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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Earning loyalty in 2015

By Kate Cracknell, Health Club Management | Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 11
Kate Cracknell, Editor
Kate Cracknell, Editor
Your customers aren’t being disloyal if they don’t only use your gym; things have moved on from the one-stop shop

Are contracts really the key driver of member loyalty, as numerous retention reports have stated over the years? ukactive’s latest Business Performance Benchmarking report suggests not – or at least, no longer. It found that gyms with a minimum 12-month fixed-term contract saw an average membership length of 11.2 months – far shorter than the 17.2-month average enjoyed by gyms that didn’t require a 12-month commitment and that offered more flexible contract lengths.

It seems the drivers of loyalty are changing. And while those drivers will vary from one customer to the next, one increasingly recurrent theme is the desire for flexibility.

The fitness sector has begun to respond, recognising that loyalty should be an active choice rather than a forced hand. The low cost-led shift away from contracts was a positive first step, and even where contracts have stayed in place, forward-thinking operators are introducing more flexibility: DiR’s à la carte membership, where members pay only for what they use, is a good example. But more can be done.

One new trend – a short hop on from flexible pricing – is ‘sympathetic pricing’. This involves imaginative discounts and rewards that go beyond telling people you care, actually proving it by directly addressing customers’ specific pain points – and earning their loyalty as a result. For more on this, turn to page 36.

But the latest leap in consumer expectation demands even more flexibility from all operators – because the younger generations in particular no longer want to belong to just one gym. They want to mix and match, keeping enjoyment levels high by bringing variety into their routine.

As The Futures Company pointed out in the last issue of HCM: “To win with those aged under 30, gym owners must embrace – even encourage – a certain degree of promiscuity of membership.”

The boutique studios have recognised this. With flexibility at the very heart of their model, these operations are garnering huge loyalty by creating strong brands and enthusiastic communities – this in spite of a premium price tag and commitment-free ‘pay per class’ set-up. Joey Gonzalez, CEO of Barry’s Bootcamp, explains how in his interview on page 26.

The key here is to understand that your customers aren’t being disloyal to you if they don’t only use your gym; operators need to play to their strengths to ensure they stay in the exercise mix, but at the same time realise things have moved on from the one-stop shop.

So if you’re an operator, what’s the best way to go about embracing this desire for variety and flexibility? Certainly the likes of ClassPass offer a route to market that caters for the cherry-pickers – but how do you best use these tools to ensure they benefit your business rather than undermining it? On page 44, Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson of ClubIntel offer their advice to anyone considering working with what they call the ‘internet middlemen’.

A final thought on loyalty comes in our trendwatching feature on page 36, which points to the need for far deeper engagement with consumers. Did you know 63 per cent of people only buy products and services that appeal to their beliefs, values or ideals? German women-only club My Sportlady certainly appreciates this, offering heart-warming inspiration on page 58. It’s time to define what your brand stands for – your customers’ loyalty depends on it.

Kate Cracknell, Editor
[email protected] @HealthClubKate

http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/859439_61354.jpg
Gym contracts are so last year. Now it's all about flexibility. Kate Cracknell shares her views.
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features

Earning loyalty in 2015

By Kate Cracknell, Health Club Management | Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 11
Kate Cracknell, Editor
Kate Cracknell, Editor
Your customers aren’t being disloyal if they don’t only use your gym; things have moved on from the one-stop shop

Are contracts really the key driver of member loyalty, as numerous retention reports have stated over the years? ukactive’s latest Business Performance Benchmarking report suggests not – or at least, no longer. It found that gyms with a minimum 12-month fixed-term contract saw an average membership length of 11.2 months – far shorter than the 17.2-month average enjoyed by gyms that didn’t require a 12-month commitment and that offered more flexible contract lengths.

It seems the drivers of loyalty are changing. And while those drivers will vary from one customer to the next, one increasingly recurrent theme is the desire for flexibility.

The fitness sector has begun to respond, recognising that loyalty should be an active choice rather than a forced hand. The low cost-led shift away from contracts was a positive first step, and even where contracts have stayed in place, forward-thinking operators are introducing more flexibility: DiR’s à la carte membership, where members pay only for what they use, is a good example. But more can be done.

One new trend – a short hop on from flexible pricing – is ‘sympathetic pricing’. This involves imaginative discounts and rewards that go beyond telling people you care, actually proving it by directly addressing customers’ specific pain points – and earning their loyalty as a result. For more on this, turn to page 36.

But the latest leap in consumer expectation demands even more flexibility from all operators – because the younger generations in particular no longer want to belong to just one gym. They want to mix and match, keeping enjoyment levels high by bringing variety into their routine.

As The Futures Company pointed out in the last issue of HCM: “To win with those aged under 30, gym owners must embrace – even encourage – a certain degree of promiscuity of membership.”

The boutique studios have recognised this. With flexibility at the very heart of their model, these operations are garnering huge loyalty by creating strong brands and enthusiastic communities – this in spite of a premium price tag and commitment-free ‘pay per class’ set-up. Joey Gonzalez, CEO of Barry’s Bootcamp, explains how in his interview on page 26.

The key here is to understand that your customers aren’t being disloyal to you if they don’t only use your gym; operators need to play to their strengths to ensure they stay in the exercise mix, but at the same time realise things have moved on from the one-stop shop.

So if you’re an operator, what’s the best way to go about embracing this desire for variety and flexibility? Certainly the likes of ClassPass offer a route to market that caters for the cherry-pickers – but how do you best use these tools to ensure they benefit your business rather than undermining it? On page 44, Stephen Tharrett and Mark Williamson of ClubIntel offer their advice to anyone considering working with what they call the ‘internet middlemen’.

A final thought on loyalty comes in our trendwatching feature on page 36, which points to the need for far deeper engagement with consumers. Did you know 63 per cent of people only buy products and services that appeal to their beliefs, values or ideals? German women-only club My Sportlady certainly appreciates this, offering heart-warming inspiration on page 58. It’s time to define what your brand stands for – your customers’ loyalty depends on it.

Kate Cracknell, Editor
[email protected] @HealthClubKate

http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/859439_61354.jpg
Gym contracts are so last year. Now it's all about flexibility. Kate Cracknell shares her views.
Latest News
Life Leisure is expanding its facility portfolio with the launch of an independent boutique fitness ...
Latest News
Almost half of children and young people (46.8 per cent) in England are doing the ...
Latest News
A local fitness operator with 11 clubs in Chicago, US, is looking to muscle in ...
Latest News
Fitness industry veteran Nick Coutts has been appointed chair of Danish fitness tech firm Motosumo. ...
Latest News
The improvements in health and wellbeing associated with exercise referral schemes aren’t as large as ...
Latest News
The Bannatyne Group has appointed Hugh Hanley as its new head of fitness. He joins ...
Latest News
Physical exercise can improve the health of blood vessels in the heart for people with ...
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Hufft have created a community fitness centre in Humboldt, Kansas, that reflects the US city's ...
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Job search
POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Harlands Effect: Make Your Business More Profitable
Harlands Group is a membership management service for health and fitness operators, which interacts directly with members to effectively manage membership payments.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: GLL chooses Ethitec’s Tiara9 system for its exercise-based public health referral schemes
The Tiara9 system has been selected by leisure trust, GLL, to support the nationwide rollout of its Healthwise GP referral programme.
Company profiles
Company profile: Eleiko
We build upon our six-decade legacy in weightlifting, fuelled by our unwavering commitment to innovation, ...
Company profiles
Company profile: TRIB3 International Ltd
First established in Sheffield in January 2016 TRIB3 is a bootcamp boutique studio designed to ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Exercise equipment
Star Trac / Core Health & Fitness: Exercise equipment
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Direct debit solutions
Debit Finance Collections: Direct debit solutions
Fitness software
Go Do.Fitness: Fitness software
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Professional services
Deloitte UK: Professional services
Member access schemes
Move GB: Member access schemes
Fitness equipment
Stages Cycling: Fitness equipment
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
10-12 Dec 2019
tbc, Fort Lauderdale, United States
Diary dates
21-23 Jan 2020
Harrogate Convention Centre, Harrogate, United Kingdom
Diary dates
28-30 Jan 2020
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
Diary dates
23-25 Mar 2020
Hilton, Barcelona, Spain
Diary dates
25-26 Mar 2020
Eastwood Hall, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04 Jun 2020
Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
10-27 Jun 2020
tbc, Pinggu, China
Diary dates
13 Jun 2020
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
17-18 Jun 2020
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
30-31 Oct 2020
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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