Is There A Fitness Retreat In Your Gym Business Future?
Here’s something different to consider offering to your members: Organize a fitness retreat. By this I mean a trip to a resort that is conducive to fitness and travel as a group and deliver a suitable set of fitness classes and activities. What would it take to set up a new part of your business that specializes in traveling with members to distant locations and hold classes and activities with them as paying guests? A retreat can be a service that is very profitable.
Set Up Promotion And Process Bookings For Your Retreat
Taking paying customers on retreats is a very entrepreneurial business. It is similar to event organizing but arguably more challenging. You are going to be the organizer, entertainer, counselor, and fixer. Your success in such adventures depends on the planning as much as the execution. You should start by working out exactly what it is that will appeal to your customers and why they would want to go on a retreat with you.
Wellness and fitness retreats are all well and good but only if you provide an authentic experience. If you make a mess of something as potentially wonderful as a fitness retreat, it’ll damage your brand and your professional reputation. So, let that be a warning to either do it right or don’t do it at all!
With the above in mind, decide what kind of retreat you might wish to host and then work out the numbers for what you can charge and what it’ll cost you to put the package together. One advantage is that you may be able to get significant discounts on such things as accommodation, what will you include in the way of meals and transportation and how will you handle exceptions such as special dietary requirements for individuals.
Assemble A Group With Marketing And Promotion
Being in the position to offer a fitness retreat and convincing members and new customers to participate are two different things. You’re going to have to include marketing as part of your fitness retreat plan. If you decide that it is worth committing to leading a retreat, you’ll need to do some serious background research and then come up with a detailed marketing plan.
Selling a fitness retreat has tremendous potential to go sideways as well as to succeed. So you need to do basic research, and then create a marketing plan, followed by more detailed market research that confirms your plan, modifies it, or leads you to abandon it altogether.
As part of your planning, you are going to determine the minimum and maximum members who can go on the retreat. The minimum is important because it sets the lower limit for which you can get group rates on reservations for such things as accommodation.
So, how do you market something like a retreat? Obviously, you’ll use all of the channels available to you. Ask members when they come in, have information posted around your facility, and use your social media. These methods won’t cost you a lot, but they may take some persistence and selling skills.
Back To The Marketing Basics
If you have any social media presence, and these days you really should, you can get the word out to your Instagram fans, your Facebook feed, Twitter and through your email marketing newsletter. If you create a list of interested members who you pitch in-person, it’s also an excellent tactic to get them onto your mailing list, regardless of whether they ever actually convert into retreat attendees.
For non-members try setting a Facebook add. The social network can target any demographic or location very precisely, and you can turn this to your advantage. Again, you should add anyone who responds to this to your email-marketing list and then target him or her for memberships deals and discounts as well as the retreat.
Members Go To Enjoy But You Go To Work
A fitness retreat may be a great chance for your most dedicated members to enjoy a getaway but remember that you will be on duty while you are at the retreat. Set it up legally with a written contract and have contingencies in case of something serious going wrong while you’re there. As part of your planning, connect with a travel agent or seek out a professional retreat-planning service to help define and organize the event with you.
Organizing fitness retreats is just one way to get creative with the basic small business platform. If it turns out that you can use your gym as a platform on which to build another business you owe it to yourself and the people who depend on you to explore the possibility. If you can earn extra income by hosting fitness retreats or create a new business out of the business model, it’s going to be a trip worth taking.
Coles, Lauren. The Dos and Don’ts of Planning a Wellness Retreat. February 24, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lauren-coles/wellness-retreat_b_6724822.html (accessed November 25, 2016).
Fagan, Lawrence. Email Marketing Essentials For Gyms. August 27, 2013. https://blog.gyminsight.com/1615-email-marketing-essentials-for-gyms/ (accessed November 25, 2016).
Senger, Megan. Profiting From Fitness Retreats. December 10, 2010. http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/profiting-from-fitness-retreats (accessed November 25, 2016).