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As a business operator, retention of clients is important to the success of your business. One of the hurdles than many swim school operators face each year is the “drop-off through winter”. We can say it’s inevitable, leave it at that and continue to do what we have always done. With that we will continue to get the same results we have always got! OR – you can start to look at new options and strategies to ensure that you are doing everything you possibly can to avoid decreases and drop offs in the cooler months. Here are a few ideas you may like to try to retain as many clients through the winter period as possible. After all, small improvements in the winter will reap great rewards through the summer!
Change the way parents think
If you are a parent yourself, you will know how important routine is. As operators, we need to think outside the box and make it all very warm and fuzzy and inviting. We all know deep down that the reality is…its generally the parents who don’t want to be sitting on the pool side during the winter months – the kids don’t really get a say in continuing with swimming or not. We need to address the root cause. How can we have parents consider the benefits that their child will gain from swimming those extra months of the year?
Promotions can typically cost money. Winter is a low revenue season. We are already losing funds. We can’t afford that. There are many monetary excuses not to run promotions in the Winter. STOP!! Summer is your optimum growth period and therefore your biggest opportunity to increase revenue. This is when you need to be ahead of the swim school down the road, thinking, spending and planning towards your upcoming winter promotions.
It might be as small as ordering basic/themed latex/silicone swim caps for every child in your swim school. Do you have access to a coffee machine? If the answer is yes but your sales are disappointingly low all year round perhaps ask yourself “is the right person making the coffees?” Everyone loves a good coffee. If sales are generally high, perhaps you could offer every parent a discounted coffee or hot drink through winter. Or even a hot chocolate for the kids upon finishing their lesson.
Consistent swimming will always produce fantastic results. A way to ensure that constituency through the cooler months may be to encourage parents to keep swimming through the month of May/June and they can receive a second lesson for free/discounted through July/August. This promotion has many major benefits for both the child and the business. Through picking up an extra lesson weekly, the child is going to progress at a much faster pace. Parents see the benefits of swimming for frequently and me decide to continue with multiple lessons all year round. This is a business win. It can further progress to have a knock-on effect when the parent who hasn’t been swimming through Winter arrives back at the centre sees that her friend’s child has moved up two levels since the end of summer. That parent may change their mind about Winter swimming for the next season. Or pick up a 2nd lesson in the Summer months as it worked so well for their peers.
The promotion mentioned above also works well for staff retention too. Staff lessons stay full throughout the fuller months and keep them happy with their hours during a time that’s traditionally not as busy. Good swim schools have good swim teachers but great swim schools have happy, loyal teachers who remain with the business long term because they have been looked after by management. An easy way to keep your staff happy and loyal is by keeping their hours up in the cooler months so they don’t have to take a massive cut in hours through winter. You will keep them in a job for longer and therefore keep your clients happy.
These are just a few strategies that you can apply to your swim school. At worldwideswimschool we can recommend some other simple strategies that may also work should you wish to ensure these are included in maintaining consistency of numbers in your program. They are as follows:
- Keep swimming fun
- Make it an enjoyable experience for your parents
- Run specialised clinics through winter months
- Educate your staff to educate the parents on why they should continuously commit
- Ensure that your teachers are giving great quality lessons
- Ensure kids are continually swimming throughout their lesson
- Keep swimming fun…
Oh did we mention that last one already? Yes, you’re right, we did! If you provide fun lessons at your swim school, make it a FUN place for everyone to be and all the children LOVE coming the battle of keeping parents and swimmers attending lessons in the Winter months may already be won!
How do you keep swimmers interested and engaged? Share your ideas in the comments below.