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.