Nobody knows more about health club member expectations, behavior, and retention than John McCarthy, the former executive director of IHRSA, who has authored several IHRSA publications on these topics. Here are some of McCarthy’s tips, which are valuable for any club operator, whether new or seasoned.
Motivation is the trigger that ignites club membership.
People join a club because they are motivated to get fit, or play squash, or get involved with yoga, or spend more time with certain people. Implicit in the motivation that inspires a person to join a club is an expectation that the experience of being a club member will sustain and support that motivation. When the motivation that ignited the membership decision is not supported or sustained, then the rationale underlying the membership decision is also undermined.
This implies that clubs need to be clear on the motivation that underlies every member’s joining decision. Inevitably, this motivation will be emotional rather than intellectual. It will be a desire to lose weight, to stay healthy, to firm up, to look better, to keep one’s children active, etc. It is desires such as these that underpin membership decisions. Unless these desires are supported and sustained, the membership decision will wane.