Friday, 23 May 2014

Reinforcing beliefs & surprising stats with TRP 10,000

It was great to attend the TRP 10,000TM Senior Executive Event last week. Melvyn Hillsdon presented a lot of statistics taken from The Retention People’s ongoing research, focusing on member communications and members who do group exercise and gym versus gym only.

Some of the results were surprising, others reinforced our beliefs or ‘knowledge’, but all the findings were interesting, and everyone went away from the event with actions as well as thoughts as to how they could improve member retention at their clubs.

These are the 3 most important points for us related to member communication:

  1. Surprising: Only 45% of members have been spoken to at reception, and 37% were spoken to by fitness staff. The best communication method received was email, but even that was only 47% of members.
  2. Interesting: Members value fitness staff interaction most (87%), followed by reception staff (74%), then email (65%).
  3. Reinforcing: After just 8 months, retention can be improved 10% by talking to members in the gym and at reception.

We know that simply speaking to members increases retention, but clubs are not delivering what is valued by members. More meaningful (effective) interactions can take place in the gym, and group exercise provides even more connection with the club’s staff. Email is also highly valued by members, and although other external communications (sms, phone) are less valued, they can lead to more in-club interaction. Click here to read the full article in Health Club Management magazine.

Actions: Start with hello, both in the gym and on reception; you never know where it will lead! Write emails and sms messages to drive members to request an interaction in club.

Here are the 3 key findings for us on group exercise:

  1. Surprising: Older members are more likely to take up group exercise classes than gym only (60% of 45+ year olds do GroupX). Half of younger members take up group exercise.
  2. Interesting: Long term members are more likely to do group exercise (70% of 3yr+ members), compared to half of members in their first 6 months.
  3. Reinforcing: Members who enjoy group exercise [claim to] visit 6.3 times a month, versus 6 times a month for those who just visit the gym.

This is thought-provoking because there is a clear benefit to encouraging new members to try a class, particularly those who are new to the club, and younger (or have been a member of several clubs before, see full article).

Actions: It will be tough to get ALL new members to try a class (particularly younger males), but that’s a good target to aim for, as it will have a positive effect on member retention. Encourage everyone to try a class.

p.s. Social Media is included in the research, which is noteworthy, but it is difficult to target social media messages for member retention. We would like to see post (letters, postcards), as it is a more targeted method to drive members back into the club, and speak to staff. Postcards and letters are a great back-up to email and sms where members have opted out of those communications, or they've not responded.

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