Pricing and positioning your memberships effectively is the key to a healthy member base and a successful gym business.

There are two key areas you need to focus on – price and value.

Price has always been a major factor for gymgoers, but it’s never been more important with the rising cost of living. And members are demanding more value from their gyms. 72%* of fitness consumers interviewed think that their gyms need to be more price competitive.

So how do you position your memberships in the most cost-effective way, without compromising on price or value? How can you give members what they want, without reducing your revenue?

You start by following these 7 best practices:

1. Carry out a competitor analysis

Understanding what your competitors are doing and what other choices your members have when it comes to their health, fitness and wellness is always a good first step.

Review the prices of all the gyms in your local area – within a 20-30 mile radius for example. What’s the average cost?

Then visit each of them if you can and see what types of memberships they offer, what their prices are, and how their value stacks up against your own. If you’re better than average, then your prices can reflect that.

2. Increase your membership customisation options

Members want to customise their memberships. It’s one of their key expectations and something you should consider when prioritising payment experiences.

Meet that demand by positioning basic memberships as a starting point. Traditional peak or off-peak options, giving basic ‘access-only’ to your gym. Then give members the choice to build out and customise their own unique package.

They could:

  • Add class access – either every class or a range of specific classes they’re interested in
  • Bolt-on personal training sessions
  • Include exclusive access to other areas, like a private studio, sauna or meditation room

3. Offer package or household discounts

If your members want to customise their membership by adding the full package of unrestricted access to all your classes and facilities, then be sure to recognise and reward that.

An ‘all-inclusive’ premium membership option is an attractive proposition to some members and it should be priced less than individually adding all the components to make sure it’s enticing.

You might also want to create dedicated household memberships, which better position your offer to entire families and allow you to offer a discount – and greater value – to those who sign up as a group.

4. Review average member use and create ‘extra-value’ package

When you need to add extra value to your memberships – perhaps because a lot of members are cancelling due to cost or because your gym is currently going through a quiet spell – consider creating ‘average use’ membership types.

These take typical member use of your facilities and offer a stripped back, access-only basic membership – for a great affordable price. For example, a ‘weekend only’ or a ‘weekdays before 11am’ membership.

To do that you’ll need to:

  • Analyse your membership data from the last 12 months (or go even further back to account for variations during the Covid period)
  • Look for trends to see when your memberships visit – how often, at which times, what facilities do they use?
  • Use this data to create ‘average’ member use cases, and build memberships to match

You might want to reserve these memberships for quieter times in your typical year, or as an incentive to entice regular members back if they’ve cancelled (or a thinking of cancelling). You don’t want to publish these options and have them detract from your general memberships.

5. Run referral campaigns

Positioning your memberships to new members is always a challenge, but your existing members can help.

They can support you in promoting your value and justifying your prices to others by showcasing your facilities on your behalf and encouraging friends and family to join.

Create a referral offer that incentives your existing members to encourage new members to join. You might offer a free month to both the referrer and the new member.

A referral campaign like this helps you position and discount your memberships without having to reduce your overall prices or compromise elsewhere.

6. Streamlining joining and payment management processes

Making cost savings wherever you can will also help you price and position your memberships more effectively.

For example, if you reduce admin time in reception with members able to sign up online, then you can reflect that saving in your prices.

By streamlining both your joining and payment process with online self-service, you’ll give members the freedom and flexibility to manage their own memberships and reduce the staffing levels required at reception.

You could assign your team to more valuable, more profitable areas and provide a better experience for both new and existing members.

7. Deliver a better membership payment experience

A better member experience starts with a better membership payment experience.

Your pricing should be clear and stacked with value, so your members immediately recognise how cost effective it is.

And your positioning should be so seamless that your members find it quick and easy to sign up – no barriers, no hassle.

Focus on creating that simple, seamless payment experience, and you’ll stand out against your competitors.

*Research conducted on behalf of Xplor Gym’s parent company, Xplor Technologies, Untangld conducted an online survey of 1,065 respondents during December 2021. The sample for the study was nationally representative and defined as people who were members or regularly attended gyms, health clubs, studios, leisure centres or sports clubs pre-COVID.

Article by Xplor Gym

First published: 27 August 2022

Last updated: 02 February 2024