How do you change business locations without losing members or decreasing revenue in the short term?
My gym's building is getting old and is at the point where it is unmaintainable. We are starting to put business plans together and move forward with changing locations to a more functional and larger space. How can we transition locations without losing a lot of our gym members or without decreasing our revenue in the short term...say the next 12 months?
Be very clear about your transition plan and communicate, communicate, communicate! Get all the logistical details worked out ahead of time.
1. Anticipate steps that require others to complete and what you will do if they fall behind.
2. Insure you have enough of your operation complete up front so you don't disturb the customer's experience.
3. Communicate what you are doing every step of the way. Start by telling your customers why you are moving and how the new location will benefit their experience. Make sure you use every available communication opportunity to insure they know the new locations and the date things will officially move over.
4. Be accomodating with customer requests. Be willing to give and do extra things to insure they are happy coming to you.
5. Once at the new location, plan to offer some new free services to insure people continue to come. Offer a referral opportunity if they bring friends.
The main point is not to loose focus on your customers and why you are doing this. In the midst of moving, lots of unexpected issues will pop up. Handle them professionally. Don't make short sighted decisions that will hurt your membership and revenue in the long run.
Good luck with it.
Basically, you're seeing the glass as half empty. Play to win more clients, versus losing the one's you do have.
A new location provides remarkable opportunity to build upon your past and grow into your future. Don't let the fear of the let's say 200 members (for example) you have now hold you back from the 2000 you will have.
There are smart business and marketing strategies to mitigate losses, but there's tons of opportunities to open fresh ones. Things like Daniel and Steve are telling you are solid counsel, but first focus on what you want to accomplish, build relationships, and exercise faith in your ability to become even better through this experience of thinking through what a new location means to you and your business.
Here's a simple business planning model to create the business and culture you want to succeed. Scroll halfway down the page and watch the video: Sorry for the blatant plug but the content is there to help: http://on-purpose.com/consulting/
Steve & Kevin are 100% correct, this relocation is potentially the most beneficial intuitive your gym can take, embrace the positive!
The way in which you communicate all the good news about the gym’s relocation plan is critical as you must develop a strategy that will make both moving and your reopening the catalyst for increasing both client numbers and revenue (in the short & long term).
Richard Stern-(3) months prior to changing locations sstart sending weekly email blssts with photos of the new location with directions. Also a positive reasson why making the move.
Offer an incentive for patrons to visit the new location.
Branding your new location is important and offer special goodies to your regular members while implementing specials to new members. Also have open house for both and open to the public for touring. Keep you attention focused on the positive points that your new location is the right move and a better one. Keep your name an location out there, Brand, Brand and Brand some more. Market as much as your budget will allow and make your business POP. Best of Luck!
With a gym there will be a point where the members simply find the distance too long. If this is the case there is not much you can do to retain them (aside from perhaps some sort of transport arrangement though I doubt that applies well to this case). That aside, I bet that most gym members are likely to be thrilled by the change of scenery and probably will not quit for the sole reason of the move.
So to retain as much customers I would try and find a location that is easy to reach from a members point of view. Also I would try to announce it to the members in a positive way, perhaps a festive opening and something special for your most valued members. Organising a special opening event will also be a great opportunity to attract new members that live within range of the gym. Have them look around and perhaps offer an incentive to sign up on the event day (e.g. 50% off for 6 months ). If all goes well your member base does not have to suffer, might even grow which should mean your revenue does not have to decrease.
In addition to these great suggestions -- make a big deal about the new space. Invite groups to tour the building while it's under construction. Have a Grand OPENing celebration that highlights some of the clients that have been you with the longest. Give loyalty incentives - or "free months" to people that will transition with you. Then line-up affiliations and referral partners with gyms that are currently in your OLD Location. Then if the distance to the new place is causing some clients "not to follow" - guide them to your affiliated and referral partners. Then at least you are getting a referral %.
Hope some of these ideas are useful.
I believe you have a lot of good answers above, if they apply to your business. I believe it would be necessary to answer a few questions before any recommendation could be fully applicable. For example, what do you see as the biggest factor creating the risk of losing membership or revenue? Why? What other factors are there that could affect membership? How much membership can you afford to lose and for how long? How much do you expect to lose? How quickly can you expand membership in your new location? Really, the answer lies in addressing some difficult questions with a professional who can guide you and offer good recommendations along the way.
Location is everything but so is a 'home' or base. In today's economy, labour is the king (employment). Make sure all your customers and future customers have the 3 pillars of a labour economy in their heads before you move, which are: cheap comfortable transport, good housing and smart-money: guided spending / premium options etc. Remember that being a gym is being part of the 3 requirements for success: sport, dates, and free expression. Then use social media to hook up with your new clients and draw your old ones.
- Involve Regular Customers in the changeover plans and get a buy-in
- Organise customer visits to new location
- Record specific feedback from customers & pro-actively address negative feedback
Promotion and advertising and talk about as an upgrade and an improvement. Hopefully you have new equipment too or link another benefit (new towels, whatever). Also promote membership specials, early renewals as moving specials so they follow, grand opening deals. Offset the short term losses with membership volume to fill the new location.
Consider having both locations open at the same time so you can refer people from the old to the new. (May be difficult or impractical to have two leases).
I'd promote the new location as much as you can with posters in the windows (of the existing location)...Do this far enough in advance that the majority of your existing customers see it. (i.e. if they come 1x a month, promote awareness at least a month ahead).
Take advantage of the switch (because you'll be getting NEW clients in the new location because you'll be convenient for a new neighborhood). Perhaps offer an introductory rate for new members...but also extend that to existing members as a "thank you" for being loyal.
See about offering a referral program to the new location...if an existing member brings in a new member - let them both get x-months for free. Make it really special...worthy of people remarking about it...remarkable!
If you can take input from your customers and apply it, ask them what they want in the new location...and build it in...let them be a part of the new place...You MUST MUST MUST have a Grand Opening Party! But, don't do a ribbon cutting...instead cut an exercise band...or have someone do the first official bench press as your opening! At Starbucks we used to have the "first press" of a press pot of espresso.
Best to you!
I think changing locations should be done carefully by chosing stronger locations so that your clients feel proud being part of your organisation ,You should plan How to attract your clients by giving them discounts for the coming periods , make them feel that are esteemed & valued clients , they will come to your new locations with good feeling in order to support thier organisation for sure .
1. Give a long-playing discount for all the old members to smooth inconvenience.
2. Make a very agressive marketing in the new block to attract those who live there.
The answers up to now give you most of the clues to get done. Location is truly important in decision making when you are talking about the place where you spend most of your free time with friends. The relationship with a coach is very valuable as well as the distance from work or home. Someone has mentionned a personal communication and implication is essential. Also an easy access will probably increase your clients if you are sure to maintain your quality standards and know-how. Premium options is an idea.
Make the transition public and a big entrance, if you are sure that it is the right decision, and you can't make a new start where you are.
several factors will have to be considered
1. Where is the new location and what is your Gym Unique selling point that will ensure members remain loyal
2. In transiting it is also important you carry your members along and seek their opinions ,they are the reason why you are in business
3. You ability to retain and increase revenue will also depend on your marketing efforts and offers to clients in your new location. certainly not all members will move with you so.
Suddenly change is called accident,so positive change needs steps,
1-Share orally to all members about the problems of present place.
2-Share orally importance/benefits of new place.
3-In a week five days work at present place and one day at new place.
4-After some week,change schedule alternate days for work at present and new place.
5-Also use counselor for motivation of change.
Can offer pick up and drop at nominal charges, which could be exclusive service
I read some where once that location is important for business sales, growth and development. Will this new location drive the business? I once experienced same a few years ago, where I moved houses. In my former place, I had put up a viewing center where people paid to come watch the EPL football matches on a big screen. Before I moved I had started informing my friends and clients. I had also offered to buy free cans of beer for the first 15 people and used my SUV to transport friends to the new center for free. All this i did only for the first 2 months. I made up all the cost later since the viewing center was now bigger and contained more people. maybe you could adopt same
You might lose some, but gain others...Also, if you notice the gym being old, rundown, and difficult to maintain, you can bet your customers feel the same way. You will lose them anyway unless you go forward with a better gym and fresh plan...Learn from your past mistakes and fail forward fast...