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Power in Numbers: Courses Motivate Members, Drive Revenue


It isn’t surprising that group fitness makes people feel good. Research has long shown the power of support groups — and fitness is no exception.

A study on group exercise in the Journal of Social Sciences showed that participants “gravitate on the behavior of those around them,” with mood and energy levels affected by the group environment. In other words, when your members feel good about a course, they will want to go back. 

The opportunity to engage in commitment-based courses gives members another reason to go to the gym and more motivation to hit their goals.

Not Just Your Average Gym Class

For members, courses provide the camaraderie they need to reach their wellness goals. It’s a ritual of sorts that keeps them coming back to the gym. The same is true for staff, who are motivated by the long-term results of their course participants. 

Unlike regular group fitness classes, courses require a level of commitment from members, trainers and operators. These regular sessions consist of the same people working toward similar goals — like marathon training or weight loss challenges. 

For operators, courses are a revenue generator. Members typically make an up-front financial commitment for the duration of the course, which opens up the opportunity to spend more time — and money — in the gym.

Where to Start

Before you set up a course, keep your eyes and ears open to what members are talking about. Is there a big marathon coming up in town six months from now? Are moms begging for postpartum workout groups? Is there a need for summer camps in your community? Start with a few courses, and build on their success. 

An organized registration process and billing system are just as important as a great trainer and equipment. This is often overlooked by operators, who are focused on giving members the best experience during the course.

Keep in mind the member experience starts when they sign up. Create a system that can easily set up and manage courses, skill-tracking and graduation to more advanced courses. Ensure members can easily sign up to continue course plans, and charge them together with their recurring membership.

If a member is frustrated by complex forms and billing issues, they won’t take your course — no matter how great the trainer is. Automating course registration, billing and booking will make life much easier for you as an operator, your staff and your members.

Karl Koutroupas is the vice president of strategy and customer insights at Exerp. Reach him at kko@exerp.com or visit exerp.com.


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