Tag Archives: Classes

How to increase member retention: A guide for sports centres, gyms and studios

7 August 2018 openplay Leave a comment Booking System, Memberships

It’s the same every year; January sees a flock of eager Christmas-pudding shifters clog up the gym as they attempt to do sit-ups on the leg curl machine. But most of these blow-ins are nowhere to be seen come February. Gyms must work harder to motivate and retain these well-intentioned newbies if they want to keep their membership numbers up.

Redundant memberships are more common than active ones. The less a member uses your facilities, the less likely they are to renew their membership. For every additional visit a person makes each month, their risk of cancellation reduces by 33%.

So how can you increase member retention? The answer is surprisingly simple: communication and engagement.

Reward member loyalty

Your longtime members are most likely to become dissatisfied with your service. To combat this, consider offering a point-style loyalty system where people earn a free smoothie after five visits or free personal training session after 20 visits. Reward them with extra guest passes, which, in turn, could gift you with new members.

Implement a CRM system

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is booming in the technology world and beyond. CRM is usually stored in the cloud, where it records, reports, and analyses each interaction between a business and its customers. When you understand your customers; remember their previous requests, their birthday, and their goals with you, they feel valued. Your CRM system is built into your OpenPlay account, so you can access a customer’s details and discover their relationship with you directly from your OpenPlay dashboard.

Curious? Learn more: CRM- A complete guide

Promote PT and group classes

It is not the swanky heated pool or treadmills with Sky Tv that will keep the bulk of your members coming back; human interaction will. People are socially motivated. Whether it’s a group fitness class, where friends can work out together, or a personal trainer who will scream at clients for missing a session, humans need to be involved.

Challenge cycles

Make every second month the “January rush”. Host a ‘30-day Challenge,’ where people compete to complete the highest number of workouts in 30 days. Introduce a leadership board and get your staff to promote the competition or even join it. These competitive events will keep customers engaged and help them achieve their exercise goals.

Reach out to inactive members

Using your CRM system, you can track member activity. Send polite, motivational emails to those who have been absent for a few weeks. Recommend your favourite upcoming classes, Attaching workout tips and remind members that your staff are always around to help with any questions or concerns.

Staff engagement

To keep members engaged, you need your facilities to feel like a community. A hello is free, and a smile costs nothing, so make sure that every employee is friendly and forthcoming. Wherever possible, learn clients’ names, and use them. Staff should be extra accommodating with new members- yes, the January mob! Show them how to use equipment, recommend appropriate classes, and welcome them into the community.

Question: What tactics have you used to increase member retention?

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Should Class No-Shows be Punished?

16 April 2018 openplay Leave a comment Analytics, Operations

No-shows (people skiving fitness classes) are a real problem for gyms and sports clubs. A full class plus waitlist is often an optimistic mirage that results in a class half empty. Members who tried and failed to make the cut walk past a deserted studio and are outraged that they were turned away. Complaints flood reception- something must be done! Punishments are in place in many clubs. They may be monetary or ban no-shows from future classes. Are they effective? And more importantly is it right to punish grown adults for truancy?

The Pros…

  • A fuller class.
  • Member engagement.
  • Classes appear popular and more enticing.
  • Some members enjoy the motivational aspect of avoiding punishment.

The Cons…

  • The cons (there are a lot) are the process itself. It is long-winded and requires a team effort for even semi-efficient execution.

The Sign-up Race

Whether booking opens 24 hours or seven days in advance, some classes will fill up instantly, so members need to have their finger on the button. This method makes signing up to a beginner’s pilates class feel like you’re booking tickets to Glastonbury. Anyone who doesn’t set their alarm and sit by their computer may miss out on a slot.

The Cancellation Window

Most clubs allow students to cancel in advance of their class. This can be up to four hours before or, in more extreme cases, a full day ahead. Four hours, although easier on the deserter, may not be enough time for waitlisters to accept a spot and for newbies to sign up.

The Punishment itself

Some chains charge £4 for a late cancellation, which is enough to make someone hesitate before backing out. Some studios take this a notch further, with penalties hovering between the 10 to 15 pound mark, plus (if applicable) the price of the class itself. These are extortionate prices and seem too extreme for member clubs. Another option many gyms take, is the “No Show, No Go”. If students miss a series of classes they will be banned from booking for a period of time. These can be effective in some cases but has little to no effect on those who skip classes sporadically.

The Register Malarkey

Now that you have vowed to punish all who sin, you must actually take note of no-shows. The majority of gym chains print out a register, which is a hassle for both reception staff and instructors. In order to use the most up-to-date list, receptionists must print off registers no more than 30 minutes before class starts. Yet, this still doesn’t account for last minute drop-outs and it is a nightmare for instructors teaching back-to-back lessons who will be running up and down to reception like a yo-yo.

The Solution

Going digital eliminates all printing, and keeps everything current and instant. An ipad in the studio would allow even late members to quickly sign in without disturbing the class. An alternative would be to keep control within the instructor’s hands. Registers are available within their app, from which they call out names and sign people in.

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