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M Point in the Netherlands aims to act as a ‘home away from home’


Offering activities such as free running clubs can help build member relations


Where do you see the focus of member relations and retention heading in the future?


NIGEL WALLACE: Clubs that focus more on the health angle rather than purely on the fitness angle will achieve better success – less a case of rigid exercise prescription and more a case of simply encouraging members to be active in some way three times a week. This is more positive and helps keep them motivated. NIC JARVIS: Boosting membership retention will always be a much harder activity within a business than sales, because it’s about fundamentally changing people’s lifestyles. The industry has never properly monitored customer results – we’re good at measuring attendance, but not results. We must look at customers’ end goals and work back from that, as this is the only way we can deliver what they want.


july 2010 © cybertrek 2010 What about the social side of things?


NIC JARVIS: The social element is lacking in a lot of clubs. In many, we have turned the experience into functional training. Those clubs that have a wider range of social facilities will always have better retention. NIGEL WALLACE: Clubs within clubs are a great way of building retention and creating a sense of identity. Group exercise and group activities will always be good areas to focus on for member relations. MARTIN VAN ASSENDELFT: M Point is the sort of place where you’re happy to spend time – it’s built in an old farmhouse with a living room/café area, an outdoor terrace, a lake and so on. So members feel very at home here – it’s definitely not just a place to come for a workout and then leave. I also run a lot of member events such as BBQs


and high teas, card game evenings, trips away with members, Easter bunny hunts for kids and so on. There’s a strong social aspect. MATT SANDERSON: We’ve worked hard to develop our running and triathlon offering. It gives people goals and something to train for both in and out of the club, and it develops a social element. It also has a ripple effect throughout the club. For instance, we had three people attending the half Ironman event in Devon last year, including one woman in her 50s who qualified there for the World Championships. This inspired others and, as a result, we’re taking 15 members to the event this year.


healthclub@leisuremedia.com julie cramer


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 67


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