Increasing the lifespan of your membership base is a key KPI in most retention strategies. Cancellations are not a matter of “if” but rather “when” in our industry. A member’s lifespan is tied into a few key factors; are they using the club and do they see value in their membership? Usage then becomes a key metric to track and take actions to increase. So how do you increase usage?
It’s a matter of changing behaviors. Give the member one or two more reasons to come in each week. Having the welcome desk ask members on their way out, “When will we see you again?” or a group fitness instructor encouraging them to come to their next class, are all passive ways of instilling the thought in the member’s mind: When will they make it back?
Using events and social occasions is another way of enticing the member to use the club. If you have not done so already, take some time and plan out all of your member events for the year. What events would your members show up for? Well-thought-out themed holiday events, member appreciation days, family pool-side movie nights, community open houses and wellness days all show value in a membership. These events also give your staff another talking point to encourage members to come back.
This year we tried something new and used our outdoor aquatic facility as a Christmas tree lot. It gave our members another reason to come to the club. Picking out their Christmas tree as a family or bringing a spouse along was a way to entice the member back to the club. It also allowed for additional signage and traffic of non-members. Our members could come in for a Saturday workout and go home with a Christmas tree checked off their weekend to-do list.
Tailor your event to your demographics and think about the member who only comes in once a week; what would they want to participate in? What would they respond to?
Andrew Barranco is the regional operations and aquatics manager for Merritt Athletic Clubs. For questions on retention, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.