With the exponential increase in the popularity of fitness studios, online training and other fitness trends, it is important to note that some basic business principles will not change. For that reason, user experience and the impact it has on your loyalty will always be what separates successful fitness businesses from others.
There are different ways for gym or studio owners to measure success. The Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) conducted a market survey to determine what may impact retention, as well as the experience of your users. Evaluate them and implement them in your business to continue growing.
Average retention rates
Anyone working in the fitness industry has heard the words 'dropout' and 'retention.' The dropout rate is the rate of abandonment of users and is calculated dividing the number of people quitting with the total number of members. Retention is the other side, it indicates how many people continue to attend your gym. It is these benchmarks that ensure you are moving your business forward.
Traditionally, fitness businesses have suffered greatly with retention, reaching levels of up to 60%, which has led to the emergence of several sayings and facts:
• They work very hard to make users enter through the front door just to see them exit through the back door.
• It costs 3 times more to acquire a new member than to retain one.
• More than 80% of gym members frequent other facilities.
The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) reported that the average retention rate in clubs that are its members is 71.4%. The reality is that IHRSA member clubs tend to be the best performers in the industry, therefore, the average overall retention is likely to be much lower.
According to the AFS, the average retention rate in gyms is 75.9%, significantly higher than that of traditional clubs with better performance. And within this group, the fitness studios where personalized training is provided enjoy a high retention rate of 80%, probably due to the more personal nature of their clients' experience.
The facilities for group exercise also work well, retaining 73% of its members. This is impressive, due to the increase in number of places specialized in offering group classes in recent years.
4 Areas that impact retention
It is possible to improve retention in your gym if you improve on these four key areas:
Provides a clean and intimate space
Nothing will scare your customers more than a dirty, stinky and unhygienic place. It may sound obvious, but focusing on this has a lot to do with users wanting to go to the gym. Make sure that everyone who enters your business has a positive experience, especially in the bathrooms and dressing rooms.
Provides personalized attention and instruction
One of the main reasons why your users continue to be so is because they receive a much more personalized experience than they could receive in other gyms and studios. This customization should be part of what your brand promises. People want to know that you care about them. Work with your team to create tools to assess progress. Go one step further and ask your users how much they are improving and offer tips to support them.
Create a community
It is said that people can give up a company, but not a relationship. It is vital to create a community with your members. This can be achieved in different ways:
• Offering a free bootcamp on Saturday mornings
• Social meetings after classes
• Special sporting events
When the administrators of a gym were asked how they managed to succeed despite the fact that there were several important gyms on the same street, they commented: 'Our clients know that we care about them and they care about us.'
A very united community generates the feeling that together they can achieve anything. Members who feel part of the gym become your community and this is the key to success and influences all phases of the business: acquisition, retention, customer loyalty and referrals.
Find your niche
There will always be competition. Define what concept you want to offer and be the best at it. Identify your 'unique'. Are you the only gym that offers nutritional counselling along with training? Are you the only gym with a physical therapist in the place? Find your niche and focus on what makes you different.
Sometimes, preventive maintenance can be overwhelming depending on the size of your facilities and whose responsibility it is. Simply focus on a couple of key areas and you will be covered.
Basic daily maintenance means creating a 'picture ready' image that helps create consistency. Cleaning of all equipment and cleaning of floors should also be done at least several times a day. Include it in your agenda, create a checklist and if you have more people on your team, divide among all priorities.
Your equipment needs to be checked and cleaned often. Create a checklist of each and every item. With it you can determine what machine elements should be monitored or replaced. This may include loose parts, squeaky bars or wheels, missing parts, etc. It is a good idea to clean under cardio equipment, especially treadmills.
Quarterly / semi-annually
Revisions of these periods should focus on paint touch-ups, changing upholstery and larger projects that require planning.
Note: If you have equipment items that are used more frequently (for example, bicycles), you may need to check the equipment more frequently than once a week.