The Importance of Results and Relationships to Retention
In different fields there are phrases that compel a wide variety of thoughts.
In the health and fitness sector, none is more stirring than the word “retention.” In an industry where many operators fail to retain 50% of their members on an annual basis, it is vital to make keeping an existing member equally as important as acquiring a new member.
Through the development of new technologies, we now have programs that help us communicate better with our members, track our members’ workouts and challenge them to reach new personal targets.
With members more engaged in our clubs, the relationships become much more sticky. As we look at the buying trends of baby boomers, Gen X, millennials and now Gen Zs, we are starting to understand those consumer groups look at things very differently.
I have always operated with the mantra, “Results equals retention, equals referrals, equals revenue.” Members who are warmly recognized, working out in a great facility and getting results do not abandon that important part of their life. When we become a monthly bill and do not value a relationship, it is easy to walk away.
The onboarding process is critical to a member’s success. Recent statistics have shown members who workout an average of 1.5 times per week for their first two months are retained for one to two years. Members who workout 2.4 times per week for their first two months are retained for six to eight years.
The total lifetime value of the member for the club is significantly higher, but more importantly, the positive impact on the members’ lives is much more significant.
After home and work, the gym becomes the “third place” for many — a place to improve your health, relieve stress and be with like-minded individuals. The growth of boutique clubs has enhanced the relationship value. Now, big-box clubs are developing small group programming to create the same dynamic felt in the smaller concepts.
As a result of new generational dynamics, our programs address a wider audience with varying preferences. Our new mantra must be, “Results and relationships equals retention, equals referrals, equals revenue.”