Programming through the holiday season brings about mixed emotions for program directors. Naturally some would assume that group fitness and overall participation will decline at this time of the year, and while the stakes are high for member attrition, December is a crucial time to connect, engage and influence members to maintain as normal a routine as possible.
What you do this month with your schedule and events may positively or negatively impact participation. I have seen two different approaches to programming and they both work.
The first approach is to maintain the schedule, and the second is to reduce the number of classes and programs. It all comes down to how you lead, manage and influence your members.
Decide what is best for your business by analyzing the pros and cons to both. Downsizing or changing your schedules will potentially disrupt your member’s routine. While it may be for only a short time, it could make it more difficult for your members to get back into the gym starting the New Year.
Instead of reducing your schedule, I would encourage you to look at where the holidays are on the calendar and decide how you can work around these days. With Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve landing on Sundays, it is likely that members will treat both weekends as “long weekends” and carry the celebrations into Monday.
Manage the schedule Monday through Friday as you would normally, trimming here and there, and create festive holiday classes and special events over both these holiday weekends.
Remember, it is not how many classes or special programs you offer, but what you offer that will make the difference.
No matter what you decide to do, inform your members early so they can make fitness a joyous part of their holiday season. Plan well, and you’ll reap the benefits in 2017.
Mo Hagan is vice president of program innovation for GoodLife Fitness and canfitpro. Email her at email@example.com.