It is commonly accepted that membership retention is the largest problem facing most businesses in the health club industry. But this problem isn’t new, so why are clubs still struggling to make an impact on their retention performance? Here are four steps to help you to refocus and improve your club’s retention strategy.
1. Business growth isn’t only about marketing. While it’s easy to get swept up in sales and marketing outreach to attract new members, it’s critical for health club owners to spend just as much time focusing on the ones they’ve got. It is proven that successful retention of members not only increases profitability, but will reduce the necessity to perpetually sell to a shrinking market.
2. Get to the root causes of cancellations. Most clubs focus solely on the immediate impact that cancellations are having on their business, rather than taking an approach that identifies the cause of the cancellations, which could have been an event several months earlier. Cancellations always sting, but remember to take time to clearly assess whether your retention efforts have any kind of impact and, if not, what new strategies you could try.
3. When calculating attrition, consider more than the percentage. Measuring your club’s member attrition numbers by a percentage is limiting, because not only is the percentage heavily influenced by sales numbers, but the percentage does not take into account how long each member has been retained. In order to understand how to improve retention, operators need to measure the retention rate and lifetime value.
3. Do the math. To understand how to improve retention, operators need to determine the retention rate (the proportion of members who stay for a predefined period of time) and the lifetime value (the average length of time members stay and therefore how much they pay in membership fees).
For more in-depth information, graphics, and guidance, read the IHRSA Member Retention Report: Measuring Retention by clicking the button below.