I’ve occasionally had some casual inquiries about adding the ability to manage time-limited part-time customers to Gym Insight. That means time selective memberships that use your gym when you have excess capacity, the quiet times of low attendance that comes from the natural ebb and flow of membership demand. I haven’t fully written the code to support this yet but, if there’s serious interest in the health club community, I would be happy to consider adding an update or expansion module.
The Off Peak Trial Period Membership
For the kind of offer I’m talking about, here you need a connection that distributes promotional memberships. Use your network of contacts to team up with a local business. Examples could be large item retailers such as car sales, large appliances sales, or high-end clothing sales. Give your partner an agreed quantity of "tickets" for, say, six-month period of off peak memberships at a nominal price. This could be one hundred for a dollar or a thousand; it depends on your needs and capacity.
The key to this method is that you entice as many potential members as possible to join after the end of the limited period. But even while they’re still in the promotional period you have an opportunity to market services such as training, classes, sports nutrition and other merchandise to these new members. It really needs to be treated as an opportunity to connect with and educate people. Prospective new members who might not otherwise join your gym get the chance to discover that they enjoy it and get some real benefits.
This may help to overcome some of the assumptions and prejudices of non-members and show how they could enjoy fitness. The essential feature is that it has to be for periods that you are able to handle the capacity, without extra cost, such as late night or early mornings on weekdays. You get potential members and the retailer partner gets to give out a bonus that helps to sell their product. Done right this should generate good will all around.
*What do you think you can do with an idea like this? Let me know in the comments section.
The Potential Drawbacks
If you’re running 24/7 and have self serve or remotely manned periods these should not be included in this kind of promotion. You need to have someone in house to guide these potential customers onto the paying memberships that will make it all worth it.
If you can, run it with a partner that brings in customers who aren’t price sensitive, just hadn’t found the time to join a gym or who are members in competing gyms. It might work much better than if the partner provides people who only attend when free and don’t take a full membership at the end.
Another risk is that you’ll get few new customers and members that like to work out at the quiet times will be offended and go elsewhere. More people in at any one time are bad if it means that you lose paying customers.
Don’t Do It Like These Guys!
It could be argued that group coupon programs that negotiate massive discounts with retailers like Groupon gave the promise that these customers would return as happy full price customers. It looks like that hasn’t panned out really well as customers just skipped from one group discount to another without settling as loyal customers paying profitable prices in any one place.
That’s pretty much the opposite of what discount promotions were meant to achieve.
Partner with a local business to give out off peak memberships to help everybody. Your partners will get a great sales tool, you will get some prospects that can be marketed to, and the customers get a discount. Don’t let it get out of control or miss the opportunity to up-sell to your new members. To support it you need to have some quiet times of excess capacity and a network of local business contacts that might be interesting being your partners.
Opinions in the comments section please: Should I add Gym Insight software support for part-time memberships?
*I haven’t yet added functionality that can monitor part time memberships. If there is enthusiasm for supporting this kind of functionality in the software system I can definitely add a module to manage it. I would be more than happy to consider building this kind of application if our clients are seriously interested. Let me know what you think.
Over to you:
Have you had any member loyalty success from Groupon?
What are your thoughts on off peak promotions?