After a summer packed with children’s activities and school holiday programmes, now’s the time to put plans in place and get your centre organised for September.
Back to school is always a busy time for members – especially those with families. There’s uniforms to buy, school runs to arrange and extra-curricular activities to sign up for.
The most organised of families will already be planning out their September events – deciding which clubs to join and which classes to start. Some will be updating their calendar throughout the whole term and right up to Christmas.
That means now is the time to act. Update your family offer and promote it. Get your leisure centre prepared for the back to school rush and show how you’ll support your whole community come September.
1. Wrap Up Your Summer Sessions
Start by winding down your summer programmes. You should have everything mapped out for August, but make sure you have planned ahead to deliver all the skills and experiences your programmes set out to.
Make sure all your kids taking part have the chance to complete all the activities and reach their goals.
Think about what sessions you currently have running.
- Will all those attending be interested in continuing to develop the skills they’ve learnt?
- Will they want to move onto more advanced classes?
- What else might they like to try?
Use any information you can gather to start planning your classes, activities and programmes in September and start promoting them. Your summer programme attendees are your ideal audience for term-time classes, workshops and activities.
2. Add More After School And Weekend Activities To Your Timetable
As part of your review of your summer sessions, identify what types of activities have been most popular, and where demand might lie for September.
Use your leisure management software to pull out attendance figures and sign ups for your summer events, and rank them accordingly. This will give you some indication of what types of classes and activities to focus on during the next school term.
If a swimming bootcamp was popular, add regular weekly swimming lessons for beginners to intermediates. If your ‘multi-sport, multi-activity’ workshop was a hit, consider adding a Saturday morning kids’ bootcamp. And if your summer dance programmes attract all ages, plan out different after school dance classes for under 10’s, pre-teens and teens.
3. Review Your Class Times For September
Family schedules all change in September. In the summer, everyone has more flexibility and can visit your leisure centre at different times.
In planning out your new timetable for September, make sure all your new and existing classes align with term-time commitments.
For example, are your new kids’ classes and activities after school from 4.00pm onwards and during the weekend?
Does the afternoon start time give parents enough time to get from school to your leisure centre?
Do your morning classes start after the school run?
4. Add More Morning Or Afternoon Classes And Activities To Attract Parents
Those morning classes are likely to increase in popularity when September begins.
With kids back at school, some parents, grandparents and carers will have more time on their hands during the working day.
Your leisure centre can cater for them by adding more classes during school hours, like:
- Morning spin classes
- Lunchtime yoga and meditation
- Afternoon dance sessions
They should all be timed to ensure those attending can get ready in-time for school pick ups. A 2.30pm Zumba class for example won’t be feasible for those picking up children from primary school at 3.30pm
5. Explore Full ‘Term-Time’ Programmes
A new school term is the perfect opportunity to start a new kids or teen focused health and fitness programme, especially if your summer workshops have proven popular.
Not only is it a great way to keep your younger generation of members engaged, it also gives families a clear structure for the next few months – a plan of action and a regular commitment that they can include in their weekly schedules and plan around.
You could create a programme based around sports – like football, dance, tennis or trampolining. Or build one that’s focused on mental-wellbeing, healthy eating and relaxation (great for those who might find the return to school stressful).
Or you could opt for a general health and fitness programme that covers multiple sports and activities, giving those children who sign up a taste of everything.
The key to any term time programme is regular sessions – once or twice a week – and a clear progression plan that delivers improvements and results throughout the term.
6. Refresh Your Facilities And Centre Interiors For A New Membership Push
After the quieter summer months, the back-to-school months always see an increase in the number of new member enquiries.
While it’s tempting to associate September with school and focus on children and teens, there are lots of other demographics in your community who see the month as the opportunity for a fresh start.
To attract those parents with more time on their hands, those returning after a holiday and those older generations who get back to their routines after the summer, your leisure centre needs to look its best.
Take the time during August to look around your leisure centre and identify any quick improvements you can make:
- What needs repairing and updating?
- Which areas need a fresh lick of paint?
- Which facilities would benefit from new and upgraded equipment?
7. Update Your Menus And Refreshment Offers
It might not be New Year, New You, but September does see much of your community go on a little health kick ahead of that Christmas binge.
Any offers you can run to attract new members will be beneficial, as will any ‘September specials’ from your cafe or shop. That will appeal to both new and existing members.
Perhaps you could create a special back-to-school pick-me-up hot drink? Or an after-school healthy snack box?
8. Hold An Open Day To Promote Your Offer
Finally, with your new timetable set, your facilities spruced up and family-friendly programmes ready to start, it’s time to shout about them!
Plan an open day to promote your September back-to-school offer, to engage your whole community and encourage them to check out all your updated classes, times and facilities.
Make sure you advertise the event to all your summer classes, and invite all parents and kids who’ve taken part in activities over the holidays to attend the event.
Now Is The Time To Prepare For Back-To-School
Getting prepared for September now is a great way to showcase your commitment to supporting your entire community. It’ll help you better serve children, teens and their older family members – from mums and dads to grandparents.
It’s just one more way to build lifelong leisure centre members.
Plan out all your back-to-school term time activities now, and you’ll have plenty of time to promote your new updated offer to all your family members.
Software like Legend can help you with all your advertising and promotions – for both new and existing members. And if you haven’t done so already, it can also help you create family-friendly membership options to support every demographic in your community.