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health club www.healthclubmanagement.co.uk SEPTEMBER 2013 No 206 ATTENTION RETENTION


Worrying fi gures from new industry research


POP-UPS


The rise and rise of the temporary leisure venue


ON THE COVER JON WRIGHT


The MD of Xercise4Less on a new partnership with Tesco


Health Club Management is IHRSA’s European Strategic Media Partner


WORLD WORLD


FOCUS


MAINTAINING MOTIVATION EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT...


ARE CLUBS’ ACTIONS CAUSING MEMBERS TO BREAK GOOD HABITS? Read Health Club Management online: www.healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital Follow us on twitter @healthclubmag 24-26 Sept 2013 · NEC Birmingham UK We can improve retention


52 per cent, according to a new study by Dr Paul Bedford (see p62). It’s time for operators to act to reverse this decline. Keeping an engaged and loyal


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membership base is key to the health club business model – whether tied in with a contract


or not – and everything must be done to ensure retention is strong and stable. Bedford analysed nearly 350,000 member


records covering the four-year period 2009- 12 and his results show, in part, the impact the recession has had on the industry, as household budgets were squeezed. There were other factors at work


too, with some – such as new regulation


Clubs must become more surgical in their analysis of why each member is leaving – and then use this data to re-engage them where possible


governing the length of gym contracts – out of clubs’ control. However, much remains in the hands of operators, and now the economy is showing clear signs of recovery, it’s time for the industry to act. New research from Australia and New


Zealand found that 60 per cent of members and ex-members believe regular interaction with gym staff is important (see page 20). Assuming these findings are transferable to other markets, figuring out which members this applies to and ensuring they get regular interaction could be the difference between them staying and leaving.


etention levels in the fitness industry have fallen to a record low of


But it also suggests the time has come to


revisit the ‘one size fits all’ approach that sees interaction as the panacea to cure all retention ills: if you’re only talking to the 40 per cent who don’t care, you’re not only wasting your time, but you’re also failing to engage with those to whom it does matter. And just talking to members isn’t enough;


we have to listen too. People leave gyms for many reasons, none of which are reflected in ‘big data’: while quantitative surveys give an interesting overview of sector performance over time, they don’t offer actionable insights into individual motivations that will lead to significant change at a club level. ‘Small data’ is also needed: clubs must


become much more surgical in their analysis of why each member is leaving, then use this knowledge to re-engage them where possible. Some lapsing is out of clubs’ control, such


as people who leave due to an illness. This group should be wished well and leave with a warm feeling about the gym. However, those who leave but could potentially return should have the door left wide open – people moving house who could be encouraged to join another gym in the chain, for example, or those whose financial circumstances have temporarily changed, for whom a ‘come back when you’re ready’ offer might work well. Lapsers whose issues relate to the


gym itself, rather than external factors, represent an opportunity on two fronts: firstly, talking to them will highlight operational glitches that could potentially alienate others, and secondly, they could be won back if their concerns are addressed. Gyms should take the time to connect


with resigning members at this ‘small data’ level, as this is one of the keys to driving better retention. If we’re honest, how many times do we say: ‘We’d really like you to stay. What would it take to make that happen?’


Kate Cracknell, editor - katecracknell@leisuremedia.com / twitter: @HealthClubKate To share your thoughts on this topic, visit www.healthclubmanagement.co.uk/blog


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Where the leisure industry meets...


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September 2013 © Cybertrek 2013 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 5


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