As we all know, the current governmental regulations towards the COVID-19 pandemic are not taken lightly, especially toward commercial gym facilities. Still, as soon as you have the green light to get back in the gym again, you are obligated to follow strict protocols. It is important to ensure a safe environment for your clients and staff no matter how hard it is to keep up with the regulations, keeping in mind that your operational execution will not be as simple as it was before.
Here are some ideas to stay in business:
Layout and Client Route Flow
If your gym layout wasn’t already following international standards, then this would be a great time to do so — it might however take some effort, but it will be worth it. It’s best to consider a clockwise flow, with one entrance separated from the exit to ensure access & regulation control on the number of clients.
We know your facility might have different setup standards, but committing to the standard layout is always the best choice. The circuit of the Gym equipment should have a flow that starts with the cardio studio/functional zone, then the fixed weight machines (beginning with the largest muscle groups to the smallest).
The idea is to plan ahead with your marketing to set a new service routine for your old and new clients before the first phase of reopening, slowly introducing your new booking process to make members familiar with it. This will simplify your registration process and will not create traffic at the facility. Believe it or not, in some cases clients tend to hold back on purchasing memberships if they assume they will wait long in a queue. There are many fairly cheap, simple-to-use digital tools available if you don’t have an online booking system in place.
The key point here is to be transparent with your members and make them familiar with the new service routines. This transition might seem like it could cause potential problems as well, but clients will realize that you are not the only gym operating this way and that this the new norm. We advise you to restrict the service to your members and assist them in accepting that there will no longer be the same freedom to come and train whenever like before.
In this pandemic, we are obligated to remain patient and contribute to making this world a healthier place. We are now the ‘5ft society’. Social distancing unfortunately doesn’t only apply outside of the gym, it also means it’s time for your members to break up with their gym buddies. It is important to follow this rule, but how can you manage this as a gym owner?
We know that all these changes might make your facility look like a construction place, but it is better than an exit plan and losing your business altogether. With the 5ft distancing rule between individuals, this will bring up the idea of spacing your equipment 1–5 meters apart, at the least. If you have a challenging space layout, then you can consider dividing walls or investing in foldable fiber barriers between the machines, especially in the sweaty cardio section.
Remove the bike saddles so they can’t be used, close the shower and locker rooms (since they are tough to maintain) and finally close swimming pools and other services like saunas, jacuzzies & bar facilities.
We advise you to use all the gyms internal marketing materials such as banners and cardio equipment displays to provide instructions to members, ensuring a smooth process of collaboration to ultimately keep your gym a safe and healthy environment.
Transparency with your Members
Through your marketing channels & awareness campaigns, clear communication with your audience will be the best way to manage a smooth reopening. Educate them in advance on the importance of following your new rules and with the consequences of not following them. They will naturally adjust themselves to avoid disappointments and the risk of contamination.
“Do not create traffic, it will reflect on your sales later on.”
We know that this must be the most challenging section of the reopening plan, but consider a temporary expansion to your gym floor space for at least six months after reopening. Study the reaction, execute the service, and avoid floor traffic with long queues waiting due to the lower number of machines after applying the 1–5-meters distancing rule.