Here, Tom Ostrander shares how sweating the “small stuff” can solidify your long-term presence in the market and create meaningful engagements.
Nearly three years after the global pandemic began, the fitness industry is still working through challenges. One of the pressing issues many clubs have struggled with is an increase in cancellations, creating several “free agents” in the marketplace. Layering on the rise of the on-demand digital/virtual home fitness solutions makes it painfully obvious clubs must turn their attention beyond new member acquisition to tackle on-site attrition.
Creating and utilizing meaningful touchpoints with members has never been at more of a premium. Pandemic-related isolation has demonstrated people need to stay connected to not only their fitness goals, but also their communities. Club operators must constantly challenge themselves by questioning whether they are providing a thriving home to members. While it can appear sexy to boast a brand-new line of cardio, a connected strength line, HIIT classes, a robust personal training program and a new recovery area, it begs the question of whether this represents an actual community, or rather a facility with shiny new bells and whistles.
Successful clubs offer meaningful touchpoints and continual engagements with their member base. Conversations, connection and daily engagement has never been more important. Exchanging “hello” and “goodbye” and “thanks for coming in” seem too simple to mention but remind members they are welcome and missed if they skip a day. Making rounds and initiating organic conversation about workouts and someone’s fitness journey have a tremendous return on investment. Building a community starts with giving members a reason to come back, a reason to care and a connection to purpose. When personal trainers and membership consultants master the art of conversation and can connect with members, they are part of building a community that has immeasurable gains for the member, employee and the club.
Tech breakthroughs in the form of CRM platforms, targeted marketing services, equipment connectivity, NPS systems and billing software have provided tremendous tools for operators to engage with their members. Operators who take these tools beyond driving revenue and acquisition to build and promote retention and loyalty protocols will position themselves ahead of the curve. Integrating advanced assessment tools and structured checkpoints for members to engage with staff to ensure they are achieving fitness goals meets the need for personal progress and connection to purpose.
Age-old advice to keep it simple certainly applies here, and encouraging staff to, in fact, sweat the “small stuff” in the form of conversation, checkpoints and continual connection can solidify your long-term presence in the market and create meaningful engagements.
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