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Hybrid Fitness for Summer: How Virtual Can Improve Retention This Season

By Lauren McAlister

February 8, 2024

We’re big proponents of fitness brands that provide hybrid offerings—both in-person and virtual workouts—for their members. This is especially true as summer approaches.

During the summer months, virtual classes will appeal to clients looking for increased flexibility and easy-to-access online options (Mindbody’s Virtual Wellness Platform can help with that) that fit into schedules packed with fun in the sun and out-of-town travel. Those who can’t make it to your facility will appreciate the opportunity to keep up with their routine and stay connected to your community both at home and on the go.

Here are a few ways to maximize your virtual offerings all summer long.

Tailor to packed summer schedules

The summer months are often a busy time. Encourage clients to stick to their routines by offering shorter workouts virtually. Nearly half (39%) of consumers say their workouts are 30 minutes or less, so keep classes especially short and sweet—even 15-20 minutes will do the trick. These shorter classes will give clients more opportunities to fit in their favorite workouts and the chance to potentially try something new.

Test new class types

Now may be the perfect time to test out new offerings. And with a majority of consumers saying they prefer a studio or gym with a variety of workout types available, branching out will be good for long-term retention.

When testing new virtual classes, lean into the season. Thinking of adding a mobility class to your permanent schedule come fall? Offer a 20-minute stretching/mobility workout to your on-demand library and promote it as the perfect solution for post-flight tightness. Supplementing your HIIT-focused schedule with yoga? Schedule a quick “summer vacay” Vinyasa flow.

Afterwards, follow up with your clients to get feedback (Messenger[ai] can help automate the process) to decide what makes sense long-term.

Engage with clients as though they’re in person

Remind your team that creating a welcoming, virtual environment is just as important as doing so in person. For live stream classes, have instructors greet each participant by name, cue as they normally would in person, and send follow ups after class. Our Fitness Instructor’s Checklist for Live Streaming provides even more tips on creating an exceptional live stream experience.

With on-demand classes, your instructors won’t be able to greet clients individually or offer customized corrections. That said, they can still create a sense of community where participants feel supported, even when they can't be physically present in your space. Have instructors explain each movement thoroughly upfront and provide modifications. That way, a variety of levels can be a part of the action.

Encourage community

You can keep members connected no matter where they are. Here’s how:

  • Put on an at-home fitness or social media challenge that keeps clients moving and engaging with your brand
  • Ask attendees to invite friends and family to join in on the fun—an opportunity to gain new virtual clients and keep current clients accountable
  • Create a special “travel edition” workout for folks who are heading out of town—their muscles will need a little TLC after a long flight or car ride
  • Send out a summer-themed playlist to customers ahead of time to set the tone for your classes. 

Get the word out

Before summer begins, promote your virtual offerings and any other specials you’re offering. Share the benefits of at-home workouts (flexibility, community, accountability, etc.) on your social media, include links out to your on-demand library in your email newsletters, and update your website with your summer schedule.

For more ideas, download our checklist on how to promote your virtual fitness offerings with social media and email marketing or watch this video on how to perfect your virtual offering.

Done right, virtual classes can increase your studio or gym's profitability by allowing you to cater to customer needs all year long. We hope you feel empowered to continue to connect with your clients virtually during the long days of summer.

Looking for more virtual best practices?

Get the Guide

About the author:

Lauren McAlister

Lauren McAlister

Senior Marketing Content Specialist


Lauren is the co-owner of a fitness studio and a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP). Born and raised in California, Lauren has a heart for fitness, travel, and baking. She's also passionate about crafting meaningful content for others in the wellness space, which makes her role at Mindbody a perfect fit.


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