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retention
series
INDUCTIONS for RETENTION
Dr Paul Bedford outlines
the key fi ndings of his PhD,
which looked into what
makes for a successful gym
induction programme
etention has been a key
R
business issue in the
fi tness industry since
Dr Melvyn Hillsdon
published his fi rst report
on the subject in 2000 – the fi rst time
scientifi c methods had been used to
report what was actually happening in
clubs regarding member retention.
Subsequent reports began to unravel
the behaviours of members during the
adoption and maintenance phases of
membership, and one key element was
identifi ed: members who visited their
club at least once a week in the fi rst
four weeks were more likely to remain
members over the longer term.
As a result of this fi nding, many
operators rushed to develop gym
induction systems – often compulsory
– that forced members to attend
multiple appointments to ensure this
four-visit frequency. However, although
these inductions involved increasing
amounts of clients’ time spent with an
instructor – generally between two and
fi ve hours over multiple appointments
– little thought was given to the needs
and preferences of the member, or to
the content of the inductions beyond
extending the amount of kit introduced.
Having been interested in the concepts
and processes of behaviour change since
the mid-90s, I was intrigued to discover
©
whether an induction process that
ANDRES R
focused on teaching the principles of
behaviour change would have any effect
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on the lifespan of new members.
the study
A PhD requires new knowledge to be
generated, adding to existing knowledge
within the academic fi eld. A search of
previous research identifi ed that
What makes a member stay? Bedford investigated the difference between a single,
elements such as one-to-one support,
simple induction and multiple inductions implementing social cognitive theory
moderate intensity exercise, multiple
42 Read Health Club Management online january 2009 © cybertrek 2009
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