Over the years, health and fitness facilities have looked at their retention ratios as something they didn’t have much influence over. Clubs would often boast their retention levels were under 30%.
Times have changed. Recently, there has been an influx of studios with higher-end national and local chains now offering options that are better than what you may be offering in your club.
In many of our marketplaces, we are also operating with mature real estate markets where there is limited growth and an aging population, where the health, fitness and wellness needs continue to change and require new solutions.
What is the solution for health and fitness centers to grow their membership? Here is a possible list of recommendations:
1. Be clear with your teams that the No. 1 initiative is to meet and exceed your members’ expectations through the use of many tools that are available to gain your members’ input and insights.
2. Be positively relentless in relationship building and creating a positive environment that many studios are providing their members — perhaps your past members — every day.
3. Make it easy to do business with your club — similar to how easy it is at the studios.
4. Invest in technology and consider expanding your programs that provide your members the opportunity to know their health and wellness numbers with tracking every 90 days to help support their goals. Your club is member-outcomes based.
5. Expand your reach into the marketplace and research what is required to be able to best meet the needs of individuals who comprise the other 80% of the marketplace.
Gym owners and operators need to address retention more successfully today than ever before. The changing marketplace has factors that many clubs could ignore in the past due to the positive growth curve that is no longer available in many areas of the country.
Clubs do not need the perfect final solution or retention plan. They simply need to get started today and build initiatives that continue to focus on the member, which will lead to the member staying longer with their club.
Kevin McHugh is the COO of The Atlantic Club.