Summer is a time to relax and finally catch up on book lists, BBQs and beach time. It also inspires a huge surge of outdoor activity, as people flock to the sunshine and go on vacations, join sports leagues and generally participate in more outdoor activities than they do throughout the rest of the year.

Sadly, the summer sunshine also means your once-dedicated gym goers start to swap out their fitness for their flip flops — or take their workouts outside — and leave your facility feeling empty. As a result, gym member retention rates often decrease as the weather warms up; but this doesn’t have to be the case! It’s crucial for business owners to take initiative during the summer months by introducing innovative and creative changes to their facility to keep their members around.

Active Entities has compiled some of the best ways to ensure maximum gym member retention, even during the slow summer months:

people working out in a park

1. Introduce Outdoor Workout Classes

One of the biggest reasons why people freeze or cancel their memberships during the summertime is that they want to take advantage of the nice weather and soak up the sun. Encourage summer fitness and give your members the option to stay outside by offering outdoor workouts.

Take your regular workout classes — whether it’s yoga, zumba or endurance drills — to a nearby park, field or grassy area. These outdoor workouts are entirely free to run, require zero equipment to transport from place to place and present a cost-efficient way to keep your members active in the summer.

Take this outdoor initiative as an opportunity to offer your members a new and exciting fitness program by offering weekly boot camp sessions. Keeping to a regular schedule and providing a fun, energetic environment will keep your members motivated and excited to talk about their gym experience to their friends and family.

man getting high fived as he finishes a 5k

2. Host 5K Family Fun Runs

Another option that can always be taken advantage of regardless of what types of outdoor-friendly surroundings are in the immediate area is sponsoring a 5K family fun run. This can even be organized by your facility on a weekly basis to create a healthy habit amongst the more active of your members.

Note that 5K runs should generally be scheduled early in the morning on Saturdays or Sundays to accommodate the majority of your members. Consider making these runs free for all as a way to advertise your facility. Hosting regular fun runs is a great way to encourage word-of-mouth marketing, keep your facility involved in the community and motivate your members.

women participating in a gym challenge

3. Spotlight Your Members and Offer Incentives

In order to create a truly personalized gym experience, you need to show your members how much you care about their fitness journeys and value their patronage. Consider offering incentives to the members who remain most active in your gym — especially during the summer months — to spotlight their hard work and motivate others to attend your facility more frequently. These can include free specialized classes, free branded merchandise and more.

Member spotlights provide a way for the facility to create a feeling of community as members become more familiar with their fellow gym goers. Ask questions to these spotlight members and share the reasons they enjoy coming to the gym during the summer months. This makes the individual members feel recognized, gives other members the opportunity to come together and meet one another and can help promote facility attendance and summer membership rates.

yoga class members

4. Offer and Promote Your Summer Specials

Since summer is considered the slow season, it’s the perfect time to amp up your seasonal promotion efforts. Considering offering discounted rates, free bonus classes or any other special deals that are only available during the summer. Existing and potential members will start to associate the season with these great promotions and feel inclined to take advantage every time they roll around.

Summer promotions could include discounted specialty class passes, personal training sessions, enrolment in summer sports leagues, free branded merchandise and more. Keep in mind that summertime presents the opportunity to attract high school and university students to your facility for part time seasonal memberships. Consider offering student-specific deals to take advantage of this influx of new potential customers.

group enjoying a coffee get together in a park

5. Host Regular Outdoor Community Events

Ultimately, your facility should be more than just a space for exercise; it should create a sense of belonging and togetherness for your members. Remain a relevant and actively involved member of the community by hosting outdoor events and inviting the whole neighbourhood. Whether it’s a BBQ, a “meet and greet” social, a bake sale or an organized group hike, this kind of inclusive event urges local residents to associate your gym with the feeling of community.

When hosting these events, remember to utilize relevant social media platforms, posting photos, videos and more to promote the event and market your facility.

people running on treadmills

Wrap-Up

These unique tips are just a few of the many business management solutions you can implement to ensure your member retention remains high during the slow summer months. As a result of these efforts, you won’t just reap the benefits of an increased summer profit, you’ll also enjoy greater growth in the ensuing fall and winter months and throughout the year.

Celebrate this summer with a steady member retention rate and contribute to a thriving fitness community.

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