Friday, 13 December 2013

Retention Focus - Do we need people?

The LFX event in Ireland last month was a great success, with some really good audience interaction and debate around member retention. There were many good questions, one of which we’d like to expand on here – please let us know your thoughts in the comments below?

“Should we focus more on staff coaching or member messaging… surely staff are more effective at interacting with members and improving retention than sending messages.”

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Perfect Health Club

In an infinite universe, where everything's possible, there's a gym somewhere that has reached its member capacity. All the equipment is being utilised all the time, and the layout is such that members can switch between exercises with minimum waiting and fuss. The only time that new members can join is when existing members move out of the area (which they rarely do, as the club is so good), or die (which they hardly ever do, as they're all so fit!)

Of course, there are plans to expand

Monday, 11 November 2013

Do gym members need rewards?

We've been interested by the furore created by news that Tesco plan to use face-scan technology to target ads at petrol stations. The tech is not new, and the concept does not bother us; after all, you’ll see much more targeted ads on your web-browser every time you look.

Nevertheless, this started us thinking about loyalty and customer rewards in other industries. What rewards do you enjoy? What is it about the service, experience, or product you receive from your favourite brand that makes you want to shout about it from the rooftops, or just tell all your friends?

Thursday, 31 October 2013

How often should you encourage your members to visit?

The results of last month’s newsletter survey are now in. We asked our readers about members’ weekly visit patterns:

  1. How often you think members should visit to have the best chance of sticking around?
  2. How often does the average member visit the gym?

The results are interesting; there are a lot of reports that say members who visit 2-3 times a week stay for longer, and that’s what the majority of our newsletter readers think. However, there’s also a group who believe that once a week is enough, and a handful of people who think that 4-7 times a week is best for member retention.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Sport the difference, and motivating exercise programmes

What’s the difference between the sports in column A and those in column B?

Take a few minutes to think about it while we tell you how we think most exercise programmes in most gyms could be improved.

Monday, 30 September 2013

LIW 2013 review - payasUgym, GYMetrix & Joggle

Leisure Industry Week 2013 brought the usual busy build-up, particularly as it coincided with the launch of our book Stick Around, and we had back-to-back meetings for a couple of days in Birmingham.

There were some big changes – a new location in the NEC in hall 4, which was a little cosier that the usual large space of Hall 18. This seemed to create more of a buzz, and the exhibition floor felt busier than the last few years,

Monday, 23 September 2013

Stick Around

The health-club member retention battle continues, but there is a light in the darkness... I'm really pleased to announce that my new book, Stick Around is available to buy from It brings together everything that I've learnt and shared with all the clubs I've worked with over the last 5 years. 

The book sets out the three cornerstones of good member retention: people, communication and systems. It has proven techniques to increase and improve member interaction within your club. You will find out how to communicate better with members outside your club. It also describes how to build a retention system, as well as how to best use more complex retention and exercise management systems.

The first half of the book runs through the member journey from start to finish. Each stage is accompanied by easy to understand diagrams and flowcharts, as well as real-life examples and case-studies to illustrate the key points. Part two explains the people, communication and system processes in more detail.

Summaries and checklists for each chapter, along with message, survey and report examples provide an invaluable resource

Friday, 20 September 2013

Maintaining Motivation - Health Club Management

Kath Hudson • Journalist • Health Club Management Sept 2013

EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT... Maintaining motivation
Are clubs supporting their members in maintaining good habits, leaving them to motivate themselves — or worse, actually causing them to break good habits?

The health and fitness industry is based on the premise of improving people's health, but how well is the sector doing in supporting good habits and motivation levels? Are we doing all we can, or are we unwittingly causing members to break good habits?
A quick brainstorm in the office showed that everyone had an experience of how their club, or former club, had lost members as a result of not supporting their habits

Monday, 2 September 2013

Recession, Recovery and Retention - time to refocus!

Times are still tough in the leisure industry. Sales are always hard through the summer, but many clubs have struggled to hit targets in the current financial climate, and the recent glorious weather hasn’t helped either.
On the plus side, it’s great to see more focus on member retention in the industry as a whole; from clubs implementing or discussing retention strategies, to news articles and features in the industry press throughout 2013.

Some green shoots, yesterday (by Jeff Derbys on Flickr)

Friday, 16 August 2013

Shocking figures - beyond the 12 percent

We should be shocked by the numbers quoted by Mintel’s Michael Oliver in this month’s Talkback feature in Health Club Management.

The headline that grabbed our attention was that 24% of respondents are lapsed club members, and only 16% have a current membership. This is based on 2,000 internet users aged 16+. Now while 16% penetration is better than the oft quoted 12%, the fact that there are 1.5 times as many ex-members would be alarming in any other industry – some would probably pack-up and go home!

Friday, 19 July 2013

ABSENT & EX-MEMBER JOURNEY - Health Club Management Article July 2013

Ignore absent members at your peril, and use your ex-member database as a prospect list and a resource for feedback, says Guy Griffiths, in the third and final part of his series on retention and the member journey

Absent and ex-members are two under-utilised segments in many clubs’ databases. Not only can they provide critical business information on how you could adapt or improve retention, these member groups can also be a great source of sales.

Fear is the main reason that these members are not contacted. Club operators worry about awakening dormant members, and are also concerned that they will receive negative feedback from people who have left. But sticking your head in the sand is a much riskier alternative; if all your dormant members cancelled tomorrow, your business would be in serious trouble, and if you don’t know why people are leaving, how can you expect to make them stick around?

Thursday, 27 June 2013

ONGOING MEMBER JOURNEY - Health Club Management Article June 2013

The member journey should last the full length of the membership – and, if possible, beyond – says Guy Griffiths, in the second of his three-part series on retention and the member journey

You've managed to lead as many members as possible through the new member journey, and they've hopefully developed the habit of coming to the club regularly. However, they haven't completed the full member journey – far from it. In fact, your job is to try and prevent them from completing the journey, instead keeping them on the path to lifetime membership.

Members will inevitably drop through the net, and we'll look at absent and ex-members next time around. But at the heart of the problem for many clubs is the fact that the member journey or service plan is often so focused on new members that it falls apart a couple of months after they join: a member only has to turn down a review appointment and they can drop off the radar, never to be spoken to again.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Measuring Member Communications - FitPro Business Article

The best type of communication is face-to-face and with new members these interactions happen regularly in the club. However, early on in the member journey it is also important to send other forms of communications, as this opens the channels to easily stay in touch with members in the event that they start to visit less.

Monday, 20 May 2013

NEW MEMBER JOURNEY - Health Club Management Article May 2013

It’s well known that the initial four to six weeks of membership are critical to building the exercise habit, and therefore key to member retention. Yet so many clubs still get this wrong. Once the sale is made, many think the hard work is over. In fact, it’s only just begun. Guy Griffiths reports, in the first of a three-part retention series 

“We sold 100 memberships last month!”
Great, how many of them are still visiting?
“Who cares? We have to hit 110 this month…” 

Health club operators invest so much in recruiting a new member that it's crazy to lose interest once they have signed up – and in principle at least, most operators know there should be an equal focus on retaining members, particularly just after they've joined. Yet in practice, clubs focus more and more on sales, particularly in today's economic climate and competitive market.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Do Something Before It’s Too Late

In tough financial times, many businesses concentrate so much on sales, that they often upset or overlook their existing customers. This pattern is particularly apparent in the fitness industry with clubs offering no joining fees, or undercutting each other on price to hit their monthly sales target, while members cancel after a few months.

Many clubs look at how many members cancel each month

Friday, 12 April 2013

Retention still not given the necessary attention by gyms - Health Club Management letter April 2013

Copy of letter published in Health Club Management magazine, April 2013 
Paul Bedford’s letter last month hit the nail on the head (HCM March 13, p6); there is a general lack of robust or clean member data in the industry, which can make retention analysis very difficult.

Two key factors for reduced focus on retention are the financial downturn, which increases pressure on sales, and new technology, such as social media, seen by some as the silver bullet for member engagement. The recession continues and shows no sign of abating, yet more new clubs are opening.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Engaging Surveys for Gym Members

Surveys are a great way of garnering opinion, but when used effectively, they can be a really great member engagement tool. They can help to reinforce the value of your membership, act as a forum for feedback, and even turnaround leavers or ex-members.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Is staff turnover higher at budget clubs?

We’ve been reading a lot about staffing in clubs, budget club staff turnover, and Personal Trainers lately on various blogs and LinkedIn groups (n.b. member only groups)

There is a perception that turnover of staff at budget clubs is higher than at other clubs, and that member attrition is also higher. Here’s why:
Member attrition is a well-known problem in the fitness industry. However, staff turnover is also an industry-wide issue, and poor member retention can be a symptom of the staff issue.
If we consider a ‘standard’ low-cost club model of minimal staff, long opening hours, automated member communication, centralised operations, it is a different environment than fitness professionals expect, or are used to.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Personal Training Aspirations

How do Personal Trainers help to deliver great member retention, and what can clubs and staff learn from them?

Many gym staff aspire to be personal trainers. Some are motivated by the ‘money’, but instructors who make the transition successfully are likely to be focused on interaction and getting results.

Monday, 11 February 2013

A Plethora of Cancellation Options / aka “I Got A Deal”

Our November post about TV media packages took us back to the cancellation story… There's more that gyms could learn from this, particularly after recent bad press about clubs not letting people out of contract.

So do you know anyone who has tried to cancel their Satellite TV/broadband/other subscription? It's simple enough to downgrade (at the end of the month), but terminating your contract can be a very interesting process.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Take Your Time Online – Control Your Social Networking

When it comes to being in control of your social media, lots of people, particularly small businesses have concerns over wasting time on social websites. I know several people who avoid social networks because they fear losing time, and I have coached a few folk on time management where social media has been identified as a focus.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that social networks were frowned on historically, and seen as ‘play-time’ in the corporate world.

However, social websites are becoming more accepted in the office;

Friday, 25 January 2013

The perfect gym induction – a little bit of what you fancy

We all know that the gym induction and initial exercise ‘programme’ is critical to member retention, but it’s surprising how many clubs still get this wrong. The “sign them up, get them in” culture in member sales seems to pass through to the gym staff. Rather than providing great customer service, we find ourselves processing members, ticking the box, and moving onto the next number.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Networking – how do you make it work?

What works for you when networking or meeting new contacts? Do you feedback to yourself what worked well, what you could do differently, and what actions you will take next?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

New Member KPIs - How to increase efficiency after the gym induction

January is the busiest time of the year for the fitness industry, as everybody knows. But how can your club be more effective and make the most of the seasonal member influx, while motivating your staff more?

Most clubs are packed this month, especially at peak times, and club staff feel rushed off their feet with inductions from dawn to dusk. They’re also handling queries and trying to deliver good customer service to existing members who may have concerns about all these new members getting more attention.

“I’ve done 25 new member inductions this week... 

...I am invincible!”

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Control your social media - don't let it control you!

Here's a short (5 min) version of the talk I gave at Business Biscotti in Winnersh today.

Being Your Own Boss

Many of my coaching clients and people that I meet at networking events love being their own boss… it is one of the main reasons that they started their own business. It takes hard work, passion, and a lot of dedication, and a coach can offer a lot of support in these areas.

The benefits of being your own boss are manifold;

Friday, 4 January 2013

Support focus needed for Health Clubs in 2013

Bjorn Johansson of gymbusiness recently blogged about the support that clubs want for 2013. Here’s the wish-list from over 600 club owners:

1. Regular input on changing industry trends
2. New marketing ideas for more stakeholders
3. Customer Loyalty – how to get members to stick around