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24 Aug 2017 Health Club Management Handbook
 

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31620 Health Club Management Handbook - Did you know…?

Research round-up

From Health Club Handbook 2017 issue 1
Did you know…?


Dr Melvyn Hillsdon and Dr Paul Bedford share their lessons for boosting member retention, based on their latest studies

Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

10% of online joiners never visit the club

Ten per cent of those who join online never even enter the club. They then purchase just two months of membership before cancelling. Meanwhile, members who join online and visit the club only once continue to pay for five months before cancelling their membership.

Creating activities that prompt member visits – even just one visit – appears to have a significant return on investment.

Six Months

Creating a routine boosts retention

Routine is a strong predictor of retention. Members who create a routine – visiting their club at the same time and on the same day each week – stay on average six months longer than those who visit on a more ad hoc basis.
2 weeks

The gap between joining and first visit strongly predicts future behaviours

Those who take longer than two weeks to make their first visit are less likely to establish a sufficient visit frequency to retain membership or achieve results, and are therefore at a much higher risk of quitting.

Those who join and make their first visit to the club quickly are more likely to establish a visit frequency of at least four visits per month.

40%

Friends do make a difference

It’s long been believed that members with a workout partner or buddy are more likely to remain as members than those who train alone. Now data has put numbers behind the theory: members who made a friend at the gym in the last three months are 40 per cent less likely to cancel than those who haven’t.
 


Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Friends do make a difference
23%

Wearables may not be the magic bullet we were hoping for

About 27 per cent of members report tracking their behaviour with an app – a figure that’s higher among younger members, and among male rather than female members.

So what’s the impact of using an app or tracking device on membership retention? Overall, app users have very similar retention rates to non-app users. But there’s one exception: in male members aged over 25 years, tracking app use is associated with a 23 per cent increase in the monthly risk of cancellation.

3 Minutes

How fitness coaches speak to members can have a direct impact on subsequent behaviour

The more a conversation encourages members to express their perceptions of the personal benefits of increased gym attendance, the more likely they are to attend more regularly.

Borrowing from the principles of motivational interviewing, we can describe a brief motivational intervention – a three-minute chat will suffice. Ask questions like:

What do you think is good for you about exercise?

What, for you, are the three most important reasons to work out regularly?

On a scale of 0–10, how motivated are you to make another visit to the club within the next week – and why do you think that is?

What might you need to do to make your next visit happen?

Summarise their answers to each question back to them.

 


There are gender-specific hassles and uplifts that influence retention

When members visit our clubs, they can experience a range of enjoyable uplifts and a range of negative hassles which correlate with retention rates.

Completing a challenging workout is the most highly cited uplift for males and females. For females, the second and third most cited uplifts are reception staff speaking to them and encouragement from fitness staff. For males, it’s achieving fitness goals and being spoken to by reception and fitness staff.

The main negative hassle experience reported by both males and females is club staff not speaking to them. For males, queuing for gym equipment is also a common hassle, whereas for females it’s dirty changing facilities.

When the various hassles and uplifts are compared, among women, reception staff communication is most strongly related to retention; for men, the key factor is having to queue for equipment.

 


3 Million people

Things haven’t changed…

Age, visit frequency, interaction, membership contract length and price point all continue to be strong predictors of retention.

This holds true both nationally and internationally, with similar results replicated in 26 countries, on four continents and over three million member records.


About the authors

Dr Paul Bedford is a leading authority on the management of retention, attrition and customer experience, and author of the world’s largest retention study – www.retentionguru.co.uk

Dr Melvyn Hillsdon is associate professor of exercise and health at the University of Exeter, where he researches physical activity and population health. Since his landmark retention report in 2001 (Winning the Retention Battle), he has published numerous reports on the determinants of membership retention.


 



Dr Melvyn Hillsdon & Dr Paul Bedford

Originally published in Health Club Handbook magazine 2017 issue 1

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