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The New Reality of Retention


Now more than ever we have an opportunity — a moment in history to redefine our industry, to better serve our members and communities, and to reshape their perception of what we offer.  

With all that has happened with the impact of COVID-19 on our industry and the social movements in our society, now is a time of reflection and change if you choose to act on the opportunity. 

In these short articles I often give a reminder, tip or suggestion on something that could improve your club’s retention. However, that focus has slightly shifted. Right now it’s not really about you, me or our clubs’ retention. It is a broader goal and focus, and that is the retention of our industry. 

Too often, we compare ourselves and we work so hard to define our type of club and why we are better than our “competitors.” Instead, we need to look at the big picture and realize we are all in this together. 

Regardless if you are working in a studio, large box gym or 24-hour facility, or are low-cost or high-value, we are in the same industry serving the same communities. With all that has happened throughout the last few months, let’s look beyond our own perspective and use this as a rebirth, so to speak.

Unfortunately, there are times public perception is that gyms are dirty and not properly cleaned. Perhaps they think gyms are even poorly managed or are not a real business.  

The prolonged closures due to the pandemic alone will have an impact on our retention. Perhaps this is the opportunity to help elevate the public’s view of our industry.  

In an effort to do so, reach out to another local gym or network to find out how they are doing and share best practices. We certainly have opportunities to show a more united front and face for our industry.  

Retention is about educating members on the benefits and results of fitness. Let’s spend our time doing that rather than chasing the next sale. Let members know you are working together to provide a safe environment in these uncertain times. 

Andrew Barranco

Andrew Barranco is the regional operations and aquatics manager for Merritt Clubs. He can be reached at abarranco@merrittclubs.com.

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