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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Editor’s letter: Earning loyalty in 2015

By Kate Cracknell | 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 topage 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

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/859439_61354.jpg
Gym contracts are so last year. Now it's all about flexibility. Kate Cracknell shares her views.
Kate Cracknell, Editor, HCM,Loyalty, Kate Cracknell, flexibility, pricing, boutique, Barry’s Bootcamp, My Sportlady, ClubIntel, ClassPass
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features

Editor’s letter: Earning loyalty in 2015

By Kate Cracknell | 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 topage 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

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/859439_61354.jpg
Gym contracts are so last year. Now it's all about flexibility. Kate Cracknell shares her views.
Kate Cracknell, Editor, HCM,Loyalty, Kate Cracknell, flexibility, pricing, boutique, Barry’s Bootcamp, My Sportlady, ClubIntel, ClassPass
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Wellness tech firm Timeshifter has launched a new circadian app for shift workers, allowing them ...
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Sport England says it's introducing "new and innovative" ways to increase participation – by doing ...
Latest News
Denmark has been identified as the cheapest country in the world to live a healthy ...
Latest News
Boxx has launched a new generation punch bag and smart punch trackers that work with ...
Latest News
The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) and BBC Storyworks have struck up a partnership to create ...
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The global wellness economy will grow by 9.9 per cent annually and reach US$7trn by ...
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Inclusive Fitness Boston, a health club created specifically for those with disabilities and their families, ...
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The Women in Fitness Association (WIFA), is partnering with Sport Alliance to undertake a survey ...
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Opinion
promotion
FitnessOnDemand’s divisional vice president Uday Anumalachetty discusses what live fitness really means for clubs and their members today
Opinion: Why we need to reimagine what live fitness really means
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Feet on the ground, fitness in the clouds
Life Fitness has launched a new mobile app named Life Fitness Connect to provide the ultimate workout experience.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Greenvale Leisure Centre reveals brand new gym equipped with Core Health & Fitness products
Greenvale Leisure Centre in Northern Ireland last month revealed its brand new 800sq m gym completely transformed with Core Health & Fitness products.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active successfully reopens exercise referral scheme thanks to EXi partnership
Local authority leisure provider Everyone Active has reopened its essential exercise referral scheme, by joining forces with EXi, the NHS-approved exercise prescription app and data portal.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Video Gallery
Mindbody, Inc
Sport Alliance GmbH
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Company profiles
Company profile: Pulse Fitness
With an award-winning portfolio of over 450 pieces of cutting-edge, premium fitness equipment, Pulse Fitness ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Physical Company
Physical Company’s mission statement is ‘First for Fitness Solutions’ – a statement that reflects the ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Salt therapy products
Saltability: Salt therapy products
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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