Find new retention concepts during next IHRSA webinar
Thu, April 3, 2014 at 15:26
Brad Spiegel in BBonnie Mattalian, Gary Vaynerchuk, MediFit, Meetings & Events, Retention, Social Media, Webinars

Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.netThe word “retention” is thrown around a lot in our industry. Obviously, keeping current members is vital to clubs’ welfare. 

The question is, then, what is the best method to keeping those who pay to continue to up their membership when it expires?

IHRSA’s next webinar, “Revolutionizing Member Retention with New Concepts,” will give examples of how host Bonnie Patrick Mattalian does it at MediFit. The webinar is Thursday, April 10, 2 to 3 p.m. EST.

A major part of MediFit’s success in retaining members is servicing the ones they have. Sometimes clubs forget this, Mattalian said, because they are so concerned with the population out there that does not belong to a club.

“In our industry, a major focus is on member acquisition. We want to penetrate more of the population to participate in a healthy lifestyle,” she said. “Sometimes we forget about the fantastic job we are doing with the members we have.”

The overriding theme is how is your club different from the one down the street or across town? Because, really, if all things are even – like price, proximity offerings, etc. – a client will look at factors like experience as what will tip the scales in one club’s favor.

Mattalian points to how you connect and communicate with members as that prevailing reason she sees as the difference between defection and commitment. She refers to this as influencing factors. During the webinar she will go over ones she has pinpointed.

She said it starts with what will motivate each member so their behavior will change for the better. Each person is motivated in different ways and a staff needs to be aware of that.

“When someone joins (at MediFit) we have a specific process in place. We ask questions so we understand their behavior as well as their needs and goals,” Mattalian explained. “This way we can anticipate what their needs are  and what we need to do for that person. We put together a roadmap that is individualized for each new member.”

It doesn’t end there as a retention manager keeps in contact with the member to make sure the goals and needs are being met. She said by starting early on and keeping in contact the staff knows who is more apt to be successful and who will “need additional hand-holding and how we need to do that.”

Not surprising, another way that Mattalian feels it is important to connect with members is by social media. Regardless of the age of your members, everyone is connected in one way or another. Mattalian echoed IHRSA 2014 general session speaker Gary Vaynerchuk’s theme of communicating with daily conversations as well as keeping an eye out, and on, the next big thing, like Snapchat and Vine.

“Gary Vaynerchuk has it exactly right - we need to start thinking about how we are connecting with members on a day-to-day basis. Depending on the age it might be post on Facebook or a photo on Instagram or Snapchat,” he said. “We need to learn how do we use that format to help engage with members? That is the future.”

These steps take time and manpower, but in the end it is worth it. Research has shown that it cost as much as five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain one. 

“It doesn’t have to take too long – an extra 15 minutes spent with a member to help them become successful is a great investment,” said Mattalian, vice president at MediFit.

Mattalian plans on covering the following during the 60 minutes:

IHRSA webinars are $39 for members, $79 for non-members. Visit to learn more and to register.


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