The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association is the fitness industry's only global trade association representing over 10,000 for profit health and fitness facilities and over 600 supplier companies in 75 countries.



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For your reading pleasure

lThe “lazy” days of summer are here! And the month of August is a great time to catch up on your reading. So I’m pleased to present two new IHRSA publications for your professional edification. Log on to to download a free excerpt of each.

The first, published in June, is IHRSA One Million Strong: An In-Depth Study of Health Club Member Retention in North America, sponsored by Life Fitness. It was written by Dr. Paul Bedford, an internationally known expert on exercise behavior and member retention.

This report presents the findings of a
 36-month study of the North American 
fitness industry that was conducted
 early this year. Measuring retention and its associated factors is a vital part of running any successful health and fitness business, and, so, for more than 30 years, IHRSA has tracked important operating benchmarks, including revenue and member retention, which are published annually in Profiles of Success.

Based on a survey of leading operators, Profiles shows that high member retention is one of the attributes that distinguishes top-performing club companies. The annual retention rate of leading North American clubs has ranged, historically, between 69% and 71%, with select segments outperforming others.

Analyzing a sample from more than one million membership records, IHRSA One Million Strong not only presents key related statistics, but also provides an industry-wide retention benchmark, which clubs can utilize to assess their own performance. Doing so makes it possible for operators to be more effective with respect to managing sales, marketing, and customer service, as well as staff recruitment and training.

My second recommendation for summer reading is Volume 3, Issue 1, of The IHRSA Retention Report, which has been compiled in collaboration with The Retention People (TRP), a leading provider of customer experience management (CEM) software and services.

The latest installment in this ongoing series examines Net Promoter Score (NPS) results generated by more than 10,000 member interviews. Specifically, this report tales a long hard look at the characteristics of members and the experiences they’ve had with their club, which will tend to determine whether they’ll become club promoters (individuals who’d recommend the club to others) or detractors (ones who wouldn’t).

The NPS North American benchmark is 43, which indicates that, for every 100 members, there are 43 more promoters than detractors.

The current Retention Report focuses on three principal factors: demographics, attendance, and membership tenure. Its sequel, Volume 3, Issue 2, will examine three other vital components: member activity, member progress, and club communication.

The NPS provides club operators with a clear sense of their business and their members’ loyalty. Using NPS, they can learn not only how members feel about their club, but also why they feel the way they do—insights critical to improving retention and fostering bottom-line growth.

The IHRSA Retention Report is a free benefit of your IHRSA membership; to access it, simply log on to

Read together, these two new resources—the Report and One Million Strong—provide valuable lessons on how a laser-like attention to membership retention can drive the industry’s profitability and growth—not just for today, but for years to come.

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