The Buzz: Retaining – and delighting – members

Each month we ask club customers and managers of others fitness facilities what are the burning issues and most pressing questions on their minds:



Q: How do I lock in current members for the year ahead?


A: Show members you care about their interests and club experience, not just growing the membership

It can be tempting to focus more on the new and the shiny. In club membership terms that means the 12% of all new memberships that IHRSA report happen in January, when people vow to get in shape after the holidays. But 50% of those members will drop out within six months. It’s essential to court new member business, but don’t forget about the hundreds of members already committed to your club brand.

Member retention is critical to club success (it counts for 80 % of most clubs’ revenue), as every manager knows, but this Fall, as you plan member recruitment for 2023, build in equally strong plans to not just retain current members, but to surprise and delight them into staying with you another year.


1. Listen often – every member has an opinion, but not all are vocal at the check in desk about what they need and want from their club. Commit to finding out what members love but also dislike about their club experience. Not enough classes with popular instructors? Problems with bookings on your app? Or is there a general feeling that either your facilities or your offerings need an upgrade? Conduct proactive, frequent check ins via email – and make it personal with an occasional phone call to ask, “what can we do better?” Regular email surveys, old school suggestion boxes in the club and your staff engaging members with questions as they go about the days can all bring valuable information about how to give members what they want.



2. Foster community – people are pack animals and thrive when we’re together – in a class, as part of a tight knit gym community and as an involved contributor to social media groups and channels.

Make a plan now for the rest of the year and beyond to enhance community among members. Conduct a club-wide fall fitness challenge ahead of the excesses of the holiday season. Double down on nutrition and workout tips on social channels and solicit feedback and dialogue from members. Or is there an opportunity to build member engagement and interaction: a pickleball league, performance metrics in class if you have the technology to display wearables data, a mini triathlon? The key is frequency and creativity to keep members feeling involved.


3. Improve convenience – fall and winter knock member schedules sideways with school and bad weather days. Promote the convenience of your full gym experience to every member: online tips and advice, on-demand classes and content they can access at home or on the go, and a full integration of digital tools and content within the club.

If a class is full help members try an on-demand session. Offer on-demand content displays in open access areas of your club to motivate members with fresh, short-form daily digital workouts, and promote the vast array of fun, engaging new content your club offers for members to try.