While your Group Exercise program should bring new participants on a regular basis, the real power of GX is the retention factor. GX is all about an experience and creating community. Those are the two keys to retaining your members, how do they feel and who are they connected/accountable to? This is important every time they take a class. But a special event gives them something to look forward to, perhaps a goal to work towards, maybe an endeavor they can be a part of and even something they want to tell their friends about!

Reinforce the community you are building and add an annual, bi-annual and even quarterly event that your participants can look forward to and tell their friends about! Let’s look at how to get started!

Decide What Your Purpose Will Be

A challenge - Are they competing against the group or themselves? What is the goal? Strength, endurance, weight loss, frequency? This could be a “Sweat Till Ya Drop” cardio marathon or a month long “Class Punch Card Challenge” with a party to celebrate at the end. How about “Five For All” group weight loss!

A celebration - What is the occasion? Honor your members? Your team? Just for fun with a theme? You can’t go wrong with a member appreciation day or raise up your team and celebrate them with a 90 minute fusion class highlighting each of their strengths. Get silly with an 80’s themed class or join a larger celebration like “Global Group Exercise Day” presented by the Association of Group Exercise Professionals each January.

A charitable event - You’ve got the tribe, why not use it for a good cause? The holidays are a great time for a food or toy drive. Charge a donation to your special event and let the group decide who it should go to.

Now Plan, Market and Get Ready to Party

Pick a simple name for your event that outlines the activity and purpose. Give yourself at least 90 days to advertise and plan your event. Set the date and get the word out right away.

Loop in as many partners as possible. They will help you spread the word and can lend support in many ways. Your partners could be internal like the PT department or external like a neighboring business you invite to participate in giveaways or a demo.

Market the event through class announcements, in facility posters, social media and flyers at neighboring businesses.

Preparation is the Key to a Successful Event

Here are a few tips to help you pull off a fun event, not only for your participants but also for yourself!

As you create your event communication, think of how you can reuse these as a template for future events. Hopefully this will cut your preparation time in half for next time!

Grab a big box and every time you think of something you’ll need for the event throw it inside. You’ll have everything you need at your fingertips. Before the event, write a checklist of everything inside and you’ll have it for your next event.