Monday, 21 December 2015

Use Competitions to Beat the Competition

Here's the third guest article from Colin Scott, BDM at 222 Sports Ltd, the developers of SWIMTAG. Click here to read the series.

In my last blog post, I talked about how challenges help to motivate swimmers. The reason that they are so useful is that they can be inclusive. If you challenge everyone to Swim the Channel over a couple of months, you’ll get one or two who’ll race ahead and try and be the first to finish… but for most it’s about a sense of personal achievement. Not everyone enters the London Marathon with the aim of winning, for some just finishing is a challenge in itself.

For others though, it’s a chance to compare and compete, a chance to get under 3 hours, or to get into the top 20%. They want to measure themselves against the general population.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Proinsight - Mystery Shopping Video

A review of the Proinsight video from the recent GGFit Stick Around Seminar... If you missed it, treat your eyes and ears to 1 minute 20 seconds of why you should employ a professional mystery shopping organisation to improve your sales processes.

So many presenters stand up and "run VT" these days, I worry that the art of presentation is dying out. However, David simply used this as a snappy introduction to Proinsight, so that he could then deliver some good educational content about mystery shopping, consumer research, and benchmarking.
You can find out more about the Sales Benchmark Report here.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Sales Benchmarking from Proinsight - at the GGFit Stick Around Seminar

All our delegates learnt a lot from Dave Hopkins of Proinsight at the GGFit Client Seminar last month. One of the great takeaways was Proinsight’s Sales Benchmark Report. You can find out more on Proinsight’s website, but here’s a couple of the key pages and metrics from the report:

Face 2 Face 

The flow of a mystery shop starts well in the leisure industry, with 88% offering a positive welcome. But this is followed by a constant decline down to asking the member to join, and follow up.
On the "Technical" sales process, "data capture" has improved slightly in 2015, and "follow-up" shows the biggest step-up (although it previously scored below 20%). 

Friday, 11 December 2015

Challenging for Success

Another guest article from Colin Scott, who is the Business Development Manager of 222 Sports Ltd. the developers of SWIMTAG. Prior to joining the SWIMTAG team in 2014, he worked as Sales and Marketing Manager at Westwoods Health Club, an exclusive private club which is part of Fettes College in Edinburgh. Westwoods were the first SWIMTAG operator in Scotland.

As we know, different people are motivated by different things. Everyone coming to your centre will have a different reason for joining, whether it’s to stay healthy, shift a few pounds or train for a specific challenge, it’s your job to keep them motivated, because the more they visit, the longer they stay!

Not everyone will enter a marathon, Tough Mudder, or the Great British Swim series, but there is still lots you can do to keep them interested after the initial enthusiasm has worn off!

Monday, 7 December 2015

The Problem with Engaging with Swimmers

This is a guest post from Colin Scott, the Business Development Manager of 222 Sports Ltd. the developers of SWIMTAG. Prior to joining the SWIMTAG team in 2014, he worked as Sales and Marketing Manager at Westwoods Health Club, an exclusive private club which is part of Fettes College in Edinburgh. Westwoods were the first SWIMTAG operator in Scotland.

We all know that staff engagement with members is crucial to building rapport, making members feel welcome and ensuring they remain a member for longer!

In the gym this is comparatively easy to do.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Chase the Turkey – Bonus December MyWellness Challenge

One of our clients has come up with a great festive ‘outside the box’ challenge for December that we had to share with you. It’s really going to get your members interacting, exercising, and having fun!

If you’ve already set-up your MOVE or Calorie challenge, you could tweak it, or save this for 2016…

Friday, 27 November 2015

MyWellness Challenge - December - MOVEs

So to round off the year, you could pick your best challenge to date, but otherwise, we'd suggest a simple, all inclusive, MOVEs challenge. MOVE for Christmas, MOVE to keep warm, MOVE to offset the mince pies, however you want to bill it...!

An individual MOVEs challenge, but limited to exercise in the club, will motivate a lot of members, but also prepares members for the Let's Move challenge in a few months time...

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Keeping Active Members Active - Stick Around Seminar part 3 of 3

While there’s a big focus on new members in the New Year, this is nearly always to the detriment of existing active members, who make up the majority of memberships and income. 

Ensure your active members stay active three ways: with Programming, Classes, and Challenges.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Welcome Dormant Members Back - Stick Around Seminar Summary part 2 of 3

Another big focus for the start of the year is returning members – those who have been dormant but return.

If your systems will identify these members to instructors on their first return visit, this is invaluable, a you can interact with the member there and then. Alternatively, or in addition, you can trigger a welcome back message to be sent, and use this to produce a report of list of members to interact with.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Engaging New Members – Stick Around Seminar Summary part 1 of 3

If you missed our Stick Around Seminar earlier this month, here’s a summary of the first part of Guy’s presentation, “A member is for Life, not just for January”

To maximise engagement for new members, we are focusing on three key areas:- inductions, first month visits, and communications.

The induction (aka getting started, welcome session, stage 1, appointment 1) is critical for your new members, because it ensures they make one visit, and gives you the chance to encourage one more.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Stick Around Seminar – Thanks & Feedback

It was great to have so much interest in our recent Stick Around Seminar. Thanks to the really interactive room of delegates asking questions and sharing their thoughts and experiences with each other. And a big thank you to ProInsight and SWIMTAG for presenting their ideas and tactics for member engagement alongside our talk, and to Technogym UK for hosting and providing a delicious lunch.

We’ll summarise the various presentations here on the blog over the next couple of weeks, meanwhile, here’s a selection of feedback from delegates:

Monday, 26 October 2015

MyWellness Challenge - November - Team Running

Nearly November, let's get your members running again. It's cold outside, but show your members the benefits of using apps like Strava, MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, etc to track their movement outside the club, and you'll get all your members more active outside the club as well as filling up those treadmills!

Making this challenge team based could mix things up a bit... just make sure that the instructor who takes the running club out each week is limited on the number of members in their team, otherwise they'll "run away with it".

Monday, 19 October 2015

Stick Around Seminar - 10th November 2015 - Get your tickets here...

Member retention is not a secret. We all know what to do - engage and interact with members as much as possible... it's not rocket science. But so many clubs are still failing to keep members, and it's not down to competition or the economy, but basic member communication, and effective measurement of those communications.

Friday, 16 October 2015

How clubs need to be making better use of sms, email and letters (The Fitness Network)

Here's a transcript of my interview with Dan Holt of the Fitness Network (an excellent B2B resource of articles, advice and information for fitness businesses)


With a background in IT systems, marketing and data analysis, Guy Griffiths is regarded as one of the industry’s leading experts in maximising retention rates for health clubs through data mining/processes and targeted communications. We met with Guy to learn how clubs could make use of SMS, email and letters to enhance their member engagement and reduce levels of attrition.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Keep them coming back for more Programme Reviews

Hairdressers do it, dentists do it, and the National Blood Service do it… SMS text reminders that your appointment is due. It’s important that customers show up for appointments, and keep coming back for more.

Many of these organisations don’t have huge IT budgets or high-tech systems, but they recognise the importance of keeping clients engaged. If you’re running a gym or health-club, sending a SMS or email out to members to remind them that their programme review is due is a simple but highly effective way to keep them coming back for more. The message itself doesn't improve retention, but if you deliver a highly motivating programme review, you’ll keep the member regular for another 3-6 months at least.

Friday, 25 September 2015

MyWellness Challenge - October - Classy!

A Class based challenge is ideal for October. The weather is starting to turn, you've got a bunch of new members who joined in September, as well as a few returners. So get them, as well as all your regular members involved in your fitness classes!

If your class timetable is full, now's the time to add a couple more classes. If not, the Class Challenge will fill it up for you.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

What does LIW stand for?

Having worked in the banking industry where exhibitions and conferences were very professional but also very overindulgent (all inclusive party on an aircraft carrier in San Fransisco bay anyone?), Leisure Industry Week has always felt more understated.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Technogym Client Workshop - 14th Sept 2015

It was great to present to Technogym’s customers (and a couple of prospects) this week on the subject of Keeping Your Active Members Active. We often focus so much on engaging new members as they join, and on re-motivating ex-members, that it’s important to remember that if you keep all your active members active, then you’ll not have any absentees!

The GGFit presentation focused on three key areas: programme reviews, other member interactions, and challenges. You can review the full Prezi here, or check out the programme review advice in this blog post.

Other presenters on the day included John Stuart from Bounts, who talked about inspiring, rewarding and tracking members and then Martin Perry from Technogym who tied together how the MyWellness Cloud apps can help to keep your members active and motivated.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Forget Exercise Plateau, make Programming Achievable

How often should you be trying to review your member’s programmes? The “industry standard” of every 6-8 weeks is often unachievable, unless you are running a small, bespoke service gym where everyone gets a PT session once a month (in which case, you almost certainly have great member retention!)

Monday, 31 August 2015

MyWellness Challenge - September - Calorie Burn

In September, everyone's getting back into their routines, keen to work off those summer indulgences, or may even be joining your club for the first time, so you need a simple motivating challenge accessible to all. It's time for a Calorie Challenge!

The calorie burner is a great way of setting an inclusive challenge that will appeal to many of your members. It helps them to focus on what they're putting into their workouts, and will hopefully help them to get better results too...

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Profile App for Ex-member engagement

A couple of years ago, we ran a series of posts looking at how clubs are using Technogym's Profile App (aka Aspiration Finder) to improve their members' experiences.  You can read the full Profile series here, but we want to offer another post on how Profile can be used to engage with ex-members...

Send out a link to your club's MyWellness Profile page to your ex-member database. This could be linked into a survey or other mailshot, or just an offer to use this great tool to find out what motivates them.

Ex-member Rewards & Incentives. Get them back in...

Following our previous post about contacting ex-members, we want to know how you reward your ex-members, or get them back into the club. "No re-join fee" won’t cut it here (unless you’re doing something very innovative).

We’re interested in how you coax a previous member to make another visit, or what you use to encourage them to complete a quick survey. You probably don’t want to give away an iPad, and giving one ‘lucky’ re-joiner a year’s free membership means they have to rejoin to be able to win… which might be a little pushy, or too ‘strings attached’. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Monday, 10 August 2015

How to re-engage your Ex-members

August is a great time to try to re-engage with your ex-members. We know that September is the second peak joining month (after January), so now’s the time to put your club in the front of people’s minds with a compelling ex-member campaign.

The ex-member database is a vastly under-utilized resource at many clubs. We find that most ex-members (over 50%) are not currently exercising, and they all know your club, so asking them to re-join will yield results, and ROI is clear compared to trying to recruit new members.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

What works for you? The (Programme) Review

Results are a key factor in retaining members, which is why the review (or programme review) is a key interaction in keeping members active.

But the review is often feared, both by members and instructors, in the same way as the performance appraisal in the workplace. Instructors are worried that a member won’t have achieved the results they wanted, and the member (who is also worried they've let the instructor down), and/or that the instructor’s goal is going to increase the intensity of their workout.

Here are three things you can do to make the (programme/exercise) review work better for everyone, and make this critical member interaction happen more often and more effectively in your club:

Monday, 27 July 2015

MyWellness Challenge - August - Team Workout

This August, get your members working as a team to push themselves a little more while the gym is quieter, and help them achieve their individual goals by competing for their favourite instructor.

A Team, yesterday

Team workouts are great ways of getting your instructors talking to members to persuade them to join their team, and then make sure they're visiting regularly and logging their workouts. A simple prize like a day off for the winning instructor is a good motivator, you could also give some of the top performers spot prizes or select a winner at random from the top 10 in the winning team.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Returning Member Motivation - "Back to Fitness"

It’s a year since we posted our Zero to Hero programme, aimed at getting new (inexperienced) members up and running in the gym. A few clubs have been running different levels of Zero to Hero, from logging visits on cards (like a coffee loyalty card) to triggering communications from membership systems for class attendance.

New member motivation programmes are a simple way of increasing first month visits and getting members into the exercise habit. But similar challenges can also be offered to members who are returning after a prolonged absence.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

July-ke a good challenge?

Keep your members coming back for more throughout the summer months with some motivating challenges. 
Avoid the traditional monthly rowing ladder, press-up or power circuit challenge which exclude most members. 
Instead, choose something inclusive that will appeal to all members instead. Here are some suggestions…
  • Tour de France (or mini TdF):- Cycle 300km (or 60km for mini) from 4-26 July
  • Instructor’s team workout:- Join an instructor’s team, and see who can collect the most workouts
  • Calorie burner:- who can burn the most calories this month?
For more ideas of challenges, check out our monthly MyWellness Challenge suggestions, most of which can be adapted if you don't use the MyWellness apps...

Monday, 29 June 2015

MyWellness Challenge - July - Tour de France (and mini Tours)

Time for some more inclusive challenges in July, getting into the saddle with the cyclists in the Tour de France. Teams are very important in Le Tour, but this one's all about the individual...

We suggest running 2 or 3 consecutive challenges here, to make it more inclusive by challenging the keen as well as the less keen exerciser with a challenge they can compete, with a bit of a push!

The Tour de France is over 3000km. Challenge yourself to your own mini-Tour this month, and see if you can ride 300km/120km/60km in 3 weeks.

Type:  Distance Cycled
Won by:  Everyone who cycles 300km / 120km / 60km
Start Date:  4 July
Duration:  21 days
Prizes:  Without

Monday, 22 June 2015

High Five your regular members!

don't leave me hanging...
As well as contacting absent members, it’s a really good idea to send communications to your regular users. Congratulating them on achievements such as hitting an exercise goal or simply visiting more often than last month can be a great boost, and will keep them coming regularly, which will reduce absentees. Try some of these out for size:

Monday, 15 June 2015

Do you miss your members when they're on holiday?

Contacting absent members often becomes a full time job through the summer months, and depending on the contact methods you use, can be expensive and have limited success. (here are the best ways to contact absentees)

The majority of absentees really appreciate these messages (assuming you respect their communication preferences) with absentees returning to clubs saying thanks for the contact,

Friday, 29 May 2015

Gym Ethics – how many follow-ups?

Whether it’s sales or retention, there seems to be a shortfall in follow-up actions taking place. How many of these sound familiar?

We sent an email / sms / letter (therefore it’s covered)
I left them a message, and they’ve not called back (my job’s done)
I called them, and they said they’d be back next week (but I’ve not checked)

We know that around 50% of absent members

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Ethics – Benchmarking and Customer Centricity with Proinsight

The presentations and discussions at the recent Retention Convention brought to mind the benchmarking analysis work done by Mystery Shopping and research firm Proinsight. Dave Hopkins from Proinsight has kindly allowed us to replicate a couple of the pages from their annual report here.

The Proinsight Benchmark Score(TM) takes in a number of (primarily sales focused) touch points to build an average industry score, against which Proinsight customers can compare themselves, and hopefully work to improve.

Monday, 25 May 2015

MyWellness Challenge - June - Team MOVE Challenge

This June, it's time for another team challenge, so get your instructors into teams and let's see who can collect the most MOVEs!...

Can you be on the winning team this June. Select your instructor(s), join the challenge on their team, and then add your MOVEs to their total. The winning instructor(s) gets a bonus, and there are spot prizes for the best individual movers.

Type:  MOVEs
Won by:  Whoever totals the highest number of MOVEs
Start Date:  1 June
Duration:  14 days
Prizes:  With prizes (Winning Instructor, and top 5 Movers win prizes)

Thursday, 21 May 2015

The Retention Convention – Key points from the day

Another big thank you to Paul Bedford for bringing everyone together for the Retention Convention last week. It was great to see so many attendees in Birmingham, and to have the event live streamed to hundreds more delegates around the world. We’ll update a link here for attendees to review the presentations once they’re published. 

The flow of the 4 presentations worked really well (almost like we planned it!) Robin Gargrave did a super job introducing the speakers and directing the Q&A panel. Here are our key takeaways from the other speakers:

Friday, 15 May 2015

The Retention Convention – Running an Ethical Health Club

An overview of our presentation at the Retention Convention on 14 May 2014…

Ethics are important in any business, it is one of the things that made me switch from the banking industry to health and fitness… from helping banks to make more money to helping members to become fitter and healthier.

However, in 2008, there were several things that I questioned about the ethics of the fitness industry, which are now changing for the better…

Monday, 27 April 2015

MyWellness Challenge - May - A Class Act

We're going to get your members competitive in fitness classes this May following the simple, all inclusive running challenge last month. 

Whoever attends the most fitness classes this month wins the prize (or you could randomly select the prize winner from the top 10 at the end of the challenge)...

Who can attend the most classes in our May Class Act challenge. Don't forget to log your class attendance in club, on the MyWellness app on your smart phone or via your MyWellness cloud account online. 

Type:  Classes Completed
Won by:  Whoever attends the most classes
Start Date:  4 May
Duration:  26 days
Prizes:  Without

Friday, 3 April 2015

Do messages make people cancel?

The straight answer (to a straight question) is “Yes”. 

Some absent members will cancel their membership after receiving an encouraging message by SMS, email or letter. However, many more members will return after the message, which will outweigh the leavers.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Let's Move For A Better World 2015

Congratulations to every member and club that took part in Technogym's Let's Move For A Better World campaign over the last 3 weeks. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

How do messages help to retain members?

So we discussed how messages alone don’t retain members (you ideally need staff too), but the process of sending and monitoring messages sent can have a positive effect on a club, and help to support the ethos of the club.

Staff understanding of the communications journey(s), and how they fit into the club’s philosophy is key to success.

Monday, 23 March 2015

MyWellness Challenge - April - Marathon/Mini Marathon

After the hype of LetsMoveForABetterWorld, keep your members motivated this April with a simple 26 miles in 26 days challenge. If you think that might be a bit much for some members, then add a mini marathon, where they have to complete 13 miles in 26 days...

n.b. here are two (2) concurrent challenges... some members will join both, that's fine.

Can you run 26.2 miles (42km) / 13.1 miles (21km) in 26 days? Log your treadmill running with your Wellness Key, or MyWellness app, or track your outdoor runs with a connected app.

Type:  Distance Run (2 challenges)
Won by:  Everyone who runs 42km / 21km
Start Date:  1 April
Duration:  26 days
Prizes:  Without

Friday, 20 March 2015

Who you gonna call?

We’re really pleased that several of our Stick Around Service clubs are taking it to the next level and calling either new and/or absent members.

Messages are good at retaining members, but as we've explained here before, a phone call can have a much better effect. Lack of resource is often given as a reason not to make the calls, but here’s three ways of making the most of limited staff time and helping your members stay active:

Calling new members

Ideally, you want to call ALL new members to see how they’re getting on, but if you only

Friday, 6 March 2015

You cannot retain members by messages alone…

…but the messages can help!

OK, some low-cost gyms do rely heavily on email and sms messages as part of their member retention strategy. But to have a really positive effect, the retention messages have to be reinforced.

Here are some ways that you can use member communications to improve all-round customer service at your club:

Encouraging members to interact with staff

All messages should have a call to action, and most of those calls should be to talk to a

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Don't limit your member communication by channel

Gym member communication campaigns are popular, but tend to be limited by the channel (or communication method).

Clubs think about the cost of sending, or will often use one method depending on the segment they are sending to. When considering cost, email is usually favourite (i.e. cheapest), even though delivery and open rates are so (comparatively) low. And sending constant texts to prospects, or letters to ex-members will bring diminishing returns. It’s important to mix it up to get the best results, for all segments of your database.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Mix it up - what's your preferred message channel?

What are your preferred member communication methods, and which are most effective? 

Email is often the go-to channel, due to cost, tracking, and content. Some think email is free, but if you're sending bulk mail properly (with unsubscribe options, tracked links, adaptive content, etc), you should be paying something. You can do more with email in terms of content and links to your site or specific landing pages, but as well as the send cost, there is a development and editing time cost which can really mount up, particularly when it comes to tracking campaigns.
However, the big issue with email is the open rates,

Thursday, 5 February 2015

FIBO Innovation Tour London 29th Jan

An impassioned David Stalker drove home the inactivity issue again last week at the FIBO Innovation Tour in London. We have to do all we can to #turnthetide, and the ukactive's “Steps to solving inactivity” report is a very interesting read.

29% of people in England are classed as physically inactive. 

Inactivity is responsible for one in six deaths in the UK, making it as dangerous as smoking.

Monday, 26 January 2015

MyWellness Challenge - Feb - Wow us with your Workouts!

Encourage all your members to make as many visits as possible this February with a "Who can log the most workouts" challenge…

Wow us with your Workouts this February! Fame, kudos, and a pat on the back will be awarded to all the highest achievers.

Type:  Workout
Won by:  Whoever completes most workouts
Start Date:  9 February
Duration:  14 days
Prizes:  Without

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

I’m going to be a personal trainer

Many gym instructors have high ambitions, and plan to be personal trainers in the near future. This can sometimes lead to arrogance, and a disinterest in inductions, programme reviews and generally interacting with members.

However, to be a successful PT, you need a lot of skills and qualities. Some of these can be learnt at PT school, but the most important ones need to be practiced on the gym floor…

Friday, 2 January 2015

Make gym inductions happen!

The induction is one of the most important appointments you make; if it goes wrong, it can ruin all of the hard work that's gone into signing up a new member. We've covered the member who doesn't want an induction, but it's important to handle instructor's objections around inductions too.

Some instructors will let the member take the easy route, rather than deliver the perfect induction.