Making Fitness a Game Creates Loyal Members

Starting a fitness journey isn’t the hard part. We see that every January as thousands of people join our clubs. Indeed, the hardest part about a fitness journey for members is actually achieving the fitness goals they are so excited about on Day 1.

As member retention numbers continue to be around 70 percent in the U.S., how do you help your members sustain the willpower and motivation after the initial excitement wears off? The simple answer is make fitness fun. The more complex answer is through gamification. The concept of gamification is simple: it involves making non-game environments — for example, your facility — feel more like a game.

The goal of gamification is to bridge the gap between when a member first joins your facility and when you earn their loyalty. A loyal member stays longer and is more likely to purchase premium services, like personal training. By introducing “games,” your facility will stand out from the rest by allowing members to participate in competition, keeping them engaged and motivated.

More loyal and engaged members will have a higher Lifetime Value (LTV). According to New North, your loyal members should have a LTV of 15 to 40 percent higher than your average member, which means gamification could have a massive impact on your facility’s financial health.

So how do we increase loyalty, engagement and ultimately revenue? The key is gamification. There are many ways to gamify the member experience, from a mobile loyalty program to digitally tracking exercise.

A particular gamification strategy that we see great results with is digital fitness challenges. With challenges, members compete against each other to meet a defined fitness threshold, such as burning 10,000 calories in a month. Members frequently check the digital leaderboard in your club’s mobile app, which displays real-time stats and placings. To make a challenge truly enticing, consider offering a prize. The prize should be in addition to your club rewards program and should encourage use of your premium services  — for example, a free two-session package of personal training.

We’ve seen facilities greatly increase member engagement with a simple one-month challenge. In one example, a facility in New Jersey launched its first challenge that required members to track a minimum of 12 workouts on their mobile app in 30 days. To market the challenge, the club printed signage, posted on Facebook and offered one free month as the prize. The results were astounding. In 30 days, member engagement increased 127 percent, referrals jumped 410 percent and members requesting a trainer jumped another 127 percent.

 

Ned Arick is an account manager at Netpulse, the #1 provider of club mobile apps. He can be reached at narick@netpulse.com or visit netpulse.com.

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