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Fitness memberships, workout classes, wellness services, beauty appointments and more.
As we all continue to work through the current coronavirus pandemic together, many of your favorite fitness and wellness businesses have had no choice but to temporarily close their doors. Without a chance to offer their usual services or classes, many business owners are struggling with a very important question:
Memberships are critical to the health of a fitness business. It’s a revenue stream that they count on each month to keep the lights on and their teams employed. Now, with many of us unable to visit these locations, a business could decide to suspend all memberships for the time being—but is that the best option? As members, we still need to work out, and there’s plenty of opportunity for the business to help with that. Plus, in these isolating times, fitness studios can provide their members a sense of community right when they need it most.
There are several options studios can consider when it comes to memberships, and there’s a lot that influences which is best for them.
This is likely the best solution from the business’s point of view, but the question remains: how can they provide members the same value they get from their traditional memberships, but in a new way?
Whether a member usually visits once a week or once a day, much of the value of their membership is the sense of belonging that the studio provides. More than ever, people crave this as they cope with isolation at home, and businesses are already working hard to keep their members engaged. They might create a Facebook group for members with daily workouts or encouragement. Some may offer classes or workouts through live or recorded video, and others may be able to offer small-group workouts outside where clients can be spread out.
Many owners are even working to ensure their members have access to the equipment they need for at-home workouts (even if that means delivering their own studio equipment for them to borrow or rent). All of these options provide value to clients. For their part, many members themselves believe in the intrinsic value that small businesses bring to the community and are open to continuing their memberships through this time.
If you are a member somewhere, it’s likely they’ve reached out to share new services they’re offering—but if not, feel free to ask them for updates. This may help you to ultimately decide what you want to do with your membership.
Hint: If you search “virtual” in your area using the Mindbody app, or on Mindbody.io, you'll find that studios, either those you have loved for years or ones you've wanted to try, are adding online classes every day. (Remember: you don't necessarily have to search in just your current area. "Virtual" means maybe checking out a class in NYC right now.)
Some businesses are voluntarily deciding to give members a choice. When Stephanie Stackhouse of SLO Yoga Center emailed her clients to let them know the studio was temporarily closing, she gave members the option of continuing. Stackhouse shared why the support was important and how the studio plans on continuing to provide class through a live stream. She gave two options members could click on: “Yes, continue my billing in support of Yoga Center” or “No thank you, please suspend my membership for now.”
If you are a member at a studio and have decided to continue your membership, reach out to the owner to let them know why—and what their studio means to you. They could likely use a kind word these days, and your sentiment may help encourage other studio members to do the same.
This option offers a sort of middle road for your studio: it’s not as favorable for them as keeping memberships as they are, but it might provide their members enough relief to keep them from canceling altogether. Studios know their members may be dealing with situational and financial hardships of their own, so as a show of good faith, some may offer a discount on the next month’s membership fees. This feels like a win for clients, who want to continue to support the business but may be coping with tough times of their own.
As you think about your own fitness membership in the era of COVID-19, you’ll have to consider how you feel about your membership—what the business means to you and your sense of community—and weigh that against your current ability to continue your support during these times. There’s no easy answer. But remember, your studio has fixed costs. Rent isn’t socially distancing itself from anyone anytime soon. These businesses play an important role in the lives of many, many people—perhaps even in yours. When things return to normal—and they will—we want these places to be there for us to return to.
Remember, we are getting through this together, and together we will emerge stronger. To show your local studios support during this time, please visit them on Mindbody.io or in the Mindbody app and find your favorite classes or one you've always wanted to try. Also, tag them on social media, along with @Mindbody, and we will support in any way we can.
To say the last year and a half was tough would be an understatement. In fact, it will probably go down as one of the most difficult times for our modern generation. In one of the many social polls we conducted during the pandemic, some of you described this time as a sheer “dumpster fire” or “like stepping on a Lego.” And to be honest, I couldn’t agree more.
Luckily, we’ve been able to get back to some form of normalcy in our lives and wellness routines over the last several months. As vaccines became available to the public, wellness businesses welcomed fitness fanatics, haircut seekers, and massage lovers back to in-person wellness experiences. And thank goodness for that—my roots and horrible posture from working from my bed were both getting wildly out of control. This girl needed a good massage and cupping session stat.
If there’s one thing we learned from the pandemic, it’s that our wellness routines are as personal as they are important. During shelter-at-home, those routines looked a bit different. For many, it meant taking a new approach to the “typical” wellness services we count on—I’m looking at you DIY haircuts, at-home waxing sessions (ouch!), and virtual swerking classes.
Now that we can leave our humble abodes to take advantage of in-person experiences again, the word “wellness” has seemingly taken on a new meaning.
Recently, we conducted another one of our famous social polls to see what wellness means to you, our Mindbody community, now that we're slowly but surely getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. We also tapped some of our most influential Mindbody business owners about the ever-evolving wellness landscape.
Here’s what you all had to say.
According to our annual Mindbody Wellness Index, 60% of Americans say they’re more focused on their health and wellness since COVID. Consumers are now realizing they need to take greater care of themselves to optimize and preserve their health. When we asked you on Instagram how important wellness is, a whopping 98% said it was more important than ever. When it comes to how you’re practicing wellness, though, the answers were all over the board. Many of you pointed to journaling, practicing breathwork, and daily workout routines (cycling and yoga topped the list) as being the activities that help you keep your chill throughout the week.
I’m also happy to report that over 50% said you tend to feel more blessed than stressed on a daily basis—which is more than likely a big improvement. Let’s be honest, a year ago I would’ve bet a billion dollars that 99.9% of us knew no other feeling than anxiety—am I right? But even with the stress in our lives dwindling, many of you are still experiencing burnout at the end of a long work week (guilty!). But instead of succumbing to a bottle of wine for relief (please, that was so 2020), you’re unwinding by going to your favorite workout classes—with hot yoga, barre, and Pilates as your faves.
Let’s be honest, we should credit the business owners in this space for helping us reignite our spark when it comes to our wellness routines, right? Thanks to them, we’ve been inspired to prioritize the activities that help us feel our best. In turn, we thought it’d be interesting to learn what wellness means to them—and how that definition has changed over the past eighteen months.
Here’s what they had to say.
“Wellness is living in balance—mind, body, spirit. Highs and lows. It all ebbs and flows and we can navigate it a bit better when we take time to move, breath and remember who we are, and how we are connected to this big, beautiful world.” - Jess Pierno, Founder, Owner, and Chief Inspiration Officer of Yoga Heights
“Wellness is a true balancing of the mental, physical, and spiritual. It has definitely evolved over the years for me—from something that I just thought was about exercising and eating a healthy diet—to also incorporating balancing and healing internally and spiritually.” - Stefanie Patterson, Owner, Indianapolis Salt Cave and Halotherapy Center
“My sense of wellness has evolved from staying healthy and motivated, mind/body/spirit... to being more gentle with myself, less demanding. Accepting my limitations, taking time for resting, and gaining real clarity about what's important. I care less about what people think of me—difficult as a performer and as a business owner with so many demands on me—and more about getting quiet and tapping into the divine source inside of me that helps me discern my next move. In this way, I know my motives are as pure as possible and I'm not getting distracted—not that I don't make mistakes! Those are necessary, that's how we learn!” - Johanna Krynytzky, Owner, Hip Expressions Belly Dance Studio
“My studio name reminds us that we are constantly evolving. The past 18 months have certainly shown us that! Wellness to me means doing your best on any given day to make sure that you are taking care of yourself as best you can. It leads to resilience. Diet, exercise, sleep, a sense of community, and some form of faith. It all matters. Setbacks happen all the time, and every day is a chance to start again. We strive to be 'cheerleaders' for our clients when we sense that things are coming out of balance in their lives. So many have been with us for 18 years and are friends—they are our community and we all watch out for each other.” - Mo Wolfe, Owner and Founder, Evolution Pilates
I think we can all agree that there isn’t one true definition of wellness anymore. To some of us, it means getting that hot yoga sesh in daily, and to others, it means carving out time to treat ourselves to a massage or manicure. As long as you’re actively pursuing wellness—whatever that means to you—you're on the right track.
Our MO has always been about connecting the world to wellness—a term that's seen a lot of change lately. Whether you’re fully embracing the in-person experience or still delighted by the convenience of practicing at-home wellness, the Mindbody app makes it easy for you to book experiences that help you feel like YOU again.