Back to “Busyness” – Best Practices to Handle Member Return
It’s called March Madness for a reason. But we’re not talking about basketball. The last month has seen a reportedly dramatic uptick in members returning to in-club workouts, instructor-led classes and everything else that their gyms offer. As clubs look to adjust their staffing and schedules while working within (hopefully post) pandemic protocols, here are some simple suggestions to manage the surge and stay organized as 2021 continues to bring the fitness industry roaring back.
Lock in Hybrid Habits
2020 gave us the hybrid club model: an on-again-off-again in person club experience paired with the ultimate convenience of streaming fitness content in our homes. Experts say that’s here to stay, with members being recalibrated to expect a seamless fitness experience that goes where they go. As clubs transition post pandemic, operators are looking for ways to, not only capitalize on positive member reaction to streaming, in-home content, but to maintain and build on the many opportunities a mobile, “always-on” model offers to engage members with their club brands on a more 24-7 basis. As you look ahead and plan member engagement, be sure to use specific in-club signage, regular app updates and direct email or newsletter content on a weekly basis to ensure members know that the convenience of streaming content on the go or to their home workout spaces isn’t going away anytime soon.
Blend Digital and Physical Classes to Manage Member Surge
Class sizes remain smaller for now. Studios that once booked 24 members into a single session are maxed out at 12 in many clubs and locations. And members are reacting positively to the increased space to perform complex techniques or connect more directly with their instructors. To maintain the happy medium of quality and quantity in-studio, find ways to blend both physical instructor-classes and digital experiences. Instructors can physically remind class participants that online classes, technique tune-ups and other appropriate workouts for building strength, balance and endurance are all available online and on-demand. Make sure to promote digital classes, virtual fitness experiences and physical classes to members, highlighting that each are equal and efficient tools to help them reach their fitness goals. Schedule studios too for off-peak HIIT and specialty classes that offer similar or complementary fitness experiences to live classes for members who have less traditional work and workout schedules, and also to ease the strain on instructor class schedules.
Encourage Instructors to Broaden their Reach
The best instructors want to make a real and lasting impact on their class participants. Work with your instructors – and personal trainers too – helping them build digital content into their programs and recommendations for members. For personal trainers that might mean an on-the-floor cardio and free weights weekly program that can be done in-club under their supervision or following an on-demand session or short form exercises streamed in the member’s home workout space. Instructors too, can look for – and recommend to members –stretch, core workout and flexibility content that members can access out of class to continue building strength and technique between live classes, or to substitute for a live class when they can’t make it to the club.
Recognize Member’s Online Efforts
Members like real world, in club connections. Name recognition at check-in, a pat on the back from a trainer and a “well done” while sweating it out in class. So make sure that experience extends to online and on-demand engagements too. Can an instructor and trainer reach out via text or social media with positive reinforcement or share a tip when members are working bout at home? Can you include motivational messaging and content in email and newsletters? Simple things that, incrementally, add to making member experience on par online and on the club floor.