Should You Have a Membership Cap?

should you have a membership cap?

Earlier this year, BB Fitness Studios in Austin, Texas announced they only had 100 membership slots remaining before they would hit their cap and begin a waitlist.

General manager Michele Melkerson-Granryd said rebranding the facility to reflect its intimate atmosphere was one of the reasons for the addition of a membership cap to the studio’s policy.

Melkerson-Granryd explained a cap is essentially a promise to current and prospective members that the facility will not allow so many people to join, that they can’t have access to all the things they need and expect at BB Fitness Studios. “Our facility is in a higher-end environment, and one of the things that our members really value about our facility is that they don’t have to wait for equipment,” she explained. “They’re not battling for space here.”

Melkerson-Granryd added a membership cap brings specific attention to that notion. “Because our members value the fact they don’t have to wait in line for equipment, and there’s plenty of space, we felt the cap was important because it reinforced the fact we would continue to offer that.”

Melkerson-Granryd said her club has already seen the effects of the membership cap. Recently, a nearby club closed, and the fact BB Fitness Studios had a cap created urgency for members of the now-closed gym to find a new workout home in the area. “People who were worried that if they didn’t jump on a membership were saying, ‘I better make a move,’” she said. “They were afraid they were going to miss out.”

Even though the club has yet to reach its cap, Melkerson-Granryd said being straight-forward with customers from the beginning is a sure-fire way to avoid any pushback that may occur should someone need to be placed on a waitlist in the future. “We’re letting them know now that we have a cap,” she said. “We may not have reached it yet, but we let them know if you don’t take the opportunity and miss out, we informed you.”

Melkerson-Granryd added membership caps are effective when executed properly, and urged other industry professionals considering implanting a cap at their own facilities to approach them seriously. “The cap is a good idea as long as you honor it,” she said. “If you use it purely as a marketing strategy and then not honor it, I think you’d certainly get some pushback, so you just have to be sure the number you choose is a good one.”

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