Gyms, health clubs, and fitness facilities should think creatively in order to create additional sources of revenue, boost business, engage with current members, and gain potential new members. Special events, partnerships, and activities are a great way to boost business by selling more memberships and engaging with members.
Marketing your gym, health club, or fitness facility is an important part of growing your membership base. There are a number of things you can do to market your business and fun events help keep gym members engaged and bring new potential members in the door.
Referrals from current members are going to be one of the best ways to boost your business. If your current members are engaged, satisfied, and loyal, they will pass the word along to friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors. This is an important asset to tap into with your current membership base.
Here are 20 gym event ideas to boost business and generate additional revenue for your facility. Ready to see how Exercise.com can help you manage your gym or health club? Schedule a demo of our All-in-One-Fitness Business Software today.
Social events outside of the facility are a great way to engage with current gym members and potentially add new members. A “no-shower happy hour” is one idea for a get-together after a popular class in the evening. A new gym member social is a great way to have a meet-and-greet when you have a lot of new gym memberships, like in January. Or even a back-to-school social event for parents to celebrate their children returning to the school year.
Exercise.com provides all-in-one software which includes options for calendar scheduling, so it’s easy to schedule social events for all members to view and book. Members will see these upcoming events right on the calendar with your classes and activities from the dashboard or mobile app, including special instructions or information about the event.
#2 – Guest Celebrities
Celebrities can be a big draw to bring people to your facility. If you have local professional sports teams, you could bring in professional athletes for a meet-and-greet. Ask the local mayor to compete in a cycling class or boot camp class.
You could also bring in a celebrity personal trainer to train a few clients or lead a few group personal training classes.
Bringing in a celebrity for any type of special event is bound to draw bigger crowds. This is the time to capitalize on the celebrity appearance and show off your facility, your classes, membership specials, or unique equipment. If you can get the celebrity to wear or sign branded or logo apparel, even better.
Even local celebrities can draw traffic into your facility like the school principal, a favorite business owner, or a local basketball coach. If you live in a larger city, you may want to partner with other gyms or other businesses to bring in celebrities.
#3 – Guest Instructors
If you are a gym owner, consider bringing in well-known instructors to lead a group exercise class, like Zumba, boot camp, yoga, or functional fitness. This would work well for classes that are in high demand in your studio.
You would be surprised at the amount of interest you can draw from bringing in a guest instructor to lead a special class. This can also bring in significant revenue, even after you pay for the guest instructor. The video below shows an example of an event featuring a guest instructor.
Let’s say you have a great interest in your Zumba classes and these classes are always full and in-demand. You could work with the Zumba instructor to bring a Master class taught by a well-known popular national instructor or maybe even Beto Perez, the creator of Zumba,
An additional idea would be to bring in a well-known yoga instructor to lead a special session for members. You could also promote this to non-members for an additional fee. The e-commerce options within Exercise.com allow you to process payments for special events such as classes with guest instructors.
#4 – Workout Challenges
Workout challenges are a great way to motivate and engage with members. You can charge a fee for participation ($25) and provide a workout plan, incentives, or drawings for free items for participants. Constant communication throughout the workout challenge is important to help keep participants motivated and on track.
There are so many different options for workout challenges, like running challenges, most calories burned challenges, walking challenges, or most gym visits challenges. You could survey members and ask what type of workout challenges they would be most excited to participate in.
Here’s where Exercise.com can save the day. This All-in-One Fitness Business software enables you to set up single or recurring workout challenges for your members. You can automate reminders, workout delivery, or notifications to your mobile app or dashboard.
You could also plan a celebration event at the end of a challenge that lasts six weeks or longer. This can be a great way for members to celebrate meeting their health and fitness goals and be recognized for their accomplishments during the challenge event.
One inexpensive way to engage with current members and potential new members is through social media. Facebook posts, Facebook live, Instagram posts, and Instagram stories provide a great opportunity to have social media contests. The possibilities are endless, but a few options could be:
- A contest for members and followers to “like” or share certain posts.
- Use Instagram to post a short “teaser” of an upcoming specialty class.
- Encouraging members to comment on a post with their fitness goals.
- Include a weekly or monthly post with a “member of the week” or “member of the month.”
- Announcing the monthly referral winner via a live Facebook video.
- Meet the trainers, instructors, or staff.
- Posting members’ workout summaries on social media.
- Market and share a hashtag or hashtags that your gym and members using social media can use in their posts.
#6 – Themed Holiday Workouts or Classes
There is some type of holiday or theme almost every month of the year to develop and deliver special holiday or themed workouts or classes. This will keep member enthusiasm high, increase loyalty with current members, and potentially add new members if they see how fun fitness can be.
For example, for Thanksgiving, you could offer clients a high-intensity interval training class early in the morning designed to help get a good calorie burn. For the 4th of July, you could encourage participants to wear red, white, and blue to help celebrate the day. You could do a special couples workout on Valentine’s Day.
If there isn’t a good holiday or theme for a particular month, here is where you can be creative. “Crazy Socks” day, 80’s day, or “Wear a Race Shirt” day are all fun ideas. If you start doing these holiday or themed events, you will find that members look forward to them and ask when the next holiday or themed day will take place.
These types of events may not directly generate revenue, but they will keep members loyal and may potentially bring in new members. Exercise.com makes it easy to add these holiday workouts or themed classes to your calendar, which is viewable from the mobile app or dashboard.
#7 – Offer Training Programs for Local Races or Events
If your area has any big local races, like 5ks, 8ks, 10ks, half-marathons, marathons, or triathlons, you could offer training programs to prepare for these events. For events like mud runs, Spartan races, cycling events, or anything else, you could offer training programs specific to prepare for those events.
Most large cities have race weekends with multiple running events, like 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons. You could offer your members a training plan for any of the races that starts eight to twelve weeks before the race. The training plans could have shorter individual runs that the members do in the fitness center or outside on their own and one longer weekly run lead by a trainer or volunteer.
The All-in-One fitness business software by Exercise.com makes it easy to automate the delivery of workouts to your members, including training plans for races. One simple setup and the training plans can be automatically delivered to members on a set schedule with no extra effort on your part.
#8 – Host Specialty Courses or Continuing Education
All personal trainers and group exercise instructors need continuing education, so partnering with professional organizations to offer these can help bring more people into your facility. You can talk to the personal trainers in your facility to see what topics they would benefit the most from and what professional organizations they are affiliated with.
For example, ACE (American Council on Exercise) Fitness allows you to set up a workshop for your staff led by an ACE Master Trainer. The available workshops are listed on their website.
This may not directly result in new memberships, but it can bring professionals in to see your facility.
#9 – Start a Running Club
This is an opportunity to partner with a local business to offer a weekly running club. Running stores, fitness apparel stores, or local bars/restaurants would be great partners. One option is to offer running club free to members and charge a nominal fee ($5) for non-members.
The partner businesses could offer giveaways, prizes, discounted food or drinks, or other goodies for participating. You could also offer a bigger incentive for participants who complete a certain number of weekly runs, like a t-shirt or free appetizer for those who complete six weekly runs. This is a win-win for everyone involved.
#10 – Partner With Local Races or Events
Not only could you offer training programs and plans for local events, but you could also have a booth or table at the expo or post-race events. If you do have training programs for races, you could advertise these at the event for future events.
Most large cities have race weekends that gather large crowds. The expo, packet pick-up, or the day of the events provide great opportunities to have an informational booth or table.
#11 – Bring in Local Running Stores, Fitness Equipment Stores, or Fitness Apparel Stores
These local businesses can bring products to your facility like shoes or apparel that might appeal to your members. Fitness equipment stores can bring smaller items like resistance bands, weights, benches, or foam rollers to share with your members. They could set up a table or small booth to catch members on their way in or out of the facility during high-traffic times.
This is beneficial to everyone involved. Members might get a coupon or special offers, the businesses may have new customers, and hopefully, this leads to referrals by current clients.
Grow and manage your fitness business better with Exercise.com
#12 – Tasting Events
This is a great opportunity to partner with local businesses, local grocery stores, or local restaurants to have tasting events inside your facility. Healthy meal planning or delivery services can offer samples of their meals, local grocery stores can bring samples of their new products or healthy deli options, and restaurants can bring samples for clients.
This is a great idea for these restaurants or businesses to get new customers, provide new opportunities for current members, and potentially bring in new clients. As with other events, these can easily be added to your calendar with the all-in-one solution by Exercise.com.
#13 – Educational Workshops
Exercise is an important part of overall health, but there are other areas of health that overlap with exercise and physical activity. Hosting an educational workshop that is open to community members is a great way to expose those potential new members to your facility. Here are some ideas for educational workshops that might be interesting to your members and non-members alike.
- Healthy cooking class hosted by a local registered dietician.
- Chronic disease self-management program hosted by local health educators.
- Senior health and wellness classes, like balance or flexibility, geared toward older adults.
- Classes focused on helping women have a healthy pregnancy by local health educators.
- Nutrition classes for children by local nutritionists or dieticians.
Ask for some time at the beginning of the workshop to introduce information about your facility. You could mention personal training, classes, or other services that would be of interest to the group at the workshop. Offer participants in these workshops a tour of your facility at the beginning or end of the workshop.
#14 – Retreats
Fitness or health/wellness retreats are a great option to increase revenue and boost business. They take a lot of planning but can pay off if you have a successful event. For example, you could have a weekend retreat in the spring focused on getting your beach body ready for summer.
Other options include a stress management and relaxation retreat, a retreat focused on functional fitness, or a youth fitness retreat focuses on a specific sport.
#15 – Anniversary Party
An anniversary party is a great time to let current members bring a friend in for a free workout. You could also offer special promotional membership deals for new members or allow gym members to try out two free group exercise classes over the course of a week.
You can have healthy food options available for attendees or you can invite local restaurants or businesses to bring samples of their products to share with attendees. You could also invite a live DJ, offer prizes, raffles, and giveaways. You could have a special themed workout class, have an outdoor boot camp class, or have a bar with “healthy” alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
It’s very important to market the event to current members but also to the community. It’s important to bring in potential new members to show off your facility, classes, or unique offerings, plus see how fun and inviting your facility is.
If your gym, health club, or fitness facility is new, a grand opening is a must. If you have had renovations, added new services or equipment, or had any other major changes, then a grand re-opening would be a great idea.
#16 – Pop-Ups
Offer a free pop-up class somewhere outside of the facility. Make large signs so that community members can see the fun, bring class schedules, and provide handouts with membership details.
Take some resistance bands to a local park and offer a boot camp or circuit training workout. Your dance fitness class could meet outside in a safe area of your parking lot during nice weather.
You could also encourage personal trainers to take their clients to a local park or walking trail. If they are wearing branded apparel or clothes with your logos, community members will see this and may show some interest.
#17 – Charity/Volunteer Occasions
There are numerous opportunities to partner with local charities, organizations, fundraising events, or non-profits year-round. A charity event or event benefitting a local non-profit organization is a great way to engage with current gym members and show that your facility cares about a healthy and happy community.
One idea is to provide a free class or personal training session if members bring a donation of food or a monetary donation during a specified time. You could also provide a place where members can adopt a foster child for their birthday or for a holiday.
This may directly generate revenue but will build spirits and involvement within your gym, health club, or fitness facility. Members will feel loyal and may bring new potential members to join as well.
You could also host a class that is strictly donation-based for a local charity or organization. The proceeds from the class will be donated to a local organization.
#18 – Member Appreciation Week
Designate one week each year to celebrate your members. It could be one of those times of the year when things tend to be slower or there seems to be a lull in membership sales. Member appreciation week is a week to celebrate the accomplishments, contributions, and loyalty of your members, so make it fun!
This is a time when you could have a special referral promotion for members to bring in new potential members. You could give away branded apparel, have gift card prizes, or provide complimentary healthy snacks after a workout.
#19 – Parents’ Night Out
If you have the equipment, facilities, or classes that are geared toward children and youth, your facility could host a parents’ night out. You could market this to members only or charge members a discounted price if you open it to the community.
Your facility could have a schedule of kid-friendly activities like sport and fitness activities, movies, food, or open gym. You will obviously need to generate enough revenue to pay for the staffing, materials, and supplies, but this could be a good revenue generation opportunity.
#20 – January Resolution Party
January is the time of the year when membership numbers are greatly increased because lots of new members are joining to get started on their resolutions for the New Year. Why not offer a fun event near the end of January or in February to help keep your members motivated?
Most people start off their New Years resolutions strong but they start to falter after about four to six weeks. To keep motivation high and keep members engaged, offer an event around this crucial time.
This also keeps members coming to the facility and from canceling a gym membership after they fall off the wagon. This is a win-win for everyone.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– How do gym events boost my business?
Gym events are a great way to see how fun and exciting your facility can be, an opportunity to get potential new members in the door of your facility and get your name out there in the community. All of these things can increase membership which improves your bottom line.
Some of these ideas require no extra revenue like social media contests and activity, workout challenges, and partnering with local businesses. For educational workshops, the group or organization conducting the workshop could collect the revenue.
– What are other ways to market my facility besides offering special events?
If events are not your thing, check out this article on 30 creative fitness marketing ideas to market your health club, gym, or fitness facility.
– I own a small personal training business, what events would work for me?
Many of these events would still be beneficial to boost your business, including social media contests, pop-ups, training programs for local race events, or partnering with local businesses. Creativity is key.
Not all of these ideas will apply to every health club, gym, or fitness facility. Choose a few of them to implement at first or work on improving or expanding the events you are already offering. Find partnerships in the community, amp up your social media presence, or find ways to interact with members to keep them loyal and engaged.
Ready to see how Exercise.com can help you grow and manage your fitness business? Schedule a demo today.
Melissa Morris is a professor by day and a part-time writer for Exercise.com. Melissa has a BS and MS in exercise science and an EdD in educational leadership. She teaches nutrition and applied kinesiology at the University of Tampa and has worked in health education, fitness, and nutrition for 15 years. In her free time, Melissa loves to workout at Orangetheory fitness and run 5K and 10K races.