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litenin
LSU Fan
Houston
Member since Mar 2016
760 posts

Visiting a different gym as guest
I've been a member at the Houston area Y for about 15 years. No intent to change.

I've visited another 'upscale' gym 2-3 times when they advertise that they are open to the public (annually on random Sun non-peak). I sign a simple waiver at door and on my way to work out in less than a minute. Great experiences.

I haven't been to a 24 Hr Fitness in 10+ years but recently noticed they made it free to the community for the rest of Sept due to Harvey. I had never been to the location near my house and decided to go so that I could get a workout in before the NFL games yesterday (Y near home doesn't open until 1pm on Sun).

My prepared statement for the 24 Hr 'salesman' was that I was a Y member and liked how they had so many Houston locations, especially the one close to work which allows me to get a workout while traffic dies down (diff of 30 min on commute). 24 Hr doesn't have any locations convenient to work. Then mentioned seeing the Harvey ad and that I was also curious what this location looked like. Would not consider changing now but possibly in future if my work location changed.

24 Hr guy must have had a minimum time for 'interview' because he asked question after question, repeated the same questions, and kept me there for 30 minutes while my Pre-Workout was starting to tingle (which I finally 'joked' about towards the end). Three e-mails already rec'd along with a promise to call me about membership options this week, which I mentioned wouldn't be necessary although he gave that fake smile and said he'd still call because it's his job to be there for me.

Is it wrong for me to visit these other gyms without any immediate consideration of joining? Not sure of the proper etiquette. I had a similar experience with a 24 Hr salesman many years ago when I tried their 90 day for $90 special upon moving to Houston. I guess they prove nothing in life is free.


TU Rob
Troy Fan
Birmingham
Member since Nov 2008
8496 posts

re: Visiting a different gym as guest
I mean, they are obviously letting you use it free as a way of advertising their gym. The best way to see how you like a gym is actually using it. Of course there is going to be pressure to join. But if you really want to go workout, be prepared on the front end that it is a sales pitch. I've done it before when I was out of town and the hotel gym left a lot to be desired. I was a member at Gold's at the time, and went to another chain that we didn't have in Birmingham at the time. Told the guy I saw the free trial period (I think it was a 3-day pass) and wanted a place to get a workout in while I was on the road. He was cool about it, and didn't pressure me too much since he knew they didn't have one here. He said he wouldn't turn people away but that it was a one time thing so I wasn't going to be able to come back the next week when I was going to be back down there.


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GEAUXT
USA Fan
Member since Nov 2007
21798 posts

re: Visiting a different gym as guest
quote:

Is it wrong for me to visit these other gyms without any immediate consideration of joining? Not sure of the proper etiquette. I had a similar experience with a 24 Hr salesman many years ago when I tried their 90 day for $90 special upon moving to Houston. I guess they prove nothing in life is free.


No, but it's wrong to act annoyed that you have to jump through some hoops. I'm sure they don't like wasting their time on someone not actually interested in joining anymore than you like having to sit through it.


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632627
Southern Cal Fan
LA
Member since Dec 2011
7062 posts

re: Visiting a different gym as guest
i previously worked in the fitness industry (including 24 hour fitness) for many years, so i'll answer this question from a few different perspectives.

#1, the intent of a guest pass is to get people to join. As such, almost every pass will have fine print that says something to the extent of local residents only. the pass is not intended for someone from out of town to get a quick workout because they don't like their hotel gym.

regarding the sales pitch- it's mandated by the company and/or management. so as much as you dont want to sit through a 30 minute pitch, the sales guy doesnt want to give it either (knowing that you arent looking to join). however, there's probably a sales manager or general mgr looking over their shoulder, and if they don't tour you around, or make an effort to close you, they will get in trouble.

regarding a hurricane Harvey promo- i don't know the specifics, but i remember at 24 we used to let all military in, hassle free, on memorial day and veterans day. We may have given them the softest of closes (like maybe a 1 minute sales pitch with no tour), but that was it. If 24 is offering free workouts because of Harvey, there shouldn't be the same amount of pressure as a regular guest pass.

what should your etiquette be- you are a guest of their gym, it's a private company, and the sales person has a job to do. expect a tour and a price presentation; the assumption is you are looking for a gym, maybe not on that specific day, but in the near future. You can (and should) be honest up front, and tell them you aren't looking to join immediately. You may get lucky, and there won't be a manager on duty and the sales guy will let you slide through without much hassle. However, if you are just visiting from out of town, have been a guest recently, etc. dont be surprised if you arent allowed to workout for free.

Keep in mind, there are people that pay for the gym. It's not fair that the guy taking up space on the bench press isn't a paying member, while there are paying customers waiting to use that same equipment.

are the guest passes a bait and switch? ehhh, depends. A 30 minute sales pitch is a bit much, but it's the same as a timeshare presentation- nothing comes for free. At 24, all the rules were printed on the pass. Also, there were special passes from corporate that were "no hassle" passes, and we let people walk right in, only signing the waiver.
This post was edited on 9/25 at 1:44 pm


litenin
LSU Fan
Houston
Member since Mar 2016
760 posts

re: Visiting a different gym as guest
Thanks for the reply (and the others). There were a couple of times when someone from management came over and seemed to be eavesdropping on the conversation so maybe the sales guy was going that extra mile.

I expected a longer sales pitch at 24 Hr but didn't realize it was to that extent. I was friendly for the initial 25 minutes or so but then got irritated by the repetitive questions. I guess that helped boost my workout though.


632627
Southern Cal Fan
LA
Member since Dec 2011
7062 posts

re: Visiting a different gym as guest
quote:

I was friendly for the initial 25 minutes or so but then got irritated by the repetitive questions.


here's the thing (and i'm not sure if you did it or not)- if you show interest, the sales pitch will last longer because the sales rep thinks he/she has a shot at closing you.

if you are up front about your intentions (e.g. "I'm not looking to join today, but maybe in the future if a location opens up closer to my office"), the sales rep probably won't keep you as long. When i was doing sales, i appreciated the people that were both honest and courteous.


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TennesseeFan25
Tennessee Fan
Sacramento
Member since May 2016
4883 posts

re: Visiting a different gym as guest
Well see friend, you made the mistake of assuming it was free, it's not, it costs you the most valuable asset you have, your time, both at the point of interaction and through follow up.


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TheWalrus
LSU Fan
Memphis
Member since Dec 2012
16777 posts

re: Visiting a different gym as guest
I was home for the summer from college a few years ago and did a 90 days for 90 dollars at Fitness 19. It expired with about a week left and I decided I'd try Anytime and see if I liked it for next summer. The sales guy creeped me out so much I didn't even use the guest pass and paid 10 bucks to go back to Fitness 19 for one visit. Learned my lesson.


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DarthRebel
Ole Miss Fan
Member since Feb 2013
4639 posts

re: Visiting a different gym as guest
Maybe you should entertain them . My 24 hour fitness membership is $21 a year for the rest of my life using all their clubs. I have had it for the past 12 at that price.



litenin
LSU Fan
Houston
Member since Mar 2016
760 posts

re: Visiting a different gym as guest
I may consider 24 Hr Fitness in the future (membership) but will not go again as a guest since it's apparently not what they really want.

Half of my gym workouts are during the week and there aren't any 24 hour's close to my office. The Y is only 5 minutes away and reduces my commute by up to 30 minutes (diff between going home at 5:30 or 7).


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