After a challenging few months for the fitness industry, we are at last experiencing some light at the end of the tunnel. With Victoria re-opening health and fitness facilities earlier this week, all Australian state and territory governments are now allowing people back in the doors of our fitness centres. And while gyms and fitness centres will be required to follow specific rules and regulations, this is a very exciting and welcomed arrangement for the 4 million gym users and 35,000 exercise professionals across the country.
Fitness Australia’s consumer survey conducted in early May found that people were incredibly eager to return to the gym, with 85% of people planning to renew or maintain their membership once gyms reopen. Of those who will not renew or maintain a gym membership immediately, 30% are likely to renew within 3 months of facilities re-opening.
With a high demand for recommencement of physical activity evident, we can now start to look at how businesses and Personal Trainers can capitalise on the re-opening of facilities. A plan to encourage current clients to return to training should be put in place, and strategies to entice new clients to come in for the first time should be optimised.
Here are some tips on how to welcome back clients and kickstart your business post Covid-19:
1. Get in Touch With Your Clients
If you are yet to do so, be sure to get in touch with your current clients to let them know you are re-opening and are ready to welcome them back. Send them an email, write them a text, or give them a call – make sure you get the word out there using your preferred communication channel. Give your clients something to look forward to and the chance to plan their schedules accordingly by contacting them as soon as possible. Details you might like to provide them with include:
- When you’re re-opening
- If and how you’re modifying your schedule
- Any welcome back promotions
- Updates to pricing
- Any new products or challenges available
2. Get Active on Socials
As well as getting in contact with your existing clients personally, get active on your social channels and let your followers and the wider community know you have re-opened. Having a presence on social media will keep your business front of mind and will hopefully trigger clients to act and book in a session. Some examples of posts you may like to get out there include:
- Record a welcome back video
- Tour your gym space on camera
- Share how you’re keeping the area as safe and healthy as possible
- Share photos/videos of clients returning to training
- Showcase any new and improved changes you’ve made (e.g. new equipment, updated floor plan, new staff members)
3. Create a Challenge
With the majority of people having access to little or no fitness equipment or services over the past few months, many clients will be extremely excited to get back into routine and build their fitness levels back up. On the other hand, some may be faced with hesitancies about getting back into the gym and be worried about the time they’ve had off training.
For those that may be lacking some motivation or need a little extra push to get going, why not get everyone back into the swing of things by creating a fitness challenge! You can make them as extravagant or as simple as you like – as long as it gets everyone’s competitive juices flowing and helps motivate your clients to succeed.
4. Offer a Special Deal or Promotion
It’s no secret that many people have taken a financial hit over the last few months. And while investing in health and fitness is a clear priority for the majority of the population, offering a deal or promotion during this time will no doubt incentivise current clients to come back and pay for your services and new clients to try you for the first time.
It’s also a good idea to review your pricing structure overall. Have you been planning on updating your prices but haven’t got around to it? Have you added new virtual services that will be priced differently than in-person services? If you’ve been thinking about making any changes, now is the perfect time to implement them for your business going forward.
Some examples of how you might contact your database could be:
For new clients – “We’re back in action and can’t wait to welcome you into our studio! To celebrate, we’ve extended our introductory offer: For a limited time, enjoy six weeks of unlimited classes (previously one month) for just $60!”
For current clients – “As a special welcome-back offer, we’re offering our virtual only membership for just $20 for the first 3 months! Or, add it onto your existing membership for an additional $10 for your first 3 months.”
5. Be Flexible & Adaptable
One of the biggest things to remember in the current climate is that things can change quickly and without much notice. It is therefore important to remain flexible and agile in your approach, and be understanding of your client’s wants and needs. Keep in mind that their expectations and priorities may have changed since they last visited and you may have to adjust some things to better meet where they are mentally and emotionally.
Some examples of this may include:
- Waiving cancellation fees. Your client (or one of their family members) may fall ill or have something come up in the 24 hours before your session – giving them flexibility to change or re-schedule without a fee may encourage them book in a session without hesitation
- Offer your services at different times of the day – with more people either working from home or being stood down from work, people may want to train at different times of the day. Having flexible opening hours will help accommodate this
- Continue to offer online sessions – some clients may not be comfortable to come back face to face just yet, so maintaining online sessions will cater for these people and ensure you aren’t losing any potential income
- Be understanding of any barriers and accommodate these – if clients are concerned about getting back into the gym, try and help them through their concerns and make any changes as required