Brand Experience


16 October, 2019

The festive season is just around the corner, and if you haven’t put plans into place for your gym or fitness business just yet then you are in luck. Here is our guide to not only surviving the season but coming out the other side on top. 

TIP #1: Plan Ahead

Like any industry, fitness businesses will of course experience what is known as seasonal trends. Trends will affect buyers either positively or negatively. Christmas is notoriously considered a slower month in the fitness industry and over the years has successfully killed many a personal training business by the time the new year kicks in.

If you know your game well enough, you will know which months of the year are super profitable and which ones are risky. With this data, you can then make adjustments and plans in order to counteract those slower months, and minimise the impact to your bottom line.

Let’s say for example you run your fitness business on the idea that you make $10K per month (personal trainers) or $30K per month (gyms). Let’s assume a worst-case scenario and that you lose 75% of your revenue during December.

That’s a $7500 loss as a personal trainer and a $22,500 loss as a gym owner.

I would suggest you counteract this projected loss in the months leading up to December, or even better the months after. January and February are GREAT for the fitness industry. If you double or even triple down you could easily recover that December downturn amount (and probably make much more) in a short period of time.

So our personal trainer should aim for having a $15-20K month in January and our gym owner should aim to have a $50K month.

Now all of this needs planning and preparation but it’s all about respecting that these seasonal trends exist. Let’s explore further what plans can be put in place at your fitness business to keep you profitable through the festive season. 

TIP #2: Change Your Thinking

One of the most common misconceptions in the fitness industry is that people are NOT spending during December. This is completely untrue and a pure lack of understanding about human buying behaviour.

All people are doing at this time is spending money on gifts, food, outings etc. The main difference here is that they are mostly buying for others, instead of purchasing for themselves.

The smart business owner will capitalise upon this and reframe their tactics. Try selling gifts that people can purchase to give away to friends, family and work colleagues.

Whether its fitness packages like a New Year kickstart, a 30-day shred, a VIP pass or some merchandise, these are all items that can be branded as a festive gift. One of your greatest opportunities for promoting your gifts is leveraging your internal channels to push these gifts out to your current members. It’s a great referral tactic. SMS, email, Facebook Posts, Posters, and inclusion in the member newsletter are all low cost or free ways to get the word out. 

TIP#3 – Small Challenge

For your existing clients, you can run a small and affordable challenge to help keep them motivated and accountable during the festive season.

There is a lot of good food and alcohol floating around at this time of year, lots of parties and often not a lot of activity. You might give your challenge participants Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year Day off of course, but the rest of the time you should have them complete specific tasks.

It can be something simple or something more serious depending on your client base. A lot of my clients have always continued their training during this time and the festive season has not affected their attendance so I have been rather fortunate.

A weight maintenance challenge works well during the month of December. The goal isn’t to drop weight or make massive improvements but rather not go backwards. Incentivise fitness members with a prize for something in the new year like 3 months free or possibly even a cash reward.

The key is to keep it simple, affordable and fun…think 25 days of Christmas. Keep the mood in the gym light and fun across the festive season too, people will enjoy showing up for classes and celebrating with their gym community. Perhaps have your trainers in Santa outfits or reindeer antlers for members to wear. Get in the spirit! 

TIP#4 – Train Now Pay Later

This is a really simple trick and can work really well as long as you have the legit paperwork and agreements in place.

It is as it sounds. People can start training with you right now in December and not have to pay anything until say January 13th 2020.

NOTE you will want to ensure people commit to 3 months as of January so you can make your money back.

If you are going to do this have a tight system in place with proper client/member agreements/contracts. Have them all sign direct debit agreements prior to commencing incase they do a runner.

TIP#5 – Christmas Party

This is something so simple, yet most personal trainers don’t do it and most gym owners don’t do it as effectively as possible.

A Christmas party should serve two purposes. Firstly, it’s a community event for your current clients and members. Community events are a must for maintaining a strong culture within your fitness business amongst staff and members alike. They should be a part of your client retention strategy.

You can have awards and giveaways at the event. Make it fun, you don’t have to do anything over the top, a simple BBQ in a local park is great – especially if your members have kids.

The second purpose is lead generation. Use this as an opportunity to generate leads for your business heading into the new year. When you send out invitations to your members be sure to allow them to bring 2 guests each.

Have them register their names, numbers and emails to secure their spot. Make sure you introduce yourself and connect with each of these guests at the party. 

You have two options as to where to next with these leads. You can either be straight up and book them in for a complimentary consultation or session. Or simply plant the seed and follow up with them in the new year – whatever you feel most comfortable with.

TIP#6 – Plan Ahead

The festive season gets crazy busy, we all know that. We have already identified that January and February are huge months for gyms, personal trainers and fitness centres. Get your plans in place now so you are ready to hit the ground running for the new year. 

Have your marketing campaigns ready to go so come New Years Day you can be pushing them live and reaching people at a time after they have overindulged across the festive season, and are now setting themselves new health and fitness goals for the year ahead. 

The festive season, sadly, does have the ability to destroy fitness businesses, We have watched it happen many times over the past 5 years. However, it doesn’t have to happen to you. The festive season happens at the same time every year, so a little bit of understanding, planning and preparation can completely flip the script and set you up for a killer 2020.