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Recap: The Future of Member Re-Engagement and Retention


On May 19, Club Solutions Magazine presented the fifth installment of a monthly virtual roundtable series on thought leadership, surrounding the future of member re-engagement and retention in the months ahead.

Panelists included Paula Neubert, the president and general manager of Club Greenwood; Adrian Antigua, the general manager of Gainesville Health & Fitness; April McCullough, the general manager of Little Rock Athletic Club; Evan Zupancic, the COO and general manager of Stafford Hills Club; and Jeff Linn, the executive director of Weymouth Club. The discussion was led and moderated by Rachel Zabonick-Chonko, the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. Sponsored by MXM.

The following is a summary of top takeaways from the discussion, centered on member re-engagement and retention.

CDC Mask Mandates

  • Club Greenwood – Local governments are no longer requiring for fully vaccinated and highly suggested for non-vaccinated.
  • Staff wearing masks for two more weeks and will reevaluate afterwards.
  • Full capacity.
  • Weymouth Club – Networking with peers led them to choose mask optional.
  • Are following state guidelines and masks are still required for camps and childcare — reevaluating once school gets out.
  • Highest number of COVID cases this month was with kids.
  • Keep physical distancing for now and slowly lessening.
  • Little Rock Athletic Club – Have had masks as an option for over a month.
  • Members coming back in droves since the CDC announcement.
  • Haven’t had many complaints.
  • Gainesville – Masks are optional for both members and staff.
  • Are marketing how they are maintaining cleaning.
  • Didn’t want to draw attention to removing masks.
  • Ask your members if they want you to wear a mask when talking one-on-one.

Re-engagement Strategies

  • Everyone is craving consistency and want to reestablish their routines.
  • Communication is critical. Be proactive with your messaging.
  • Incrementally open your clubs to give members the feeling that you are growing.
  • Call your members on freeze. Allow them to ask questions about your club’s procedures.
  • Employee engagement makes people want to come into the club. Directly tied to the members being engaged.
  • Get out of your office and personally welcome back your members.
  • Talk to your members face to face.
  • Go over your changes that have been in place since members have been gone.
  • Treat reengaged members as new members. Offer free HydroMassage or personal training sessions to get them back.
  • Clearly outline the things members can take advantage of.
  • Utilize technology such as AI to communicate with your members and get them to book appointments.
  • Have a survey system or engagement radar. Use this data to make changes in your operations and processes. Utilize technology such as MXM, Listen360, Constant Contact.
  • Make sure members feel heard.
  • You have to have a team who can dedicate time to collecting and responding to feedback.
  • Have a new member Zoom call once or twice a month to touch base.
  • Cater to your seniors and help them navigate changes and new processes.
  • It’s vital to listen to members and staff. Let the staff know you trust them and get out of their way.

Customer Service

  • Cleanliness is an expectation, make sure you are actually following through with your word.
  • Look through your members’ eyes. Put all of your procedures under the microscope and see where you can improve.
  • Allow members to voice suggestions.
  • Premium prices require premium service.
  • Give members a space to communicate.
  • Seek to understand before you are seeking to be understood.
  • Deescalate the situation, don’t fuel agitation.
  • Be more flexible and patient with your membership.
  • Let members know how valuable they are.
  • Make it easy to do business with your company.
  • Consider continuing reservation systems moving forward.
  • Add a buzzer to communicate when a member’s time is up.
  • Members want convenience.
  • Push online joins.
  • Self-scan ins.
  • Don’t take away classes and options members loved during COVID times.
  • Manage your online reservations and make sure they are running smoothly, or members can become more upset.
  • People are more accepting of change. If you want to change something in you club, do it now.
  • You get one hour to make a good impression and make a connection with your members.
  • Ensure members feel better leaving than when they first came in.

Final Thoughts

  • Are members going to come back? Yes. Trust that you’ve done a good job.
  • Community is extremely important — you are more than just a building.
  • Continue to serve exceptionally well.
  • Spend a lot of time in the beginning of rejoins focusing and checking in on the member.
  • Get your staff bought in to the full vision.
  • Know who you are and what you stand for.
  • Stick to your principles and values.
  • Differentiate from your competitors.
  • Make sure your basics are always hit as members return.
  • Networking with colleagues has been very beneficial.

Love learning new insights from other owners and operators in this format? If so, consider joining a Club Solutions Mastermind Group. We offer four different types of peer-to-peer groups for every level of health club management. Apply by May 31 and receive your first month of membership free! Email Bob Surface at bob@peakemedia.com for additional details while spots last.

Access the on-demand version of this webinar.

Access the audio-only version of this webinar.

Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is the assistant editor for Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com

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