Ever wondered why gyms are always swamped with sales walk-ins? I’ll tell you why…
Basically, keeping existing members happy is a challenge all gyms and health clubs face. And a massive one in truth. There is constantly an influx of members leaving. And, it costs an extortionately more amount of money to attract new members than to keep existing ones. High membership retention rates are proven to result in increased profits and revenue.
Before we delve into how to keep membership retention rates high, let me explain to you the reasons why members are packing up their bags and throwing in the “gym” towel.
Local Competition from Rival Gyms
Gyms often become complacent whilst rivals are lowering their prices, offering better services and more gym equipment. Why not go to a gym down the road that is cheaper and offers a larger range of better equipment. It’s a no-brainer…
Budget gyms are attracting more and more people for the following reasons…
Cheaper with more equipment
24 hours (can come and go as you please)
Suits the busy working man or woman who is looking to get sh.t done quickly and effectively.
Niche gyms are becoming more and more prominent with consumer trends changing more towards the “get fit fast approach”. Niche gyms specialising in boxing, spinning, group fitness, F45 and bootcamps are becoming more a more popular. If you’re a big chain gym franchise not moving with the times you are likely to fall by the wayside losing tons and tons of members.
Membership is too Expensive
Gyms are increasing their membership prices without adding any additional value. When you pay more for something, you more often than not, expect to get something more for your buck. Gyms are increasing their fees without providing any additional value or service. Now, with faltering economies, Brexit, and the rest, people arguably have less spending money.
Lack of Motivation
Ever heard of that January rush? Well let me tell you exactly what happens…
When January hits, people are flooding the gym eagerly ready to train like demons. Well… that’s the intention anyways. What really happens is this lasts about three weeks, by which then the New Year’s Resolution wears off and people are no longer motivated to go to the gym. Memberships are later cancelled as the winter comfort kicks in.
Cleanliness and Poor Quality Service
Membership retention immediately drops when the gym fails to adhere to basic cleanliness requirement. For example, dust everywhere on the gym floor, dirty change rooms with dirty toilets and basins, old and faulty machinery and equipment, sweat and toilet roll everywhere.
In terms of poor quality service, I’m referring to unfriendly receptionists and gym staff. Reception is the first point of contact for members, that is why it is so important that a good interaction is made at this point, as then members are most likely to enjoy their whole experience. Rude and incompetent receptionists whom are unwilling to answer member questions efficiently and get bookings wrong are likely push members out of the gym. A smile and acknowledgement goes a long way in this business. Furthermore, once members are past the first stage contact it is then up to the gym staff such as Personal Trainers and Fitness Instructors to engage effectively. A lack of help or support in the gym leaves members feeling unmotivated and put off by the whole experience of a gym. If no one is around to show you how to perform exercises or use the equipment correctly, you are more than likely going to 1) injure yourself, and 2) give up and leave the gym completely. One must remember that a gym is a social environment whereby members need to feel wanted. Unfriendly and disinterested Fitness Instructors are likely to drive members out the door.
So now that we know the reasons for poor retention rates, we can explore how to keep membership retention rates high.
It all starts with…
Being ahead of the game –
Create member surveys by which you find out exactly what the members want. Personalise their experience by collecting information on training goals and regular training updates, equipment usage, class attendance and requests for types of classes. Understand their lifestyle and fitness goals i.e weight, body fat measurements, eating habits, fitness trends, types of training, and products purchased such as protein shakes, heart rate monitor belts, gym gloves, swimming costumes, goggles etc. Within a few days of a new member entering the building you should have all their relevant information about their wants and needs. And the closer you get to understanding this the closer you get to retaining them long term.
Getting your staff into gear!
Recruiting and training the right people is paramount. The role of the Fitness Instructor is so important in keeping members interested and motivated. Regular interaction and fitness inductions are vital in terms of keeping track of members’ fitness achievements and milestones. It is recommended Fitness Instructors have member check-ups weekly, making them feel like they are progressing and are on the right track to achieving their fitness goals.
Club fitness apps and competitions
Fitness apps such as MyWellness and Myzone play a big role in keeping track of progress and staying motivated. These apps enable members to compete with each other on calories burnt, steps achieved, heart rate zone points etc, making it fun banter between them and their buddies. Every gym should have a mobile app which keeps track of these results. Gyms must create competitions and challenges for their members with prizes rewarded to the winners. This should be showcased throughout the gym, online and via mobile apps and texts.
Keeping up with the times also involves creating facebook groups and Instagram accounts that are regularly active for members to post, tag and engage with others. You want them to feel part of a community. Offers, specials and deals should also be sent out via text and email, with referral schemes being put in place. For example, get four days free day passes if referred a friend, or a free gym bag or half price on a supplement product of your choice. However, before offering these deals make sure research is done into what members want as a reward.
Organise club events
This could involve organising monthly themed events like free mini bootcamps whereby everyone is dressed up in military outfits including the instructors, nutrition seminars, supplement promotion days, free PT signup tasters for the weekend, charity bike rides or runs, mini-triathlons etc.
Whether it be through member feedback forms, Facebook comments, or online satisfaction surveys, members want to be heard. Valuing customer satisfaction is of upmost importance for your gym. Listening to their wants and needs will go a long way in keeping membership rates high. It can be as simple as, going through all the feedback forms and tallying up the top two or three most popular responses for improvement, and then implementing a viable solution. For example, if 80 pecent of people were stating the uncleanliness of the change rooms as feedback, then make this priority number one.
By this point this article should have given all you gym owners a kick up the backside, as well as, everything you need to make your gym flourish in profits.