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In Print The Essentials

Maybe It’s Time to Simplify


It is well known that the best clubs have great member retention. However, sometimes it can feel like a struggle to find programs that positively impact retention.

So, how can we do better? The answer is simple: Do less, but do it better. If a club owner or operator adopts this concept, they would select one or two retention programs they can execute well and be passionate about.

Let’s look at one example of an issue that could lead to higher attrition: members saying a club is not providing enough value. 

Recently, our club started a new senior member retention program and we did it extremely well. We built a multi-departmental team of fitness, group exercise, marketing, food and beverage, and front desk-member experience staff to help address the needs of our members who are 65 and older. 

We know we need to address all age groups, but we decided to target our senior population first. We developed a comprehensive program utilizing traditional marketing pieces, social media, and most importantly, our staff. Our staff was fully trained and equipped to tell the story of all the value that was being provided to our seniors by the club, and how each senior would be able to benefit personally from these programs.

The response by our senior members was overwhelming. Their level of participation for programs that previously had minimal attendance are now showing large increases. 

The lesson learned was to simplify how we presented the value that our club was offering to our senior age group and focus our team’s efforts on only one initiative. Our team is now in the process of identifying areas where we can show value to our members ages 45 to 60, and then our younger members. However, it will be one project at a time.

Our club is also reviewing all of our retention programs and identifying programs that will be eliminated, which will allow our team the additional time, focus and resources into fewer, but more important, programs in the future.

Clubs can increase their retention by doing less and focusing their retention efforts on achieving great results from a few very targeted programs. Clubs that are able to do this will see their retention improve significantly in 2019.

Kevin McHugh is the COO of The Atlantic Club.

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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