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retention series


REAPING REWARDS


Odyssey runs a rolling ‘refer a friend’ campaign


REWARD SCHEMES ARE WELL ESTABLISHED IN THE FITNESS INDUSTRY AS A MEANS OF GETTING NEW MEMBERS, BUT HOW ABOUT USING THEM TO RETAIN EXISTING MEMBERS? KATH HUDSON REPORTS


money (not sure if that’s down to the prices or the product range on offer) and that there’s always a queue for petrol. Why? Because every so often I get a treat through the Clubcard scheme, not to mention vouchers for schools: next week we’re going to Legoland and Pizza Express courtesy of Tesco, and the school playground is abuzz with people talking about half-term, Tesco-funded days out. Tesco’s vouchers have created a loyal customer out of me, so is the health club industry missing a trick by chiefly using its reward schemes as a way of attracting new members? Geraldine Tuck at the D2F Group, which administers member reward schemes for 40 health club chains in the UK, says most of its clients want to


I july 2012 © cybertrek 2012


buy my petrol and do my weekly shop at Tesco, despite the fact that it’s not the closest supermarket, that as a result I spend more


use the schemes to get new members – either by giving people a joining gift or by rewarding existing members for referring a friend. “It’s easy to allocate a budget for this type of activity,” she says. “Generally when we speak to operators about using reward schemes for retention, they’re not interested. I think that’s because it’s harder to plot and budget.” For member acquisition campaigns, she adds, the club usually makes all the


“THE BEST RETENTION SCHEMES REWARD MEMBERS FOR


ACTIVITY – REACHING A PRE-DETERMINED GOAL, FOR EXAMPLE”


money back on the first campaign, which makes it very appealing.


REFER A FRIEND However, although primarily focused on new membership as an end goal, ‘refer a friend’ campaigns do also have some retentive qualities as a by-product: existing members are given a reward and, once they have a friend to exercise with, they might be more inclined to remain a member, try new things or exercise more often. Knebworth-based health club Odyssey uses D2F to run a rolling ‘refer a friend’ campaign: if someone gets a friend to join, they receive a voucher to be redeemed via the D2F website. “That means we simply hand out a voucher and don’t have loads of iPods or trainers to store,” explains operations director Stephen Aucott. “Our budget for gifts is at least £25 – sometimes we use in-house services


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 45


YURI ARCURS / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM


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