CONTENT BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Les Mills
As an industry, we do a great job of attracting new members with trendy fitness offerings and the latest results-maximizing workouts. Members join in hopes of reaping the benefits of our promise to motivate and inspire them to become a better, fitter version of themselves. But something’s not working. If we’re doing such a great job of creating life-changing experiences, then why is our biggest challenge retention?
The Retention People surveyed 10,000 fitness members across England to better understand membership behavior. The results show that most members fall within three segments:
- Gym-only users,
- Group exercise only participants, and
- Group exercise participants who also use the gym.
They found 50 percent of club members leave within six months. Over one-third of these members did not attend their facility within the last 28 days of membership.
It makes you wonder, why do our most loyal members stay?
The Research Says
Long-term members are more likely to participate in group exercise than new members who most frequently are limited to gym-only use. The study concludes that group exercise users retain their memberships longer than gym-only members. And the risk of cancelling was 56 percent higher in gym-only members compared to group exercise participants.
So while many gym activities remain popular, group exercise participants stay longer and are more likely to use other areas of the gym. They’re also 84 percent more likely to recommend their facility to a friend or family member.
Industry leaders, then, need to determine how to better leverage group exercise in achieving their business goals. This starts with knowing where you are so you can set clearly defined goals. Ask yourself these questions:
- How well do you understand this part of your business?
- What is your weekly club attendance?
- What is your weekly group exercise class attendance?
- What is the capacity of your studio(s)?
- What is your cost per participant?
If you struggled to answer any of these questions, you’re not alone. Keep reading to understand how to set relevant goals that will engage more members and result in better performance for your business.
Implement a Group Exercise Scorecard
Before you get carried away setting lofty profit targets and unattainable attendance goals, you need to know your baseline.
- Count the numbers. Do this for every class to get visibility on how many members are participating in each program.
- Set goals for growth. Setting measurable goals is key to getting buy-in from the teams or individuals responsible for delivering on those targets.
- Record the numbers. Record them in a spreadsheet or management software.
- Share the numbers. Since you’ve already worked to collaboratively set goals, people will want to know how they’re doing against them. Share results during company meetings and performance reviews to keep the momentum going.
- Set a plan to continue growth. As you get closer to achieving your goals, create a vision for the future.
Three Levels of Goal Setting
Level 1: Facility Goals
As facility operators, you’ll be leading your team to success. Have a clear vision for where the business is going. Set cost and profit targets, such as labor costs, occupancy costs and ancillary income. Additionally, focus on quality service and experience goals. Set capacity targets and member usage goals. This may be the first time you’ve set these benchmarks, but they’re important. Attendance is a metric that is the least commonly measured, but one of the most important in understanding the success of your group exercise programming.
Level 2: Group Exercise Goals
Create these goals with your group exercise manager. Since group exercise is cited as the biggest influence on how long people remain a member of a fitness facility, it’s key to deliver a positive experience.
Focus on these three aspects:
- Current performance. Set key performance indicators (KPIs) based on weekly attendance goals, percent attendance to group exercise versus weekly club visits, total club members and percent of active members.
- Growth potential. Focus on maximizing your current space. Establish a baseline for member touch points by determining the maximum number of classes you can offer per week multiplied by the maximum number of people that can fit in each class.
- Long-term and short-term: Picture your business in 12 months and again in three to five years. How many group exercise experiences are you creating each week? What do you want your weekly attendance to be? What are the potential annual profit increases you want to see?
Level 3: Class Goals
Your group exercise managers will now work with your instructors to set realistic goals and get their buy-in. Explain what the overall business is trying to achieve and give them a chance to set their own attendance targets. More often than not, instructors set a more challenging goal than you would have suggested. Work with them to make sure it’s achievable based on instructor experience, class time slot, seasonal trends and the format being taught. Again, set long and short-term goals and reflect on them during performance reviews.
Tracking member usage stats and attendance may not seem fun, but it is critical to success. Knowing where you are helps you set realistic, achievable goals that your teams will support. Leveraging simple tools such as Excel spreadsheets or software will help you stay focused.
Erin Kelly’s 20-plus year career is anchored in service to the fitness industry, working with such world-renowned organizations as Brick Bodies, Star Trac, Nautilus and Les Mills. Currently, Kelly is a part of the Les Mills executive management team with an emphasis on business development. In 2007, under Kelly’s leadership, the Mid-Atlantic was recognized as the fastest growing Les Mills region in the world, and the Les Mills US agency remains a top performer and has gained international accolades for its innovations and business efficiency. In addition to her managerial roles, Kelly has been an international presenter and trainer and has been a group fitness instructor for more than 20 years. Learn more about this topic by downloading the webinar here or contact Les Mills for a free schedule analysis: 844-LES-MILLS or firstname.lastname@example.org.