Well, this is the time… the time all health clubs look forward to.

Its time for our peak season, the time when a whole gaggle of people jump on the New Year’s Resolution band wagon, flock to the gym and say, “This is the year. This is the year that I will lose all this weight!”

Hopefully they do jump on the bandwagon and join a gym, and hopefully they jump flockin’ hard!

This is the best time of year for the health club industry, best time to market, best time to sell memberships, and the best time to get referrals.

But, when does this time start?

For years we saw the New Year’s rush immediately after the first of the year. Over the last few years we have seen that rush begin later and later. Some years we have seen the rush start two weeks after New Years… even three weeks.

For the past couple of years we have been telling our clients to drop their direct mail in the second week, not the day after New Years and most have followed that advice.

This year, however, we had a lot of clients plan to drop immediately after the first and a bunch even wanted to drop right before New Years and almost none of them followed my thought process at all.

The reason that I am writing this today is that I belong to two gyms. One, a 24-hr un-staffed gym and the other, a traditional full-service gym. This week I saw the rush in both clubs. I train in the morning every day and see the same faces, This was the first week that I saw a bunch of new faces in both clubs… and I mean a bunch.

So, I thought I would start asking random people why they decided to join this week. I received two answers consistently;

1. I had to recover financially from the holidays before I could join the club; and

2. I had to recover emotionally from the holidays before I could get started.

Now, I understand that this was not an overwhelming sample of people but I feel like I spoke to enough people this week to get a general consensus of the overall population.

These people didn’t know that the clubs were offering a Zero enrollment special(one was also offering their first month free) which would have helped the financial crunch.

They also didn’t know that a “Jump Start Program” was being offered at one of them that included a package to get someone started, including guidance, personal training, nutrition guidance, and some free Massages and a facial. That might have helped with the emotional recovery.

Two thoughts came to my mind this week.

One club didn’t do any direct mail to get their message out to the community. How are people supposed to know that we can overcome their two biggest obstacles if we don’t tell them?

The other did a huge direct mail campaign and didn’t mention either of these things in it.

The card is sitting on my desk right now. I got the post card in the mail at home(They didn’t use us. In fact, neither club knows who I am. I can’t ever get a workout in, if they know what I do for a living so I keep it incognito. 😉

The post card is basically a name-recognition piece. Here’s who we are, here’s where we are at, come see us… if you ever get around to it.

Waste of time, waste of money.

So, back to the original question, When does this time start?

So far it looks like its starting now in the first week of February. I have heard that a few times this week from our clients. This is later than ever. I am curious to find out how those mailings did that dropped before New Years and the ones that dropped immediately after.

I will keep you posted.