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Don’t abandon your gym while on holiday

Holidays, regardless of the season, loom closure for the vast majority of fitness centres. Unless you don't have an outdoor area with a swimming pool, where guests can enjoy the warmth of the sun and the coolness of the water, it is often tempting to shut your club for the period and reopen it once holidays are over.

Particularly in some areas, especially those closest to holiday resorts, there are some traditional gyms that on holiday periods literally go on "holiday", just like schools do. Generally, these are gyms where the longest season ticket lasts six months, while the most popular one has a monthly duration.

This choice is absolutely appropriate, at a time when remaining open would only mean having to face significant fixed costs in the face of drastic falls in revenues, due to lack of user visits.

The gyms are therefore faced with a dilemma: either remain open paying users and staff for a few dozen daily users, or manage these few users somehow, giving them something in return of the centre’s closure. According to the initial considerations, this reasoning is indeed very consistent in order to safeguard the budget of the club.

Alternatives to the holiday closure

What if it were possible to exploit the low attractiveness of the holiday periods to generate movement and increase revenues? Let's take as an example the same tourist services of these typical summer areas.

Last minute offers to bring new users to the centre

From travel to reception facilities, when places or rooms remain unsold, last-minute offers are often created, to allow you to get those last places at a special price. For its convenience, this price often limits the conditions of use (unalterable dates, places or view of the room not selectable, services not included, etc.)

The fitness sector, translating and reinterpreting this commercial strategy, creates proposals that, with immediate registration, tend to give subscription during summer months for free. For example, a person who registers in June can attend for free until the end of August, and then officially start their annual subscription from September 1.

In reality this tactic does not solve the problem of attendance, because if the users already registered stop attending, it is not having months for free that will make the new members attend. Moreover, it creates a gap between "normal" buyers, who often have to pay for the extra service to temporarily suspend their subscription, and "holiday" buyers, who have received 14 or 15 months at a much lower monthly rate.

The difference can be made by interpreting the concept of training in a different way, seeing outdoor activity as an ally to employ rather than a competitor to fight.

Bringing the gym to customers with outdoor training

For all users with an annual subscription, the possibility of continuing training with a trainer outside the centre, according to personal holiday habits, should be considered. Those who run, go for walks, cycle, play beach volleyball and beach soccer, or simply go to the beach to sunbathe, can be followed and advised by a personal instructor, either to improve the performance in the sport they practice or to improve fitness at their holiday venue with a few simple exercises.
New technologies in fact, allow a continuous exchange of advice and monitoring, establishing between trainer and user an open and bilateral conversation, in which the user can choose to tell what they have done and whether they have followed the dietary advice. Most importantly they keep aligned with their personal coach and see their faces or hear their voices.

In this way we will have the traditional members, who in holiday periods, if they do not attend and do not suspend the subscription, will have the right to an outdoor coach at their disposal. Or we have the holiday members, who will attend the structure a few months in advance with respect to the date of payment, but with limited timetables, days or areas (in fact, in summer courses are usually eliminated, timetables are reduced and maintenance is carried out in the pool and spa) and without being able to use the other "extra" services.

One important detail is still missing however: what value should be given to online coaching sessions? First of all, it is essential that these sessions immediately fall within the normal list items of the services offered by the club, just as it happens for traditional personal training sessions and that, as such, they are proposed and explained from the first meeting, explaining that in holiday periods these sessions can be for free if the user stops attending, thus obtaining a free service of considerable value.

Excite your holidays in town

And for those clubs that are not located in tourist areas, but in cities or municipalities where users, even if in smaller numbers, keep attending while on holiday?
Here as well "last minute" activities can be implemented in addition to valuable services for previous users: outdoor courses in squares or nearby parks, both for fans of choreographed activities and for those most attracted by functional activities; walks and runs with an instructor who leave and arrive at the club; bike rides with the indoor cycle teacher; free or reduced admissions or even small socials or other events organized by the club.

Allowing "last minute" members to attend the club, but with a " limited" experience, allows new users to perceive what other services await them once holiday seasons are over, making the centre more attractive and building user loyalty.

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