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6 Key Aspects to Member Engagement

Member Engagement

The competitive environment in the health club industry has created an immediate need for club operators to engage their members  on a deeper level. The first step to deepening member engagement is to understand the difference between a club member’s experience, and member engagement.

A club member’s experience is any interaction they have with the club via the website, social media, staff, exercise equipment, billing and so forth. Member engagement is defined as how that member reacts to an experience. Each experience or engagement a member has can be rated on a scale from positive to negative. When embarking on the challenge of creating a member engagement system, clubs may want to partner with an organization that understands the industry, club culture and technologies needed to create a seamless engagement system.

There are six key aspects to a member engagement system. They include company culture, member mapping, member milestones, data consolidation, data dashboard and engagement points.

Company culture. This is a club’s greatest asset and must be implemented into the member engagement system. Start by identifying all the unique characteristics of the club. What sets your club apart from other clubs? How can your mission statement be incorporated into your culture?

Member mapping. Mapping the member’s experience throughout the entire membership life cycle starts when the member searches for your health club on the internet. Document every experience and interaction members may have with your club. Narrow the focus to the typical member experience, and ask the staff and current members a lot of questions to learn about their experiences.

Member milestones. Choosing a versatile member engagement system can enable the club to create unique digital member milestones. These milestones can then be tracked throughout the entire member life cycle. Through viewing member trends, club operators gain a clear insight into what steps their members have taken, providing for additional opportunities to engage members.

Data consolidation. Data consolidation and seamless integration between demographic data and personal preference data is essential. To create true engagement, a central data box that houses all of the member’s internet interactions, demographic information, sales history, fitness assessment and personal preferences is vital. The data box should also consolidate the health club’s billing and management, CRM, sales system and fitness assessment data into one location.

Data dashboard. With the overwhelming amount of data and competition for members, it is easy to get distracted by the numbers and forget about what’s important -— taking care of the members. The most effective member engagement systems will have flexible, yet simple, data dashboards that can track the club’s engagement KPIs. Simple dashboards enable staff members to gain consistent feedback and see how proficient they are at building rapport through a dashboard presentation score.

Engagement points. An engagement system automatically tracks points of engagement and ranks the member’s level of engagement at each of those points.

For example, points can create a score from the experience a member has during their personal training orientation. Clubs can see if the member is engaged after leaving their orientation by viewing several post-visit engagement areas. Did the member open their welcome email? Plus, experiences collected from fitness apps can be tracked and placed into the member’s individual engagement system data box. This is accessible individually or in aggregate.

By measuring these six aspects, according to data consolidation feedback, clubs can strategically build offers, market and create targeted programming. Member engagement systems allow health club owners the ability to continually improve and refine their current business model to not only survive, but thrive in these uncertain times.


Daron Allen, president and CEO of the Visual Fitness Planner, has 20 years of health club industry experience. Allen has worked with many of the top 100 club operators. He is a past president and board member of THRSA (the Texas affiliate of IHRSA), former VP of fitness services of the Osteopathic Health System of Texas (OHST), finalist for the IHRSA/LifeFitness GM of the Year Award 1998/1999, and a recognized presenter within the health club industry. Allen can be reached at 877.837.1212 or dallen@vfp.us.


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