February 27, 2020 Beth Cadman

What do your gym members expect from you this year?

Gym members have high expectations of their fitness facilities, and with competition growing ever fiercer, it is vital to up your game and use data, personalisation, and fitness trends to keep retention rates high. 

With the New Year comes the busiest time for gyms, where new cohorts of people rush to sign up in the hope of sticking to their resolutions to lose weight, get fitter, and become healthier.

Unfortunately, the percentage of people who end up cancelling their memberships soon after January is high. In fact, while 12 percent of gym members sign up in the first month of the year, the majority have quit or stopped going 24 weeks later.

So what can gym operators do to ensure they retain these new members? Meeting their expectations is crucial. There are, of course, the basics, such as a clean, pleasant environment, a variety of machines, and welcoming staff. However, It has also never been more crucial for fitness facilities to remain on top of the current industry trends and to use the technology available to them to better serve customers needs.

Gym members now expect their provider to:

Be data-driven

Gyms are now in the very fortunate position of having a wealth of technology at their fingertips that facilitates them to capture member data. The more you can learn about your members, their habits, behaviours, interests, likes and dislikes, the better insight you will have into what motivates them, what irritates them, what will make them passionate, loyal, committed members, and what will have them running for the exit or searching for a competitor who better listens to their needs.  

There are many ways in which gyms can choose to capture data.The global wearable device revenue in 2018 reached a whopping 26.43 billion dollars. The popularity of wearable tech is ever-increasing, and using data from such devices to learn more about gym members can be an excellent way to inform retention-related decisions. 

Investing in a powerful AI-powered retention tool such as Keepme can make data collection and analytics easy for employees across the organisation to use. A retention tool will not only capture and organise member data but also provide important insights into member activity, which can be used to drive the decision-making process across all levels. From triggering marketing materials when certain criteria are met to alerting the front of house team when a member becomes at-risk, using data to inform and refine marketing and retention strategies is the most important way operators can make the customer experience better, and reduce those retention rates for good. 

Data gathering can also be helpful when it comes to tracking fitness trends to ensure your facility stays ahead of the competition, offering the latest in machines and classes to remain ahead of the curve. 

Tim Bainton, founder and managing director of business development for Blue Chip Sports Management, spoke to IHRSA about his struggle to grow his business until he discovered how to utilise data in the right way. He said”

“You have to have a willingness to make a change. It’s worth the effort. Being “5% more accurate can make you 5% more profitable.”

Trusting in data can be the pathway to greater success, through analysing everything from customer attendance to how they engage with social media, gyms can hope to understand how their business is performing, what their members want and so much more. 

Personalise their communications

Personalising communication is incredibly important. Customers are time-poor and inundated with content on so many different platforms. If gym operators aren’t willing to take the time to make their communications unique and personal to the member, they cannot hope for them to be effective. 

People nowadays expect communications to be personalised, and if they aren’t, this will signify a lack of care, which means you can be sure yours will be ignored or deleted without a second thought. Research from Experian revealed that  71% of consumers find it frustrating when marketing communications were not personalised. This is a significant figure and demonstrates just how vital it is for fitness facilities to make an effort to personalise interactions in every possible way.

A personalised message is a powerful one because it speaks to the consumer directly; it preempts their concerns; it presents tailored solutions. It entices them to buy, to connect, to share, to sign up because the offer is exactly what they are looking for at precisely the time they need it. Personalised messages can encourage impulse buys but can also be a way of fostering customer loyalty. A tailored message can make a member feel listened to, as though their needs are being met, and that their gym genuinely cares about their continued happiness and satisfaction as a customer.

A retention tool such as Keepme is the ideal way to communicate with your members on a more personal level. The smart AI-powered design means that you can create criteria that will trigger personalised, highly targeted messages to cohorts of people or even individuals, so you are always sending out the right communication at exactly the right time.

 A variety of group training options

Another essential offering for fitness facilities in 2020 is to ensure they offer a range of group training opportunities. Group training is a growing trend, and if gyms want to demonstrate to members that they are willing to provide a number of exciting workout options, then offering group training classes and events will do so.

Group training is a growing trend in the fitness industry that’s gained massive momentum in the last few years. You can find group training in a number of settings such as parks, gyms, and even community spaces. According to Les Mills, people are 26% less likely to cancel on a class than they are a solo workout session. In addition to this, those who participate in group workout sessions are also more likely to become loyal members, with 35% remaining faithful to the facility compared to 29% of gym only attendees. 

By including the above in your business plans for the year, you can hope to gain a better understanding of your members and deliver the facilities, classes, and events that they want to ensure they remain committed, loyal members throughout 2020 and beyond.

If you would like to know more about how KeepMe works, book your free demo today!