Thursday, October 16, 2008

24 Hour Fitness Locations Offer Free Student Access

Savvy circuit training health club owners can learn a lot by watching the 'big guys' and copying them when it makes sense to do so.

Now may be the time to do so.

In case you missed it, many 24 Hour fitness locations recently announced that they are offering free gym access for student athletes. Here's part of their press release: "Access to the right fitness equipment can make a difference in your athletic training and your success as a student-athlete. Our Varsity Program helps student athletes gain FREE access to 24 Hour Fitness facilities during the school year (September 15th, 2008 - May 31st, 2009) from 2:30pm - 4:30pm. 7 days a week."

Why are they doing this? Is it because this counts as a school donation and they're receiving a tax write-off? Is it because they know that some of those athletes will eventually become paying gym members? Is it because they know that parents will be dropping off their kids, and that some of those parents will join the health club? Is it because of the free media coverage they're getting from this program? Or is it because 24 Hour Fitness centers really do care about people?

My guess is that it's a combination of all these reasons. The folks at 24 Hour Fitness are no dummies, and they know that allowing students to exercise for free is a win-win situation for them.

Notice that the free student access is restricted to two hours per day. These hours are strategically placed to be right after school and before paying members get off work. In other words, it's one of the slowest times in the day.

24 Hour Fitness also does a great job of putting together tempting offers to join their health clubs. Check out these examples:

$0 Initiation and Processing. Join 24Hour Fitness Today! Use Promo Code: AFMPW4WN5R

$20 Off a 90-Day Memberships. Join 24Hour Fitness Now!

$50 off a 1 year limited term one club membership. Use promo code: AFLMSJV8FQ

$50 off a 3 year prepaid ALL CLUB membership. Access to over 380 locations. Promo Code: AFPPAHPVXJ

2 personal training sessions for $99 at 24Hour Fitness

Save 10% when you spend $50 or more at Mystore by 24 Hour Fitness. Use promo code: AFP8128

Login now for a free 14-day guest pass!

So what can you, as a circuit training gym owner, learn from 24 Hour Fitness and these promotions?

First of all, be creative! Think outside the box. It's certainly an unusual move to get more paying members by offering free gym access to kids!

The second thing to learn from 24 Hour Fitness is that you should be varying your advertising. Don't always run with the same old tired advertisement. The seven examples above are just SOME of the recent advertising that 24 Hour Fitness locations have used. They know that different people will respond to different ads, so they vary their advertising constantly.

Finally, you should notice that 24 Hour Fitness is offering a FREE 14-DAY PASS. We're big believers in the free pass concept! It costs you nothing to allow somebody to use the facility for two weeks, and once they're in the door you have 14 days to sell them on a full membership! Even if they don't join, you'll still get their contact information for future marketing efforts.

The moral of the story is that you can learn a lot from watching the 'big guys' and how they operate. Don't hesitate to copy their moves when it makes sense!

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