November 21, 2019 Danni Poulton

How do changing seasons affect your gym member attendance?

As the seasons change you have an opportunity to keep members active and engaged. To do this you need to understand how seasonal change affects attendance and how you can use these insights to improve gym retention.

People are creatures of habit. Whilst the world around them stays the same, they are likely to stay the same too. But as the seasons change, people are forced to think about their choices. This is a great time to reach out to your gym members to make sure that, whatever the changing season brings, they keep returning to your gym to keep them fit, motivated and engaged.

Autumn

As Autumn changes into winter we enter the final stretch of the year. It’s a wild dash to get as much work done as possible before things start to slow down for the Christmas period.

Some gym members will have already let their gym attendance slide by this time of the year, with holiday breaks often leading to a period of inactivity as routines like gym attendance fall by the wayside.

For these people, use your gym marketing to tempt them back into activity. Remind them of the health benefits of exercise, especially as seasons often take a turn for the worse.

For others, though, they will be aware that energy levels begin to drop as the colder weather sets in. This might motivate them to hit the gym to keep their energy up. This means your gym needs to look like the most attractive place for them to head to to get their exercise fix.

Winter

Winter can be a time to win over all those street-bothering joggers. Let people know about your climate controlled suite of the running machines and ellipticals, or advertise your cycling classes. Anything to tempt people to seek refuge from the winter weather in your gym.

Winter is also a time to start building interest in your gym, with the new year just over the horizon. Push out your referral schemes, getting the word out about your gym so you can make the most of January’s gym membership boom.

New Year

By New Year the period of slothfulness that often accompanies the festive season begins to wear off and people look ahead to how things are going to be different in the year to come.

Many people will be in a noticeably unfit state after the excesses of Christmas and Thanksgiving.

All this creates the perfect storm of motivation for people to join the gym if they haven’t already, or renew their attendance if they’ve been inactive. But you need to deliver marketing that reflects these seasonal changes. That’s where gym retention software like KeepMe comes in; allowing you to trigger automated marketing messages at specific points of the year.

A survey revealed that 13% of all New Year’s resolutions are to get more exercise. And a study by the IHRSA found that nearly 11% of all gym membership sales take place in January, more than in any other month.

January sees a big spike in gym attendance. But this often wears off after a month or so as people’s expectations of gym life clashes with their actual experiences (ie, they discover exercise is quite hard!).

So gym owners need to realise this is a great time for new people coming to their gym, but they’ve got a fight on their hands to keep these people.

A big way to retain as many new years joiners is to have an exceptional new member onboarding process. This shows new members the ropes so they feel comfortable in your gym, and helps them define fitness goals and find the right workout program for them. They’ll be more likely to stay with your gym if they’re having the needs met and their expectations managed.

Spring

By spring people are starting to get a bit more energy back as the days start to get longer and people look forward to better weather and the summer ahead. You can tap into this new season of enthusiasm by helping your members visualise how attending the gym can help them make the changes they want to see.

People often want to get in shape for summer… whether to fit into a wedding outfit or bathing suit. You can tap into this enthusiasm for self improvement with some well timed Spring marketing.

Summer

As Spring hands the baton to Summer there’s a danger that people’s gym attendance drops.

It might be that it’s much easier for people to exercise outdoors, especially with so many outdoor exercise options these days, like marathons, 5k runs, and experiences like Tough Mudder. 

All this can mean less gym attendance. You can help improve gym retention by encouraging people to stick with their gym attendance over the summer… maybe you can get them hooked on a new fitness class, perhaps you can remind them of the positive psychological impacts of exercise… it increases happiness, makes people more positive, more confident and helps people enjoy all those summer BBQs whilst controlling their belt line. And of course summer discounts and offers are a great way to encourage continued gym attendance.

If you want to know more about how to increase member retention throughout the seasons, book a free tour of our KeepMe gym retention software today.