Snap Fitness opens gyms, reports membership spike

By Sarah Stowe | 17 Aug 2020 View comments

Snap Fitness is on a roll, opening new outlets throughout the pandemic. The national gym chain reports membership growth across the majority of the network in the recent months.

In June 89 per cent of the network reported new members, and 72 per cent of the network saw a lift in membership in July.

Rose Bay opened with 600 pre-opening sign-ups, while soon-to-be-launched Karalee in Queensland is on track to open with more than 400 new members.

Andy Peat, chief product officer at Snap’s global parent business, Lift Brands, told Inside Franchise Business Executive despite the pandemic and periods of lockdown, the Snap brand is robust and growing.

“We’ve had a dip while clubs are closed, but the recent surges are pretty good. Our brand awareness has grown strong, we have been investing in our growth and maintained all our head office staff. We didn’t close the corporate clubs.”

Peat said the key to growth has been maintaining staff throughout the pandemic, so the team has been poised to drive business as soon as restrictions lifted.

“Once clubs reopen, managers and franchisees need to be ready to go, to actively showing social distance measures,” he said.

He also confirmed that JobKeeper has been important to the business.

“It’s been crucial, it’s allowed us to maintain our staff. Once clubs reopened, we experienced growth because we had people on the ground who could grow the business. We’re in a very comfortable position, with good locations, we don’t have a history of closing a lot of gyms, those we have closed have been more out of our control.”

A longer lockdown period across the country would be “a different story” he said.

“Our hearts go out to Melbourne., they will probably spend half a year in lockdown, it’s really hard.”

On top of  the frozen franchise fees and personal support for franchisees, Snap Fitness has worked with gym owners to negotiate with landlords, early on providing templated documents and strategies for rent relief.

A survey revealing health has become the key driver for new gym members, overtaking weightloss as a goal, is leading the marketing team to tweak its messaging accordingly.

The message from Snap Fitness to potential franchisees is to focus on the long term and projected growth over a 10 year period.

“What we’re going through cannot last for ever,” said Peat.