5 Steps to Boosting Health Club Member Retention

We often hear our clients talk about member acquisition... but what happens once you’ve made the sale and converted a lead into a member? At that point, successful clubs turn their attention to member engagement and to one of our favorite metrics - retention.

After all, analysis after analysis has shown that member retention is less expensive than recruitment.  It generally costs around five times as much to gain even a single new member as it costs to hold onto an existing member.  While it is important for the growth of your club to continue acquiring new members, you should also look to develop a strategy to lower membership churn rates and hold onto your valued members.

To help you develop a supercharged retention strategy that keeps members coming back year after year, we’ve put together 5 key steps to boosting health club member retention.

1. Environment

Your club’s ability to create a positive environment will influence whether people keep coming back.  According to the Harvard Business Review, 64% of customers cite "shared values" as the prime motivator in forming an enthusiastic relationship with a brand.

Your club culture and environment should reflect the atmosphere of the area, as well as the beliefs and ideals of your members and the surrounding neighborhood to create a positive work-out environment. 

2. Equipment

This is an essential strategy point in your bid to retain members. Today’s clubs members expect equipment to be in pristine condition, and you should be willing to replace (or at least renovate) older hardware once wear and tear starts to appear. Poorly maintained equipment is a huge “red flag” for potential and retained members alike.

Similarly, you can expect to improve member retention rates by matching your equipment to your member’s workout needs. An easy way to find out what these are is to ask your members via a simple survey to your members or even just do walk-and-talks in your clubs.

3. Engagement 

Your club’s ability to increase member engagement has a clear impact on retention rates. To encourage engagement, contests and other events that get members engaged with your club and with other members, are a great idea.  A good club is a community, not just a place to work out.

Also, you should look to integrate technology into your member’s club experience.  Wearables are hot right now, and clubs should aim to incorporate new technologies for the fitness industry to improve engagement. 

4. Experience

Today’s club member wants a personalized experience.  They don't want to feel like they're "just another member."  You and your staff should be focusing on their individual wants and needs whenever possible, and looking to craft experiences that make a visit to your club feel truly special.

Here are some ideas for personalizing your member’s experience:

  • Encourage your team to remember and use each member’s name in conversation with them.
  • Be on the look-out for authentic ways to wow your members. If you think this is hard you can start by asking them what they want and listening to the answers. Delivering on these requests will have a hugely positive impact on your member’s perception of their club experience.
  • Surprise members with extra perks for celebrations such as reaching a fitness milestone.

5. Education

Always keep people informed about what's happening at your club.  Keep frequent updates posted on training techniques, classes, courses, programs, events, and other activities.  Consider maintaining archives on your website, or within the club itself, with a range of health and workout information. Maintain a blog and a social media presence full of helpful information.


Posted by InTouch's Eithne Ni Choncubhair | Apr 20, 2017