Did you know that day-pass users can become your best customers? It’s completely possible to create a strategy as a part of your climbing gym business plan to effectively get those day-pass users coming back for more, and eventually inspire them to purchase memberships. This process of converting day-pass users to members can start before they even walk in the door; here are a few tips to help convert them to members that can be used by both those with an established gym or for those starting a rock climbing gym.
Your Space: Upkeep, Layout, and Design
One thing you can strategize before a visitor even walks through the door is how your gym will unfold before their eyes upon their first visit. Is everything clean? Are the locker rooms and amenities easy to find and readily accessible? Once they begin climbing, does the traffic flow of your gym encourage them to walk through the entire space, looking at all the fun stuff they’ll want to come back to try out? The cleanliness, ease of use, and layout of your space gives you an opportunity to make a great impression. A clean, well thought out facility is comfortable and welcoming to a new climber.
Your Staff: Reinforcing that First Impression
Speaking of first impressions, your front of house staff is extremely important in molding perceptions of your gym. No matter how clean or unclean your place is it’s the staff that will be the face of the gym and should be friendly, informative and welcoming to all users, regardless of their skill level. Ask yourself, does the attitude and work ethic of your staff reflect the values of your gym? They represent your company, so it’s okay to be thorough in the hiring process! Hire the right staff who will put on a smile, learn about your patrons, and help foster clients’ interests in climbing and fitness at your facility. Think of restaurant wait staff and how they impact your dining experience. Your employees at the gym are no different.
Your Programming Options
Once a day pass user is in the door, what can you offer them in terms of programming while they’re buying their pass? A thirty minute intro session that runs a few times a day could be a great way to show them the ropes (pun intended) and get them to talk about the reason they’re interested in trying climbing. If your staff can identify why the visitor came in for the afternoon, they can help the climber reach their goals and inspire return visits, or even sign them up for more intensive classes and groups.
What are your staff’s standard operating procedures for day pass sales?
Do you have such SOP in place? When you sell day-passes at your gym, what happens immediately after the client finishes buying their pass at the front desk? Are they given any guidance? A first time gym user should receive at a minimum a short tour through your gym and quick introductions to your climbing wall design to indicate where they might find good terrain for their skill level. This process would take about five minutes of walking through your space, during which your staff member can assess the clients’ current climbing capabilities, and recommend some routes or sections of the gym for them to try. This one-on-one, personalized interaction welcomes the new patron with open arms and makes them immediately feel like they are a respected part of the community your gym has fostered.
Finally, it’s important to remember that a good follow-up can also strengthen an impression of your facility. If every new visitor is required to give an email address, an automated message can be sent out a week after their first visit. Thank them for their recent trip to your gym, announce upcoming events, and share important news and information. To go a step further, provide resources for new climbers – links to videos your gym has made about tying knots, using auto-belays, how to choose the best-fitting equipment, and different belaying methods. Get them watching these things at home, and you can bet they’ll want to come back and try them out for themselves.
By implementing these key strategies into your climbing gym business plan, you will boost your chances at capturing new membership and increasing interest for your gym. Now who wouldn’t want that?
For more information on climbing wall designs and creating a climbing gym business plan, contact Eldorado Climbing Walls at 303-447-0512. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and our Climbing Wall Company Blog for the latest news, updates, and resources.
Written by: Leslie Rasch on August 13th, 2013