How many of you own a membership for something? Maybe a country club, a gym, a yoga studio? What motivates you to buy a membership? Is it due to exclusivity? Is it because you get certain benefits? Is is because you’ll get a better “deal”?
From Wiktionary membership means:
The state of being a member of a group or organization.
I think that memberships used to be real. For example in the days of private golf and country clubs you had to be a member in order to have access to the course or dining hall or activities. These types of memberships still exist today.
Membership or Over-rated Coupon
However, I feel that our society has taken advantage of the word membership and turned it from “being a member of a group or organization” and turned it into “you’ll get a better deal if you have this”. Take for example most fitness clubs. If you go to Club Fit or Fitness World or any other huge fitness club you’ll see that there are different methods of paying for your visits. You can get a day pass, or a week pass, or a monthly or yearly membership.
The memberships or passes typically have ZERO benefit except monetary. The odd fitness gym membership might give you access to an exclusive changing area, but that’s about it. You don’t get in the front of the line for classes. You don’t get first dibs on a machine. You don’t get any special or preferential treatment. You do get a “deal”.
However, the ONLY way to realize this “deal” is if you go the gym a certain number of times to make it worthwhile. For example, if a regular visit costs $10 and a yearly membership costs $1000, you’ll have to attend the gym at least 100 times to get your value back. If you go 200 times then you’re looking at $5/visit and you’re benefiting from your “membership”. So is it a membership of a coupon that only is validated after 100 visits?
Here’s the catch
The gyms know that 95% of the people will not go even the 100 times. They’re going to make more off of you per visit than if you just went every time you felt like going. Did you know that most big gyms make 90% of their revenue in January feeding off the “New Years Resolution’ers”. Think about it. Is it really good business to give EVERYONE a discounted price? Of course not!
They know you’re going to get “busy” or “life will get in the way” and you’ll forget about it. The money is already spent, so you’ll just drift off back in to your day-to-day life etc. Why? Because your motivation for getting the “membership” was the deal, it was the emotion involved when someone behind the counter asked you if you felt your body was worth it? Because you bought it for the wrong reasons – you’re NOT going to use it!
The moral side of a membership
Now I get it that fitness centres etc. need to make a profit, need to make money etc. They’re running a business. So they maximize their profits by finding consumers that they can convince to purchase their product. Unfortunately the convincing is typically the shady part of the business…
So my question to you is why are you going to the gym? Are you going to feel better OR are you going to get a deal? If you’re going for the latter, you’re just going to fail. If you’re going to feel better, then do you really need a membership? You shouldn’t have the pressure of a membership (or the deal) to motivate you to get you in to the gym. Instead your motivation should be increasing your fitness, improving your health, feeling better about yourself?
Are you not worth more than a shady gym membership deal? Are you not worth more than a coupon?
I’d like to propose a challenge to the various “wellness” centres out there and especially yoga facilities. Get rid of your memberships. Get rid of passes. Get rid of deals. Charge one price per hour or per session. Keep track of the people who enter your facility like you always did, but here’s the twist.
Keep an escrow from every purchase in the bank and for your repeat customers, give them a weekly or monthly or yearly kickback. Tell them, “Thank you” for choosing us. Tell them, “We appreciate your business”. If keeping an escrow isn’t plausible, then after a customer has spent the same amount as a membership or monthly pass, then let them in free for the balance of time after they break the threshold.
Why should they do this?
Because if they actually cared about their customer, they wouldn’t be pushing the deal on them, rather they’d be saying come when it feels right for you. Please do this for your body and your wellness. This is what Yoga facilities preach every day in their mantras, mission statements, etc. So why not practice what you preach on the business side of things as well and get rid of coupons like these: