Should Gyms And Fitness Studios Offer Guest Passes?

With more than ‘7.2 thousand health and fitness clubs in the UK’, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to compete as a gym or fitness studio owner.

Many gyms and fitness studios offer passes and day trials to provide potential customers with a glimpse into their facilities in the hope that it will encourage them to join up. 

Guest passes often allow members to bring a guest to use the facilities a few times a month. Some bigger gyms and fitness centres even offer free week trials that allow guests to trial their services and facilities for a limited period of time to see whether it’s for them. 

If you’re a gym or fitness studio owner, you might be wondering whether you should allow guest passes. There are numerous reasons why you might want to offer guest passes at your gym or fitness studio.

Reasons gyms and fitness studios should offer guest passes include, but are not limited to:

  1. Builds brand awareness
  2. Guest passes can increase revenue 
  3. Brings in new members 

1. Builds Brand Awareness

A big reason why you might want to offer guest passes is that they build brand awareness.

This comes down to the fact that offering guest passes exposes potential new clients to your business and shows them what you have to offer whilst also getting people talking about your business.

Brand awareness plays a fundamental role in helping to establish brand trust. When you consider ‘81% of consumers need to trust a brand to consider buying’, the importance of building brand awareness is emphasised. 

By making your facilities accessible to more than just members, then, you not only make a good, lasting first impression but also encourage the people using your guest passes to get a membership of their own or at least tell their friends about the service that you’re providing. 

This, in turn, will help to build your reputation and boost your brand awareness.

2. Guest Passes Can Increase Revenue 

Another reason why you might want to offer guest passes is that they can increase revenue for a low increase in costs.

Considering that the ‘majority of a new gym’s revenue comes from membership sales as new members are usually the first customers of the business’, offering guest passes encourages members to expose more of the public to your facilities. 

While memberships are what bring in the most revenue, anything on top of this is a bonus. 

So, whether you opt to offer a guest pass for a proportion of the price of a regular membership, or offer a free guest pass a few times a month to encourage new members to eventually sign up, this can significantly increase your business’ revenue in the long-term. 

3. Bring In New Members 

Arguably the biggest reason why you might want to offer guest passes at your gym or fitness studio is that it has the potential to bring in new members. 

For instance, the flexibility and hospitality of offering a free guest pass a few times a month is an effective way of enticing people that are new to exercising regularly, especially if they want to get into a proper routine of working out but need a little nudge in the right direction. 

A free guest pass is risk-free for potential new members, and will thus get them through the door in the first instance whilst your excellent facilities will help to keep them coming back and in turn, encourage them to get a membership of their own.  

Additionally, you could offer class passes that can be used by guests to try a free class to help them to determine what it’s like and familiarize themselves with the equipment in your gym or fitness studio before they sign themselves up.

By offering guest passes, then, you are able to meet the needs of curious potential new members and make a good impression by allowing them to try your fitness studio, encouraging them to become members themselves.

Hopefully this article will help you to decide whether you should offer guest passes at your gym or fitness studio. That said, be sure to weigh up all of the potential benefits and drawbacks before offering guest passes at your gym or fitness studio.

The Cost Of Setting Up A Fitness Studio

The number of gyms and fitness centres is increasing in the UK, with the number rising to 3,720 in 2022 from 3,060 in 2021, highlighting the opportunity to set up a fitness studio.

If you’re interested in setting up your own fitness studio, you might be wondering what costs are associated with this before you commit to the idea.

There are many initial costs associated with setting up a fitness studio that you will need to budget for.

The costs of setting up a fitness studio include, but are not limited to:

  1. Location 
  2. Equipment 
  3. Insurance 
  4. Staff 

1. Location 

One of the largest expenses to consider when setting up a fitness studio is the location. 

The cost of the physical premises for your fitness studio will largely depend on where the building is located, as well as whether you decide to rent or purchase the building. 

That said, if you intend to buy somewhere to set up your studio, it’s worth noting that the building is just the starting point, and you’ll still need a lot of cash to cover your other expenses. 

When looking for the right location for your studio, be sure to carry out comparative research on other commercial buildings in the area to determine whether you’re getting a good deal.

In addition to this, you’ll want to compare prices once you have a list of potential options to see what you can get for your money. 

2. Equipment 

Regardless of whether you purchase or rent your gym equipment for your fitness studio, it’s still a large investment.

The cost of gym equipment can vary significantly depending on the type of equipment that you purchase. However, you should expect to ‘budget at least £35,000 for a fully-equipped inventory’ if you intend to purchase your gym equipment. 

The type of equipment you’ll need to buy for your fitness studio ranges from dumbbells to treadmills, cross trainers to kettlebells, so there’s a lot to think about. 

That said, if you’re considering renting your gym equipment, then be sure to consult with gym rental companies to see if this is a better option for you. 

Once you have the price comparisons in front of you, you’ll be able to see which option makes the most financial sense for you.

3. Insurance

There are various types of insurance that you will need to consider when setting up your own fitness centre. 

For instance, considering you will be interacting with members of the public day in and day out, it’s a good idea to get public liability insurance.

Alongside this, when it comes to employing staff members at your fitness studio, it is a legal requirement for you to get Employer’s Liability Insurance. This insurance, in short, ‘safeguards businesses against legal and compensation expenses from employee claims’.

The cost of an Employer’s Liability Insurance policy will depend on a number of factors, including the number of staff members, the type of business that you run, as well as the level of coverage you take out. 

That said, make sure that you do your research to find the best insurance deals. While you don’t want to be paying through the nose, you also don’t want to be cutting any corners when it comes to finding the right insurance policy for your business.

4. Staff 

Another cost to consider when setting up a fitness studio is hiring permanent staff members.

Staff wages will vary depending on the number of staff you hire, their experience, and their role. From qualified personal trainers to health coaches, staff that manage administrative tasks to cleaners, there are many roles that go into the day-to-day running of a fitness studio.

While it might seem like a large cost, it’s also important to remember that the more variety you can offer in terms of the staff you hire, the more people you will attract to your fitness studio. As such, it’s a good idea to think ahead by hiring a variety of different staff members that offer a range of marketable skills.

Although the initial plans might be just to hire personal trainers, you should also consider the costs of hiring yoga instructors or CrossFit trainers to set your fitness studio apart from your competitors. 

We hope that this article has given you a better understanding of some of the costs associated with setting up your own fitness studio.

Tips For Improving Gym Membership Retention

While it’s common for people to join the gym at the start of a new year, it’s less common for gym members to stick to their new routine.

In fact, a study found that out of individuals that had set fitness new year resolutions, ‘73 percent gave up before meeting their goal’, emphasising how gym owners need proper solutions in place to help membership retention.

Tips for improving gym membership retention include, but are not limited to:

  1. Keeping the gym clean
  2. Gaining feedback and reviews
  3. Keeping it personal
  4. Placing an emphasis on community 

1. Keeping The Gym Clean

The first tip to improve gym membership retention is to keep the gym clean. 

It’s essential to keep your gym as clean as possible with regular hygiene schedules to help keep germs at bay, especially when you consider that ‘each piece of gym equipment has more than 1 million germs per square inch’.

Failure to carry out thorough sanitisation in your gym will likely result in people becoming sick, causing members to take time off exercising at the gym to recover. When people are no longer in the routine of going to the gym due to sickness, the risk of them cancelling their membership can increase.

Alongside ensuring a regular cleaning schedule is followed throughout the day, be sure to keep bottles of disinfectant and clean wash cloths accessible to gym-goers. 

This will encourage customers to clean each machine after use and will provide others with the peace of mind that you have good hygiene practices in place.

2. Gaining Feedback & Reviews 

The next tip to improve gym membership retention is to gain feedback and reviews from your customers.

Gaining feedback from your customers on a regular basis helps you to determine what is going well at your gym and what could be improved in order to prioritise the customer experience.

Not only does this help you to gather valuable information on your customers and how you can prioritise their needs, but also allows you to make any necessary changes as and when they’re required to keep your customers happy. 

In addition to this, asking your customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business page will also help to build your online presence, in turn helping you to become a bigger authority amongst the other gyms in your area.

Client reviews and testimonials can also be posted on your Instagram page and other social media accounts to generate more interest.

3. Keeping It Personal

You will also want to keep the experience personal for your customers to help improve gym membership retention. 

Your customers want to know that you care about their health and wellbeing, and that you see them more than just another conversion. 

That said, you will want to make the effort to gather information from members and use it to engage and communicate with them in order to provide them with a more personalised experience. 

This could include something as simple as sending your customers a message on their birthday. Adding this personalised touch will not only help you to build a relationship with your customers and show them that you care, but will also help to set you apart from competitors.

By going the extra mile, then, you might even encourage them to upgrade their membership or refer a friend. 

4. Placing An Emphasis On Community

Last, but not least, a great way to improve gym membership retention is to place an emphasis on community.

Considering that 22% of women aged 18-34 don’t attend fitness classes due to a lack of confidence, building a community can significantly help to make your customers feel a part of something bigger and help combat a lack of confidence. 

There are many ways to build a community, such as running various competitions, offering group classes where people can meet like minded individuals, or create monthly challenges. 

This will help your customers to see that your gym is more than just a place to work out, and is somewhere that they can grow in confidence on their fitness journey.

Building a community in your gym, then, will mean your customers are more likely to feel supported as part of something and will thus keep them coming back.

How To Attract New Members To A Gym

Although January is a common month for people to join the gym, the enthusiasm soon wears off.

In fact, it has been found that ‘more than 90% of [new members] will quit after three months of going to the gym’, emphasising how important it is for gym owners to find long-term solutions to attracting new members.

So, how do you attract new members to a gym as a gym owner?

There are multiple ways you can attract new members to a gym. These methods include, but are not limited to:

  1. Offer a joining discount
  2. Onboard personal trainers and health coaches
  3. Become a big part of your clients’ lives 
  4. Offer virtual classes

1. Offer A Joining Discount

One of the easiest ways to attract new members to a gym is to offer a joining discount. 

New members might feel unsure about joining the gym for a number of reasons, such as low confidence or the fact it’s a financial commitment.

Bearing this in mind, offering new members a joining discount can help to get them over the line if they’re deliberating whether to join the gym. 

Discounts or promotions you might opt for include offering the first month free, or offering the first month for half price with no joining fee. That said, whatever discount you’re considering offering, make sure that you’ve forecast the impact this can have and that you can afford it as a business. 

While offering a joining discount will entice them to join the gym in the first place, the positive change in their life will keep them coming back. 

2. Onboard Personal Trainers & Health Coaches 

Another good way to attract new members to a gym is to onboard a combination of both personal trainers and health coaches.

People have unique wants and needs, and might be looking for something different other than just a standard gym membership to switch up their lifestyle. As a result, offering enough variety at your gym in terms of health and fitness professionals should be a priority.

While it’s great to have personal trainers, more and more people are looking to make lifestyle changes with a health coach. In short, a health coach’s job is ‘to give patients the knowledge, skills, tools and confidence they need to participate fully in their own care and well-being’. 

Going a step further by offering health coaches that can offer advice on various factors, such as nutrition to help supplement a workout regime, can provide clients with the right support to make sustainable lifestyle changes. In turn, this can help with client retention.

By diversifying the trainers and coaches that you offer at your gym, then, clients likely won’t feel as much of a need to go anywhere else to receive the results that they desire. 

3. Become A Big Part Of Your Clients’ Lives 

Another option to attract new customers to the gym is to become a big part of your current clients’ lives.  

Perhaps you could run a breakfast club inside the gym once every month, or maybe you could offer a quiz night that would encourage people to bring along a friend to share the experience with.

When marketed and executed well, events like these that involve the community will not only travel through word of mouth but will also encourage new people to join. 

These are just a few of the ways in which you can build a community feel in your gym and become a bigger part of your clients’ lives that goes beyond just being a place they come to exercise.

Additionally, you can consider offering a referral programme which subsequently rewards your current clients for referring their friends to sign up for gym memberships. 

Not only will this help you to retain clients, but it will also encourage new members to join your gym. 

4. Offer Virtual Classes

Another way to attract new members to the gym is to offer virtual classes. 

Since 2020, the demand for online classes has increased. In fact, a recent report found that 60% of people ‘enjoyed their home workouts so much, they didn’t plan on going back to a physical gym’, emphasising just how big the demand for online classes is.

Whether a client is struggling with confidence, or simply doesn’t have the time to go to the gym in-person, offering virtual classes as part of your gym memberships is a huge drawing factor for new members.

By offering virtual classes, then, you can remain competitive with online apps that only offer online content exclusively, while also providing clients the flexibility to fit high quality workouts into their day without needing to physically visit your gym. 

Additionally, the more people attending online classes, the more capacity you have to hold new clients within the gym itself. 

5 Best Fitness Blogs

When you’re first getting into fitness, the gym and exercise as a whole can feel overwhelming, especially with the volume of advice floating around the industry. 

In fact, one study found that ‘50% of 1,000 non-gym goers surveyed admitted to “feeling scared” of the gym’, emphasising how intimidating it can be for a range of people. 

That said, there are many excellent fitness blogs out there, offering everything from exercise tips, nutrition advice, as well as recipes to help you get started on your fitness journey. 

So, no matter your fitness goals, there’s a blog out there to help you reach them.  

Some of the best fitness blogs include, but are not limited to: 

  1. Born Fitness  
  1. Runtastic  
  1. Breaking Muscle 
  1. Love Sweat Fitness  
  1. Keep It Simpelle 

1. Born Fitness  

Born Fitness is a blog run by Adam Bornstein, who started the website over a decade ago following years of experience in the fitness industry.  

From fitness tips, to nutrition and wellness advice, along with a range of different recipes, Born Fitness is a fantastic introduction to the fitness industry. 

If you’re looking for something a little more personalised, Born Fitness also offers a coaching service. Adam’s coaching style aims to motivate you without false promises, allowing you to benefit from a customised plan that’s tailored to your lifestyle and to kickstart your fitness journey. 

That said, if you’re interested in making a lifestyle change, Born Fitness is well-worth checking out.  

2. Runtastic 

Runtastic is a company now owned by Adidas after Axel Springer sold its majority stake in the company.   

The Runtastic blog covers a range of topics from running to training, to guides on recovery and how to make small lifestyle changes, such as how to get a better night’s sleep.  

That said, regardless of whether you’re a regular gym-goer or not, the Runtastic blog is packed with informative articles that are sure to pique your interest. 

Runtastic also has an app that’s compatible with both Android and iOS devices. The app offers both free and paid plans with access to an online community to receive and share tips, making it a great choice for pro athletes and beginners alike.  

The Runtastic blog, then, is great for providing support on your running journey. 

3. Breaking Muscle  

Another fitness blog that will likely interest you if you’re into weightlifting is Breaking Muscle

Anyone that’s been interested in lifting knows what a challenge it can be to get started, and this is where Breaking Muscle can offer you valuable advice.  

From articles on powerlifting competitions to nutrition tips from athletes and champions alike, you’re bound to find a wealth of information that you’ll find useful.   

Aside from the range of articles that contain tips and advice, Breaking Muscle also offers many inspirational stories that are ideal for adding fuel to the fire and giving you the motivation to make a change. 

As such, Breaking Muscle is the perfect blog for people interested in starting weightlifting and powerlifting.  

4. Love Sweat Fitness  

Next up, we have Love Sweat Fitness. Love Sweat Fitness is a blog created by personal trainer, Katie Dunlop, that specialises in nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, as well as travel. 

With articles that have a strong focus on female empowerment and loving the body that you’re in, Love Sweat Fitness is a blog written by women, for women. 

The brand also offers an array of products on their site, such as plant protein, meal plans, and collagen to aid your lifestyle change.  

So, whether you’re looking for inspiration for meals, new workouts to try, or even want to sample some new health and wellness products, Love Sweat Fitness have got you covered. 

5. Keep It Simpelle  

Last, by no means least, if you’re looking to prioritise your health and enjoy the process of getting fit, Keep It Simpelle is definitely worth a visit. 

This is a blog run by Elle Linton, a fitness professional and entrepreneur based in the UK. 

Elle’s blogs focus on a wide range of topics, from how to improve your posture to how to properly activate your glutes during a workout, all with a focus on making you feel good in your body. 

In addition to this, you can also book online classes on the Keep It Simpelle website which can help to make you feel a part of a community, or sign up for on-demand monthly studio memberships should you prefer.  

Bearing this in mind, if you want to move your body and feel good doing it, the Keep It Simpelle blog can help. 

Hopefully this article has given you a better understanding of some of the best fitness blogs, and has inspired you on where you can seek advice to start your fitness journey today. 

Written by Jemima Thomas for Fittr.