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Four Ways to Reduce Gym Member Turnover This Summer

Preventing summer gym member churn

Summertime is, historically, a “slump” time for gyms and health clubs. New Year resolutions are losing steam, students are on summer break, outdoor-loving members have an itch to break a sweat outside, and many people want to travel, which may deter them from joining the gym. All these factors add up to changing account statuses during the summertime, and put into focus why your club should have a plan for how to reduce gym member turnover and membership churn.

gym membership trends

Ultimately, the summer downturn means that gyms typically experience decreased revenue and higher member churn (or turnover). However, it is uncertain how COVID-related lockdowns and reopenings will impact this summer. With the normal January surge actually happening closer to March for many clubs, it’s also possible the fitness industry may not experience the same seasonal dip as in years past.

Regardless, it’s important to plan ahead and anticipate potential member churn. We’ve put together four essential things your club should prioritize before the summer season begins. Let’s take a look.

1. Retaining as many of your current gym members as possible.

In order to reduce gym member turnover, one of the first things you should do is focus on keeping as many current gym members as you can. That means you’ll need to put some extra thought into your marketing and sales strategies for the summer. Be ready to stay agile as you pay attention to what your members are responding to.

Here are a few strategies you can use to retain members at your gym during the summer:

  • Focus on digital member engagement. Whether you’re ramping up a summer social media marketing campaign, extending offers via email marketing, or connecting with members via a mobile app, make digital part of your strategy. Digital member engagement helps keep your brand top-of-mind with your members, even when they’re away from the gym.
  • Offer member-only incentives for summer gym visits. Consider tracking your gym members’ attendance and offering incentives once they attend a specific number of days in a month. Maybe they receive a discount code, free product, or free personal training or recovery session.
  • Encourage members taking a break to freeze, rather than cancel, their memberships. Emphasize how easy it is for your staff to initiate and lift a freeze to give members peace of mind that their memberships can be seamlessly reactivated. Consider making your members aware of this option via your marketing channels.

2. Offering seasonal events and programs to build a sense of scarcity.

Seasonal events and programs create a sense of scarcity and fear of missing out (FOMO), so leverage this as you build out your summer events. Limited summer programs will draw current and new members who want to be involved in something special during the holiday.

Hold challenges, races, and events your members can get excited about. Setting up fitness challenges, friendly competition, and trackable milestones for your members is a great way to keep them engaged and involved in your gym.

Here are a few ideas for your summer offerings, depending on what works best for your offerings and location:

  • Swimming lessons
  • Beach volleyball
  • Kayaking or canoeing
  • Dragon boat teams
  • Archery, ultimate frisbee
  • Outdoor group fitness classes, such as hiking, yoga, Tai Chi, and more

3. Attracting new members to your health club or gym.

Leverage your summer incentives to draw new members to your gym. Summer is a great time to test out new tactics for bringing in new leads and closing sales. It’s also a time when you may want to focus on filling in short-term revenue gaps during the slump.

To do this, you could offer short-term contracts to new members who may be on break from college or only in town for a short time. Alternatively if you’re able to offer a month-to-month model, you may be able to capture more of these transient potential members.

It’s also important to incentivize new member joins with bring-a-friend campaigns or referral rewards for both parties. While you don’t want to drop your rates, it’s a good idea to offer access to freebies or upsell services for the member and their friend..

4. Establishing additional streams of income.

Having multiple streams of income is a good idea for any business. During the summer, though, extra income streams could be a major windfall if business slows down. As you move into the summer months, think about non-membership ways you can bring more income to your gym.

This list will jump-start your brainstorm:

  • Upgraded classes
  • Encourage members to buy in to existing upsells
  • Create new upsells, such as recovery services
  • Promote your personal trainers’ services and group fitness classes
  • Integrate a mobile fitness and habit-tracking app like ABC+

Let members take your gym on summer vacation!

Integrating your gym into your members’ summer vacation is part of building a Total Fitness Experience that’s tailored to each individual. Our newest app solution, ABC+, is a great way for your members to take the gym with them wherever they are. ABC+ takes digital member engagement to a whole new level, delivering incredibly personalized reports, motivation, and habit tracking for your members. It’s also custom branded to your club and integrates natively with our club management software for a seamless member experience, a win-win for health clubs looking for an easy-to-integrate solution.

Want to know more? Get more details about the new ABC+ here.