The rules of the “New Year, New You” game have steadily changed in the fitness industry over the last decade. In the old days, we would all hunker down, relax, take time off, vacation and in general relax over the last two months of the year, secure in the knowledge we would rake in members by the thousands as soon as January 1st came along. But as the world of economics and consumerism changed, so did the rules of job change and the rise of the professional millennial.
So, we see several new forces at work, which if understood — and most importantly harnessed — we can have even greater success than ever before.
First, the economics have changed. The budget clubs rose up and began working to enroll fitness-minded consumers in the late fourth quarter, rather than waiting for January each year. The goal was to harness the power of marketing “Black Friday,” “Cyber Monday” and “Holiday Promotions” to capture market share before traditional facilities.
Also, at the new low price points “why wait until we raise prices in the new year when we are so affordable it doesn’t matter if you don’t use your membership until the New Year.” This makes a lot of sense and as a response, you see traditional facilities and even boutiques using the “join now and pay no dues until the New Year” strategy.
It is important to maintain energy and excitement throughout November and December now, as consumers are much more willing to make “New Year type” buying decisions ahead of time if properly motivated.
This also applies to your employees and leadership teams. As the leader goes, so goes the team. It is important to maintain excitement now with your team going into the holiday season. There is a natural tendency to want to relax or “take a breather” after a tough, long year. But, the opposite is now required. This is the time of year to plan, budget, review, give pay raises where warranted and in general, remind your team why working with you is the best job in the world. Many employees now see the holidays as an opportunity to resign, take a few weeks to relax and spend with family — and then start a new job after the holidays.
As important as gearing up to capture your market share is, so is keeping your team at full throttle. Remind them that they should be thankful for the opportunity they have with you, as well as looking forward to exciting changes for them with your company in the New Year.
Rachel Ricks is the regional director for Orangetheory Tampa Bay.