Member retention strategies
Member retention strategies

Member retention presents an ongoing challenge for many operators and plays a critical role in ensuring a successful business in the health and fitness arena. It’s an area that can often be forgotten due to the demands of day to day business, however with the churn of members an ongoing challenge for the industry, there are a number of member retention strategies that can be adopted to help reduce attrition and improve length of stay.

IHRSA have created a handy check list to help operators prioritise key elements in their member retention strategies, this list includes:

  • Improving data collection and analysis – improving the quality of the member data collected and then taking the time to analyse the data that’s available to better understand your member base and cater for their needs.
  • Improving communication strategies – according to the IHRSA retention report, members value communication, both in person and via email. Adopting a communication strategy that engages members both in person and virtually, can play a key role in ensuring members feel valued and stay engaged.
  • Focusing on social interaction – social interaction improves member renewal rates and member satisfaction. Creating opportunities for members to interact with other members and make new friends can play a crucial role in improving member satisfaction.
  • Developing group fitness programming – members who participate in group exercise sessions are less likely to cancel their memberships than those who are gym only members. Identifying and reducing barriers to group exercise, can increase participation levels thus positively impacting on retention levels.
  • Strengthening relationships with long term members – as a group, your long standing members are most likely to become dissatisfied. By identifying what their needs and goals are and ensuring their opinions and feedback are valued this will help to encourage them to keep coming back over the years.

Further research from the TRP 10,000™ study, in which 10,000 health and fitness members completed a baseline survey of their exercise habits and membership behaviour, focused on whether member motivation was impacted by what progress has been made towards their goals and aspirations and the effect it has on member retention. As part of the study, members selected their motivations including making new friends, being healthier, improving muscle tone, feeling fitter, and improving appearance among others. These were categorised into 4 main areas – fitness motivation, appearance motivation, enjoyment motivation, and social motivation and then reported on how much progress they had made in the last 3 months. Whilst there was variation in motivations between different age groups, genders, visit frequency and length of membership, some trends were apparent including the correlation between progress in social motivations (e.g. making new friends) and improved retention and the need for members to perceive they are making progress in the areas they are highly motivated by to reduce cancellation rates including measures of fitness and health.

Member retention strategies include social interaction and goal setting
Member retention strategies include social interaction and goal setting

”We have now written over 10 reports on our TRP 10,000 findings, and human interaction comes up time and time again as an integral aspect of the member experience and long, fruitful relationships with a club.

In our research into health and fitness member motivation, this materialised itself in showing that those who report making friends in their club are 40% less likely to cancel. This could be friendships with staff as well as fellow members, so you need to create as many opportunities for quality social interactions as possible in your facility.” Tamara Bailey, Key Account Manager, TRP.

Other strategies that can be adopted to specifically focus on retention include improving data collection methods around your member and their goals, regular communication with your members both in and out of your facility that is targeted to their interests and motivations, creating social opportunities within your centres to support social motivations, and tracking and highlighting the progress your members are making towards their goals.

As part of FitQuest’s product development, as well as tracking body composition and 8 main measures of fitness including upper body strength and endurance, lower body strength and endurance, explosive power, speed ability, heart rate recovery and balance, we can also track what each user highlights as their goal and report on progress made. This data can be utilised to tailor your communications using the FitQuest ecosystem, ensuring your conversation remains relevant and helps support your members to stay motivated throughout their fitness journey.

Contact us to find out more about how we can support you to better enable your members to track and achieve their goals.

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