Member retention has been highly sought after the past three years. In fact, according to an IHRSA study, 87% of members who experience a positive onboarding process remained active after six months.
In today’s market, it’s vital you set new members off on the right foot.
At Healthworks Fitness, the goal is to help all members make the most of their membership. Britney Marenna, the assistant manager of membership operations, said they offer all new members two complimentary sessions with a trainer, a complimentary teamTRAINING session and a discount on their first massage.
“We also allow our new members to bring in unlimited guests to try out the club in their first 30 days,” added Marenna. “This helps them feel comfortable to try new things in our club and to build their own small community with us.”
The moment someone enters Healthworks, the onboarding process begins. Prior to a member joining, the Healthworks team is coached on how to connect with prospective members and cater to the club experience. Marenna said they base their tours on the benefits members will receive from the spaces and programs. For example, Marenna said the sauna is not just a nice amenity, but it’s key to recovery after a workout or a long day at work.
“We also offer intro classes on our schedules for group fitness and small group training to give a new member the opportunity to try a shorter class with additional instructor support,” said Marenna. “Our trainers also host weekly complimentary workshops to give new members tools to get started safely and effectively, and meet other members.” At 425 Fitness, the key to onboarding success is its mobile app.
“At the time we sign members up we make sure they enroll in the member portal to access their billing, receipts, cancellation policies, etc.,” said Tracey Perino, the director of operations and sales at 425 Fitness. “We then make sure they can download the app as that is the entry for the club and shares any updates we need to make. It also then sends them a copy of club rules.”
Perino said once they make sure members can access the app and see class schedules, they also give them a trial workout to follow in case they don’t know what to do inside the facility. “In December 2022 we also started to roll out Workouts of the Week,” she said. “These are done by our trainers and feature a different workout each week. We encourage members to then post about their workout.”
Another way to successfully onboard members is to introduce them to others who have similar goals as them. Building a lasting community in your facility should always be your mission.
“Our group fitness classes, themed workshops like Balance and Theragun, and teamTRAINING program are the perfect way for members to move and meet people who love the same things they do,” said Marenna. “We have seen friendships form from all of these programs and the community exists both inside and outside of the club.”
425 Fitness has had some success with offering Personal Training with “buddies.” On rare occurrences if members don’t have someone to workout with, the staff will hand-pick another member for them.
Overall, 425 Fitness finds success in onboarding by always discovering what members are interested in and coinciding those with upcoming offerings.
Over at Healthworks, a key to success is through consistency.
When a member joins the club, new member services are added to their account. In the last few years, Marenna said they have seen an increase in online joining, so they implemented a standard process for a new member’s first visit.
First, an alert pops up on the member’s account and staff present them with an onboarding list to review and properly welcome them to the space. Staff are responsible for connecting them with a trainer for their complimentary sessions, reviewing the member app and class sign-up process, and asking who they will bring in this month to workout with them.
“In addition to this initial welcome, we also check in with our members via phone over the first 90 days of their membership,” added Marenna. “This allows us to check in along the way and make sure they are utilizing their membership to its fullest potential.”
New members also receive a series of emails and a dedicated new member webpage. This provides them with easy information and links to help navigate the clubs. “Finally, we offer incentives when members use their benefits such as club cash when they complete their two sessions with a trainer or a discount on their massage service if it’s booked within their first month,” said Marenna.
Overall, to increase a member’s likelihood to stay, your staff needs to educate them on all offerings, learn who the member is and what they are interested in, and never stop checking in on them.
That is the key to retention.