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In Print The Essentials

Beyond the Ticket to the Dance


Merritt PropertiesCorporate portraitsLike most years, 2015 began with members flocking to our clubs. With new membership sales looking promising we got our hopes up, and then it happens — cancellations, dreaded attrition and another year of the constant tug and pull of sales and service.

First and foremost it’s critically important to understand that membership is simply the ticket to the dance. The first 30, 60 and 90 days of an individual’s membership are the most critical. It is pertinent that we teach and help our members create a habit and the discipline of physical activity daily.

Usage is a key indicator of an individual’s success. It has been found that individuals who use our clubs two or more times in a week are 80 percent more likely to stay as members versus those using the club less than once a week.

In addition, we know retention is all about relationships — loyal members don’t quit people, yet they will quit the gym. So make sure to connect and get to know your members on a personal level. Make it more than just a membership; make it a relationship.

Retention hinges on three important aspects: One, value, which is the perception of the member. Two, convenience and ease of doing business. And three, the achievement of results. Help your members achieve those three things and retention is ensured.

Here are three things your club can do immediately to improve retention:

  • Get out of the offices and onto the floor; meet your members and get to know them. Do things on purpose rather than policy.
  • Get them involved. Get them into the club using multiple areas. Connect them to multiple people and give them a reason to be there.
  • Give them more than they expect and don’t look for things in return.

Remember, member retention is simple in philosophy, but it’s certainly not easy. It takes an entire team, a strong commitment, an unwavering discipline and a never-ending thirst to get better.


Mark Miller is the vice president of Merritt Athletic Clubs. For questions on retention, he can be reached at mmiller@merrittclubs.com.

Emily Harbourne

Emily Harbourne is the assistant editor of Club Solutions Magazine.

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