How to create a welcoming and safe environment for new members

Have you ever wondered how some studios build a cult-like following? Putting yourself into the shoes of a first-time user can help clarify a thing or two:

This individual (your potential member/participant) finally gets the courage to try something new: a new studio gym down the street has a free drop-in group class that looks interesting. Their bag is packed, water bottle full - this is the day! They walk shyly into the door, and then it happens… their fears are given credibility; the first person they meet inside makes them feel like they don’t belong, like they’ve just entered a members-only club without a membership. They think to themselves, ”I’m never doing this again!”

The organizations that flourish in today’s competitive landscape focus on delivering amazing “experiences.” It’s normal to see single classes priced $20-30 these days - and they’re packed! The reason these classes are full is because the programmers understand what their audiences crave. The following are four tips to help you create an amazing experience for new visitors to your facility or event:

  1. It starts the moment someone discovers your event. The image that you use to market the event should reflect your ideals as an event organizer. Are you portraying an intense, no-nonsense class? Great, then deliver on that. But if you are promoting a fun, friendly, easy-going class, then deliver on that!

  2. The person the new visitor first interacts with is just as important as the facilitator. Nobody likes to walk into a new place, full of anxiety and be welcomed by someone who looks and acts like they don’t care that you exist. Make it a goal to create an excellent experience from the get go; the first impression sticks!

  3. Facilitation is key. If the goal is to have newbies interact, feel welcome and start playing, it is the facilitator’s job to make it happen as fast as possible. We hear so many first impression stories that could be so much more positive if there was a dedicated person to make everyone feel welcome.

  4. High-five! A simple act of interaction with the group starts to fuel this sense of community that we all crave.

An experience starts and ends with how your potential member feels. Our goal at PlayCity is to help make play easier and more comfortable for everyone, at all skill levels. This happens when we are all on-mission and ever-conscious of why we created these play spaces in the first place. Get in touch with us, and let’s work together to increase participation in physical activity and improve lives.

Your partner in play.

The PlayCity team