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Understanding GYM Membership Dynamics

Information gathered from The International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) and The Fitness Industry Association (FIA) has shown some interesting patterns about gym membership, attendance and adherence.

Gym Attendance - It is simply the number of times people/clients/members come at the gym.  Attendance patterns have shown 3 peak points when the members can conveniently schedule their gym and can be categorised as before work, lunch break and after work. Attendance is better at the start of the week and waivers during the weekend. Gym attendance is usually analysed at the 6 month mark of the membership. It is seen that there are 3 groups at this stage – the “at risk membership” constituting 44% of members, the “low usage membership” at 27% and the “active membership” category which constitutes of 29% of the members.

ACTION TIP: When a member falls in the “low usage membership” it is red flag and implies that his needs are not being met.

Gym Retention: This refers to the rejoining or membership submission decision of a gym member on expiry of his membership.  Attendance pattern and retention are co-related. Attendance performance is a clear indication if the member is going to retain his membership. It was seen that “low usage membership” rejoined 59% of the time while the “active usage membership” rejoined at 78%. Also the “low usage membership” if converted to ‘high attendees’ rejoined 14% of the time. 

ACTION TIP: As a gym owner, it becomes important to prioritise and achieve an attendance of 3 or 4 or more times a week with new members in the starting month. Also the 14% data shows that contacting the low attendees and working to increase their attendance can influence retention.
Gym Adherence: It concerns the acceptability and compliance of the member to the prescribed fitness program. Adherence is a tad difficult to monitor but directly affects the attendance and the retention. As this is the most vital part of the gym. Members will adhere to the exercise regime if they can see results and benefits from their gym membership. A satisfaction survey reported 44% of members feel the gym involvement to be a contributing factor in retention. The gyms have an attrition rate of 30-50%. But the stats clearly show that there is an opportunity which should be utilised by strengthening the gyms’ resources.

ACTION TIP: Customer service is not simply being friendly. It means focus on the right gym equipment, the right fitness program to achieve the result desired by the member.


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