If you own or manage a fitness business, you're well aware of the complexities that come with the new COVID-19 landscape. You’re not only adapting to ever-changing guidelines, but also incorporating heightened sanitization and social distancing protocols, balancing client and staff expectations, and likely operating at a lower capacity due to government mandates.
Managing capacity isn’t easy—especially on your bottom line. Whether capacity has been reduced by 5% or 50%, you've likely seen an impact in your numbers. If so, know that you’re not alone. According to a recent Mindbody survey*, 88.7% of fitness businesses have already limited class sizes/capacity or plan to once they reopen. Also, know that there’s something—in fact, many things—you can do to alleviate your capacity challenge.
With the help of our Mindbody Certified-Consultants, we’ve compiled a list of ideas to help fitness studios and gyms optimize revenue while operating at reduced capacity. Many of these income generators will help your business thrive during this difficult time—and beyond.
First, let’s start with some basics.
- Optimize Dynamic Pricing. With limited capacity, every spot in your studio is worth more. Mindbody’s Dynamic Pricing feature helps your business harness the power of supply and demand, so you make more money from every class. Have a particularly popular in-studio class? Based on your settings, Dynamic Pricing adjusts the drop-in rate to increase as class fills up.
- Up your cancellation window. Hold clients accountable to the workouts they reserve by increasing your cancellation window to 12, 24, or even 48 hours. If you don’t already, now’s the time to add or increase your late-cancellation fee, too.
- Adjust memberships. For now, it might make sense to limit how often a client can come into your studio or gym each week. Instead, encourage clients to keep up with their regular routines with virtual classes or 1:1 training, which won't have the same capacity limitations.
Now for some creative ideas.
- Offer a hybrid schedule. In the wake of COVID-19, Mindbody Certified Consultant Sheree Springer of Smooth Sailing Consulting encourages fitness clients to offer a mixture of both in-studio and virtual classes. That way, clients can keep up with their workout routines from home, in your facility, or both. When developing your hybrid schedule, think strategically. “Start with your most popular and profitable classes and strategically grow from there. Use Attendance with Revenue and Average Revenue Analysis reports in Mindbody to see what makes the most sense for your business financially,” Sherry suggests.
- Optimize both in-studio and virtual private training. Increase revenue per hour by restructuring the layout of your space to allow both virtual and in-person classes and/or private training at the same time. Of course, you’ll want to make sure social distancing requirements are met and clients feel comfortable.
- Take it outdoors. Weather depending, outdoor workouts allow you to have a much larger class capacity while maintaining proper social distance. Outdoor sessions may also ease concerns for those still hesitant to sweat inside. Mindbody Certified Consultant Teresa Zanardelli of Teresa Z Consulting suggests adding outdoor classes to your schedule on an ongoing basis—not just here and there—so clients get used to incorporating them regularly.
- Host virtual workshops. When held virtually, workshops aren’t limited to your physical location, or even your local community. They're also an easy way to make additional revenue without worrying about capacity. For your next virtual workshop, get the word out with Marketing Suite and social media ads. (Remember, with virtual, you don’t need to limit ad targeting to your local community.) Be sure to stock up on any products/equipment you highlight, like protein powders, essential oils, or foam rollers). Give attendees a small discount on any recommended retail items or on their next workshop fee.
- Complement virtual offerings with retail. Speaking of retail, help your clients achieve a better at-home experience with product bundles. Package equipment that complements your virtual classes and/or workshops like a set of bands, a kettlebell, or a yoga mat (bonus points if they’re branded). Then, create specialized programming to boost both equipment and virtual sales. For example, host a virtual foam rolling workshop that uses a foam roller throughout. Clients who take part are more likely to purchase both.
- Take your teacher training online. Teacher training is a great way to bring in considerable upfront revenue. That said, these programs often require a substantial time investment for the business. In-person teacher training can take up prime time on your schedule, too. Teresa's advice? Instead, take your teacher training online to reduce the impact on your space and staff. Better yet, take the time to record sections of your teacher training and offer them on-demand. That way, even when capacity limitations ease up, you can offer a hybrid teacher training including a combination of both in-person and pre-recorded sessions.
- Host virtual guest instructors. With virtual offerings, your clients can sweat with instructors from all over the world. Thankfully, your business can take advantage of this opportunity as well. Host a guest instructor (fitness influencers are a great place to start) to reengage your existing clientele and expand your virtual customer base. Ask your guest instructor to spread the word by posting about the partnership on their social channels, too.
- Consider a corporate virtual program. Long-term employee wellness should be at the top of every employer’s priority list—especially now. Reach out to businesses in your area (or anywhere really) and offer your virtual wellness program. Tell them about the services you offer to gauge interest, including virtual classes, nutrition services, meditation, or stress relief workshops, for example. Whether the business sponsors their employees’ wellness services or you work out an employee discount, your business will have access to an entirely new customer base; one that needs services like yours more than ever. Here’s more on building a corporate wellness partnership.
*Mindbody. Virtual Wellness Platform Customer Survey. May 2020.