Tuesday, 21 November 2017

GDPR – Sink or Swim, from the Sales & Retention Convention Nov '17

At last week’s Sales & Retention Convention, Regina Lally from Databasix delivered a great keynote on GDPR for the health and fitness industry. Feedback shows it was the most popular presentation of the day, justifying the prime position and time dedicated to the subject. 


Here’s a summary of key points… if you would like to see the whole presentation, then please sign up for the Webinar on Tuesday 28 November at 2pm (free to convention delegates, or £25 otherwise).

GDPR is about Accountability, Transparency and individual’s rights. 


Here are 4 myths (that we regularly hear) which are not true:

Sunday, 19 November 2017

How to handle the membership end process - The Sales & Retention Convention

How do you manage the process of members leaving your club? Many organisations do nothing about leavers, sticking their heads in the sand. If handled well, the leave process can help turn members around, or at the very least, improve your chances of getting an ex-member to return


The first session at the autumn 2017 Sales & Retention Convention started where the last event left off, focusing on members who have perhaps been absent for some time, and now are trying to leave. We talked about the process that leavers should go through, the opportunity for dialogue or discussion with the member who wants to leave, and collecting and making use of critical membership data. If you want to hear this session repeated live, please check out the live webinar on Tuesday 21st November 2017.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Sport and Physical Activity is Life Changing - ukactive 2017 Summit Review

The ukactive National Summit 2017 : Inspirational on so many levels.


The ukactive summit at the QE2 conference centre on 1 November 2017 was a fantastic event attended by a capacity crowd of 700 delegates from over 300 organisations. The speaker line-up was impressive, with ukactive stalwarts Steven Ward and Tanni Grey-Thompson; Lords, MPs and politicians in Andrew Lansley, Tracey Crouch, Penny Mordaunt and Phillip Lee; athletes like Laurence Dallaglio, Darren Campbell, and John McAvoy, and several more knights of the realm.



Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Decent data is vital if you want to improve member retention. That's why we work with the DataHub

Lord Kelvin said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”, and hit on one of the key issues in the fitness industry. Ask a club manager what their retention rate is, and many will shrug, while others will quote an attrition figure from months ago. Follow-up by asking what they’re doing to improve their retention, and you’ll typically get more blank looks, or possibly something about inductions or 6-week programme reviews.


The Datahub aggregates data from thousands of facilities. Datahub clients get accurate, real-time reports on their retention performance, as well as Geo Impact, Social Value and Marketing Intelligence tools. Any other organisations can benefit from anonymised benchmark data to compare against their own performance.


Here are 7 data points that GGFit clients use as retention Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), with benchmark data powered by the DataHub.


Friday, 27 October 2017

How is GDPR going to affect Gym Membership Sales & Retention

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force in May 2018. It protects the rights of individuals, giving them control over how their data is handled, and aims to simplify the regulatory process for businesses.

How will GDPR affect gym membership sales and retention? The quick answer is that it’s going to make both sales and retention more difficult.

Tom Fishburne @marketoonist

There’s a lot of work to be done ahead of 25th May 2018, but you need to resist the temptation to put this off. In fact, the sooner you start, the better.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Sales & Retention Convention Autumn 2017 - Preview Video

So we got together last week at ukactive's offices in London to plan the presentations for the next Sales & Retention Convention.

We were joined by colleagues from Promote Leisure, as well as guest speakers from ukactive and Databasix. Find out what we'll be talking about on 14th November in this quick video...



...and then book your tickets for the convention here.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

LIW is dead, but the BP: Fitness Trade Show is alive and kicking

A lot of people had written off the new Body Power: Fitness Trade show in 2018 without visiting. It’s changed its name from LIW (Leisure Industry 'Week'), and they said it has changed too much, was not aimed at them anymore, or just that they were too busy to attend the event in 2017.


We found it to be as useful as ever, meeting with lots of our business partners, a few customers, and several promising new introductions.

Change is inevitable, and generally, a good thing.

Friday, 1 September 2017

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Gym Members

Habit: a settled or regular tendency or practise, especially one that is hard to give up!

Let’s talk about habits. Some of the time we are trying to give up habits, whereas other times we’re trying to form or develop habits. There’s confusion here straight away – are we talking about a good habit or a bad habit, and isn’t good or bad subjective anyway?


A favourite ‘management’ read of many fitness industry people is Stephen R. Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Today, we’re talking about habits of new and regular gym goers, in particular those members who join and stick at it.

In the fitness industry, we often talk about ensuring people build the exercise habit, but what exactly do we mean by this, and how do we measure how it is working?

Here’s our version of the 7 habits of highly effective exercisers…

Monday, 3 July 2017

ukactive Flame Conference re-ignites the Fitness Industry!

The ukactive Flame Conference, Golf Day and Flame Awards were an inspirational set of events in 2017. A great speaker line-up, some encouraging networking opportunities, and a fantastic round of golf helped to restore my faith in the industry.


Having felt disengaged with awards ceremonies over the last few years, it was good to be re-invigorated by the “spirit of flame”. We were pleased to see Crow Wood Leisure nominated in the Club of the Year award, even if they were pipped to the post by regular winners, and hosts of our Sales & Retention Convention, The Club Company. The Spark of Innovation went to our friends at 4Global’s Social Value Calculator, very well deserved!

Friday, 16 June 2017

Shifting roles, fluidity in the Fitness Industry - Staff Retention Series

We’re losing fitness instructors almost as fast as we’re losing members. Some are choosing to become estate agents or financial advisers… there must be a better way! If we improve staff retention, we’ll improve member retention.


The staff pathway discussed in a previous article [click here] is a useful tool in retaining staff that are looking for change… The pathways should not be rigid, so that if a member of staff wants to swap from the management route to the exercise referral route for whatever reason, the pathways can support this, and help define the training plan to switch. Regular appraisals will check how staff are progressing on their chosen path, whether additional CPD is needed, or adapt for changing personal goals as staff develop.

Friday, 9 June 2017

The Pathway to PT - Staff Retention Series

The fitness industry is churning out thousands of new instructors and personal trainer wannabees every year, but we are struggling to keep these people engaged within fitness. Over 80% of PTs are leaving the industry within their first year, according to Joe Oliver of YourPT. It’s a no brainer than member retention is linked to staff retention.


Here are 3 tips for new instructors or aspiring PTs; talk to members, get commercial, and communicate with your members.

1.    Talk to members

Whether you’re working in a budget club, a leisure centre, or a private or big box gym, there will be an opportunity (or requirement) to deliver new member inductions. Grab these opportunities; not for a ‘prospect pipeline’, but to meet and talk to as many members as you can.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

How to streamline your hiring process - 12 Top Tips - Staff Retention Series

This is a guest post by Alina Cooper from FitLinks, see below for more details.

Everyone is guilty of over-complicating things. Or worse still, living with processes without really understanding why we’re doing it. Surely in this age, we should be doing things faster, easier and more directly?

Recruitment is no exception. In today's market attracting and retaining top talent is challenging. Be aware that most candidates will apply for multiple jobs simultaneously. In fact, a staggering 47% of declined offers in 2015 were due to candidates accepting other jobs.

Retain Your Staff - Get Onboarding right, and ensure new staff are engaged and motivated

In the same way that the new member journey is key to keeping members long term, so the staff on-boarding process is key to retaining staff. If you can get your staff to stick around, you’ll have better member retention too.


A good induction is critical to making new staff member feel a part of the organisation. Throwing them in at the deep end or picking it up as they go along rarely has a positive outcome, regardless of their previous level of experience.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Struggling to recruit? The difference a good job description makes.

 Alina Cooper
This is a guest post by Alina Cooper from FitLinks, see below for more details.


Do you find yourself with a low volume of candidates? Or perhaps the quality just isn’t there?
These problems are unfortunately far too common and many employers are left baffled as to why they have been unsuccessful.

The answer is often quite simple and with a few small tweaks you can make a really big difference. In fact, one of our clients saw a 328% increase in applications in just 24 hours!

So, where to start?
When reviewing the performance of a job advert there are two key factors to consider:

1. The Job Description

With so much competition for top talent and so many companies recruiting for the same role it is essential that your job description stands out from the rest. Ask yourself, why should the candidate choose your company over the competition? What makes you different?

Friday, 2 June 2017

Want to improve member retention? Work on your staff retention with pathways... - Staff Retention Series

Member retention often focuses on the member experience, journey, and communications. But a significant contributing factor to the poor member retention in the fitness industry is poor staff retention.


By working on staff pathways, motivation and benefits, we see more engaged staff, which has a direct positive effect on the member experience. Put simply, if you improve your staff retention, you will also improve member retention.


At GGFit, we spend a lot of time defining the member journey with clubs, looking at key contact points and measures to maximise member engagement. We’ve recently been working with clients on staff pathways to help manage the process of recruiting and retaining good fitness instructors and other key staff.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Elevate - Raising the Bar for Fitness Conferencing, plus GGFit Awards

We really enjoyed the Arena of Physical Activity, Health and Performance that is the Elevate event this week. There was a real buzz at the event on both days, and we had some great client and partner meetings. As always, the hard work now starts with follow-ups.

The diamond floor-plan exhibition layout was inspired, creating traffic flow in almost all areas of the hall. It was slightly confusing to navigate, but we're all for moving people's comfort zones!

If we were handing out awards, here's who we would like to thank:

Monday, 8 May 2017

Adopting a Zero Tolerance Approach to Absentees: Guy Griffiths at the Sales & Retention Convention

In the final session at the Sales & Retention Convention, Guy talked about how clubs can improve member retention by working hard at preventing absentees
This section taught delegates what to do if the earlier session on keeping active members active is not as successful as you hoped.


Friday, 5 May 2017

Mystery Shopping / Joining Benchmarks: David Hopkins at The Sales & Retention Convention

David Hopkins from Proinsight presented in the style of a pub quiz, taking delegates through the mystery shopping and joining journey from over 600 facilities over the last 5 years. He highlighted some key benchmarks, such as:

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Keeping Active Members Active: Guy Griffiths at The Sales & Retention Convention

The afternoon sessions at the Spring ’17 Sales & Retention Convention kicked off with Guy Griffiths talking about how to keep active members active. Most clubs will have around 50-60% of members visiting regularly, and if you can grow this segment by making your members more active, you will have fewer absentees to worry about, and better member retention overall.


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Prospect Benchmarking: Jenni McFaull at The Sales & Retention Convention

Jenni McFaull from GymSales delivered some incredibly insightful stats, taken from 11 million interactions with 4 million prospects.


One headline was the conversion rate from different prospects, from Walk-in to Outreach, shown in the diagram below. With a little more work on speaking to, and booking appointments for referrals or guest visits, for example, conversion rates can climb rapidly.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Tour and Closing More Sales: Dave Reeves at The Sales & Retention Convention

Dave’s presentation at the Spring ’17 Sales & Retention Convention focused on the tour and closing more sales. He talked about looking for objections when there sometimes aren’t any. Price is regularly seen as an objection but there are many ways around this, such as asking your prospect to give you their daily or weekly budget, which will often exceed your prices.


Monday, 1 May 2017

The Sales & Retention Convention - Spring '17 Feedback

There was a great turnout at the Spring 2017 Sales & Retention Convention at the Warwickshire Golf & Country Club. Regular hosts Dave Reeves and Guy Griffiths were joined by guest speakers Jenni McFaull and David Hopkins. We explored lots of different ways of improving member sales and retention, presenting ideas, statistics, and benchmark figures.


It was one of our more interactive conventions, with real-time surveys, quizzes, workshop sessions, group exercises, and even a pub quiz.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Video Interview – the value of contracts and the pros and cons of letters, email and SMS for member retention

The good folk at The Fitness Network asked Guy some quick fire retention questions and filmed the answers.



With a background in IT systems, marketing and data analysis, Guy Griffiths from GGFit is regarded as one of the industry’s leading experts in maximising retention rates for health clubs through data mining/processes and targeted communications.

TFN met with Guy to learn:

  • Whether or not clubs should be enforcing contracts
  • The value of social media for member acquisition and retention.
  • The pros and cons of SMS, letter and email as retention tools.
  • The most effective referral tactics.


Monday, 27 March 2017

Absenteeism: How to keep your members from leaving (before they think about it) : Podcast episode 6

We’ve been podcasting again with Richard Parsons of the Fitness Business Network. For both episodes that we’ve recorded, we tried to keep the length down to 30-40 minutes, but the conversation starts flowing, and this time we’ve put down just over an hour of content for your listening pleasure!


While the first episode we recorded in January focused on engaging with new members, now it’s March, we’re talking about another very topical subject, managing absentees.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

ukactive ActiveLab Live!

We’ve been to a lot of industry events, conferences, and conventions over the last 9 years, but ActiveLab Live! last week at The Crystal in East London was by far the best. It was innovative, engaging, and motivating. Delegates, innovators and speakers were all networking throughout the day, and at the post-event drinks.


Kate Russell (BBC Click) hosted the day, and was a great facilitator, bringing a good balance to the presentations, keynotes and pitches. There was a rousing call to arms from Steve Ward (ukactive) which set up the day really well. The star of the morning was Jonathan MacDonald (Thought Expansion Network)

Friday, 10 March 2017

The Sales & Retention Convention – Spring 2017 edition

We’re excited to announce the final line up and agenda for the next Sales & Retention Convention, which is happening on Tuesday 25th April at the Warwickshire Golf and Country Club.

As with previous events, we will be linking sales and retention processes, and giving you all the tools you need to maximise the membership in your club or clubs. This time around, we’ll be joined by experts in their fields, Jenni McFaull and David Hopkins who will present some fascinating statistics on prospects and mystery visitors. The full agenda is as follows:

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Four Weeks to Quit Quitting - A Summary #FWQQ

To round up the Four Weeks to Quit Quitting series of articles, here's a summary of all 8 tips. Our goal with these posts is to help your members to stick around for longer, and reduce drop-out of new gym joiners, not just in January and February, but throughout the year. 

Click on any title to read the full article.


1. The New Member Challenge

How many new members joined the new member challenge, and how many completed it?

Friday, 24 February 2017

Hands up if you're not here anymore #FWQQ #8

The final part of this Four Weeks to Quit Quitting series is very simple. It’s also pessimistic, but realistic.
By the end of February, some of your January joiners will have quit. They might have to keep paying for a while depending on your Ts&Cs, but they will have stopped coming and probably won’t be back.


It’s difficult to re-engage with these members, but you should try and find out what went wrong. If they won’t return your calls or respond to messages or complete your leavers questionnaire, the only other thing you can do is try to spot a trend. What was their goal, join date, induction instructor, and which class(es) did they attend? Are there any patterns that you can identify and correct in the future?

Click here to read the intro to #FWQQ : Four Weeks to Quit Quitting, or click here to see all the #FWQQ articles

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Can your new members keep it up? #FWQQ #7

We looked at how many visits your new members made in their first month back in tip #2 (What is your club’s minimum FMV?) This identified any slow starters, but there will be members who start well then become demotivated. It’s well worth looking at second month visits too…


So dig out your joiners list from January again near the end of February, and check how many of your members have made a visit in the last week, or the last two weeks. Make a point of contacting the least active new members, see what you can do to help them; do they need more motivation, a pass for a friend, or do they just need to know how to swipe their membership card properly on entry?

Thursday, 16 February 2017

What do your new members think of you? #FWQQ #6

How do you know how well your joining process is working, how your member journey is going, and how you members feel after a week or two? One or two might tell you, and if there’s anything going wrong you might get a complaint. Equally, you might not even hear about it. 


In the UK, we’re not usually very good at complaining, although online reviews are starting to change this. It’s now easier to leave feedback, and if you don’t ask your members for it, you’ll still get it (but just the negative ones!)

A new member’s survey or review is crucial to your member journey. You need to ask you members because this feeds all the feedback into one place where you can measure and monitor it.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Let's Move for a Better World 2017 - how to get 3 Million MOVEs

Technogym’s Let’s Move challenge is back again, running from 13-31 March. You can find all our previous tips & tricks here, but there are a few different prizes this year, and we’ve run some analysis to help you reach your club’s targets.


STOP THE PRESS - Registration deadline extended to Thurs 16th Feb!

Monday, 13 February 2017

Where are your new member’s friends? #FWQQ #5

We’ve looked at some fairly standard (or straightforward) measures of new member engagement so far, with visits, inductions, classes and challenges. Something else that all clubs claim to do (but few actually do well) is asking all new members for a referral. 

When a new member does refer a friend, they are showing that they are engaged and into their new membership. Plus, if their friend joins, they are more likely to stick around longer when they work out together.

There are many channels through which you can get referrals; the 7-day courtesy call, a message in the member communications journey, asking within the induction or welcome session, or providing guest passes in the welcome pack.

Use all methods available to you, and count how many of your new members are referring at least one friend. If you know which methods are working you can work on those more, or look to improve them.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Class As for new members #FWQQ #4

We all know that members who attend classes or group exercise stay longer. This is partially due to the community aspect, but more down to the fixed time, commitment and instructor interaction.
We also know that classes aren’t for everyone, but if you can persuade more members to attend a class, they’ll be more likely to stick around.


So look again at your list of January (or last month’s) joiners, and work out who’s attended at least one class, and who hasn’t. There’s your ClassA KPI; a percentage of new joiners who’ve attended a class, say 60 out of 100, or 60%.

Now contact the other 40 and persuade as many as you can to try a class. One contact (email, sms, call) is rarely enough, so try again a week later, and see how many new members you can ‘convert’ into class attendees.

Monday, 6 February 2017

The Fitness Business Network Podcast - Why?

Podcasts are awesome. To borrow from a Public Service Broadcasting album title (or the BBC mission), they Inform, Educate, and Entertain. And I’m proud to say that we’ve put out an episode with the Fitness Business Network. We hope you’ll find it Informative and Educational, and that it helps you to retain your members.




Do your new members know what they’re doing? #FWQQ #3

Some new joiners claim they know what they’re doing… they don’t want an induction or welcome session, and certainly don’t want a programme or review.
However, the customer is not always right, and some really need help and are at more risk of leaving if you leave them to their own devices.


Unfortunately, it’s difficult to tell which members need more attention, and which don’t. So, you need to be pushy and sell the induction, or set up a programme for as many new members as possible. If you push it so hard that you’re losing the odd member, you’ll probably be saving 5-10 memberships, so keep it up.

Review your list of January joiners, and check how many have had an induction or welcome appointment, and how many have had, or have booked a subsequent programme review.

Friday, 3 February 2017

What is your club’s minimum FMV? #FWQQ #2

List your January joiners, along with their total visits to date. Pick a minimum visit target for your new members and check how many members make the cut. 4 first month visits (FMVs) is a good standard; it’s not going to break any records, but should give you a manageable list.


So, you’ll have a group of new members who make the grade, typically 80-90% of joiners, and a few (10-20%) that haven’t made 4 FMVs.

[Note, running this at the start of February for January joiners will show up some members who’ve not had a chance to make 4 visits yet, e.g. if they joined on 31 Jan. You might like to monitor this ongoing through the month, or split the Jan joiners into two segments.]

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The New Member Challenge : FWQQ #1

You have some form of new member challenge, right? A simple, getting started programme that check visits, classes
How many of your January joiners started your new member challenge? And how many completed it?

Call it what you like, FitStart, Zero-to-Hero, your new member challenge should appeal to all new joiners, so that they all enrol as they join. It can be a simple as you like, but there’s a bunch of ideas in out Zero-to-Hero article.

So for example, if you have 100 joiners, maybe 80 started the challenge, and 50 completed it. Give the 50 ‘winners’ a t-shirt, water bottle, or a pat on the back. You can also give the 30 non-finishers an extension of a week, or another chance to do the challenge. And then you should find out why the other 20 new joiners didn’t sign-up, and think about how you can improve the numbers next month.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Four Weeks to Quit Quitting (Intro)

Quitting smoking is relatively hard. To keep on smoking is easy (but expensive and bad for your health).
Conversely, quitting the gym is easy. Sticking at it can be hard (and expensive), but it’s good for your health. It’s especially difficult for new members.


This year, we want to help your new members to stop quitting, and stick around as long as possible. We’ve got 8 quick tips to stop your members quitting this February. Each will take 30 seconds to read, will give you a simple KPI (Key Performance Indicator) and some actions that you can take straight away.


January is traditionally the month for high health club memberships sales. Clubs sign up most new members, shaping the business and cashflow for the rest of the year. But February is the month when it can all start to go wrong, if you don’t ensure all your new members are engaged.

We’re going to run through engagement processes for all members, not just January joiners, although they will be our focus. Also, these tips are not just for February, but now’s a good time to start. If you don’t do it now, when will you?

Friday, 27 January 2017

The psychology of the January gym joiner

Everyone knows that the fitness industry has its best month for new member sales in January. These new members are looking for a new start in the New Year, perhaps setting resolutions to get fit, shed the extra weight from the end of year eating and drinking excess, and get in shape for that (distant) summer holiday. 


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Are you setting up your new members to fail?

January is a great time of year to get new members. Most people are eating more (we’re not talking about Christmas, it’s winter here in the UK, so it’s just natural to need more fuel). Many want a new start in the new year, everyone’s talking about fitness, and there are some unbelievable offers to join health clubs.


So, what do we recommend they do? We devalue the membership by giving a month free and/or no joining fee, and then tell them they need to visit 3 times a week!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Managing Customer Reviews (Sales & Retention Convention pt4)

We were honoured to have Wayne from Feefo present as our guest speaker at the Sales & Retention Convention. Wayne delivered a very educational half-hour talk on managing online reviews and how to improve your web presence.


We avoided the customary “if you’re not on social media, someone’s talking about you on social media” commentary. Instead, the presentation was packed with fascinating stats, for example:

  • 83% of consumers are influenced by online reviews
  • 75% of consumers expect to be able to feedback on their experience
  • 25% of reviews on open platforms are fake


Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Get More Referrals, and Better Referrals (Sales & Retention Convention pt3)

Referrals have been a key topic at the last two Sales and Retention Conventions, for good reason. 45% of new memberships sales can come from direct member referral. So, the case for sales is obvious, but how do referrals help retention? 


Put simply, members who join with friends stay longer. If you reward your member for referring friends, and keep reminding them to refer, with more rewards, then members can get into the referral habit, as well as the exercise habit.