As any fitness consultant could tell you, the new year is a time for new beginnings and subsequently, the influx of new gym members. Yes, about 12 percent of all new membership sign-ups occur in January, but to get the most amount of new joiners at your gym in the new year, it’s crucial to promote your facility ahead of time.

After all, gym attendance can be seriously lacking at the start of winter, when regular gym goers start to feel the chill of November and begin to hibernate in their homes. The cold weather can make people feel lazy and unmotivated, and many members opt to stay cozy indoors rather than trek outside to make it to the gym. Plus, the snow and ice can make for longer commute times and more dangerous driving conditions that most people want to avoid.

So, how can you encourage new members — along with your existing members, of course — to show up in November and December? We’ve compiled some of our top tips on how to keep your fitness facility busy during hibernation season and prepare for the new year.

piggy bank with santa hat for holiday gym discounts

1. Promote Holiday-Themed Gym Membership Discounts

Even though November marks the return of the cold weather, it also brings with it the excitement of the holidays! Get into the holiday spirit by promoting creative holiday-themed discounts for your members.

In some cases, it can seem desperate when businesses lower their prices without reason, so make sure to remain strategic. Consider using Black Friday as your first excuse to offer some kind of discount or promotion. Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year and consumers expect major savings. Since it’s universally acceptable to offer discounts on this day, doing so won’t devalue your brand and will instead entice new members to join.

Another great way to boost your gym attendance rates during the chilly season is to promote the month of December as a ‘Holiday Hoopla’! In December, people are typically so busy preparing for the holidays that they tend to neglect their fitness routines.

By offering a free month promotion in December, prospective gym members who aren’t sure about purchasing a gym membership will feel less apprehensive about signing up and be more inclined to hit the gym in general. What’s more, you’ll start the new year with a fresh group of customers who have already been exposed to how great your facility is.

2. Create Holiday-Themed Indoor Workouts

As well as being a great excuse to offer promotions, the winter holidays are also the perfect opportunity to add a fun theme to your workout programs! Seasonal workouts are a great way to appeal to your gym-goers and draw in new members who love to show their holiday cheer. How can you make your circuits more Yuletide-friendly in November and December? Here are just a few examples:

  • Blast fun, upbeat holiday music during your group training sessions.
  • Have your instructors wear Santa hats, cozy winter scarves or even elf costumes (if they’re willing!).
  • Use props related to the holidays to run workouts. For instance, during cardio sessions, gym members could sprint around colourful gift-wrapped boxes or skip with a candy cane jump rope. This is your chance to get creative!
  • End your workout circuits with a small holiday social. Consider serving healthy, holiday-themed snacks and give everyone a stocking stuffer or holiday gift such as a coupon to your gym’s snack bar.
women enjoying a relaxing sauna

3. Advertise Your Sauna Facilities or Hot Tub (If Applicable)

As much as we love the holidays, there are times when we want to escape the winter chill! Though this top tip won’t apply to every fitness facility, promoting saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs in the winter can entice members back to your gym to get cozy.

As well, advertising these services can attract people who may not be interested in joining a fitness facility otherwise. Once these people become your customers, they may give other offerings a try, or even recommend your gym to their friends and family members.

2 women high five each other as new year turns

4. Promote an “Early New Year’s Resolution” Program

In the U.S., around 60 percent of adults make one or more New Year’s resolutions each year, yet fewer than 10 percent of those resolutions actually succeed.

One way to strengthen a New Year’s resolution is to get a head start. Since people tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves come the morning of January 1st, the stress of meeting such strict, sudden new goals can tend to interfere with their success.

However, by getting a kickstart in December, people are much likelier to ease into a new fitness regime, starting with gentle exercises and gradually increasing their sets and reps. By the time January rolls around, their workouts are well underway; they can feel good about their progress and look forward to even greater results.

With this in mind, plan the launch of a “Resolutions in December” campaign — one with special deals and fitness classes — that promote the benefits of starting resolutions early. Use your social media pages to explain the perks of making an early New Year’s resolution.

beautiful holiday cookie ornaments

5. Decorate Your Fitness Facility

And last but not least, don’t be shy about decorating your gym to the fullest this holiday season. Holiday decorations that are fun and inclusive can make new members feel at home and encourage them to return. As well, colourful decorations will look fabulous on your social media pages, earning plenty of likes and shares from your followers. They might even make your gym a more fun place for your employees to work, lifting their spirits throughout the day.

Holiday decorations can also point people’s attention in certain directions. For instance, if you recently bought a new fitness machine, hang lights near it. That way, members will notice it more easily. Turn your facility into a winter solstice this holiday season with paper snowflakes, twinkly lights, mistletoe, ivy leaves and more!

Wrapping it up

In the end, the early winter months don’t have to be the slow season for obtaining gym membership sign-ups or keeping your facility busy. Instead, draw up a seasonal gym business plan that’s full of creative promotions, strategic discount offerings and fun, inclusive decorations. Your fitness center is sure to stay packed this December, even when the weather outside is frightful.

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