Understanding Your Gym Members is the Key to Retention


Understanding Your Gym Members is the Key to Retention

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T he long-term viability of any fitness studio, centre, or gym depends on its ability to keep members interested and coming back month after month. However, with so many fitness choices vying for consumers' time and money, cancelling a subscription is now easier than ever for disgruntled users. In order to avoid cancellations, it is now more crucial than ever for fitness establishments to have a thorough understanding of what their clients need and require.

As important as retention is, fitness studios or gyms frequently overlook the members they currently have in favour of recruiting new members. Price and membership are not the only factors that affect retention. Getting to know each member individually, their objectives, problems, and tailoring their experience is also essential. Members return to the gyms and recommend them to others because of the high quality of individualised care and assistance they receive there.

Let's examine how fitness studios and gyms can increase customer retention by learning more about their current clientele and using that knowledge to enhance the member experience over time.

What is Membership Churn? Definition & Calculation

Basics first! The rate at which current members cancel or neglect to renew their subscriptions over a certain time, typically monthly or yearly, is known as membership churn. It shows and signifies the portion of the overall member base that was lost during that time as lost members. A high rate of member churn means that a sizable portion of members is cancelling their subscriptions on a regular basis. The most reliable method to foster long-term loyalty and lower attrition is to make a commitment to comprehend each member's distinct requirements and reduce the churn rate.

Why is it Important?

It is predicted that numerous gyms may see a 50% decline in total membership per year. Churn affects organisations in a few different ways. It lowers income from recurring memberships, increases the cost of acquiring new customers to replace departed ones, and affects other metrics like average revenue per user. Monitoring churn makes it possible to spot problems early on with value proposition, customer experience, and product-market fit and address them to prevent more losses.

Churn Rate Formula

It's critical to consistently monitor and measure your membership data in order to have a better understanding of what may be effective and ineffective. You can do it efficiently by calculating membership turnover. Divide the total number of members at the conclusion of a period by the number of members who departed to find your membership churn rate. For instance, if you now have 100 members and lose 20 in the course of a month:

Customer Churn Rate = (Lost Memberships ÷ Total Memberships at the Start) x 100

Membership Churn Rate = (20 ÷ 100) x 100

Membership Churn Rate = (0.2) x 100

Membership Churn Rate = 20%

Strategies to Maximise Gym Member Retention

A higher rate of growth results from increased membership retention, leading your business to make more money. This helps allocate additional funds for various aspects of your fitness centre in order to spur additional expansion. You can implement these strategies to minimise churn and maximise gym member retention:

Strategy 01: Streamline Communication

A lack of meaningful interaction and communication always results in a loss of membership. This is why it is important that you maintain good communication with your gym customers in order to retain them. Without frequent engagement, you will not find out what your members enjoy and dislike. The lack of it will result in cutting off the connection.

Assure the customers that they are welcome to the gym or fitness studio. Start a discussion about what they like and how you can achieve it effectively. The biggest challenge that you will face is that not all members will open up at first, so be persistent and considerate. It is always beneficial to make an effort to have tailored and segmented communication.

Strategy 02: Sense of Community

One of the most effective ways for gyms to increase member retention is to foster a strong feeling of community. When a person feels that the group is helpful, they are more likely to stay in it. To encourage customers to connect and build relationships, gyms should regularly host social activities like member mixers, challenges, and lessons.

You can set up a private social media group where members can interact, post pictures of their progress, and ask training-related questions. To encourage conversation, the gym personnel should actively participate in the group. Acknowledging group members' accomplishments, such as milestones and new personal records, uplifts others and fosters a sense of unity. Creating a strong sense of community within the gym improves user experience and increases retention.

Strategy 03: Flexible Payment Options

It is easier for members to maintain their subscriptions without difficulty when various payment choices are offered. This lessens the friction that can cause cancellations. Members should be able to select between quarterly, yearly, or monthly payment cycles at gyms. Longer upfront payments offer greater value and commitment. The gym must also offer fitness programmes with a loyalty membership that shares discounts, rewards, and incentives. This helps a loyalty membership attract and retain customers.

Non-contract memberships, however, provide you the freedom to stop when you need to. Auto-pay, internet payments, and smartphone applications for simple recurring payments should all be available as payment choices.

Members should have simple capabilities to monitor and manage their payment profiles online using the gym administration system. It takes effective communication to outline the advantages of various payment schedules. All things considered, flexible payment alternatives improve member satisfaction and aid in retaining more subscribers.

Strategy 04: Family-oriented Rewards

Offering family-oriented rewards and perks is a great way for gyms to boost member retention. Members are more likely to continue their memberships when their whole family is engaged and reaping benefits. Some effective family-friendly rewards include:

  • Family or multi-member packages that provide discounted joint memberships for families.
  • Loyalty programs where families earn points for every class or visit. Points can be redeemed for meals at the cafe, family photoshoots, kids activity days etc.
  • Free classes or goodie bags for kids on their birthdays, along with a shout-out on social media.
  • Structured activities and classes for kids during vacations to help parents maintain their workout routines.
  • Gift vouchers for families who refer new members who sign up and continue for 6 months or more.

Strategy 05: Convenient Location and Timing

Having a gym located nearby and with flexible operating hours makes it very convenient for members to include regular visits in their daily routines. Gyms should carefully choose locations that are accessible from major residential and commercial areas with good road/transport connectivity. They should also have ample free or paid parking.

Operating early morning, late evening, and weekend classes/sessions according to members' schedules ensures they never miss workouts due to lack of time. This addresses one of the major causes of memberships going unused. The fitness programmes that offer timing and location flexibility often result in better customer retention.

Strategy 06: Goal Setting and Tracking

Helping members set realistic, time-bound fitness goals and tracking their progress is highly motivating. Your gym should conduct free assessments to determine members' baseline metrics and health parameters. Online portals allow members to set goals across areas like weight loss and strength building, and monitor their improvement over weeks/months.

Celebrating goal accomplishments on social media and leaderboards within the app/portal encourages healthy competition. It also helps members share success stories, keeping them, as well as others, engaged in their fitness journeys.

Strategy 07: Continuous Upgrades

For a member's experience at the gym to stay unique and engaging, you should always offer a continual upgrade. It's critical to routinely get member input in order to identify what is successful and how the experience may be improved even further.

To get in-depth feedback on members' changing requirements and recommendations for improvement, conduct focus groups and frequent surveys. Determine which sections need upgrades the most by analysing the comments you've received.

Expanding and remodelling facilities, bringing in state-of-the-art machinery, creating novel class formats, increasing the amount of space available for the gym, and improving facilities like lockers and showers are a few possible areas for improvement. Announcements of impending enhancements sent out on time create anticipation and buzz.

Strategy 08: Referral Incentives

Establishing a successful member referral fitness programme is one of the most effective retention methods for gyms. Current members are brand preachers who may use natural word-of-mouth to increase the membership base. Your gym ought to create a referral bonus programme that encourages customers to actively tell their friends and family about it.

Offering current members a free month of membership, gift cards, t-shirts, or other products in exchange for each successful recommendation are a few examples of incentives. It is important to make clear the incentives upfront. If the lead you recommended signs up for a minimum membership duration, like three or six months, then the recommendation is deemed successful. Members are encouraged to seize the chance when there is transparency surrounding the programme. Referral programmes help acquire new members at a minimal cost while also increasing retention. It produces a situation where gyms and members benefit equally.

Conclusion: A Better Retention Strategy

Any gym or fitness studio that wants to see long-term, sustainable development and success must place a high premium on member retention. Member loyalty and lifetime value may be greatly increased by putting into practice a comprehensive, multi-pronged strategy that emphasises a personalised experience and creates a strong sense of community.

If you are looking for innovative ways for customer retention, you will always find Okfit gym management software standing at your disposal. The software assists gyms, yoga studios, and pilates studios to easily track membership renewals and payment dues. It increases retention with features like class ticket sales, automatic email/SMS, online portals for members to manage goals and exercises, and private mobile apps.

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