Member Experience

Hall of Fame: How a NY Gym Creates the Ultimate Member Experience

Creating the ultimate member experience helps us avoid taking gym life too seriously. Here's a unique idea from Stoked Athletics owner Mike Bouranis!

Emily Beers
December 20, 2023
TL;DR
Creating the ultimate member experience helps us avoid taking gym life too seriously. Here's a unique idea from Stoked Athletics owner Mike Bouranis!

As a gym owner, there are plenty of things on your plate that need to be taken seriously. On the other hand, you also have the opportunity to have some fun create an unforgettable member experience.

Yes, you’re changing lives. People will come to you with all kinds of struggles, from fitness to nutrition and even mental health. They’ll strive for PRs that they’ll sometimes take too seriously. And all the while, you’re also focused on operations and turning a profit.

The stress these things can place on you is all the more reason to find new ways to have fun along the way. You can take your business seriously while at the same time creating an incredible member experience for your community.

The Stokedies Awards at Hall of Fame Night
“The Stokedies” awards given out at the annual Hall of Fame Night. (Photo credit: Stoked Athletics)

And that’s the reason Michael Bouranis started an annual Hall of Fame Night for his gym. Bouranis is the owner of Stoked Athletics in West Babylon, NY. He and his coaches recognized the need for a social event that brought the community together. And the Hall of Fame Night has become just that.

Stoked Athletics Hall of Fame Night.

Each January, the Stoked Athletics Hall of Fame Night takes place at a local pub. Bouranis and his coaching team hand out fun awards that recognize members for various lovable quirks. In addition, several members are inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The unique member experience starts with the awards ceremony. “The Stokedies” are aptly named after “The Dundies” from the hit TV show The Office. During this ceremony, a handful of both serious and comedic awards are handed out. A few examples include:

  • Best Dressed
  • Most Improved
  • Most PRs Hungover
  • Stoked Sweetheart
  • Biggest Flake (the person who canceled their class reservation most often)
  • Most Stoked (the person who best exemplifies Stoked Athletics)
  • Stoked King and Queen

Bouranis also presents a Most Attended award for the person who’s earned the highest number of gym member check-ins in the last 12 months. He noted the ease of figuring out which member wins this award by using his PushPress reports.

Finally, three or four members are selected by Bouranis and his team to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. To be considered, candidates are required to be members for a minimum of two years. They also must exemplify the Stoked Athletics values.

Creating the ultimate gym member experience
Bouranis and coaches choose members that best exemplify the culture. (Photo credit: Stoked Athletics)

“But the big joke is it’s whoever gave me the most money in the last three years,” Bouranis said.

Small Investment. Big Return.

Bouranis rents out a room at the pub for just $250, and invests about $500 in total for the night.

He says it’s a small price to pay for the help it lends to building a strong gym community. Firstly, it’s a creative and memorable way to improve the member experience. Secondly, it’s a huge hit with the members and provides a chance for new friendships to form.

“You think people all know each other, but the morning people don't know the evening people and vice versa,” he said. “So it brings people together and forges new relationships.”

Pro Tip: Send invites, updates and reminders about your own gym events using the power of automation PushPress Grow. Book a demo with our team today to find out more!

Further, the event is open for members to invite their significant other or friends. These are sometimes people who - at the start of the night - are interested in the gym but nervous about trying a class.

Bouranis explained that sometimes members’ friends or family think, ‘Why are you wasting so much money on this personal trainer and gym?’ But by the end of the night, they understand just how cool the Stoked community is.

Stoked Athletics gym community
The Hall of Fame Night and other events help to strengthen the gym community. (Photo credit: Stoked Athletics)

And oftentimes, they want to become a part of it themselves. As a result, Bouranis usually picks up a new client or two after the awards night each year. And he knows the event has gone a long way in improving his member experience and client retention over the years.

In Summary: Get Creative With the Ultimate Member Experience.

When it comes to celebrating your members, you’re only limited by your creativity. Michael Bouranis has proven this to be true with his annual Stoked Athletics Hall of Fame Night.

Over the years, he has found that recognizing members outside of the gym - and outside of their sweaty gym clothes - is a fun option. So, in a purely-social environment, he recognizes members for their loyalty and appreciates them for who they are as human beings.

“It’s not just about the PRs,” he said.

Emily Beers

Emily Beers is a health, fitness and nutrition writer. She has also been coaching fitness at MadLab School of Fitness in Vancouver, B.C. since 2009.

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