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SEPTEMBER 2013 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


September 2013


New study will link retention with member characteristics


I agree with the editor that using crude member groupings to inform engagement strategies can lead to discord between member and club (see HCM July 13, p5). Unfortunately the majority of clubs, and the industry as a whole, only have limited information on which to base any groupings. The Retention People’s TRP 10,000©


Retention may be improved by adding more of your gym’s most popular kit


Retention isn’t only about staff–member interaction


I’m writing regarding your recent three-part retention series (see HCM May, June and July 13). It’s not that I disagree with Guy Griffiths: I’m sure operators would improve retention if his advice were followed. However, what I take issue with is the one-dimensional aspect of every retention discussion that takes place in the fitness sector. It seems the industry views retention as a simple equation of ‘retention = staff engagement with customers’. The discussion must be expanded,


recognising other aspects of the customer experience that affect retention. We’ve been measuring the ‘availability’


of gym equipment for two and a half years now, and have seen that when a gym is at full capacity and customers can no longer easily get on equipment, the membership base stops growing. As fast as the sales team sells memberships, existing customers leave. When gyms


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solve equipment bottlenecks in specific areas, removing kit that’s not being used and adding more of the popular stations, membership grows. In one site that had an overall capacity shortage and expanded the whole gym, direct debits increased by £420k p.a. Simply put, customers stop coming to


gyms when they can’t get on the kit they want, when they want, and this has a massive impact on retention. But what of the retention impact of


improving the aircon system, changing rooms, AV entertainment, cleanliness...? These aspects, and many others, will have an impact. To move beyond the 12 per cent penetration rate, I believe the industry needs to research the impact of other value drivers on retention, and not only focus on customer engagement.


Rory McGown Founder, GYMetrix


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


The retention study will follow and survey 10,000 club members


September 2013 © Cybertrek 2013


study, which I am leading, aims to do exactly what the editor proposes. The study will survey and follow 10,000 club members and investigate the interaction between member characteristics, motivations, values, club activities and retention. One of the key outcomes of the research will be to understand what kinds of members, with what motivations, engage in particular club activities at various frequencies during different periods of their membership. In addition, we will be examining


the value members place on different communication channels, from reception and fitness staff to SMS, email and social media. The first results from the study will appear towards the end of the year.


Dr Melvyn Hillsdon Physical activity researcher


PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM


PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM/ DEKLOFENAK


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