Should You Let Members Join — and Cancel — Online?

online join

What do pizza, a prom dress, a babysitter and an engagement ring have in common? They can all be ordered online, that’s what. Welcome to 2016.

Not to be left behind, now more than ever, club owners want their clients to be able to make the decision online to workout, too.

“Consumers are spending more time on digital media year after year, and doing more of their shopping online,” said Chuck Cavolo, the COO of Brick Bodies, said. “We need to make it easy for people to give us their money in the way they want to give it to us.”

Cavolo explained that in order to get started with the process of providing such a feature to your own clients, it’s imperative to work with a website company and club operating software company to prepare joining and cancelation forms on your respective websites.

Club owners will also need to consult attorneys to make sure the changes are compliant with federal and state e-commerce laws, and make sure that canceling a membership is just as convenient as beginning or renewing one.

“Your goal is to provide complete transparency about the cancellation process,” Cavalo emphasized. “It is very important that your cancellation process provides confirmation of the cancellation to the member who has submitted the form.”

Sandy Schulz, a certified Pilates instructor at Nantucket Health Club, explained that the online trend has even reached a niche market like the clientele that visit her resort, community-style club located on the tiny, isolated island off of Cape Cod.

“We decided that offering memberships online was an easy way for people to make plans before they get to the island, or if they have plans to leave they can buy a membership for the length of time that they’re going to be on the island and utilizing it,” she said.

Schulz said that the team at Nantucket Health Club has been offering the service for three years now, and made the decision to do so after they realized they were actually losing business because of clients who didn’t want to be roped into a 12-month long contract.

Cavolo advised that clubs make decisions like adding online services based on what’s best for the member. He believes some club owners don’t want to make it easy for members to cancel their memberships for a fear of a spike in attrition — but that is a mistake.

“[Members] remember the experience they had when canceling, and they will not be rejoining if it is difficult or unpleasant,” he said. “Give them confidence in how you do business, make it easy for them, and your club will be number one on their list when they are ready to return to exercise.”

1 Comment

  1. Mike

    October 24, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    I would be curious in scenarios like this one if daily guest passes are offered? I have been toggling with the idea of not requiring 12 month commitments however we do offer daily guest passes and unsure of how it will impact the guest line as well as membership line.

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