The Most Important Retention Questions

The Essentials

The first quarter is down — how did you do with your retention plan so far? For most of us we had the largest growth of new members we will see all year. But the key question is: How long will they stay a member?

With this in mind, now is a great time to re-evaluate your retention plan. Here are a few areas you may want to review: your integration process, the 90-day window and how you re-engage members.

How well did you integrate new members? For example, did you set up meetings with a trainer for an orientation? What percentage of members followed your integration process? Fifty percent? Eighty percent? Who did you miss? What actions did you take to go back and re-engage these new members?

In addition, what are you tracking? Once they are integrated are you tracking their progress? Do you have a system that reviews a member’s usage or habits in the first 30 or 90 days? To keep a member engaged, you need to engage them, right?

Your plan should also address what to do with members who are showing minimal usage. Create touch points and give them a reason to come. Re-engaging opportunities such as demo classes, group fitness launches, seasonal parties and enrollment specials are all opportunities to invite members into the club. Does your team know about these? Are they communicating it to members?

Lastly, what is the built-in follow up? Going back to step one and the integration process — are members offered a three-month, six-month or yearly checkup appointment? This is another opportunity to create a scheduled touch point for staff to call or email to confirm appointments, as well as another opportunity for your fitness professionals to coach and guide a member on their goals. A system of checkups lets even the veteran member know you have not forgotten about their goals. Even if they declined the appointment they will appreciate your offer and taking the time to call.


Andrew Barranco is the regional operations and aquatics manager for Merritt Athletic Clubs. For questions on retention he can be reached at


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