The health and sports club market is a highly competitive one. In any major city, there are likely to be two or more competing clubs in a four-block radius, each claiming to offer something its competitors don’t. Very often, however, there aren’t necessarily any major selling factors that make one club stand out. How can you change that and make your club the most attractive one, increasing and retaining membership for good business, solid revenue, and low churn? Try these five tips.
The basic factors that make up a health and sports club are the same, namely facilities for sports participation (be it courts, fields and/or a pool) and workout equipment that enables members to cover all their training needs. However, you can’t provide just these basics and think it will be enough to draw and retain members. You need a unique selling point (USP) that will make people choose your gym over any other. It could be your pricing structure, your class schedule, state-of-the-art machines that you can’t get anywhere else, or perhaps (and this is an unbeatable trump card) a retractable roof system (see below). If you don’t have a USP, develop one and focus on that in all membership sales strategies.
Nobody likes to be just another number. And, unfortunately, this is a major risk with health and sports clubs, especially larger ones. One way to draw people in right from the start is to personalize your approach. You could offer a free body assessment and exercise plan with join-up for example, making each new member feel that you are prepared to tailor your approach to their specific needs to consider them as individuals. You could also establish a social atmosphere that makes people feel they are welcome to interact with fellow members and staff, rather than just doing their workout or playing their game and then leaving. Create competitions and drives that help members to feel more involved. You could even start with a personalized tour when someone signs up or offer one free training session. All of these initiatives will help members to feel more welcome and part of a community. A sentiment that, provided it is maintained, will keep them coming and also attract new members.
A new gym can be quite intimidating. Some new members may not know how to use certain facilities or may feel intimidated by other, more confident members. Eliminate these feelings from the start by training your staff to be as helpful and friendly as possible, unobtrusively offering guidance where necessary – especially in the beginning or during a trial period. Let your facilities themselves be easily approachable as well. If prospects walk into your club for an exploratory visit but don’t feel at ease, they are unlikely to sign up.
All of the above can be worked into good membership retention strategies as well. Remember that keeping your membership up is not just about signing up new members; it’s also a matter of preventing churn and retaining your current members. Make sure everyone is happy and your numbers will continue to look good.
As far as your facilities themselves go, there is limited value in upgrading your machines or expanding your weight room. While these measures are fine and necessary, they will ultimately offer very little increased value to your user experience. Something that can dramatically increase this experience, however, is the installation of a retractable roof system over your swimming pool or gym. Retractable roofs for health and sports clubs make swimming and other sports a more attractive prospect throughout the year. Members can enjoy an outdoor atmosphere in summer and continue with their swimming and other training when the weather takes a turn for the worse. This could become a powerful USP for your club.
OpenAire specializes in the design and construction of enclosures and retractable roofs for use in health and sports clubs, among other facilities. OpenAire has helped to increase the membership numbers of several prestigious health and sports clubs through the addition of customized retractable roofs, including the Ontario Racquet Club, The Granite Club, and Royal Glenora Clubs (all in Toronto), The Plunge at FIT in San Diego, CA, and the Seven Feathers Hotel and Casino Resort in Canyonville, OR.