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Why your fitness business needs holiday gift cards

Sam Perry

Has your email inbox been blowing up this holiday season? These subject lines might look familiar:

  • “Order delayed”
  • “We’re so sorry”
  • “Out of stock”
  • “Last day for holiday delivery”

Holiday shipping is becoming a less viable option each day due to ongoing supply chain issues. And shoppers are starting to sweat now that we’re halfway through December.

Shipping delays are bad news for last-minute gift grabbers, but great news for small business owners.

Why? Slow shipping has opened up an opportunity for you … gift cards.

Holiday gift cards are seeing a resurgence this year. And a gift card for a more personal experience — such as a class at your fitness business — sits in that sweet spot between cash and hand-picked present.

Still not sure about offering a gift card? We have the numbers to back it up!

2021 Holiday Shopping Statistics

Let’s start with this finding from Blackhawk Network’s 2021 Global Holiday Shopping Forecast:

On average, respondents expected to purchase 17 gift cards for the holidays.

Holy smokes, right? That’s a whole lotta gift cards and a whole lotta moolah.

Here are some more stats from the report, which covers participants from 10 countries:

  • Nearly 45% of holiday spending in 2021 will go toward gift cards
  • 80% of respondents would prefer to give gift cards instead of physical presents
  • 85% of respondents feel gift cards are a safe gift choice

As you can see, more and more people are starting to appreciate the practicality of gift cards over the sentimentality of gifts that are likely to get returned.

By creating a gift card for your business, you’re solving a problem for your customers and boosting revenue.

Why Gift Cards Are an Especially Good Idea for Small Fitness Businesses

Most fitness businesses experience an influx of memberships in January as people start working toward their New Year’s resolutions to get healthy and lose weight.

Holiday gift cards can add even more fuel to that fire and keep it burning for longer since people can redeem their gift card whenever they get their second wind.

People also have an increased appreciation for small businesses, community activities, and health and wellness because of the pandemic.

Your existing customers may want to purchase a gift card from you to show their appreciation and introduce their friends and family to a community they enjoy. Check out this short clip from NPR’s “Planet Money” to learn how some locals have started using gift cards as a way to support their favorite small businesses.

How To Set Up and Promote Your Fitness Business Gift Card

OK, so you’ve decided to create a gift card for your business. Now it’s time to set it up and spread the word so people actually buy it!

You have a couple of options, depending on the type of gift card you’d like to create. But we’re going to show you how you can use our solutions — which are meant specifically for fitness business owners — to hop on the holiday gift card opportunity.

Step 1: Set Up Your Gift Card in Zen Planner

Screenshot of gift card setup in Zen Planner software

First things first: Creating your gift card.

You can easily make an e-gift card in Zen Planner, our business management and billing software, using the retail store feature.

To create your gift card:

  1. Open Retail Store Setup
  2. Click the Gift Card tab
  3. Create a name for your gift card
  4. Categorize your gift card (Note: You may want an Income Category specifically for gift cards)
  5. Set a minimum and maximum gift card value
  6. Choose an expiration date, if you want one
  7. Preview the look of your gift card

And that’s it!

When someone purchases your gift card, they’ll receive an email containing a gift card PDF. The gift card code can be redeemed via the Staff App, Member App, or Front Desk.

You can even track how your gift cards are selling through Zen Planner’s reporting feature.

For detailed step-by-step instructions, check out this help article about gift card setup in Zen Planner.

Step 2: Send Out Texts and Emails With UpLaunch

Now it’s time to tell your members that your gift card is available.

Why would you market gift cards to people who already have a membership?

Your loyal members love your classes. And each one of them has a partner, friend, or family member who’s been saying how much they want to get fit or how much they miss group workouts since the start of the pandemic.

Imagine what would happen if you sent every member a text message saying:

Hey [First Name]! Holiday gift cards are now available for [your business name]. Why not invite your family and friends to work out with you in the new year?

Then, imagine sending a follow-up email (or two or three) to drive the point home.

Look at it from your members’ point of view:

  1. They already enjoy your business
  2. They know someone who’d benefit from your classes
  3. They’ve received a targeted message during holiday shopping time
  4. You’ve offered them a last-minute gift option that’s convenient and personal

Essentially, you’ve hand-delivered the perfect holiday gift idea right to them.

If you’re interested in trying this approach, the UpLaunch Platform lets you automate your marketing messages so you can build a better relationship with your customers.

Step 3: Publish a Gift Card Announcement With SugarWOD

Screenshot showing a gift card promotion on SugarWOD Whiteboard

Emails and texts aren’t the only way to reach your customers.

If you’re using an app for your fitness business, this is another great way to reach your members.

SugarWOD’s athlete tracking app can improve communication between athletes, coaches, and owners. You and your staff have the ability to post announcements right to your Whiteboard for all members to see. (That includes gift card announcements.)

Want to add a little holiday spice? Film a YouTube video and link it in your post!

Step 4: Promote Your Gift Card on Social Media

Want to hog all the holiday attention? Reach the broader community with paid social media ads.

Paid ads put you in front of a larger audience that isn’t on your email list yet. And of course, you want your business to be top of mind for those who are interested in a health-and-wellness-related gift card.

There’s a lot of competition in this field. You’ll have to beat out larger clubs as well as companies that sell fitness equipment, at-home workout programming, and healthy meal plans.

The one benefit you do have is being a local business with a smaller target audience than other health and wellness brands.

Your ad strategy will be highly specific — say, targeting 30-to-40-year-olds within a 20-mile radius of your business. (Any farther, and people won’t be willing to make the drive.) And that kind of specificity can work in your favor.

It’s also worth considering what differentiates you from the other boutique fitness businesses in your area. Really home in on those slight differences for the most impactful marketing campaign.

Think about it: If none of your direct competitors are running gift card ads, you’re going to stand out in your community.

Need help figuring out your social media ad strategy? Work with the UpLaunch Digital Marketing team so your gift card announcement is a success.


We’d love to hear how gift cards are working for your fitness business. If you’ve had success with this method, please share this article (and your wisdom) with others in the small business community!


Want to promote your holiday gift card online?

One of the best ways to spread the holiday cheer is by running a Facebook ad. Our free guide breaks the process down step by step so you can get your gift card in front of the right people.

Download your free Facebook ads guide!
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