How Fitness Studios Can Sustain Operations during COVID-19
With the stay-at-home mandate extending to the month of May, franchise studios everywhere are finding themselves navigating unknown territory caused by the current pandemic. While COVID-19 has forced nearly all fitness studios and gyms across the U.S. to close their doors in an effort to “flatten the curve,” it doesn’t mean the businesses have to close - it just means you have to adapt.
Therefore, in the midst of this crisis, franchise studios have a tremendous opportunity to work together with the greater health club industry to help the public—and other businesses—cope with this unprecedented disruption. While members cannot physically go into the studio, it is still important to support them on a physical level, as sedentary behavior and low levels of physical activity can have negative effects on the health, well-being and quality of life of individuals.
Thankfully, in a world increasingly influenced by technology, franchise studios can leverage alternative roads to support the community while building revenue outside their traditional memberships and classes.
Maximize your social presence
First and foremost, franchises can look into strengthening their online community and building consumable social media content like healthy lifestyle tips, recipes, techniques and much more. Leverage the LIVE segments to speak directly to the community, potentially hosting Q&As with members, or representatives who can share additional insight into a specific topic. With so many quarantined at home, now is an excellent time to present fun, engaging at-home challenges. These help keep clients motivated when they need it most. Perhaps there are other small businesses, or local media outlets, willing to partner with the studio and share ideas that may benefit the entire community, while promoting the studios’ social channels.
Offer virtual classes
Hundreds of businesses have scheduled streaming workouts, on-demand classes, and free online memberships that will not only keep customers in their workout routine, but also serve as a great opportunity to attract new customers.
Additionally, there are various platforms readily available for franchise businesses that make establishing a virtual presence easy. Within a few weeks a fitness studio could be running Peloton-quality virtual classes with the technology, even with a limited budget.
Rent out equipment
While your doors may be closed, your expenses have not stopped. Instead of letting equipment collect dust, now is the perfect opportunity to rent out equipment to members who may not have access to it at home. Rent out weights, kettlebells, yoga straps, or other transportable equipment for a fee, or position it as an exclusive perk for maintaining a membership. This will serve as an excellent incentive to members, and will allow them to effectively workout in the safety of their own home.
The coronavirus has put an unexpected strain on fitness facilities, many having to close their doors for the time being. It's essential for franchise owners to take this time to explore ways they can prepare for cancellations and closures in the future, while exploring new revenue streams and ways to virtually connect with members and their local community.
Kevin MacCauley is the CEO and founder of Upper Hand, an innovative sports and fitness software that helps businesses escape the administrative vortex and focus more on helping clients achieve their goals. As a former Little League coach, Kevin's leadership stems from his undeniable love for sports and fitness, coaching, and technology, which he has leveraged to transform Upper Hand into an industry trailblazer. Its award-winning software has undergone tremendous growth as it continues to reinvent the sports and fitness industry and drive world class customer experiences. For more information, please visit getupperhand.com.