Tips to help your fitness studio thrive during the slow season
Most studio owners are all too familiar with the dreaded summer slowdown. Come the end of July, your clients are on vacation or getting in their workouts outside while your revenue suffers. Rather than wishing that things were different or beating yourself up over lower summer enrollment, focus on the things you can control. With a little bit of planning and agility, the summer slowdown can actually be a time of growth.
Here are eight ways that your studio can thrive during the slower summer months:
1. Reduce overhead in August
One of the most important things that you can do to counterbalance the effects of the fitness studio summer slump is to plan ahead. Know that the end of summer is going to be tough on your revenue and plan to reduce costs during this time. One way to do this is to pare down your schedule and cut back on staffing during this time. Make sure that you prepare your employees for the break by letting them know far in advance that you plan to run with a slimmer schedule during these months.
2. Plan children’s programming for "School's Out Camps"
School holidays often leave parents scrambling to find childcare. If your studio is set up for children’s activities, consider running day camps to help these parents out when school is out of session during the summer months or September Jewish holidays. Helping parents out during a time of need can also increase loyalty and a sense of community at your studio.
3. Consider additional revenue streams
Your clients might all be on vacation this month, but instead of viewing it as a downside, consider other ways that you can monetize your physical space. If your classes are pared down or moved outside for the summer, you can use your studio to host birthday parties and special events or rent it out for workshops, rehearsals, and photoshoots. You could also use this time to reach out to companies to book corporate wellness programs for the fall.
4. Host a challenge
Fitness challenges are a great way to get clients involved. Hosting a challenge during the slower summer months can help your members who are sticking around feel a stronger sense of community and get them to double down on their goals and attendance. When devising your challenges, find ways to get people in your studio as much as possible, and encourage them to bring their friends!
5. Host special events
Use the downtime during the fitness studio summer slump to get creative. Try hosting new classes or bringing in outside teachers. Consider hosting additional workshops, teacher trainings, and special events and encourage your clients to bring their friends. You can also take advantage of the nice summer weather and partner with the community to host fun outdoor activities in the neighborhood. Special offerings not only give you a way to increase revenue during a slow period, they also create novelty for current clients and opportunities to engage first-time visitors.
6. Support the people who are struggling to get back on their feet post-COVID with special programming
2020 was a hard year and for a lot of people that meant backtracking on their fitness plan. It might be beneficial to create programming that makes it feel accessible and welcoming to step back into your studio. Adjustments that may help include offering shorter or less intense classes, or allowing people to ease back into their fitness routine with structured digital offerings that they can start from the comfort of their home.
7. Offer tailored digital programming for people who are traveling
Some people want to take their vacation as a break from their workout regimen, but others may not want to give up on their routine just because they are out of town. Consider offering some of your classes digitally or on-demand to support the people who still want to stay tuned in while they're on the road.
8. Make the end of summer a “can’t miss” event
Support people in supercharging their fitness at the end of summer by making it a must to hit the ground running when they get back from their breaks. Host events and challenges to get your clients back in the studio and pushing towards their goals right away.
Experiencing an end-of-summer slowdown is somewhat inevitable in the fitness industry, but it doesn’t have to be devastating to your bottom line. Make sure to prepare for the slow down and then use the time to plan for the rest of the year, test new programming, and focus on cultivating community with the clients who are in town. Importantly, don’t forget that the fitness studio summer slump is just a phase and people will be excited to get back into the swing of things come fall.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jacqui Somen is a health and wellness writer and NASM certified personal trainer who simply loves being in motion. She has been working in the industry for more than 14 years. When she’s not writing or working out, you can find her outside exploring the local trails. Follow Jacqui’s adventures at @vivamafit.
FitGrid is a community management system designed for boutique fitness studios to engage clients on a personal level