Club Insider

Summer is the Time to Focus on Member Retention!

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Deneen LapradeDeneen Laprade

Summer time in the fitness industry is notoriously slow for some club operators. Most of us are just delighted to see the sun and will prioritize time outdoors over just about everything else. So how do you, as club owners and operators, deal with this challenge? Focus on Member Retention!

It's quantifiably more efficient, productive and mutually beneficial to both club operators and club members when the two form a long-term relationship. In the business world, retention is defined as the ability to keep workers or customers from leaving a company. Clubs are advised to use these slower summer months to develop systems and processes to achieve retention rates that support growth. June, July and August are ideal months to do so.

Fortunately, the path to improving and maintaining your member retention statistics are easily woven into the fabric of your club culture. View your retention strategies as opportunities to create a dynamic that supports members personal goals, improves the likelihood they'll make referrals and encourages them to invest their time and hard-earned money into other areas of your club.

There are a couple of key statistics we all know, or should know, as it relates to member retention. The first is the critical "First 90 Days." When a new member joins your club, you need to pay close attention to him in the first 90 days of his membership. This is the incubation period of new habit development. During this time, the new member is open to new ideas and is very motivated to change his lifestyle. As a club operator, you must have systems in place to nurture this member into becoming a long-term supporter of your business. Another number to factor in with the above is "eight monthly visits." Members who visit less than eight times per month have an increased likelihood of quitting.

  • New Member Integration - Beginning with those critical first 90 days, take a look at how you can better integrate this new member into your business. Develop a system of regular contact with each new member. Vary the methods and the staff responsible for each. Start by mailing a handwritten thank you card from management within 24 hours of joining. Schedule a needs assessment with a trainer, introduce him to your group fitness instructors and bring him into the room to have him actually try the equipment. Aside from in-house efforts, there should be a series of emails and phone calls over the remainder of those first 90 days that encourage participation, provide useful information and makes him feel welcome, comfortable and supported.

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