How to Reopen Your Studio During the Pandemic
Reopening your fitness business requires a high level of thought and planning. The landscape is constantly shifting and can leave you and other business owners feeling confused. Partner Saints & Stars successfully launched a huge outdoor fitness program and is re-opened for indoor fitness. They are firing on all cylinders, and have some tips for your studio as you work through your reopening strategy.
Here are suggestions from CEO of Saints & Stars, Tom Moos, on how to successfully reopen your business in 2021 and beyond:
- Communicate with your customers frequently
- Clean and sanitize your space often
- Find a great outdoor location for classes or look into digital offerings
- Evaluate your pricing and keep it the same
- Ensure every customer experience is high quality
Communicate with your customers
At Saints & Stars, customers received a very detailed FAQ and email on all of their classes. Customers have a lot of questions, and as Tom says “when things change, people want to know everything and normally they don’t like it.” He recommends being as clear as possible in terms of communication. Let customers know what they can expect, what they need to bring, and where they need to bring it.
If your area is experiencing cycles of opening, closing and partial reopening, it will be a good idea to cultivate your email marketing lists and inform customers of updates frequently. Additional communication channels include social media and using banners on your website.
Clean often, and in front of your customers!
Tom’s staff cleans in between classes, but students still felt weary of the cleaning process. The classes at Saints & Stars have ample cleaning time in between, and also provide time for students to clean their own stations.
Noting your cleanliness procedures on your website and including them on your ClassPass page is an additional confidence boost for potential customers. You can also print out signs and cleaning schedules to display within the physical space as well.
Find a great outdoor space
Tom Moos looked for a location where he could keep the exact same cost as he does for his indoor experience. He wanted his outdoor experience to be just as amazing as his indoor fitness classes. Tom says “We tried to look for locations that were really close with buildings that weren’t used. So we found a house with a really large garden that we rented out until the first of September. The really large garden fits 40 people at the same time. And so, basically, you are sitting in someone’s backyard.” Saints & Stars dedicated times and resources to making the outdoor space really nice.
If your area is entering colder months, try searching for larger indoor alternative spaces. Boutique theaters and event centers are great alternative locations, which allow for more spacing between stations.
If those are still not an option, think about pivoting to a digital presence. Customers are continuing their fitness routines at home, and it’s entirely possible to bring an amazing virtual experience straight into their home.
Tom believes that people are thrilled to be back at a class, whether it be outdoors or indoors, depending on their government regulations. Due to this enthusiasm, he recommends keeping your classes at the same price. Tom says “we made it possible for people to have a safe workout” and that’s why customers are happy to pay full price.
Ensure that you aren’t sacrificing your pre-COVID fitness class pricing, because it’s unlikely that fixed costs have dropped. It’s imperative that you have a solid pricing plan in place at all times.
Tom’s key piece of advice is to stay relevant at all times. If you are running outdoor classes, indoor classes, or livestream and on-demand classes, make sure the quality is really high at all times. Try to do every new thing at the same level of quality that you bring to your indoor experience.
This post was written in collaboration with Tom Moos. He is the Founder and CEO of Saints and Stars in Amsterdam. After growing up in a family of fitness entrepreneurs, Tom went on to study International Business Admin in San Diego. He showed early entrepreneurial skills as the CEO of HealthCity (2017), eventually going on to become the founder of Saints & Stars. Using his ability to drive the highest standards, he continually pushes the business through to the next level. In the years ahead Saints & Stars will look to expand their studio portfolio across the capital and beyond.