How to keep your gym up and running during the lockdown
We’re all starting to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of us are on complete lockdown, only allowed out to work and buy groceries, while others are being advised to stay at home and think carefully about social distancing. Almost all businesses have been affected; not least those of us in the fitness industry.
While Pavigym is still producing quality fit for purpose gym flooring, PRAMA, just like gyms all across the world, has been affected by this unusual situation. As with everything else we do at Pavigym, our focus is always on the client, so with that in mind we want to share some of the steps we’re taking to steady the ship and keep sailing forward through this storm.
5 TIPS TO KEEP YOUR GYM RUNNING
1. EXERCISE IS ESSENTIAL
We’ve heard a lot about essential services recently; “non-essential” service providers have lost jobs, many of us can’t go outside of our homes, and the world has been stripped back to the essentials. We’re not here to argue that gyms are essential services and should stay open, but exercise for us as people is unquestionably an essential part of life.
Therefore, the market is still there – and might even be bigger than ever as potential members go crazy trapped within four walls – but it’s tantalisingly out of reach. The benefits of exercise, such as improving our immune system, mental health, and sleep quality, should all now be more obvious than ever to everyone stuck inside. This is something that you as a gym can focus on in order to keep members engaged while also attracting new ones during this isolation period.
Regular exercise supports optimal functioning of the immune system and is an excellent stress management tool. Working out is the best thing you can possibly do right now.
2. COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Constant communication is essential right now, in order to make sure your partners, providers, and associated brands know what your plan is. It’s also imperative to keep an open dialogue with employees, as they’re mostly dependent on your business and they’ll be worrying about their next steps too. You’ll find that they’ll be open to new ideas and willing to help out any way they can in order to keep your gym steady throughout the lockdown.
Above all, though, you simply have to stay in the minds of your members. Open new channels of communication where you can, call them up on the phone, contact them via Whatsapp, and take full advantage of social networks to give them plenty of content to stave off the boredom.
You should also take the opportunity to update your website, and keep members and potential customers informed of your plans and activities via email (without suffocating them).
3. RETAIN MEMBERS BY KEEPING THEM ENGAGED
Social networks will be without doubt our saving grace during this epidemic. They’ll help you keep the attention of your members while allowing you to transmit information and build the culture of your centre. You can offer tips on fitness, health, and nutrition through a blog, and offer advice on how to cope with the changes we’re all going through – whether you think it’s best to order some dumbbells and a pull-up bar, or a daily Yoga session will give your members peace of mind, add it to the blog or make a post and let your clients know they’re on your mind.
You also have the option of offering live training sessions for them to interact with, or pre-recorded ones for them to follow. Instagram and Facebook both offer live video features so you can give virtual classes over social media, and you can stream from a phone, tablet, or webcam, so you don’t need expensive equipment to increase your social media presence.
You can even run your own competitions, whether they’re the typical “like&share” social media campaigns or you want to do something more creative and encourage interaction with other types of competition. Members, especially those that attended group classes, are going to be missing the social interaction your centre provides, so take advantage of that to draw more attention to yourself.
4. GET READY TO REOPEN YOUR GYM
When this crisis subsides, all kinds of people will be desperate to get outside and get their muscles pumping. Think about future member recruitment, as there will be new possibilities to grow your member base once this passes. Use this time to reach new potential clients, even those that might not have used the gym before, and create links with them so you can encourage them to give you a try as soon as they’re able to.
There’ll also be a huge market of users without memberships; those who have cancelled, those whose regular gyms weren’t as prepared as you, those who were on the fence about joining, and those who simply want to try something different after being stuck inside for so long. Think about how you can reach them and encourage them to try new things – regular updates, suggestions for exercises, news on what you’re doing to get through this situation – the more potential users feel connected to your gym and other users, the more likely they’ll be to come back or switch to you.
5. PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
Although members are the focus of your business, there’s a lot that needs to happen behind the scenes for them to be able to enjoy your services
and plenty for you to think about while they’re away. If your flooring could use an upgrade or refurbishment, we’re able to help you with any services you need, while you might also want to think about investing in other areas that usually cause disruption when your centre is operational.
You can also spend the time thinking about internal planning, staff schedules, events that you might want to run later in the year, and so on. Most importantly, think about the impact that this crisis is going to have on the industry when everything returns to “normal” – you might need to think about offering group classes with fewer people, increase the frequency with which the centre is cleaned, and review your hygiene policy with regards to wiping down machines and accessories.
It’s becoming clear that some things will have to change in our industry after this situation, so it’s important that you keep on top of those changes and make sure your clients see you making that effort. Stay connected and stay safe.