Member Appreciation events are great opportunities to show your members just what their title implies – that you appreciate their patronage. However, what should hosting such an event entail?
The GYM in New Jersey makes Member Appreciation events an affair. In the spring, the club hosted a “Kick Off to Summer” party at a nearby venue that featured a DJ, buffet dinner and cash bar. Members were invited to bring guests for a night of dancing and fun.
“We ended up having over 100 people there,” said Nurit Chasman, the group exercise director for The GYM.
According to Chasman, the event was a smashing success. “People were dancing till midnight on a weeknight,” she said. “Everyone was really socializing and hanging out together, which is such a great vibe.”
Chasman explained holding the event off-site, versus at The GYM, was key to hosting a successful party. “[Members] knew they were going to some place that was fun and exciting,” she said. “It’s just so good to see people dressed up and not in their gym clothing. Everyone was happy to go out.”
Another key was promoting the event two months prior. “We put out the flyer a month or two before, had a poster made up and instructors promoted it in classes and on social media as well,” explained Chasman.
Although hosting Member Appreciation events are an added bonus to members, they can be beneficial to the clubs that host them as well. By allowing members to bring guests, The GYM was able to collect guests’ contact information, which could then be used at a later date. In order to collect contact information, The GYM raffled off gifts such as personal training sessions and massages.
To increase exposure to potential prospects, The GYM partnered with a local salon to host the party. “That way we opened it up to more people,” explained Chasman. “People know about their salon, they know about our members — I thought that was a nice thing to get more people to come.”
In addition, the party provided opportunities for trainers to mingle with members, who could potentially become clients. “It was fun to see the trainers, members and instructors mingling and having a really nice time,” said Chasman.
Ultimately, Member Appreciation events provide members with more buy-in to the club. “To me, hosting these events are so members feel it’s not just a gym,” said Chasman. “It’s important for them to have a connection to the gym without just the workout. They want an emotional, social connection.”
Although Chasman said the “Kick Off to Summer” party was a smashing success, one thing she would change is gathering a more accurate count of how many people were likely to attend. She suggested clubs create a Facebook event and collect RSVPs that way.
Overall, Chasman said Member Appreciation events are fun for both members and staff. “We post the pictures after the party, and people love to see themselves dressed up in a different light,” she said. “To me it’s all about ‘not just a gym’ and making it so much more.”
By Rachel Zabonick