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Ask an Expert on Member Retention


You have questions, we have answers. This month we spoke with Jillian Kingdom, a member services expert at Pura Vida Fitness & Spa, about member retention.

How can clubs make member retention a priority?  

JK: When analyzing member retention, it’s important to understand why your members joined in the first place. What is it about your club that initially made your members join, and what keeps them coming back? It’s important that this question is a part of your daily business practices. Member loyalty can make or break your business. How will you define what your “loyalty story” is?

At Pura Vida Fitness & Spa, the culture and community we have built are our foundation. We are proud that we have a staff that is leading the industry in knowledge and expertise, programming that is continually innovative, a beautiful and well-kept facility with many amenities and a membership base who not only works out together in fitness, but socializes together in our community. All of these combined create our culture. Our members feel like they are a part of something.

Should one employee be focused on retention, or should it be a team effort?

JK: Pura Vida follows a cohesive onboarding program for new members called the “Pura Vida Experience.” This program is designed to introduce members to various areas of the club and to jump start their wellness journey here. Through this program, each member is paired with a personal trainer, Pilates instructor or nutritionist, for example, which directly correlates with what the new member is looking to achieve or get out of their experience while here.

Every members’ needs are different and at Pura Vida Fitness & Spa, we work with each member individually. All departments of the club are integrated with this process in order to create the ultimate experience for the new member.

What are some surprising or commonly overlooked things that can hurt retention? 

JK: Maintaining member loyalty is a continual and intricate process that must be addressed. Controllable factors usually play into the general operations of the business. In most cases, they are easily adjusted and corrected. The key with managing your controllable factors is how often you analyze your membership data and the reaction rate in which you respond. If you are regularly staying in tune with your membership base, this will allow you to understand where your weaknesses are. This data can be invaluable, but it’s what you do with it and how quickly, that matters most.

What tip could you provide for improving retention? 

JK: Pura Vida closely monitors our daily usage numbers, referrals and our resignation data. If we notice a major drop in our usage, we immediately dig deeper to find out why. Are certain classes showing a dip in attendance? Are our offerings and programs becoming stagnant? Getting down to the root of controllable factors such as these can be a game changer for your business.

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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