don’t forget to get their name, address and phone number.
· Give the member a different incentive for bringing a friend to the event.
· Offer the best incentive for referral enrollments.
· Give the participants a small prize for attending and boast desirable prizes that members can win.
· Offer ancillary services at a special discounted rate on the day of and possibly the week leading up to the event.
· Consider allowing your members to solicit their own businesses during your event.


· Give them an incentive just for showing up.
· Offer another incentive for enrolling.
· Sell membership packages that are different then the norm.

Important reminders.Inspect what you expect with a clear system of checks and balances. Require attendance for all key employees and sales staff. Designate a host or hostess whose main responsibility is to keep track of the prospects. Choose wisely because lost guests equals lost revenue. Pick a money-minded person and think of him or her as an air traffic controller. Require attendance and participation from all independent contractors that drive revenue.

Additional prizes given should be based upon revenue generated through participation, purchasing additional services and referring new members. Confirm everything and everyone the day prior to the party.

The bottom line is that you need to attack every event with this question in mind,” How can this event drive revenue?” While some may argue that you are simply planning an open house, why wouldn’t you turn every event into an open house opportunity? Events generate energy and excitement in any club. When executed successfully, parties and events make members and employees happy and generate revenue for your club.

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