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Members feel comfortable when introduced to one another

There are many ways to make a new member feel comfortable in your club. One way is to introduce them to other members. Studies have shown that people want to feel like they are part of a group. What better way to help them start that process by having programs and procedures set up?

This week's Best Practices found out from health club veterans to see what they do at their facilities.

Q: How does your club help members get to know other members?

A: When someone joins, we immediately set them up with a fitness evaluation/program and introduce them to key department directors. Monthly member appreciation events are hosted in various departments to familiarize them with our services. In the group exercise department, we offer a series of specialty classes which include socializing with refreshments in our salon and spa. We have instituted a semi-private training match-up service to find members training partners, in order to encourage exercise adherence through the attainment of shared goals. Finally, several smaller clubs within the club have been created to address specialty interests, such as belly dancing, outdoor biking, MMA and running. 

Jim Worthington
Newtown Athletic Club
Newtown, Penn.

A: Accountability is key to client success. Members need a real connection that goes beyond silly name games in classes or a welcome photo on a bulletin board. Yes, we welcome new members on Facebook – that’s great exposure. But exposure isn’t enough to make an impact. We connect members in meaningful ways by uniting them on teams in accountability programs, such as our Corporate Fit Challenge, Training Camp, Thinner Winner, and Results Club. A strong support structure boosts their chance of long-term success and, as a bonus, connects them with other members. Why does that affect the bottom line? Membership numbers don’t drive a business as much as successful membership numbers drive it.
Trina Gray
Bay Athletic Club
Alpena, Mich.


A: Our members interact in classes and at our cage-side café, where sports and other events are shown on television. Through our Facebook, texting, Twitter, and other electronic media, we invite and host our members at fun events such as viewing parties for televised MMA events, pool parties, and holiday celebrations. Our key employees frequently “guest bartend,” and we arrange discounted/VIP entry for members. We keep people connected by encouraging them to check in at the club on Facebook and by constantly posting information and pictures. We encourage our members to compete in tournaments and amateur MMA events, which results in members and friends attending and interacting.

Joe Mannino
General Manager
Victory MMA and Fitness
San Diego, Calif.


Club Operators: To be profiled in this column, please contact Kristen Walsh, IHRSA associate publisher, at

IHRSA has answered hundreds of questions and inquiries in the weekly column, Best Practices. Check them out here. Ask an Industry Leader answered a similar group purchasing question in 2013. 

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