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Members who feel part of something, rather than just having access to the facilities, are far less likely to leave a club


see changes, but then these changes slow down. You become frustrated, but when you ask for help they try and sell you personal training. You begin to wonder if the programme you started out with has any long-term effect. I asked the question of one of the instructors: ‘Do you know how to help people change without them having personal training?’”


A change of scenery As previously stated, updates to the physical environment are also important in keeping members motivated. However, operators have been challenged by the economic downturn and rising costs of running facilities, with years of under-investment leading to tired-looking clubs and managers fire-fighting to keep operations running. Members are therefore beginning to


question where their money goes, and why prices continue to rise despite an obvious lack of investment in facilities. “They haven’t changed anything in here


for years; it’s the same all the time,” said one. “They tell you they’re investing a fortune in the clubs and then they just paint everything red. In practice, I’m training on the same stuff we’ve had for years and I’m bored.”


March 2014 © Cybertrek 2014


The social aspect of being a member is very important. Not all members will want to use their club just as a utility


As well as refreshing the exercise


environment, operators need to consider that their most valuable members will also need the exercise experience to be refreshed. As one respondent explained: “If you went to the same restaurant every week for three years, in the end you’d get bored with the menu. The staff may be providing a quality of service, but you just fancy something different.” We may be looking at a situation


where three to four years may generally be the limit to which clubs can retain members. Approaches that may combat this include refreshing visuals on walls, organising equipment in ways that grow a member’s experience over time, and replacing activities that are less popular. That said, the social aspect of being


a member is very important. Not all members will want to use their club just as a utility – a place where they


train and leave. Some seek a greater experience, wanting to feel part of something. They expect to meet people with common interests and develop friendships with staff and other members (see HCM Feb, p62). Where this is available through


various member-to-staff and member- to-member activities, a sense of belonging develops and members feel they’re part of a club rather than just having access to facilities – and are less likely to leave as a result.


They just don’t care But when members do decide to leave, it’s generally handled badly. Members interviewed believe operators just don’t care whether they stay or leave – a finding that backs up the recent research conducted for Health Club Management by Leisure-net Solutions (see HCM Jan 14, p62).


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 53


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