Could you increase the revenue potential in virtual fitness by offering a specialized class? Rachel Zabonick-Chonko weighs in based on a recent experience.
During the pandemic, many clubs pivoted to offering virtual fitness classes in lieu of in-person instruction. Post-COVID, many of these virtual offerings remain as an alternative to members who can’t make it to the club or who prefer a hybrid approach.
However, clubs are now asking: Is offering virtual worth the squeeze in time and resources? That depends on how you’re measuring ROI. Are you viewing virtual as a revenue stream, or simply an add-on to the member experience that benefits retention and customer satisfaction?
If revenue is your main driver, my recent personal experience with taking a virtual fitness class may be enlightening. As some of you may know, my husband and I are expecting our first child in December of 2022. So a few weeks ago, I began searching for prenatal exercise classes in my area. I didn’t find many appealing options.
I then turned to the web and discovered a virtual, 12-week program that combines prenatal exercise with birthing education. It costs around $150 for the course and is held every Monday via Zoom.
When the first class rolled around, I logged in and expected to be joined by 20 to 30 other women. To my shock, there were 150 people watching live. This means 150 women paid $150 for the course. If you consider the average webinar sees about a 30% live attendance rate, it’s a safe bet to guess at least 400 women signed up and paid for the course overall. That’s a huge chunk of change. And the course is offered twice per year, once in the spring and once in the fall.
This opened my eyes to the potential virtual fitness can have in being a significant revenue driver for gyms, if done correctly. The key, however, is to specialize. Your virtual class or online course has to serve a need that’s not easily met through live instruction.
And, you should charge for that specialization. Many times fitness leaders are tempted to give away virtual for free as an add-on. However, if you are offering a class that’s serving a need, it inherently has value and shouldn’t be given away for free.
With this in mind, think about what expertise or specializations you could offer via virtual fitness or an online course that can draw people — and revenue — in. Are one of your nutritionists an expert on behavior modification? Does an instructor specialize in a certain type of fitness or serving a particular community? What do people need in your area — or even nationally — that they can’t find elsewhere?
The answer to this question could increase virtual fitness’ revenue potential, and ultimately result in a significant profit center for your business.