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The weeks leading up to the official start of summer are critical for all program directors and operators. Attendance overall takes the biggest dive during the summer months, and while you cannot blame your members for heading outdoors, you really should think about ways to manage this risk. If you have a solid game plan for the summer months ahead, you will see success in one way or another.
Reduce costs. Plan for a decrease in participation and re-align your expenses so that you are not spending money foolishly. If you do not want to get creative with outdoor programming, then you may wish to simply reduce the number of classes you offer. This is a quick way to save money.
If you know what your lowest performing classes are today, then you can bet these are going to be the classes that further decline in the summertime. Invest your money and instructors in the classes that remain strong throughout the summer. Be prepared to move your best instructors to these top-performing time slots. Be confident members will adjust their schedules to follow strong instructors.
Get creative with classes and programs. Plan to introduce an outdoor program like an outdoor boot camp, yoga, running, walking or hiking program. If you do not have the ability to take your programming outdoors, then bring the most popular outdoors sports and recreation activities indoors. “Stay Fit For Golf” is a great example. If you create a 30-minute conditioning class specific to helping golfers stay fit and injury free, you will attract them.
Schedule theme classes and “in-club” events. Remember, other businesses in your community suffer the same risk for loss of business during the summer. Collaborate with local owners to bring special events and services into your club. Start a “Count Down to Summer” (June 21st) with an incentive program that gets your members working out in June. Members who have engaged in your challenge and participate in your in-club community events will be less likely to leave you when summer does roll around.
Mo Hagan is vice president of program innovation for GoodLife Fitness and canfitpro. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.