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.

We’ve run several analyses in the past on weekly visit frequency across hundreds of thousands of members, and have never found any significant difference between people who visit once, twice, thrice or more often. In other words, people who visit once a week stay just as long as those who visit three times a week, on average. We believe that visit regularity (do you keep visiting regularly) rather than visit frequency is most important in member retention.

Don’t try to encourage all your members to visit 2-3 times a week (or more often), or contact them to tell them they need to visit more than once a week. This will have a negative effect on those low frequency visitors who were quite happy, and cause them to leave!

On the second question, we’re pleased to see that respondents opted for once a week or less. All the analysis we’ve done shows average visit frequency to be around or just under once per week, which just goes to show that you’re fighting a losing battle if you’re going to try to encourage members to visit more often.

Member surveys will always show more frequent visits, but this is how often they think (or intend) to visit, and the reality is always lower.

I had an interesting discussion with a Gym Manager this week about Exercise Referral members switching to a membership (or not) after their referral journey. Paying twice as much than they did (on the referral scheme) can seem a big difference, especially if visiting only once a week. We often break down the membership fee to a per visit cost, which I believe is wrong. We should not commoditise fitness or health like this, but promote the ongoing benefits of starting or continuing with a health and fitness programme.

Congratulations to Carl-Henrik Thorsen from PureLifeStyle who was randomly selected from all the survey respondents. Your copy of Stick Around is in the post!

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