5 Incentives for Gym Members that Every Gym Should Try

As the owner of a fitness business, you know that it is not always easy to attract and retain members. People often have many gyms to choose from so customers have the power to shop around for the best incentives and discounts. That’s why offering creative and enticing incentives is an effective way for you to stand out from the competition and encourage customer loyalty. In this article, we will look at a few different types of incentives you can consider implementing to attract new members and keep existing ones coming back for more.  

Incentives to Attract & Retain Members

Offering membership incentives can be an effective strategy for both bringing in new members and retaining the ones you have. Value-added extras such as recognition, rewards programs, or personal training sessions can improve member experience, build customer loyalty, and increase the bottom line. Not only do these efforts demonstrate that you’re invested in helping members achieve their fitness goals, but incentives also encourage members to stay engaged and committed to their fitness routine. 

1. Personal Training & Personalized Fitness

Offering free trials for personal training and group fitness classes can be an effective way to encourage existing members to try out new services and stay engaged with their fitness goals. Personal training sessions with certified trainers can provide individualized attention and guidance, helping them to achieve their fitness goals more efficiently and effectively. Offering a free trial can also give hesitant members the chance to try out a personal training session without immediately committing to a contract, which can be a significant factor in their decision-making process. Additionally, promoting group fitness classes through free trials can help to introduce members to classes they may have overlooked or been unaware of, boosting class attendance and overall engagement.  

2. Offer Childcare

Offering childcare services can be a game-changer for gyms looking to increase customer retention and attract new members. Parents who have children often have limited time and may struggle to find childcare while they exercise. By offering on-site childcare services, you can alleviate this burden for parents and make it easier for them to prioritize their fitness goals. This incentive can also help to differentiate your gym from others in the area, making it a more attractive option for potential customers who are looking for a comprehensive and family-friendly fitness experience. 

3. Referral Bonuses

If you don’t have a referral program at your gym, you are missing out. A well-executed referral program can be a powerful, low-cost tool to increase retention and attract new members. To make the most of your referral program, offer benefits to both the referrer and the referral recipient. Incentives such as referral rewards and bonuses, gyms can encourage satisfied customers to spread the word about their services, helping to increase brand awareness. Customers benefit from referring friends and family, while you benefit from having more members who are likely to stay longer and generate more revenue. 

Fit healthy man greeting his friend in the gym before workout CrossFit class.

4. Partner With Local Businesses

Partnering with other local businesses can be a smart move to increase customer engagement and loyalty. By collaborating with restaurants, breweries, rec sports leagues, dry cleaners, photographers, or other relevant local businesses, you can offer members unique benefits and establish goodwill within the community. Discounts or promotions on healthy food or supplements, fitness apparel, or wellness services such as massage or acupuncture can further incentivize members to engage with both your gym and your partners. Not to mention that working with other businesses can expand your reach and create opportunities for cross-promotion. 

5. Rewards Programs

Implementing a rewards program can incentivize members to stay engaged with their fitness goals and remain loyal to the gym over time. Members can earn points for a variety of activities, such as attending classes, achieving fitness milestones, referring friends, and more. These points can then be redeemed for a range of prizes, including discounts on membership fees, free personal training sessions, gym merchandise, or other rewards. This type of program not only creates a sense of excitement and motivation among members but also helps to establish a strong community who are committed to their fitness journeys. 

Need a Few More Suggestions?

If you operate on advanced mode and want to take incentives a step further, the following are additional possibilities that many fitness businesses have had success in implementing. 

  • Nutrition Guidance: Offer nutrition guidance and resources like meal planning, healthy recipes, and nutrition workshops. 
  • 24/7 Access: Offer access to cater to members with busy schedules who cannot work out during traditional hours.  
  • Community Service: Build a sense of community by creating opportunities for members to volunteer or give back. 
  • Virtual Classes: Offer virtual classes that members can participate in when traveling or at home. 

Looking for more ways to retain your members? Check out our Athlete Retention Guide.

 Things to Keep in Mind When Considering Incentives

Offering incentives can provide many benefits and enhancements to the member experience but there are a few things to keep in mind when creating these programs. 

  • Cost: Make sure the cost of any incentives you’re considering is financially feasible in both the short and long-term. 
  • Value: Incentives need to provide real value to members. Consider what members value most and tailor offers accordingly.  
  • Feasibility: Ensure that incentives are feasible and can be implemented without straining staff or resources. 
  • Promotion: Incentives can’t help if nobody knows about them. Add them to your marketing campaigns to boost awareness. 
  • Monitoring: Keep track of how incentive programs are performing over time to tweak as needed. 

Use Incentives to Accentuate the Experience

While facilities, equipment, and programming are imperative factors in attracting and retaining members, incentives can provide additional value and improve the overall experience for members. But remember that incentives are one component of a comprehensive strategy. Your gym’s overall culture, customer service, and sense of community are equally critical in creating a welcoming and supportive environment. Combine incentives with high-quality facilities, engaging programming, and a sense of community to produce a positive experience for members and stand out from competitors.