How Unattended Access with HybridAF can Make Your Gym Recession Proof

Gym ownership is hard. No matter what’s going on with the larger economy. Period.

But now, in a time of high inflation, and what’s looking more and more like a time with a certain degree of economic hardship for many, it can leave the small business owner scratching his head wondering if gym ownership was the right path to go down.

Enter HybridAF: Beyond providing additional value to the client, and being another revenue source for the gym owner, unattended gym access is also a way to make your gym recession proof, so to speak.

Three Ways HybridAF Helps Buffer Economic Struggles

It Can Provide an Option
to Keep your People There

When economic hardships hit, people often panic, and through the panic they just might think about, or act on, canceling their gym membership.

Many times they don’t want to quit. They know that quitting is only going to hurt their physical and mental health in an already tough and stressful time, but something in their brain is telling them they can no longer justify paying $200-plus a month on their fitness.

So sitting down with the panicked member and being able to offer them another, more affordable option, is sometimes just what they need to keep them focused on their fitness (and prevent you from losing yet another member).

The solution: You can then offer them an open-gym time gym access only for a lower rate than their current group class or high-ticket individual design membership, a win for all, as now the member will stick around and is more likely to convert back to classes or individual design in the future than they would be if they fell off the bandwagon altogether.

Essentially what this does is drive a sense of community letting people continue to train on their budget and time.

Andrew Charlesworth, HybridAF user at CrossFit Turbor in Fenton, Michigan, put it this way:

“I think regardless of what the future holds, if people have to downsize their membership, but still want to be part of our community, the 24-hour access offers this,” he said.

It Accommodates
All Schedules

One big perk, Jenn Green, the owner of CrossFit Greer in South Carolina, has found especially useful right now is that offering unattended access easily allows her to accommodate all schedules.

“If they aren’t able to attend a normal class time, but can come another time, the space is open and they have the same access to workouts, warm-ups etc that we post daily in SugarWOD,” Green said, adding that her gym has several nurses who work 12-hour shifts who this perk is especially useful for.

During economic hard times, it means people can “have flexibility in their business,” Charlesworth explained, because they are no longer tied to particular gym start times. This goes a long way when people are having to work additional hours, or even take on an additional job, as they might be at the moment, to bring in a good living.

Further, for Charlesworth, increased accommodation means he can service more members, as he’s less likely to need to implement a group class size cap, because members can come whenever works for them, which ultimately spaces people out throughout the day and evening a little more evenly.

It Can Provide Additional
Income for the Gym

It’s not just your members who are maybe going through some economic hard times; inflation has likely trickled down to you as the business owner, as well.

For Green, HybridAF has translated to all-important additional revenue streams for her business since she began offering unattended access in 2022.

“We use it as an add-on to the monthly membership. It’s linked with our CRM system and adding and removing (the add on) is so easy and effortless,” she said. “For new members, we use it as a selling tool. If they are new to CrossFit, it will be an option later on, however, we have gotten new members due to having it, and other local affiliates not offering it.”

Further, Green has several coaches who do personal training sessions with non-members, and often once these clients become more autonomous they end up adding the 24/7 access to be able to train without their coach. “It’s additional revenue and the coach can earn additional (money too) through more programming for the client,” she said.

On top of this, prior to turning to HybridAF, Green often paid a coach to show up to the gym early for an open gym session, where maybe only one person attended. She no longer has to waste money this way, “thus reducing the need to pay a coach and also freeing up my schedule,” she explained.

Finally, if you have a system set up, be it an honor system or a marketplace system via something like the PushPress app, your members can continue to purchase snacks, drinks—or even t-shirts and other swag should you have frequent out-of-town visitors train at your gym—when you’re not even at the gym. Though that’s not going to make or break your wallet as a gym owner, sometimes every little bit counts.

The Bottom Line:

Recession or not, offering unattended access simply provides more options to the client, and increased freedom and revenue for the gym owner.

Green admits she was hesitant at first, as she was “very much a group class model,” she explained, but since adding HybridAF she realizes her fears were unfounded.

She realizes now that HybridAF helps provide those who couldn’t make a class the chance to workout.

“It wasn’t that they didn’t want to be a part of a group class. It was what they had to do to get a workout in,” she explained.

“Also, it has given me the freedom to not have to be in my gym 24/7 and not feel guilty. My husband and I were in our gym seven days a week for the longest time. Serving our members is what we do, but we need to invest back into ourselves so that we can continue to serve our community. This gave us that,” she added.