Summer Slowdown — Or is It?

Summer is that time of year when some clubs see a decrease in usage. With the warm weather and opening of pools, many take to the streets for bike rides, use daily activities such as cutting lawns as replacements for exercise, or they’re simply away and that becomes the excuse.

If your club has an aquatics center that can serve as an outdoor venue, you’re probably entering your busiest time of year. With summer camps, weekend events and member socials, your pools serve as the “third place.” If you’re that lucky, fuel the fire with events like ice cream socials, family fun days (offer water balloon games, corn hole and bocce ball, etc.), food and beverage services, and summer camps — make sure to include before and after care.

If you’re a club that doesn’t offer these services, don’t despair — there are plenty of reasons to be at your clubs. They just require some creativity and imagination.

The goal over the summer is to have members continue to use the club and keep gains so when fall hits, it’s not like starting all over. Below is a list of activities you should be doing to keep your members coming. Remember to feed their emotional reasons for coming, and keep in mind WIIFM: “What’s in it for me?” Try these simple ideas:

  • Create a fun usage challenge — get a certain number of workouts in or achieve a goal.
  • Offer new classes that are only there for summer.
  • Do some outside the box things, like hosting movie nights in the parking lot for families.
  • If you have a rewards program, increase usage points over the summer.
  • Hold a staff challenge.
  • Encourage your team to help brainstorm ideas. Map out the member journey and see what happens over the summer.

The key to retention is it’s a year-round focus that must be planned and incorporated into every season — not just when clubs are slow. That plan should be thorough and as focused as your sales one.

Mark Miller is the COO of Merritt Clubs.

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