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In Print The Essentials

Get Off the Bench and Into the Game


It’s common for clubs to look at summer and drop into maintenance mode. We worked hard through the New Year to sell, onboard and get through the crazy resolutions, it’s ok we just need to now get through this slow period. Unless of course you have pools — then you have an entirely different beast on your hands.

For today, let’s pretend we are going to experience the slowdown in our fitness centers as people run, cycle and use yard work as their weekly fitness. So, what options are there? Put a sign up that says “out for vacation?” Just accept it? Or disrupt?

Here are a few ways to disrupt this pattern.

  1. Challenge your members to be in the club. Make it so important to their lives they can’t live without it. Hold socials that start at the club and move to the community. Maybe some games, a barbecue, a slip and slide — just good fun.
  2. Educate. We know HIIT training can produce unbelievable results. So, run free HIIT workouts at your club, and make them team workouts so members are with their friends.
  3. Have a staff challenge. Assign a certain number of members to your staff. Award points for every time those members workout in the club. The team with the most check-ins wins a day off and a fun adventure. Your staff has great influence on members.
  4. Change your mind and change your behaviors. Innovate and be different. Pull indoor cycling bikes out and do classes outside, host pop-up member appreciation days, do a movie night. Create the unexpected, so members have to come to the club to see what will be next.
  5. Lastly, give them a purpose to come for. Maybe it’s picking a charity and using marketing dollars to give back. No marketing, however — your budget dollars will be donated to that charity as long as the members log X usages during the summer. The more they workout, the more the charity gains.


Mark Miller is the COO of Merritt Clubs.

Mark Miller

Mark Miller is the vice president of Merritt Athletic Clubs. For questions on retention, he can be reached at mmiller@merrittclubs.com.

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