Whilst a large percentage of people have said that they’ll never go back to their gym after lockdown, there is still a substantial number that are keen to return to their old fitness routine, but perhaps need a little encouragement and reassurance to make the first move.
Fitness establishments worked really hard to make sure they’re COVID-safe ahead of the partial reopening in April and are desperate to welcome clients back, especially as exercise is something identified as being essential for our physical health and wellbeing.
Whilst some people took up running or invested in-home exercise equipment, for others, there’s no substitute for the space, the group motivation and the camaraderie they get at the gym. But some clients are still apprehensive about the new procedures and limitations they must adhere to so it’s important to offer a large dose of reassurance and encouragement.
The fitness industry was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic but with some ingenuity and innovation, it will bounce back. Gyms that have a strong community need to consolidate their brand and differentiate it from the increasingly sophisticated digital online offering.
CRM’s Health & Fitness expert, Emma Bullock has a few more strategies for fitness providers to think about in order to entice more customers through the doors:
- Keep communicating
In times of uncertainty, everyone needs to know what’s going on and how you’ll support them. Make sure your lines of communication, through email, text, mobile apps and social media, are all fired up with weekly updates and motivational tips. Keep the local media informed of your opening progress and use welcoming videos to showcase your facility, especially how you comply with new hygiene regulations. The pandemic will have hit other businesses in your location just as hard, so make sure you know about one another’s services and make offers to each other’s employees.
- Keep members accountable
Your members will have a different mindset as they return. They will be facing different challenges in their lives and their fitness goals will probably have shifted too. This is a good opportunity to reconnect with your clients and set them new, more relevant goals to work towards. This adds value to their membership and provides accountability for the future.
- Keep an eye on pricing
If your members have supported you online through the pandemic, now is the time to reward their loyalty with pre-paid or discounted packages. Investing in their health and fitness is a priority for many but pockets have also been hard hit in the past year so a promotion or deal will incentivise current clients to return and new clients to try out your facility.
- Keep flexibility
As has been very well demonstrated in the past year, the only certainty is uncertainty. Things can change again, so try to be adaptable to the circumstances and your clients’ needs. For instance, waive cancellation fees, have flexible opening times and maintain an online fitness offering to provide exercise whenever they need it.
- Keep a strong retail presence
Do you have an online and physical retail facility to sell branded merchandise, endorsed equipment and kit? Your members might be keen to upgrade their workout wardrobe when they return to the gym and those that aren’t returning can enjoy the same items at home.
After an extremely challenging period for the health and fitness sector, now is the time to capitalise on the enthusiasm for reopening and welcome customers back with (socially distanced) open arms! The next few months are about balancing the high demand from keen gym-goers with encouragement for the more reluctant.
If you’d like to talk through your strategy for success with CRM’s health and fitness financial expert, Emma, please get in touch on 01865 379272.