2. Manage expectations.
Some new health club members lose heart because they try to do too much too fast. It's critical that your staff engage with this group and help them set realistic long-term goals.
Establishing a baseline also provides a basis for frequent follow-ups.
"The club should make all possible efforts to guarantee that the members see results, as we know that when members see results, they continue to be motivated and engaged," said Fred Hoffman, M.Ed., owner of Fitness Resources Consulting Services. "But in the majority of cases, they need to be monitored and followed closely to keep them on track."
3. Help your staff identify returning members.
It's important to distinguish between regulars—i.e. members who have been attending right along and are not part of the New Year's resolution crowd—and those who are back after a prolonged absence. Each requires a different approach.
Regulars simply need to know that you value their loyalty. Does the January rush create crowded locker room conditions or a parking shortage? Be sure these temporary inconveniences don't drive disgruntled regulars away. One way to do this is to encourage employees to minimize off-hours visits in peak times.
"A lot of our employees take classes," said Andrea Merritt, childcare and program director at Sportsclub in South Carolina. "But we don't have that in January. Every employee knows that if a class is full it should be their greatest pleasure to give up a spot for a member."
On the other hand, long-absent members need to feel that they've been missed—something you can address by simply offering a "Good to see you again!" at reception. As you ring in the New Year, it's vital that these old acquaintances know that you have not forgotten them.