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Retention: Strengthening Your Retention in 2017


Retention is an important aspect of your club business. With this in mind, here is a top tip to help guide you as you manage retention at your health club.

Tip #1: Know Your Real Retention Numbers

In my 24 years experience in the health and fitness industry, I continue to be amazed at how club owners and managers have different ways of calculating their retention rates. It can be a very simple formula that takes out all subjectivity and provides one, clear financial statistic.

Your retention rate equals the number of members enrolled in the club, divided by the number of memberships who left your club that month, and multiply that number by 12. This formula does not account for reasons such as moves out of market, sickness or other reasons why a member is no longer paying membership dues to your club.

The simplicity of this formula is based on your most important financial line item being membership dues. If a club manager wants to explain that number more fully and better understand their retention rate, they can provide a narrative that explains the retention rate. Explanations and understanding the factors affecting a club’s retention level are important, but they do not get deposited into the bank.

Knowing your real retention financial numbers and addressing where the shortfalls — as well as gains — are being made, will positively impact your financial growth in this area.

Also, with regards to knowing your retention numbers, it is strongly recommended that club owners and operators build a yearly business plan that is focused on their retention efforts with the traditional monthly goals and promotional calendar.

Retention rate = memberships at start of month/the number of members that have left that month and no longer are paying membership dues x 12 months.

There always appears to be a constant in our health and fitness business that when we know and focus on our numbers, opportunities arise that allow us to grow our business. In 2017, I invite you to look at your retention numbers and achieve results that exceed both your expectations and budget for the upcoming year.

In the upcoming months, I will provide 11 additional areas that can positively impact your success in strengthening your overall retention performance, realizing that many health and fitness centers are already working in these areas.

Strengthening your retention rate will help you create your best year ever in 2017!

Kevin McHugh

Kevin McHugh is the chief operating officer of The Atlantic Club. He can be reached at kevinm@theatlanticclub.com.

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