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.

We will only increase market penetration significantly beyond 12% if we engage and retain members. Recruiting members will get more expensive, so focus and investment must shift to a balance between sales and retention.

Social Media can be a good member engagement tool, but you need to invest a lot to get reasonable retention returns. Generally speaking, social media communicates with members who are already engaged, the equivalent of interacting with regular members who will never leave. Much greater effects can be gained from a decent induction, regular interactions in the club thereafter, and then messages to members who have missed a few weeks.

Budget clubs are doing wonders with data; collecting, monitoring and using rich member information to grow their businesses. Check your data accuracy, as Paul says, and set and monitor retention targets as you do for sales.

 Guy Griffiths, Director - GG Fit

link to Health Club Management April 2013 Letters Page

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