The holidays are officially upon us. Your studio is now more than ever in competition for that most precious commodity– your client’s time. With all the presents to buy, cocktail parties to host and work parties to attend, often the first item to fall to the wayside is a good workout. How to keep your client’s attention through it all? By getting creative.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Yes, the days are shorter this time of year, but somehow they seem longer. Between work and non-stop errands and events, your clients’ time is stretched. The answer is to supplement your regular schedule with a few off-peak offerings, like a 6 a.m. and a 9 p.m. class a couple of days a week. This allows your clients to sneak in a session before heading to work, or, conversely, to put in some face time at the office holiday party, before heading to a late-night workout.

For all your students panicked about their New Year’s Eve plans, offer an 11:30 p.m. class that will have them spinning—or kickboxing, or vinyasa-ing—their way into the new year.

STEP UP YOUR GAME
To capitalize on the holiday craze, start blending fun themes into your classes.  Dub your regular cardio/strength training class “Jingle Bells” and incorporate kettlebells into the workout. Switch the soundtrack of any class to Mariah Carey’s famous Merry Christmas album and call the session “A Mariah Carey Christmas.” Turn the lights down low and host yoga by candlelight. Have students pedal their way to the North Pole in a spinning class, complete with whipping wind sounds and a “ho ho ho” in the background. Or Grinch-ify your class by playing the movie on overhead screens.

Also consider hosting a longer promotion during the month, like a “12 Days of Fitness” contest or “8 Nights of Workouts”, where clients are incentivized to attend as many classes as they can in a 12- or 8-day period. Top attendees should get trainer-shout outs during classes, and winners get prizes like gift certificates to the retail portion of your studio or a discount on future classes. These types of events create a flurry of excitement around the studio—remember to post signage about the promotion and track who’s winning so all the clients can see—while simultaneously reinforcing the community you’re fostering.

DON’T BE A PARTY POOPER
In the midst of running your businesses and juggling your busy lives, remember to have some fun with your clients, too! Hosting a holiday party in your studio space is a great way to say thank you to students and trainers alike. Send invitations to current and past clients, and consider hosting a free workout first, followed by wine, beer and mini treatments (think: massages, manicures or acupuncture).

Carly Grace Hinchman, owner of Thunderbolt Power Yoga in Atlanta, told us, “We do special days where we bring in local juice bars, authors, etc.  We also have a Holiday Community board where people can share their ‘thankful fors.’”

For clients who have a holiday party on the books that night, sneaking in a workout and some relaxation would be a major win. Another idea: host a late-morning weekend class, followed by brunch, mimosas and mini-massages. The party options are endless, but the overarching theme we’re suggesting here is to reconnect with your clients while also offering them some freebies as a token of your appreciation for their continued business.

THE SEASON OF GIVING
This is a great time of year to give back, so take advantage of the daily foot traffic your studio sees and host a canned goods or coat drive. You could also gather up some trainers and clients to help you serve dinner at a nearby homeless shelter or connect with a women’s shelter and consider offering a free class.

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