July 20, 2023

Member Perks Meet New Clients: How Guest Passes Are a Powerful Marketing and Retention Tool this Summer

Utilize this loyalty tactic to build brand awareness and earn more.

Member Perks Meet New Clients: How Guest Passes Are a Powerful Marketing and Retention Tool this Summer

The sun is out, family and friends are visiting—and you’re trying to keep your clients engaged, in class, and getting after their goals before another season passes. One tactic you can use for your business and to your bottom line advantage during the socially active summertime? Guest passes. This tried and true sales and marketing tool is the perfect strategy to show members your appreciation, share incentives that benefit your studio, nurture new prospects, and increase accountability. Without overcomplicating the process.


“The single most effective way to organically grow your member base is through your existing clients bringing friends and family into the studio. They are not only surrounded by people with similar interests, motivators, and goals but bringing someone to class instigates instant accountability. Giving them a quick and easy way to bring a guest immediately increases their chance of booking and showing up to more classes. And you could have a new member that you could easily convert from guest pass to intro offer to recurring plan!” - Laura Munkholm, President and Co-founder of Walla

With Walla, you can easily add guest passes to premium memberships, for example (a great way to say thanks!), while making it simple for them to bring a friend or family member to the studio. Because a complicated interface would dissuade your clients from inviting anyone. The seamless guest past strategy is about providing the right opportunity at the right time in the booking process “so your clients don’t have to think twice,” says Laura. 

Now that we’ve covered the ease of guest passes, how can offering guest passes this summer boost profitability, traffic, and what’s the best part of getting a guest to try your studio before committing? It starts with the chance to impress and instill motivation in your members and guest routine—no matter how new or old—even during the busy summer months.


Lay out the welcome mat: Attracting new customers

Guest passes provide a low-risk opportunity for individuals who might be hesitant to join a new fitness studio, especially as they navigate a busy summer schedule. It allows them to experience your business firsthand, understand what makes your studio stand out against the competition, and get a feel for the overall atmosphere, class structure, and more. Guest passes aren’t an excuse—they are the perfect way for them to try your studio and feel good about a future commitment.  


The power of social proof: Word-of-mouth referrals

One of the reasons your members share their guest pass with friends or family? They want their guest to have the same experience that makes them loyal to your studio. And satisfied guests are a great way to market your studio because they are more likely to share via conversations, social media, and more if they enjoy their class and studio encounters. Offering guest passes can increase word-of-mouth referrals, which can be a highly effective and cost-efficient way to gain new members.


Expand your reach: Building community

Inviting guests into your fitness studio creates a sense of inclusivity and community—and the summer is all about community and connections! People are more likely to become members if they feel welcomed and part of a supportive group. Encourage current members to invite their friends and workout buddies to join them with guest passes, fostering a friendly and inviting atmosphere, which can be felt from the greeting at the front desk to instructor engagement, helping them thrive.


More client traffic: Generating and nurturing new leads

Guest passes are a great way to expand your client database because it’s an easy opportunity to collect contact information from potential members—and offer valuable data for targeted marketing efforts. Collecting information about guest demographics and preferences can tailor your marketing campaigns to specific groups, increasing the chances of attracting the right audiences. Walla’s built-in marketing automations enable you to send meaningful, targeted communication so you don’t get lost in the summer shuffle. Establish and stay connected while educating potentially new members about introductory offers to start their studio journey and flexible membership options (even upcoming events) that get them excited and work for even the busiest schedule. 


Encourage additional purchases: Time-sensitive, upsell opportunities

Like they say: Always be selling! Once guests have experienced your studio, classes, and services thanks to a current member, they may be more receptive to special promotions or upselling opportunities. You can offer discounted membership rates, personal training packages, or group class bundles to encourage them to become full-fledged members. You can create a sense of urgency for potential members to revisit your studio and make a purchase, prompting action and encouraging people to take advantage of the opportunity before it expires and while you still have their interest.


Summertime (social) grind: Seasonal boost 

Summer often sees an increase in fitness-related activities as people prepare for vacations, outdoor events or simply want to feel more confident and active. Leveraging guest passes during this time can capitalize on the seasonal interest in health, fitness, and wellness while giving you access to a new, interested demographic. And as they are scrolling through phones while lounging at the beach, it’s an excellent opportunity to seize their screen time! Encourage guests to share their experiences on social media platforms. Positive guest posts and reviews can significantly impact your studio's online reputation and attract more potential clients, while fitness and wellness-related content rank high during the summer months on social media.


Attract and retain: Increasing membership conversion

The best way to see if your studio, instructors, and classes are hitting the mark? Client conversion rates! Guest passes allow potential members to experience the value and benefits of your fitness studio firsthand. And when people have a positive experience, they are more likely to convert into paying members—purchasing plans that fit their lifestyle and goals. This can lead to a higher conversion rate and improved overall retention, which is easy to analyze and measure in Walla! And remember that some guests who try your studio during the summer might not immediately sign up for a membership, so remember to keep them nurtured—and keep an eye on your data. You might be surprised who buys a plan come early fall!


Differentiation and collaboration: Standout from competitors

In a competitive fitness market, offering guest passes sets your studio apart, showcasing that you value your members and community and want to invite like-minded individuals into your studio. Guest passes demonstrate that you are confident in the quality of your services—and allow you to collaborate and get creative with promoting this offering—a valuable tool for forming partnerships with local businesses or organizations. You can collaborate with nearby hotels, companies, or events to offer guest passes as part of promotional packages, expanding your reach and exposure and creating seasonal experiences, like poolside yoga or barre at the local park, taking full advantage of the warm weather and the chance for your clients to invite their family and friends! 

By leveraging guest passes effectively, you can maximize your studio's potential for growth, revenue, and community building throughout the summer and beyond. Promoting your guest pass program through various channels, such as social media, email marketing, app announcements, and in-studio signage, is easy. Provide a seamless registration process for guests to sign up, and ensure your staff is ready to provide excellent customer service to make a lasting impression. 

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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