Behind the Numbers: Impact of the Pandemic and the Cost of Membership Holds

Behind the Numbers: Impact of the Pandemic and the Cost of Membership Holds

Behind the Numbers: Impact of the Pandemic and the Cost of Membership Holds

Wodify is a leading all-in-one fitness management software, trusted by 5,000 of the world’s top businesses. With one of the largest & most accurate datasets in the industry, we decided to create this blog series in order to share specific metrics that are proven to drive results, insights from the most successful gyms, and how Wodify customers can track their progress. 


As life slowly returns to normal, it is clear that the previous 16 months had a large impact on many industries. And the fitness industry is no exception! Our data suggests that in 2020 gyms suffered a 20%-25% decrease in annual revenue, compared to pre-pandemic levels. This is likely attributed to the overall decrease in attendance and cancellation of memberships. Wodify’s valuable feature, Membership Holds, allows gyms to maintain a formal business relationship with their clients, but not charge them for services in the meantime. This is important to provide for a speedier financial recovery as the client is ready to return to the gym.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • On average, gyms suffered a 20%-25% decrease in annual revenue from 2019 - 2020.
  • Monthly gym attendance dropped by over 70% in April 2020.
  • Although a second wave of the pandemic stifled progress towards the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021, a strong rebound has resulted in recent monthly gym attendance being within single digit percentage points of pre pandemic levels.

Benefits to a Membership Hold

In addition to a global pandemic, there are many reasons why a client at your gym may need to pause their recurring membership: vacation, injury, illness, life event, etc...We recommend you put a clients’ membership on “hold'' instead of cancelling it altogether. By putting a membership on hold instead of canceling, you can:

  • Maintain a line of communication with that client, providing updates on your business, new offerings, etc.
  • Easily restart a membership when the client is ready to come back, without going through the entire sign-up process.
  • Provide value to clients during the hold, to show them you are invested in their long-term health & fitness. For example, giving them a check-in call, sending them rehab tips (if injured), or sharing workouts they can do outside of your gym.

Measuring The True Cost of Membership Holds in Wodify

In order to track the financial value of the holds placed on memberships, we built some visualizations in the Memberships dashboard to show you at-a-glance how your business is performing. With Wodify Insights, you can instantly view your business metrics for:

  • Total cost of your on-hold memberships 
  • How much revenue you’re losing due to membership holds, per month, by hold reason 

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Moving the Numbers - Pro Tips

Here are some tips that you can implement to minimize the cost of your membership holds and maximize your revenue.

  1. Offer an alternative to putting their membership on hold
    Often when clients are putting their memberships on hold, it is due to a life-changing event or disruption of their normal routine. Their first instinct is to cancel their membership because they can’t use it like they used to, but you can offer them alternatives and have a chance at continuing to keep them as a paying client. Here are some common hold reasons and alternatives you could offer:

    Hold Reason: Vacation; 
    Alternative: Offer workouts they can do from anywhere and a customized nutrition plan for their trip.

    Hold Reason: Injury
    Alternative: Offer complimentary PT sessions to regain their mobility/strength and work on low-impact movements that are still accessible with their given injury.

    Hold Reason: Pregnant
    Alternative: Offer a PDF of workouts designed for expecting mothers and weekly check-ins with a coach who can provide ongoing guidance and adjustments.

  1. Schedule a ‘resume’ date
    One way to put some positive pressure on a client resuming their membership is to schedule the date the membership will resume, ahead of time - when they first request the hold. For example, if a client is going on vacation for a month, offer to schedule the hold to resume on the day they return from the trip. That will increase the accountability and the likelihood of that client returning to your business. 

  1. Charge a nominal ‘hold’ fee
    Once you understand your true cost of membership holds, by using the Wodify Insights dashboard, you can start to model out the impact that a hold fee could have on your revenue.

    For example, implementing a 10% hold fee (e.g. a client pays $15/month if they were on a $150/month membership) could result in a decrease of your total cost of holds by 10%.

    You can ‘sell’ this to your clients by continuing to grant them access to remote programming via the Wodify Client App or other methods of providing value while they are on hold.  

We hope you found these insights & advice useful for your business! Keep an eye out for more posts in this series as we continue to explore the data in Wodify. 

If you are a Wodify customer, you can learn more about all of our Membership Insights

If you aren’t using Wodify yet, you can book a free consultation here

Want to keep learning? Check out our other Behind The Numbers posts:

90 Day Client Retention

Lead Conversion Rate & Attendance

Ready to put what you’ve learned into practice?
Download a free PDF handbook with many of NCFIT’s gym management procedures and philosophies that you can implement in your gym today.
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