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Ask an Expert In Print

Ask an Expert: Barbara Lubbers

Photo courtesy of GATC.

Photo courtesy of GATC.

You have questions, we have answers. We took some time this month to speak with Barbara Lubbers, the assistant general manager of Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club, about the club’s impressive retention rate, and tips to make yours better.

“What are some basic opportunities clubs can capitalize on to improve retention?”

BL:  Invite new members to attend a New Member Orientation where they connect with a staff person and other new members. Here, they have the opportunity to ask questions about schedules, classes, services and programming.

Also, encourage the sense of community in group fitness classes. Instructors and participants socialize before and after class and notice when a fellow member is absent.

“How can marketing best be used to achieve a better attrition rate?”

BL: A few years ago we launched a [testimonial] campaign called ‘I Belong,’ which is the essence of who Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club is. [If you] want a treadmill? [Join] any gym. Want a club? Belong to Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club!

‘I Belong’ [testimonial] was a bit of a ‘which came first: the chicken or the egg’ situation. Our members feel such a strong sense of community here, and we reinforced it with this campaign. It was also valuable in gaining new members who wanted a club they would join, belong to and stay.

“How can personal training be used to better retention?”

BL:  Our club has had great success with small group training. Groups of two, three or four clients with their trainer establish an even greater sense of camaraderie. Side benefit is less cost to the individual and higher hourly revenue for the trainer.

“What are some areas Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club has adjusted to improve retention?”

BL: We created a part-time position of a Member Coach to track member usage. We run reports monthly to see which members have not checked in. At six weeks, three months, five months, seven months and 10 months, we contact them in a different manner to try and get them to use the club. Members who use the club, stay.

Top Five Tips for Improving Your Club’s Retention

1. Have a warm and friendly staff.

2. Contact and meet with members who are not using
the club.

3. Hold social events.

4. Promote classes, small group training and programs
where members feel connected.

5. Ask members for their input and listen to what they
have to say.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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