Open house

How to organize open house events at your gym

How to organize open house events at your gym
Written by ALEXANDRA Published on 2021-01-25 5 minutes read

One of the most effective methods of attracting new members is "open house" type events. For one or more days, access to the gym is free for anyone, so that as many people as possible can test your gym's services.

Even if initially such an event may seem like a lot of work, without much benefit, in our clients’ experiences, things are exactly the opposite. A free event, if organized properly, attracts a lot of curious people, especially those who would like to come to the gym, but do not know what to expect or what it entails.

These events also pique the interest of those who would like to come to the gym, but the commitment of even a month's membership is daunting. By participating in these events, they will immediately see the benefits.

Why organize free events?

The short answer to this question is – to recruit new members. However, free events have a lot of benefits. They're great for brand awareness, can bring back old members who haven't renewed in a while, or can be a great way to introduce a new gym to the community.

Campaigns like "membership offer", "come to the gym now", "take the first step towards a healthy life" can become repetitive and boring. Surely your gym is not the only one in town running such campaigns and messages. Instead of promoting offers, give those interested a chance to see for themselves the quality of the services you offer.

No matter what your reason is for organizing a free event like this, it's essential to make sure you collect the contact details of everyone who comes to the gym. This is the only way you will be able to create a list of opportunities, that will be very useful for your team.
How to organize an open house event

First you need to decide on a date and time for the event. It can be a single day, an entire weekend or even a week. You can tie the event to a certain holiday, anniversary, or special day, or you can organize a stand-alone event during a quieter time, such as the summer months when most members are on vacation.

Avoid throwing such events during important holidays such as Christmas, New Year or Easter. During these times people have a lot of other obligations and will not have the time to participate. It's also a good idea to check if there is another important event going on in the city on those days, such as a festival that lasts a whole day and may compete with your event.

For example, you can organize the "Open Day" on the anniversary of the club, or for the International Health Day. If your city hosts a marathon, you can offer free access to marathon participants on the weekends leading up to race day so they can train.

Once the day is set, decide how the event will go – invite people to train in the gym area, or to attend classes, or even a special class or a group training session with one of your trainers. You have a lot of options, and you can be as creative as possible. Especially if the event is held at your club.

After you have established the details of the event, you need to start promoting it on all the channels at your disposal. Post on your Facebook and Instagram pages as often as possible, create a Facebook event, print flyers, and distribute them in popular areas around town, put up posters in the club and encourage members to bring their friends.

Don't wait for people to take an interest in the events organized at your gym. Promote them as often as you can and don't forget to post all the details, including what equipment participants need to bring.

Keep in mind that many of those who will participate do not have much experience with going to the gym. So, give as much information as you can about what it means to workout at your club, and what are the rules. The more such barriers you remove, the more people will be willing to participate.

What happens at an open house event

First of all, make sure the gym is clean, your team knows what to do, and the club's services are shown in the best light. This event must, in fact, convince as many participants as possible to become members. So, make sure everything is perfect.

As I mentioned above, it is essential to collect the contact details of those who come to the gym. First of all, it's a matter of safety - you need to know exactly who is in your gym. Also, contact lists are a very helpful tool for your sales team. If your management software allows it, you can create lead profiles with the participants’ contact details. This way you can easily manage them, especially when you sell them memberships and or when you want to send them emails or text messages.

Online payments

Ideally, at the end of the event, you would have as many new or reactivated members as possible. For this you can run various memberships promotions that are only available on that day. Of course, if you decide to run such a campaign, don't forget to mention it when promoting the event.

In our experience, one of the most effective tactics is to convince an attendee to have a membership registered at a preferential price, lower than any other standard campaigns. The operation takes a few seconds, and you also get their contact data. So not to waste time with the payment, after registering the membership, you can send them an email with an online payment link.
This way, the person in question can make the payment online with the bank card when they get home. Since they don't have to "take money out of their pocket" on the spot, most participants will be more willing to accept the offer. At the same time, the fact that they can lose a preferential price will convince them to pay for their membership.
What to do after an open house event

First, contact the people who attended the event. Your new list of potential members is useless if you don't contact them and try to convince them to buy membership.

Also, don't forget to post photos and videos from the event on your social media pages. This will help when you organize your next event, because those who didn't attend can see what they missed.

A quick catch-up...

Open house events are an excellent opportunity to attract new members, but also to promote your gym in a different way. Although it seems a little complicated, its benefits outweigh the effort. You just need to consider a few important aspects.

First and foremost, promote the free event as often as possible, online, and offline. Make sure everything is perfect on the day of the event and that your gym is put in the best light. Collect the contact details of all participants, so your team can contact them later to convince them to buy memberships.

Offer preferential pricing on memberships to attendees and try to make the registration process as simple as possible. Finally, don't forget to "brag" on the social media pages, so that those who didn't make it to this event, don't miss the next one.


Alexandra loves researching and writing about the fitness industry and the latest technological developments. She always knows what the latest online trends and challenges are and where to find the best memes.

Fitness Business Romania
Fitness Business Romania

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