Top Tips: Fitness Engagement
I often get asked for tips on how to keep gym members engaged within a fitness facility. Many gyms focus on sales and neglect the retention of their current members. Rather than spend time looking for new members it is far easier and more cost effective to retain the ones you already have, it’s also far more enjoyable!
I first worked as a Fitness Instructor in 1999 when I took a role in the heart of Reading at a bustling 2000 member gym. My new boss could see I was an enthusiastic young woman and he decided to focus my energy into the engagement of our members, I was tasked with creating elaborate gym challenges, notice boards, member competitions and members events, all of which totally appealed to my creative side.
When I was up to date with my tasks one week I asked him what I should do with myself, he said ‘there’s always something to do, your job is to talk to our members’ Genius I thought, a job where I was permitted to speak to people, this was too good to be true for me as I liked nothing more than chatting to people and so I took to the gym floor every chance I had to chat to our members. I gradually got to know everyone. There was a great buzz in the gym and we had happy members, we would regularly attract new members simply by recommendation and referral. These straight forward yet effective methods of member engagement are still entirely relevant today.
In addition, there has been many technological advances that can support with member engagement. Gym challenges are now available on the actual equipment, along with TV channels, radio, goal setting, progress charts and even computer games. There are apps and gadgets that can monitor your fitness levels and running distances for example. However, be cautious not to rely on these technological advancements and neglect the personal approach. Get to know your members, understand what their goals are, what their training preferences may be and get to know the times they come in to train. Address them by their name and make them feel valued. Even those members who prefer to keep a low profile will appreciate a personalised welcome and farewell if nothing else. A nice little touch is to send an email to your customer if you haven’t seen them for a while, let them know they’re missed, wish them happy birthday or congratulate them when they hit certain goals.
Keep up to date with Industry trends and refresh your equipment offering from time to time. Keep your fitness classes fresh and introduce extra services such as juice bars, healthy menus, personal training, nutritional assessments and health coaching to name a few. I would also recommend having a small retail offering, selling swimwear, gym wear, health products and perhaps skincare and body products. It all contributes to member engagement.
I have had the pleasure of managing four gyms and working in several others, the success of each one of them has been entirely down to the warmth and interaction of the staff.
Helena Field, CEO & Co-Founder, SpaPulse