When done well, group exercise *is* a revenue generator.
We sell memberships. Many of the people who join a club come on a day pass and try out classes before joining. I can list specific members who joined the clubs where I teach because I teach there.
We assist with retention. Aside from the friendly staff at the front desk (hopefully!), we are the staff who see the members the most, and we are walking, talking, dancing, singing customer service machines! We build community within our classes, introduce members to each other, and create a welcoming atmosphere. We hear problems. We take them to management. We make suggestions.
We sell personal training. I introduce new trainers in my class, giving them exposure to 30-60 members all at once. If format-appropriate and I’ve seen them teach, I let them teach a small portion of my class.
Still don’t believe me? I used to work at a big box gym that was bought out by another big box gym. The memberships were all sold over to the new club, 2 miles away, and our building was locked for 5 weeks before we could re-open with a private owner. The first day we opened, I taught the first Zumba class. I had 24 people. 21 of them were regulars of my class who had cancelled their big-box contracts and come back to our club.
So, give us a little credit. We make money, it’s just indirect rather than direct.
If you really want to do a survey, have the front desk ask everyone who comes in what they’re coming in for – PT, group-ex, treadmill, weights, etc.
If you can track the percentage of members that participate in your classes, vs the amount that actually walk in the door you can build a case.
I’ll equate this to a college. If the football team generates the most revenue or has the most fans, they should get the most money right? I read somewhere that the national average is around 13-15% penetration for group exercise. (I’ve asked a question as well to find out relevant information on this too). I guess you could argue then that the department should receive that percentage?
we’ve been tracking data for years to build a case. how many people are in each class (the instructors report this), and how many people are in the building during that class- we check through our membership software. At some times, we have up to 50-80% of the members in the facility in one of our classes.. (pretty good case for more money huh?)
I find it interesting that you consider fitness classes to be “non-revenue generating”. How many people are in the classes? If they are part of the membership, how many members attend classes? Without the classes how many people would be buying memberships? At many facilities, classes are the main revenue source. The majority of members join for the classes or only come to classes.
You should really do some member questionairres and find the value of your classes.