Gyms and fitness centers will not look or operate in the same way as before they were closed from COVID-19.
Members are going to timidly return to something different. Equipment will be moved, guidelines will be changed, and they’ll have a lot of questions.
You can take proactive steps to overcome their apprehension by developing a “welcome back strategy.”
Consider including one or all of these 5 suggestions:
1. Handwritten Postcards
They’re used to emails, texts, and social media communications. You can separate yourself by going old school with classic handwriting. It shows that you’re willing to go the extra mile.
Use this opportunity to thank them for their patience and make sure they know you’re there for them.
2. Video Walk Through
“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” James Humes
Clear communication and expectations will make all the difference for members. When deciding between returning or staying home they’ll wrestle with questions in their minds. What is the gym doing for cleaning? What will the equipment look like? Will my treadmill be too close to others?
You can answer all these with an effective video walk through. They’ll appreciate it!
3. Creative Art
My kids’ school friends did amazing things with sidewalk chalk. They’d go to each other’s houses and write positive messages by the driveways, on the sidewalks and right in the street.
You can easily apply this to your gym as well. With a few clicks, we ordered jumbo sidewalk chalk and went to work with messages all across the parking lot, walls, and gym floor (in non-foot traffic areas).
4. Use Your Member’s Name
There’s a powerful difference between “Welcome back members” and “Welcome back Alice!”
The first fades into the background while the second grabs a specific person’s attention to make her feel special.
You can use the session enrollment list, key card scan, or other method to see who’s coming back.
Then personalize their welcome back message with their name. It’s a small tweak that will make them feel more comfortable.
There’s this awkwardness going on across the country when people first come back together. They don’t know if they can hug, shake hands, or high five…but they instinctively want to. In order to keep people safe and bring down the awkward factor, practice with your staff on how to handle this.
5. Plan Your “No-Touch” Greeting
We’ve decided to have the staff members act first (so there’s no pause) and go with their choice of an aggressive wave or excited double fist pump in the air. It sounds silly, but it puts your members’ minds at ease!
The staff also shot short videos on our social media pages with a fun demonstration of their greeting and members loved it!
It’s an uncertain time and people are hesitant about returning to gyms and fitness centers around the country. You can stand out with a proactive welcome strategy matched with a well thought out equipment set up and cleaning protocol.
Guest Article from Joe Hashey, President of Synergy Athletics and Level Up Your Gym. Joe has been a featured speaker around the country and author for publications like Men’s Health and Experience Life magazine.
Joe provides a free gym business education in bite sized daily videos. Check it out at www.levelupyourgym.com