Solutions For Filling Up Empty Cycle Studios

With the home gym equipment market offering increasingly great value, and the humble stationary bike now more interactive and connected than ever before, you may be noticing less bums on seats in your cycle studio. A cardio theatre is a significant investment, both with the purchase and maintenance of exercise equipment and also due to the physical space that is allocated to those group exercise classes. The return on this investment, however, can be a loyal and enthusiastic group of members who consistently fill up the timetable each week. In this article, we’ll discuss some solutions for filling up empty cycle studios and breathing some life and energy back into your spin classes.

Why are your spin class numbers dropping?

If you’ve been noticing attendance to your facility’s spin classes trickle off, it’s time to figure out why. This can be a great reason to reach out to your existing or past members and engage with them. Rather than issuing the dreaded “feedback” email, you can personalise your approach by (a) making those members feel noticed and valuable, and (b) showing some vulnerability and owning any shortfalls.

By acknowledging that you’ve experienced a drop in interest to your spin classes and explaining you want to make improvements, you can approach your past attendees for their constructive criticism. It can be a good opportunity to re-engage with members who may have cancelled their membership altogether too. Possible reasons might include;

  • They felt bored – the class no longer challenged them or the format got too repetitive;
  • Timetable scheduling;
  • Lacklustre facilities – this could be old or poorly maintained equipment, cleanliness of the studio or just a dreary, uninspiring backdrop;
  • The instructor.
filling your empty cycle studio

Image courtesy of CycleBar

Tips for filling up empty cycle studios

As well as the premium home exercise equipment now available, the rise in popularity of boutique cycle studios such as CycleBar have made it harder for traditional fitness clubs to attract spin class enthusiasts. Research has shown that health club cycle studios are vacant for as much as 80 per cent of opening hours, translating to up to AUD$250,000 per year in lost revenue. So how can you make your cycle studio more enticing for members?
    1. Pimp your ride If new bikes are in your budget, why not lash out and upgrade your equipment. If 20 new bikes are out of the question (and let’s face it, that’s a pretty big expense), there are ways your can upgrade the functionality of your existing stationary bikes by making them connected. If your current peloton are ANT+ enabled, consider connecting them to a central leaderboard that can be displayed on a big screen, providing real-time feedback to users to gamify the workout. Even if your existing equipment doesn’t have ANT+ connectivity, North Pole Engineering have some simple and cost-effective solutions to bring your dated equipment into the new age of connected fitness.

    2. Create a sensory experience A quality audio and visual experience can really set the mood and raise energy levels inside a cardio theatre. Immersive soundscapes and dynamic lighting can increase members’ performance as a carefully curated playlist drives them through their workout with uplifting beats. When your members feel great during their class, they’re going to keep coming back for more! We recommend chatting to the team at Fitness Audio about how you can turn your cycle studio into an engaging fitness space.

    3. The right vibe for your tribe Dial in on who your spin class embers are. Not just age and gender, but why they come, what drives them and what they want to get from your class. If they are stay-at -home parents looking for some social connection, its important to find ways for them to interact in what can sometimes be quite a solitary group exercise modality. Or are they mainly corporates who are here for a 30 minute escape from the office in lunch hour? Only by taking the time to know your attendees can you create the offering that will meet their needs, whether it’s class structure, room layout, or timetable scheduling.

    4. Is your instructor the best fit? Has attendance been dropping off since you hired that new instructor? Are they going through some personal stuff and not able to bring the same energy to the class as they used to? Sometimes, getting to the bottom of this might only be achieved by asking attendees to offer anonymous feedback, but if this is a reason for a drop in attendance then it’s important to know.

    5. Fresh programming If you’ve been running the same format spin class for some time, it could be worth exploring what else is out there to get members excited about trying something new. Indoor cycling is by nature, pretty repetitive, so the music, the program, and the challenge need to bring something fresh to the workout.

    6. Virtual Classes Some members may love to join a spin class, but your timetable just doesn’t align with their lifestyle. Consider virtual fitness options for your members, which can not only make use of your studio when classes aren’t scheduled but also act as a backup should you have a last minute instructor shortage and still give members a workout option. Check out the feedback from Keilor East Leisure Centre on bringing virtual fitness to their timetable.

    7. Remove roadblocks There’s nothing more frustrating than a clunky booking system for your members. Make sure your gym booking system is easy to use and provides a good user experience for your members.

“Indoor cycling is blowing up. The success and the growth of the boutique market has caught many clubs by surprise, and we’ve worked hard to create a solution that can reinvigorate the cycling studios for our club partners,” said Les Mills Executive Director, Phillip Mills.

“While some of the solution involves new products, we are also creating strategic marketing solutions for appealing to millennials – the biggest consumer audience yet, making up 50 per cent of the fitness industry.”

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