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FEBRUARY 11 LETTERS write to reply


Do you have a strong opinion or disagree with somebody else’s views on the industry? If so, we’d love to hear from you – email: healthclub@leisuremedia.com


clubs must embrace virtual marketing methods Your letters page in HCM Nov/Dec 10 suggested a missing ingredient in how clubs relate to members: engagement. Clubs have efficient internal systems


but have yet to grasp the opportunity behind ‘outreach’. Many are sitting on a goldmine. They have so many pieces in place – a recognised brand, enthusiastic staff, big multi-channel databases (email addresses, mobile numbers, physical addresses) – yet continue to rely on old-school marketing tactics and a leaky business model that fails to maximise the full lifetime value of their members. Most people’s problem today isn’t how


We must improve our retention levels to prove ourselves capable partners


we mustn’t give healthcare a reason not to partner with us


I agree with Dr Melvyn Hillsdon that our industry must provide more objective measures of retention and the levels of service received by our customers in order to prove our credibility to the healthcare sector (HCM Nov/Dec 10, p6). However, I also believe the healthcare


sector needs to demonstrate a more dynamic and proactive approach to working with professional fitness operators. The NHS is a wonderful institution, but it could hardly be described as fleet-footed or dynamic. It needs to play its part too, seeking partnerships with other public and private sector organisations that can contribute to the prevention of, and recovery from, ill-health. At times, it would appear that people


within the NHS are more interested in protecting the status quo than adapting to new challenges and embracing change.


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Trying to establish partnerships with the local PCT and its GP surgeries is time-consuming and efforts can often be more productive if directed elsewhere. The health and fitness sector has


invested an immense amount of capital in facilities and people, and we have the ideal organisations to partner with the health sector. I agree, though, that we need to improve on our level of customer service. We must engage with our customers more meaningfully and improve on customer retention for the sake of our own organisations’ growth, as well proving ourselves as capable partners. Clearly our high churn rates send out the wrong message and provide potential health sector partners with a good reason, or perhaps an excuse, not to do business with us. andy bourne md, xpect leisure


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


to exercise. It’s how to stay motivated enough to make exercise (and clubs) a regular part of their lifestyle. They require a more complete solution (programmes, resources and inspiration) that supports them in getting results. Clubs must involve members in ongoing two-way conversations – teleseminars, webinars, online programmes, social media – or lose out to more tech-savvy bootcamp operators and weight loss groups. Clubs that act stand to eliminate


member cost objections, fill dead staff hours, raise member loyalty levels, encourage clients to be inter-dependent on each other as much as on the club, and expand their member database. noel lyons fi tness & internet marketing consultant


Clubs ignoring the web will lose out to more tech-savvy operations


february 2011 © cybertrek 2011


FEBRUARY 2011


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