The gym and health club industry is booming in the U.S. and attracting new members each year. According to one report, the gym, health and fitness club market reached over $36 billion in 2019 – a 3.5 percent increase since 2014. As long as health-conscious consumers continue to have disposable income and access to budget-friendly gym memberships, the industry will keep growing. But, with almost 40,000 fitness facilities in the country, it’s still a highly competitive market. Gym owners need to stay updated on the latest equipment and trends to boost membership sales. They also need to market their gyms effectively to expand their reach.

Here are some proven ways to elevate gym membership sales:

  • Make it easy to join: Many people don’t go to the gym because they can’t find the time. Make it as easy and quick as possible for members to sign up, so they don’t have to set aside too much time to join your gym. Offer an online sign-up form so potential members can get the ball rolling whenever it’s convenient for them.
  • Encourage members to leave reviews: Having good reviews — and lots of them — is a great way to increase your credibility and boost sales. Promote positive social media interactions and encourage customers to spread the good news about your gym to attract new clients.
  • Personalize the experience: A customer doesn’t want to feel like they are just another number. Provide a personalized experience for every lead and watch membership sales soar. For example, 90 percent of top marketers claim personalization greatly contributes to success. Try communicating with leads through their social media channel of choice and recommend classes they might enjoy. Aim to make prospects feel like part of a community and not just a consumer.
  • Offer fun challenges: People are more likely to stick to a workout routine if they enjoy it and feel supported. For example, social support was found to help individuals adhere to a 12-month exercise program, according to a study from 2014. If you offer ways to work out with friends and family, you can expect to retain and attract customers. You could host a weight loss challenge, for example, and encourage members to bring their friends. Don’t be afraid to get creative.

In this post, we’ll explore more gym improvement ideas and discuss how to increase membership sales. Since we specialize in helping businesses grow by providing thrilling play structures, we’ll also look at how kids equipment can give your facility a colorful boost.

Read the full guide or jump to a specific section:

When to update your gym

When to Update Your Gym

Updating your gym isn’t always the best way to boost membership. However, there are some key indicators that your business is ready for an upgrade. You should consider updating your gym if:

  • Sales and memberships are declining: If you’re struggling to retain your members or acquire new customers, it’s time to make some changes. Take a look around your gym and consider the type of equipment you have. Is everything in great shape, or are several pieces in need of repair? Do you offer a variety of activities, or is your gym lacking options? Customers should feel challenged, engaged and excited to go to your gym. An upgraded gym with new equipment or services will help create a stimulating, welcoming environment that gets people talking.
  • Competitors are taking the lead: If other gyms in your area seem to be flourishing, you’ll want to investigate their offerings. Find out what they’re doing differently and the type of products or services they provide. Think of how you can differentiate yourself and offer something unique. No matter how long you’ve been in business, you never want to lose sight of competitors. You need to be able to show customers that your gym is better than any other facility nearby.
  • Your gym has never been updated: Does your gym have the same equipment since you opened ten years ago? If so, it’s definitely time for an upgrade. You want to keep up with the latest fitness trends and offer a variety of activities your members enjoy. When you focus on your customers and what they want, you show you care about them and appreciate their business. They’ll be much more likely to be loyal to your brand and excited to visit your gym.
  • Your employees are bored: If your gym stops growing, your employees will be the first ones to notice. They may become bored, unmotivated and unwilling to provide the best service possible. Your gym needs employees who reflect your company’s mission and sparkle with positivity. Upgrading your gym to make it more interesting, fun and rewarding can give employees an energy boost because it’ll bring in new customers and stimulate growth. You should also consider ways to help your employees expand their skills.

How to Transform Your Gym

If your customers are leaving your facility to join other gyms, try not to get discouraged — there are plenty of ways to turn your gym from bland to in-demand. Here are some ideas to keep your current members happy and new clients excited to stop by:

  • Create a unique atmosphere: People go to gyms to improve their health and fitness levels, but it’s not all about the machinery. Customers are more likely to enjoy their experience if your gym feels welcoming and offers a unique, supportive environment. Aim to build an inclusive, community-focused culture that invites all ages and fitness levels to use your facility and feel part of your company’s mission. This might include offering age-appropriate classes or building a party room.
  • Provide a range of services: You want customers to view your gym as more than just a place to work out. If you provide a range of services, you’ll keep current members engaged, and you’ll attract a variety of new customers. For example, if you want to appeal to moms and dads, you might offer daycare services, so parents have time to work out while their kids have fun. You might also provide interesting opportunities that can help customers reach their health goals, such as nutrition consultations or dance classes. Consider what’s popular and if you have the right staff to provide new services.
  • Maintain your equipment: To improve your customers’ experience, make sure all of your equipment works properly. Customers expect to be able to use the equipment without any issues when they go to your gym, and if they can’t, they’ll likely go elsewhere. Replace or repair broken equipment as soon as you notice there’s a problem to show customers their membership fees are going to good use.
  • Offer the equipment customers want: Do you find customers waiting to use a particular machine? If so, invest in other pieces of similar equipment to keep everyone satisfied and able to work out when they want. Also, check out the latest equipment technology and consider what you can bring into your gym to keep the atmosphere exciting. The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) recommends spending 10 percent of your revenue at least once every five years to make improvements, such as buying new equipment.

How to market your gym to boost sales

How to Market Your Gym to Boost Sales

You need to market your gym effectively if you wish to stimulate sales. How else will anyone know you’re offering amazing deals or unique experiences? There are tons of ways to promote your brand and reach the right audience. Here are some ideas:

  • Determine your niche: Today’s fitness clubs offer new and exciting ways to get in shape. To set yourself apart from competitors, identify your gym’s unique features and brand. What does your gym offer that others do not? Who is your target audience? Why would someone choose your gym over someone else’s? Once you’ve identified your distinctive selling points, develop ways to target your niche market.
  • Diversify your marketing strategies: What channels do you use to advertise your gym? Most people will find your gym through online research, so make sure your business is digitally accessible. Try creating a blog to drive traffic to your website and gym, for example. Or maybe create helpful workout videos for YouTube, or send promotions using text codes. There are plenty of ways to market your gym and reach more leads.
  • Follow up: After you advertise your gym, make sure to follow up with potential customers. Most leads won’t automatically sign up for your gym, so it’s critical to send them reminders and exclusive deals to increase sales. Make sure you have a way to collect contact information, so you can periodically reach out to leads.
  • Start a referral program: Consider starting a refer-a-friend program to use the influential power of current customers. For example, you might give existing members a free month for every person they get to join your gym.
  • Partner with other businesses: Reach out to local businesses and work together to draw more customers. For example, if there’s a barre studio in your town, ask them to offer a few free classes a month to your gym members. In exchange, you can offer their members a couple of free strength training sessions.

Benefits of Kids Play Equipment in Gyms

One way to improve gym sales is to introduce kids play equipment in your facility. Many parents want a way to work out as a family and help their kids get the exercise they need. If you give families the chance to have fun and get fit, you’ll provide a service that’s in demand. You can also make play components part of your daycare to offer little ones something unique. There are several reasons to include play equipment for kids in your facility, including:

  • Attract families: Parents realize the importance of physical activity for their kids. They also recognize the need to stay in shape themselves. If you advertise thrilling, unique play equipment, you’ll attract families who are looking for exciting and healthy ways to spend time together. Play equipment also motivates parents to go to the gym because they can work out while their kids have a blast nearby. The demand for stimulating play areas is not going away any time soon. Trends may come and go, but kids will always need to be active.
  • Gain a competitive edge: Not every gym offers play equipment. If you bring play equipment into your facility, you’ll set yourself apart from all the local gyms that only cater to adults. Potential customers who have kids are more likely to choose your gym over a competitor if they can bring their family with them to work out. Some parents might drop their kids off at your gym to play and realize they also want to use your facility to exercise.
  • Increase revenue: When you add childcare services to your gym, you can choose to include it in your membership or offer it as an additional fee. Either way, if you give kids a chance to play on exciting structures at a reasonable price, you’ll be destined to draw new customers and retain old ones.
  • Support community well-being: If you offer kids a way to play, you’ll help your business succeed and promote community well-being. When you have amusing equipment on-site, kids will be more likely to turn off the TV or computer and ask their parents to take them to the gym. As a result, your customers will get much-needed exercise, and your business will become a vital part of your community.

Are you looking for high-quality, entertaining equipment for your gym? At Soft Play®, we can design and manufacture an innovative indoor play center for your gym or health club. We are passionate about finding ways to combine fun with fitness and get kids moving. We can either design custom play equipment made especially for your gym, or you can choose from our vast selection of products:

  • Soft sculpted foam: Our soft sculpted foam products add character to a play space and spark the imagination. You can encourage kids to climb, play and dream within the bounds of your gym’s childcare area. Our sculpted play equipment is also easy to clean and made of bacteria-resistant material, so you can set your worries of germs aside.
  • Indoor obstacle course: A challenging and fun indoor obstacle course invites older kids and young adults to compete, interact and make memories. We also offer a mini adventure course to appeal to young thrill-seekers. Our unique obstacle courses promote active play and make customers look forward to returning.
  • Indoor playground: We offer a range of indoor playground sizes, styles and themes to meet your space and budget needs. From small play areas to large attractions that can fit nearly 300 kids, we have indoor playgrounds that will make families turn their heads.
  • Play component: If you’re looking for an individual component to energize an existing indoor gym area or structure, we have plenty to explore. From our calorie-zapping Log Roll to our interactive STOMP attraction, we have activities that appeal to the whole family.

All of our play equipment is made from high-quality materials and components, and every detail counts. We create our pieces with fun, creativity and durability in mind, so you can expect Soft Play equipment to bring joy to your customers for years to come. If you’re not sure where to begin, reach out to us, and we’ll be happy to help you build a better, more family-friendly gym.

Promote community well-being

Why New Equipment Improves Your ROI

Successful health and fitness facilities spend thousands of dollars a year on equipment because they understand it’s a necessary investment. According to one report, top-performing fitness clubs spent an average of $90,000 on equipment in 2015. Why? Because their investments resulted in annual revenue growth of about 10.2 percent.

Updating your gym and incorporating kids equipment helps you accomplish two goals: improving your customers’ experience and increasing your return on investment. When you invest in your gym’s services and equipment, you:

  • Retain customers: Customer retention is critical to any business’s success, and it costs less than customer acquirement. According to one study, obtaining a new customer costs from five to 25 percent more than retaining one. Therefore, it’s worth investing in equipment your current members will love and use. Your existing customers will also be more likely to recommend your gym to friends and family if you show you appreciate them.
  • Increase membership sales: One of the top elements potential members look for in a gym is quality equipment. Customers might stop in your facility and look around to see what you have before they join. They expect to find a variety of the latest equipment as well as pieces that offer entertainment during a workout. Give customers a reason to see the value of their membership by providing the equipment they want and need.
  • Increase membership fees: When you invest in new equipment that helps customers reach their goals, you can increase membership fees without losing sales. One report found that popular gyms help offset reinvesting in equipment costs by increasing fees up to three percent each year.
  • Improve reliability: Replacing old equipment that often breaks down with new pieces helps you avoid expensive repair costs and keeps your reputation intact. Select gym and kids equipment that is built to last, and you’ll see a higher ROI.
  • Save space: Adding new equipment gives you a chance to maximize floor space and make every part of your gym count. If you can select pieces that pack a lot of fun into a small space, you can add more variety to your gym and more reasons for people to choose your facility over someone else’s.

Revamp Your Gym With Soft Play

All businesses need to change things once in a while to keep growing, and gyms are no exception. At Soft Play, we can show you how to improve your gym by adding adventurous, imagination-expanding play equipment. We’re proud to help gyms, family entertainment centers, stores and other businesses attract families and keep them coming back with unique, stimulating play equipment they can’t forget.

To learn more about our gym play areas or design capabilities, contact us today!

Revamp your gym with soft play

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