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Premium Service: hard nut to crack or unique fitness experience?

Premium service: it’s the primary source of income for every fitness centre and bitter pill to swallow for every paying user. This category includes personal training, nutrition and any other specialist and customised service.

Yet, premium service should not be seen as a burden on the client, but as an opportunity to have a unique fitness experience.

Different customers, different strategies

Everything depends on how we decide to communicate the existence of these services to different types of customers. Each person has different "triggers", which determine the choice to buy personalized services.

The undecided

Let's start with the person who has approached the fitness centre with a short-term subscription. Because they might still be wary on deciding whether to prolong their subscription or not, they could experience the premium service as a constraint, but also as a confirmation that their chosen environment is of a higher quality. Let's take the metaphor of the economy class user to whom an upgrade to business class is proposed: in this case, integration must be proposed almost as a natural option or a possibility for improvement; not through imposition, but by keeping it always visible. In other words, we are not talking about devaluing the service already paid for by the customer - this concerns the commercial strategy - but about implementing a communication strategy that proposes moving up as a constant feature by the centre.
For this type of user, what kind of communication campaign could we use to propose a premium service? The promotion could come as a courtesy trial with a dedicated and personalized SMS as a possibility to intensify the agenda of experiences, without forcing them and ensuring and capitalising on the perceived efficiency. In this case, the communication must be treated in words and timing: the visual and graphic of the proposed service must emphasize the values of acceleration of well-being and support, without ever ending in a pure price promotion.

The centre loyalist

Let us now think of the loyal user, who has been coming to the gym or fitness centre for years, except for rare periods of neglect: he is the one who has become familiar with the people, classes, staff and environments. For this type of person, the premium service of any type can be triggered by many elements, such as the willingness to change and to be challenged, the need to adopt a more dynamic lifestyle or mere fashion.
In this case, the proposal of the Just on Time service could be of great value, taking for granted that the CRM is effective and provides reliable data.  For example, those attending group courses in the morning, or that close-knit group that has not missed an appointment in the toning or Pilates lesson for quite some time, can be encouraged to create their first small group lesson with the teacher to refine their technique. In this case the service is promoted as a first test for the loyalty of members and their friends, who must be considered as potential future customers, and on social, with an ad fee targeted only on members.

The outsider

Finally, let's consider those who do not know the centre or are registered elsewhere: in this case the premium service, if correctly planned in the communication plan of the centre, can be real a "hatch" - a slide that facilitates the entry of new clients into the facility. For example, in the month of nutrition the centre will provide a number of LIMITED places to outsiders in order to enter the centre from a side door. At the same time, after the interview with the nutritionist, the centre could propose a week of food diary combined with a week of courses defined with the technical manager, thus creating not one, but two hatches.
What is important here is to work simultaneously on two communication themes: exclusion and inclusion. It must be clear that the service is created within a wider offer and that therefore access is permitted as planned at a specific time and with a specific theme.

In the case of outsiders, the subject of the email can be more directed, to exclude uninterested prospects and put some weight on their choices: "last places", "only for a number of users and by appointment", "avoid if not really interested". It must be clear that we are talking about value and that a premium service passes through specific rules, chosen by the centre but also by the professional. The last question is: where can these users be found? In the database of former members, people who requested information, fans, and followers.

Surely increasing the professionalism of the services offered across the whole spectrum is the real trump card. Taking care of editorial contributions throughout the year, having a blog dedicated to different profiles, interviewing trainers and nutritionists, telling their case histories and applied methods, represents the real added value to generate traffic to commercial communication, which in the age of accessible updating, may be perhaps one of the key factors for success.

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