When Solid Rock Training in Norman, Oklahoma, closed its doors due to COVID-19, the gym's owners never thought the functional training business wouldn’t open again. Instead, they started discussing engagement and retention strategies for reopening.
Functional training for all
Before owning Solid Rock Training, Bob Algard and Derek Geiges were high school friends who knew they wanted to own a business together. They decided to open a gym when they saw an opportunity for one that offered scalable functional fitness for everyone.
"There was nothing in this white space between CrossFit and just a regular boot camp yet," Algard said. "That's essentially what Solid Rock is—a 45-minute training program that's specifically for people that want to lose weight, get out of pain, and ultimately, enjoy an active lifestyle."
So when COVID-19 hit, the team was left with a huge question: How could you maintain an active lifestyle while stuck at home?
The first step was being transparent with the Solid Rock coaches. Algard and Geiges held a team meeting telling them about the situation and briefed them on what they needed to do as a team to continue their mission. "They were all about it," Algard said. "They really helped us continue on our journey." During Solid Rock's closure, instructors rotated showcasing their daily lives on the gym's social media accounts and offered online classes.
In the background of all of this engagement, the team was planning Solid Rock Training's eventual reopening, focusing on getting the cleaning equipment they knew they'd need and mapping out what the new in-studio experience would be.
"We started working on what would the new world look like," Algard said. "We put ourselves in our clients' shoes. We called our clients and asked them, ‘What would make you feel comfortable, calm, and safe coming back to the gym?' Then we started staging everything so that what we already have in the studio is done systematically."
The result? A successful reopening on May 1.
Reopening—with a waitlist twist
It turned out that all of the research the team did with clients preparing to reopen made them feel comfortable coming to the gym—every class hit its new, lowered capacity. "In our normal class size, we could do up to 32 people in a class," Algard said. "In this situation, it's 10—and we restructured everything so that everybody's got their own workout station."
To manage capacity, Solid Rock's using waitlists to track and notify members when a spot opens up and FitMetrix’s pick-a-spot technology to allow class attendees to choose their workout station in class.
"It's easier for the client to use, and it creates a better booking process," Algard said. "And honestly, it's just fun—you get to know where you're going to go in class. And if you have a favorite place in the gym, you get to select it."
Fun aside, allowing customers to pre-select their spot in class helps Solid Rock keep classes full and flowing without risking social distancing.
"Book-a-spot is an accountability tool," Algard said. "Because we're using Mindbody, we know who's coming to class, and we can check it all the time."