June 6, 2024

Summertime Sales and Retention Strategies You Can Use to Avoid the Lull in Class Attendance

The warm weather months can impact schedules (and class capacity), so here’s how to keep members engaged, even on family vacations!

Summertime Sales and Retention Strategies You Can Use to Avoid the Lull in Class Attendance

Memorial Day (the unofficial start of summer) has passed, and the warm weather months are in full swing. Kids getting out of school, family vacations, road trips, long weekends, campouts, coastal holidays—the summer season is full of schedule inconsistencies. It can also present several challenges that make it difficult for clients to commit to your fitness classes. 

Disrupted routines, hot weather fatigue, and family and financial responsibilities (just to name a few!) are potential barriers to booking classes. Plus, your members might be racking up those late cancellations and no-show fees, which is good for studio revenue and bad for attendance rates. So what can you do to keep your clients engaged and your studio top of mind without causing added schedule stress? Here are a few of our go-to studio sales and retention strategies that can directly address booking during the busy summer season. 

Summertime sales strategies 

Flexible membership options
Leverage seasonality and test selling unique plans and offers

Don’t only consider your current members when selling specials, but think about the individuals visiting/home for summer, like college students. Or, if you live in a popular vacation spot, travelers who want to keep their wellness routine while in town for a weekend, week, or month. Summer is also perfect for pushing livestream and video-on-demand (VOD) classes, plans, and packages. From meditation to Mat Pilates, offering virtual options to your studio community is a great way to keep them engaged no matter where they go, even in their backyard or the local park. 

  • All about the numbers: Try promoting and selling a complimentary number to a timeframe plan or class package like “3 Months for $300.” This time-sensitive sales tactic creates a sense of urgency while engaging leads who want to work out without committing to a recurring membership. It’s also an excellent excuse for a marketing email, social post, and ad. 
  • Bring a friend: Use guest passes as an incentive for your members and those buying a summer special. Walla makes adding and redeeming guest passes easy, which shows you appreciate your clients while allowing them to bring potential new members into your studio. 
  • Virtual class vortex: The benefit of offering livestream and VOD is, yes, convenience and flexibility for your members, but it is also a great way to convince your clients not to freeze their memberships by giving them an easily accessible class option. Also, the livestream experience in Walla is seamless, and we’ll automatically send the class link to attend, so there’s no extra administrative work on the staff side!   

Themed summer programs and pop-up classes
Get creative with your typical studio offerings

Who doesn’t love a little summer-themed fun? Stretch your studio creativity and pull together seasonal marketing for enrollments and programs that align with the season—and think outside your four walls. You can also create packages that include multiple elements of fitness and wellness, leveraging the trend of consumers wanting to address full-body well-being while helping you earn extra revenue by promoting higher-priced summer experiences. You can also partner with local brands, businesses, and locations to take your classes to the next level in an unexpected and Instagram-worthy way. 

  • Showcase your expertise (and have fun!): Develop and sell special summer-themed programs, like a four-week Beach Boot Camp or Sunrise Yoga Series. These seasonal packages can include a mix of classes, nutritional guidance, and more, helping you create deeper connections with your community. 
  • Utilize unique locations: Host pop-up fitness classes in unique local spots like rooftops, beaches, botanical gardens, or community centers. These events can attract local media attention and new clients while allowing you to market something exclusive and exciting to them. If you live in a summer vacation destination, consider partnering with tourist spots to offer fitness classes for visitors. 

A #socialmediasummer 
Increase engagement with contests, challenges, and influencers!

Staying relevant on social media is one way to upsell your offers and keep your clients informed during the busy, warm weather months. Consider spending more time on your social strategy this summer. Whether you’re sharing an exclusive offer, hydration tips, a seasonal challenge, or promoting a wellness influencer-taught yoga flow, continually post content relevant to summer and your client demographic. Also, be sure to weave in UGC (user-generated content), which will have a domino effect and inspire more followers. Use summer as an excuse to test and create events and collaborate with influencers. Keep in mind influencers don’t have to have 1 million followers. They can be someone local who is well-regarded in your fitness modality or an individual who is popular and respected in your community. 

  • Share the social rewards: Run a social media campaign where members share their summer fitness and wellness journey using a specific hashtag. Reward the best or most posts with free memberships or studio merchandise.
  • 24-hour influencer: Create a “Fitness Influencer for a Day” contest where members can win a chance to take over your studio’s social media accounts and showcase their routines and experiences.
  • The art of collaboration: Collaborate with local fitness influencers or athletes to host special events or guest classes. Their following can bring new clients to your studio—an opportunity to market and promote a unique experience.

Summertime retention strategies

Personalized plans and recognition programs 
Nothing shows that you care this summer quite like personalization

Prioritizing fitness and wellness is one thing. Staying accountable is another. And recognizing milestones? As the go-to studio spot for your clients and community, acknowledging achievements (and creating a realm of positive reinforcement with a bit of seasonal challenge-related competition) is one way you can keep your members engaged and coming back for more, no matter where they are at in their fitness and wellness journey. When you add a layer of personalized attention, that’s a win for your client and a win for retention. 

  • Checking in: Work with your team to develop personalized fitness plans for types of classes and/or for each member, leverage client insights in Walla to monitor summertime-related milestones and progress, and provide real-time feedback.
  • The award goes to: Implement a tiered loyalty program where members earn points for attending classes, participating in events, or referring friends. Points can be redeemed for branded merchandise, free classes, additional guest passes, or special experiences. Weave in recognizing milestones with personalized rewards like custom studio apparel or engraved water bottles.

Exclusive summer retreat meets community engagement 
Make your clients feel good by giving them the chance to prioritize self-care and give back 

By putting your studio mission into action outside your studio walls, you’re physically showing your alignment with your values and allowing clients to connect on a deeper level with your fitness business and community. From putting together a local weekend retreat just a drive away to an afternoon charity event, giving your members a channel to extend their impact while giving back to themselves and their community is something special you can promote this summer. 

  • Community service: Organize community service events where members can volunteer together, such as charity runs, beach clean-ups, or local fundraisers, building camaraderie and a sense of purpose.
  • Goal-oriented initiatives: Create an online or in-person (or both!) community board where clients can post achievements, share goals, and support one another. It can also be a safe place to share ideas for future projects, community events, and retreats.
  • Scenic summer: Not every retreat has to be in a faraway land! During the summer, give your clients a break and a breath of fresh air by organizing exclusive fitness and wellness in scenic locations that are a short drive away. Think mountains, lakes, meadows, the coast.  These can be weekend getaways focused on intense relaxation, mindfulness, movement, healthy self-love, and self-care habits. Offer members-only discounts on these retreats as an added value.

Wellness challenges, class innovation 
Incorporate exclusive summertime classes and challenges to increase client excitement

Think of a theme for your summer studio schedule, and if you create challenges or new seasonal classes on the schedule, see if you can align with that theme, like the Summer of Personal Growth. Tie these offerings with other summer-related initiatives, like pop-up classes and influencer marketing. Hosting a challenge is a great way to instigate that sense of friendly competition while keeping the event the busiest clients booking virtually and in-studio. 

  • Personal growth and mental wellness classes: Incorporate mental wellness into your offerings with meditation, mindfulness, and stress management classes. Consider keeping these experiences on your schedule based on attendance and client feedback.
  • Enhanced class variety: Introduce cutting-edge classes like aerial yoga, underwater cycling, or virtual reality fitness sessions. Also rotate themes for classes, such as “90s Throwback Dance,” “Glow-in-the-Dark Yoga,” or “HIIT and Hit Music” nights.
  • Seasonal wellness and fitness challenges: It’s not too late to launch a summer-long wellness challenge that includes fitness, nutrition, and mental health components. Track participants’ progress and reward achievements with prizes or recognition. Implement a “Buddy System” where members can sign up with a friend, hold each other accountable, and attend classes together for additional rewards.

By implementing these in-depth and unique strategies, you can create a dynamic and appealing environment that attracts new members and retains existing ones by continuously adding value to their fitness journey long after the summer months (and sunsets) fade away.

Customer retention is the key

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What are the most relevant factors to consider?

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Don’t overspend on growth marketing without good retention rates

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What’s the ideal customer retention rate?

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Next steps to increase your customer retention

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Director, Content & Communications

Strategist. Storyteller.

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