Beating the Holiday Membership Blues

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  • Beating the Holiday Membership Blues

Pre-Sales Fill The VoidMeasuring tape shaped like a Christmas Tree and "Merry Christmas" greeting

In the lead up to the Christmas holiday, members and prospective gym members have their thoughts elsewhere. This always means less foot traffic into gyms and fewer inquiries for memberships. So, you need some sort of seasonal boost to your small gym’s revenue stream. The bills still come in, of course, and your staff needs to have something to keep them motivated and sharp. You don’t want your trainers looking elsewhere for income and making connections that may lead them away. You can’t afford resignations, right as you need your trainers the most, when the members hit the floor in the New Year.

Selling discounted memberships, for early enrollment to memberships that start after the new year, is one way to get the business moving again, even just a little boost can help to smooth out that inevitable dip in revenue. It can be a little difficult to squeeze those last few dollars out of the marketing budget.

A promotional offer combined with a small-scale advertising campaign can help move sales along. Even just a signboard or sign spinner could be enough to attract interest. The largest discounts should be reserved for the quietest time of the year leading up to the holiday. But take care with your prices, increases and discounts have to be believable and conservative, otherwise you’ll lose members and revenue.

Spreading Good Cheer With Gift Cards

Selling pre-paid gift cards to the public is an alternative to the hazards of discounting. Gift cards that let buyers pay for the future purchases of family and friends are a great way to generate income. Offering gift cards for sale that can be redeemed at your gym is a great way to get some pre-sales. Members and non-members should be able to use them for classes, trial memberships and, if you stock such things, merchandise like sport gear, nutrition and snacks.

Getting non-members through the door to redeem a prepaid gift card is one of the best types of promotion you can offer. Bringing in non-members should be your number one objective all year round. Once they’re inside you can engage with them to offer classes, memberships and training sessions. If even just a few take a membership it’s a win. The fact that the cards don’t have to be used immediately is also a plus. It means that recipients can come in throughout the year rather than on the first Saturday in January.

Cards can be easily sourced with financial companies that specialize in credit, store and gift cards. I’m always happy to receive these sorts of cards as gifts, even if I don’t always spend every last penny on the account. I have found that offering a line of gift cards at the front desk of my small fitness center has been popular with the family members and partners of people who are hard-core about their training.

Gifts That Feel Like Winning

Gift cards have a feel good factor for everyone. They make it easy for shoppers to buy gifts without actually picking them out. People like to receive them and they are great for business because they bring in cash in advance of delivery. Use your connections with local businesses to negotiate deals where they stock your gift cards on a wholesale basis. It’s like handing out promotional materials such as brochures and business cards. To inspire impulse purchases, a well-designed display might catch the eye and imagination of gift hunters looking for that last minute item.

The business cycle has its ups and downs and as owners and managers we do our best to smooth out the journey. There are bound to be ways to maximize our capacity that I haven’t thought of. I for one will always be looking for that new opportunity that will help to grow the business. Gift cards are something that have had real seasonal success, as friends and family of gym fanatics pounce on them as easy options for presents. They are like business cards and promotional giveaways combined. Isn’t that the definition of a win-win? So I recommend you check them out to ease your gym business into the New Year.

The Team at Gym Insight wishes you a very warm and Merry Christmas!

Over to you…

Have you had any success with gift cards at your fitness business?