“Growing membership is about building exercise adherence,” said Christophe Andanson, CEO of Les Mills Euromed, in a presentation at the 4th annual ChinaFit/IHRSA China Management Forum. Noting that the industry has a serious retention problem, he urged attendees to focus on getting members to visit the club at least once a week. “Two or more times would be even better,” he said.
Andanson contended that people join health clubs because they need help getting motivated to exercise. “They are looking for entertainment, community, and results – in other words, motivation,” he said.
“Attendance is the most important metric in the industry. You pay commissions to sales staff for signing up new members,” he continued. “Think about incentivizing your group exercise instructors based on how many people they have in their classes. The relationship between the instructor and participants is important – instructors make people fall in love with fitness.”
Also critical to motivating members is educating them about the health benefits of exercise, the importance of eating right, and abandoning unhealthy habits such as smoking, Andanson said. “If we don’t educate our members, we will lose them.”
Andanson also emphasized the importance of club design and décor in creating a high-energy workout environment that would help to motivate members to visit the club and take classes more often. “Get rid of the mirrors in your group exercise rooms; people who feel they are out of shape do not want to look at themselves while working out.”
Finally, he said, focus on building community. Make the club a place where members can do things other than exercise. Help them connect to members with similar interests.