Friday, 17 December 2010

Rewards could hold key to retention war - Workout Magazine article

REWARDING loyal members with incentives if they bring in referrals could help independent gyms to win the war on retention, it has been claimed.

Energie Health and Fitness’ Innes Kerr spoke to independent operators at this year’s Leisure Industry Week – sharing his top tips for clubs which want to improve their retention figures.
His advice was to recognise members who show loyalty towards their gym – and reward them for their efforts.
His tips included:

  • Try upselling to give people more value from their membership packages – encourage them to take add ons such as personal training and products which generate secondary income.
  • Offer guest passes so members can bring friends and family to try your facilities for free – then try and convert these into memberships
  • Reward loyalty by offering incentives for members who stay longer – examples include loyalty cards, booking priority for studio classes and free personal training taster sessions.
  • Drive people towards areas in your club where they could spend more money.

The Retention People’s Mike Hills also urged gym owners to look at their members’ experience as a journey – and aim to make this journey as long as possible.
Mike – who works closely with clubs to help them retain members – added that it is easy to look at retention as the end result but operators should also look at the other factors which encourage people to stay – or leave – a gym.
He explained: “Look at the customer experience as a journey – we need to make that journey as long as we possibly can.
“It is critical that we engage with new members and add value in that early stage so people will stay.
“Take a sample of members who would recommend you. You will also get struggling members who are not getting value. One of the best ways to turn that around is to have a good conversation with them and target who needs help the most. You will get people who want to leave, but see why they are leaving the gym. Look at the inputs which go into retention and focus your efforts where it makes the biggest difference.”

Consultant Guy Griffiths from GG Fit added that clubs – particularly independents – should also be using retention systems in order to keep track of their members.
He added: “Use a retention system – it can be a card file system or a sign in book. It doesn’t have to be a computer. Gyms with a few hundred members can manage retention manually.
“You should also be recording visit history and members’ goals and writing them down. Staff goals are also important, so are working towards targets.”

This is an extract from Workout Magazine - December 2010

click here for a 4 minute video of Guy's talk

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