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Customer Retention

6 Ways to Increase Gym Retention in the Summer

Sales and attendance at fitness studios can go down in the summer. Here's how to increase gym member retention and boost group fitness classes in the summer.

August 12, 2021

The longer days and warmer temperatures of Summer can lure gym members outdoors, creating a noticeable drop off in sales and attendance at fitness studios. The good news is, there are ways to combat this seasonal slump and increase gym member retention and boost group fitness class size in the Summer.

Here are 6 Ways to Increase Gym Retention in the Summer:

1. Host Outdoor Classes and Bootcamps

Make the most of your customer’s natural desire to spend more time outdoors as the days get longer by hosting high-visibility group fitness classes and boot-camp-style workout sessions at local parks. You can integrate these classes into your regular fitness class schedule and allow members to book online using your fitness business software.

If you’re experiencing reduced enrollment in a specific class time, for example, weekday early evening or weekend afternoon group fitness classes, it might be a good idea to move these outdoors. Early mornings are another popular time for in-the-park boot-camp sessions.

2. Create Summer-Only Special Events

Give your customers the opportunity to choose a healthy alternative to happy hour drinks after work with rooftop yoga or dance at a local restaurant, or schedule a class with a group gathering afterward like “taco Tuesday nights” or a Saturday morning workout + coffee break.

Host a 5K family-friendly fun run, bike or hike event. Put together a mini-triathlon and partner with other local health and fitness businesses to co-promote the event.

3. Create Challenges and Competitions

Give your customers an incentive to stick with their fitness routine even in Summer slow months by launching a challenge designed to pay off big time. Four, six or eight week challenges are fantastic community builders that offer your customers a way to make like-minded friends, have fun and get super fit.

Consider creating a team-based competition to really boost comradery and the spirit of being in it together – one of the best ways to keep your gym members engaged and committed.

Offer prizes designed to boost retention like discounted class passes or special event registrations. Give away branded merchandise like t-shirts and water bottles.

Include a social media element so your customers can encourage and motivate each other and celebrate their accomplishments publicly.

4. Offer Special Discounted Pricing

Summer sizzler deals can make the difference when a customer is weighing whether or not to put their membership on hold.

The key to attracting sales is to create FOMO and a sense of urgency so be sure to promote your Summer special for a limited time only. Summer is also a great time to offer two-for-one fitness classes or day-use drop ins. Bring-a-friend specials can encourage word of mouth referrals and boost fitness class enrollment.

Use your Punchpass software to create a custom discount code to give a percent or dollar amount discount off a regular class pass, or create an entirely new offer, like a three-month unlimited pass, or one month August “dog days” of Summer special. 

5. Partner with another Local Business

If you’re a small boutique studio, consider offering a joint membership with a larger club that offers a Summer time perk that you don’t, like a pool. One way to set this up is by mutually offering each other’s customers a percent discount on passes or short-term memberships.

You can create a similarly structured punch card discount program with a local healthy eatery or juice bar, or a massage or other holistic health practice. Often these partnerships turn into long-term referral sources.

6. Host a BBQ or Beach Party

What better way to show your dedicated fitness members that you care than to throw them a Summer party in a beautiful local location. Again, take advantage of the opportunity for public brand visibility by marking your gathering with banners, flags and signs. Your customers will love the chance to rub shoulders with their favorite instructors and to get to know other gym members.

Using a fitness business software platform like Punchpass gives you the flexibility to open your outdoor event to online pre-registration (even if the event is free) so you’ll know how large a group to plan for.