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Capitalizing on New Joiner High Season

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New Joiner

Sean Turner shares why it’s important to create a seamless experience for your members, especially during the new joiner high season.

The seasonality of clubs and facilities seems to have disappeared over the past 18-plus months, which has made planning ahead quite the headache for operators across the country. However, according to the 2021 Global Consumer Survey, 50% of consumers are focusing more on their physical and mental well-being this year. Additionally, 82% of consumers regularly exercise — or soon plan to — while 75% of this group do gym-type activities1. These statistics, combined with the lower restrictions and the surge commonly seen this time of year gives the fitness industry a glimpse of normality. We’re now in the midst of what would typically be considered “high season” of new members joining in September and even what we might expect in January.

The live revival is here and members are craving the sociability of working out with others. In fact, two thirds of gym members say they prefer to work out with others and 85% of gym members say they’re interested in trying live classes1. Live group fitness classes are the most motivating type of exercise and should remain the pinnacle experience. Because of this, group exercise participants are your most loyal members, recommending their gym to 18% more people than gym-only members2.

However while operators are busy building back their live offerings, we also know that 80% of gym members plan to continue using digital workouts post-pandemic. The majority of consumers favor a 60:40 split between gym and at-home workouts, highlighting that live is preferred but digital will continue to be a necessary offering1.

Given that both live and digital should be integrated into your club strategy to successfully retain this surge of newcomers, how do you as an operator best evaluate your highest return on investment? The most important factor in ensuring success in this new high season is making sure everything you offer digitally is aligned to your live programming. 

This means as you continue pointing members to live group fitness offerings, allow your digital offerings to support. By offering the same programming across your live and digital platforms, whether that’s in-club virtual classes, at-home live streaming or on-demand options, it favors flexibility and growth. Your new-to-fitness members will love the flexibility to try digital classes as they build up confidence, but the 360-degree programming provides a journey for their growth into live classes. At the same time, your veteran front-rowers are able to do their favorite live classes at home, giving your brand even deeper loyalty — no matter if members are in your facility or not.

Creating a seamless experience for your members wherever they decide to exercise will allow you to move faster as a business, engage more members across all fitness levels and provide the ultimate workout experience.

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Sean Turner

Sean Turner is the CEO of Les Mills U.S. Sean has held positions leading operations, sales and marketing in the fitness industry and founded Odyssey Network, a boutique soft skills development company based in Europe. He has a passion for surfing and the outdoors, grew up in South Africa and now lives in Chicago with his family. Visit lesmills.com.

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