Using Events to Build Community and Diversify Revenue

6 min read


As a busy fitness business owner, you may not think planning and hosting events at your gym is worth the effort. While we have to agree the preparation does take some time, the community building and revenue generating benefits make the effort involved in events extremely worthwhile.

To help you plan events at your studio or gym, we’re going to share some always popular event ideas. Then we’ll explain how your member management software can make the process of hosting events even easier.

Community Building Events

Events are great for building community at your studio or gym. In turn, an active community is excellent for retention and engagement. People who enjoy exercising together are more likely to stay with it than those who come to the gym but have no friends or connections.

Here are some easy to host event ideas that will get your community excited about spending time together:

Cookouts, Parties and Holiday Events

A simple way to get started is by hosting holiday events, parties and barbeques. These get-togethers can be as relaxed as a Thanksgiving potluck or a 4th of July cookout. They can also be as fancy as a chocolate and wine tasting for Valentine’s Day or a Monte Carlo Poker Night Fundraiser.

When brainstorming ideas, consider food-related events like a St. Patrick’s Day beer and brats get together, an annual summer cookout, and a holiday cookie exchange. Then also consider non-food events like a New Year’s Day vision board party or a fall pumpkin carving event.

Fundraiser Workout or Extreme Race

Working out together outside of your gym is also a great way to bring your community together for bonding. Races like the Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder or Color Run are always fun. Alternatively, you could participate as a group in an annual race like a Turkey Trot or do an annual Memorial Day workout, with donations going to an organization like the Wounded Warrior Project.

Bonus tip: If you take your community out of the gym for a race event, be sure to get everyone in your gym’s t-shirt or other logo gear items for name recognition in your community.

In-House Competitions

Another fun event idea is hosting a team workout competition. You can challenge your members to invite their non-member friends, which would help with new member acquisition. If the weather is beautiful, you can even hold the competition in a local park.

Consider basing the competition on a high-intensity style WOD that includes air squats, lunges, pushups, burpees, and a run. Or, you could even make it a family event with an old school inspired field-day with a tug-of-war, three-leg race, long jump, and relay race. To keep your costs low, award the winning team gym t-shirts and bragging rights.

Bonus tip: Give any non-members who show up and participate with a free-week trial at your studio or gym to encourage them to become a member.

Activities in Your Area

Planning things outside your gym and in your local area is also a fun option. For instance, if you live by the water, a group SUP trip would be fun. Additionally, you can go bowling, for a hike or even to a post-workout dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Diversifying Revenue Events

Another reason for studio and gym owners to plan and host events is because they provide a way to diversify revenue. Unlike the events we already suggested, you can charge for attendance at these events. Here are some ideas:

Skills Workshops

Depending on what type of gym or studio you have, you offer skills workshops. From double unders and pull-ups to gymnastic movements or even myofascial release, these events should complement the classes and services you’re already offering and contribute to your overall revenue.

Nutrition Workshops

Likewise, nutrition workshops are also a smart choice. Consider meal prep and planning, macro, paleo or keto workshops to give your members additional tools to help them achieve their goals.

Alternatively, if you sell supplements, you could hold the event without charging for attendance in anticipation of selling more products that way. Either way, since nutrition is just as important as putting the time in the gym, your members will thank you for the support.

Boot Camp or Fitness Challenge

Sometimes members need a little nudge, and you can provide it with a fitness challenge or goal specific boot camp. Just pick the date your challenge will end, for instance, Labor Day for a “Summer Body” challenge and count back to determine your start date. From there, plan your workouts and check-in dates, and you’ve got your event.

You could even package a nutrition workout and a fitness challenge together, kicking off with the nutrition element to get your participants ready for maximum benefit.

Whether you decide to plan and host events for the additional revenue or the community building benefit, you’ll need your member management software to support you. Zen Planner makes holding events easy by allowing users to set up and schedule events with customized pricing based on whether or not the person registering has a membership at your gym. You can even post the event on your member connect signup page, limit the registration and notify staff members of signups.

Interested in how the most profitable fitness businesses build community and diversify revenue? Check out our Annual Benchmark Reports.

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About the Author: Kelli Sweeting

I'm Coach Kelli, a devoted CrossFit gym owner with 15 years of experience managing my facility, along with owning yoga studios and wellness centers. Beyond the fitness world, I have a passion for cooking, cherish moments with my children and family, and find joy in spending time outside. Having experienced the highs and lows, I'm dedicated to leveraging my expertise to help you grow and succeed on your fitness journey.