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How to Increase Gym Membership Retention (27 Ways)

How to Increase Gym Membership Retention (27 Ways)

Posted by Tyler Spraul, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®) on May 18, 2023 — Updated on December 6, 2023

Learning how to increase gym membership retention is a necessary part of running a successful gym. As gym owners and managers, we all know the frustration of seeing members come and go, with few sticking around for the long haul. High gym turnover rates can be costly for gyms, both in terms of revenue and reputation. Fortunately, there are plenty of strategies that gym owners can implement to improve gym retention rates and keep gym members engaged and satisfied. Read on to learn some concrete steps (with 27 actionable tips) to learn how to increase gym retention rates, make your gym stand out, and ultimately increase gym revenue and profitability.

Fitness Income Ideas

In this article, we’ll explore some effective ways to increase gym membership retention. Be sure and check out the best gym management software platform to really skyrocket your fitness club’s growth.

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Founder and President, APEC Sports Performance

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Understanding Gym Membership Retention

Before we delve into specific strategies, let’s take a closer look at what membership retention actually means and why it’s so important for gyms. Retention refers to the percentage of members who continue to use the gym and renew their memberships over a given period, such as a year. High retention rates mean that members are satisfied with the gym experience and are more likely to stick around for the long term. On the other hand, low retention rates can mean that members are dissatisfied with aspects of the gym, such as pricing, facility maintenance, or staff interactions.

Why Retention Matters for Gyms

Retention rates are a key indicator of a gym’s success. High retention rates can help gyms build a loyal customer base and create a consistent revenue stream. Additionally, satisfied members are more likely to refer friends and family to the gym, helping to attract new members and expand the gym’s reach. On the other hand, low retention rates can lead to negative reviews and a poor reputation, making it harder to attract new members and grow the business.

Factors Affecting Membership Retention

There are several factors that can impact membership retention rates, including:

  • Price and value
  • Cleanliness and maintenance of facilities
  • Quality of equipment and amenities
  • Friendliness and helpfulness of staff
  • Availability of individualized fitness programs
  • Group classes and community building
  • Flexibility in membership options

By working to improve these areas, gym owners can create a more satisfying and engaging member experience, ultimately leading to higher retention rates.

Read More: How to Sell More Gym Memberships

The Importance of Cleanliness and Maintenance

One of the most important factors affecting gym membership retention is the cleanliness and maintenance of the facilities. Members want to work out in a clean and safe environment, free from equipment malfunctions and other hazards. Gym owners should prioritize regular cleaning and maintenance schedules to ensure that the gym is always in top condition. This includes regularly wiping down equipment, mopping floors, and cleaning bathrooms and locker rooms.

Read More: Gym Cleaning Guide

The Value of Quality Equipment and Amenities

Another key factor in gym membership retention is the quality of equipment and amenities. Members want access to state-of-the-art equipment that is well-maintained and easy to use. Gyms should invest in high-quality equipment and regularly upgrade their offerings to stay competitive. Additionally, amenities like saunas, pools, and massage services can add value to a membership and increase retention rates.

Read More: Best Gym Features and Amenities

The Power of Community Building

Group classes and community building activities can also play a significant role in gym membership retention. Members who feel a sense of community and connection with others are more likely to stick around for the long term. Gyms should offer a variety of group classes, such as yoga, spin, and dance, to appeal to a wide range of interests. Additionally, hosting social events like potlucks or fitness challenges can help build a sense of community among members.

Read More: Gift Ideas for Personal Training Clients

The Importance of Individualized Fitness Programs

Members want to feel like their fitness goals are being addressed and that they are making progress. Offering individualized fitness programs, such as personal training or customized workout plans, can help members feel more engaged and motivated. By tailoring fitness programs to individual needs and goals, gyms can create a more personalized experience for members, ultimately leading to higher retention rates.

Read More: Best Gym Software with Personal Training Management

The Role of Staff Friendliness and Helpfulness

Finally, the friendliness and helpfulness of staff members can have a significant impact on gym membership retention. Members want to feel welcomed and supported by staff, whether they are asking for help with equipment or seeking advice on their fitness goals. Gyms should prioritize staff training and development to ensure that all employees are knowledgeable, approachable, and supportive of members.

By focusing on these key factors, gym owners can create a more satisfying and engaging member experience, ultimately leading to higher retention rates and a more successful business.

Read More:

Tony Gentilcore
Exercise.com makes my life easier by providing an all-in-one solution and the opportunity to help those who otherwise would never have access to my programming!
Tony Gentilcore
Founder, Core Online

Creating a Positive Gym Environment

One of the key factors in improving gym retention rates is creating a welcoming and positive gym environment. This includes factors such as:

Cleanliness and Maintenance

A clean and well-maintained gym is essential to creating a positive environment. Members want to feel that they are working out in a safe and hygienic space. Regular cleaning and maintenance of equipment, facilities, and restrooms can go a long way in promoting member satisfaction.

It’s important for gym owners and staff to understand that cleanliness extends beyond just wiping down equipment after use. Regular deep cleaning of floors, mats, and other surfaces can help prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. Additionally, keeping the gym well-stocked with cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer can encourage members to do their part in maintaining a clean environment.

Read More: Gym Cleaning Guide

Friendly and Supportive Staff

Having friendly and helpful staff can make a huge difference in member satisfaction. Staff who greet members by name, offer assistance with equipment, and provide encouragement and support can create a more welcoming and engaging environment. Additionally, staff who are knowledgeable about fitness and exercise can help members reach their goals, which can lead to higher retention rates.

One way to ensure that staff are providing top-notch customer service is to provide ongoing training and development opportunities. This can include workshops on communication skills, customer service, and fitness trends. By investing in their staff, gym owners can create a team of employees who are passionate about helping members achieve their fitness goals.

Offering a Variety of Equipment and Amenities

Members want access to a variety of equipment and amenities, so they can customize their workouts and try new things. Gyms that offer a range of machines, free weights, and functional equipment, as well as amenities such as saunas, pools, and yoga studios, are more likely to keep members engaged and satisfied.

It’s important for gym owners to regularly assess their equipment and amenities to ensure that they are meeting the needs of their members. This can include conducting surveys or focus groups to gather feedback, as well as staying up-to-date on fitness trends and industry developments. By offering the latest and greatest in fitness equipment and amenities, gym owners can attract new members and keep existing ones coming back for more.

Creating a positive gym environment requires a multifaceted approach that includes cleanliness and maintenance, friendly and supportive staff, and a variety of equipment and amenities. By prioritizing these factors, gym owners can improve member satisfaction, increase retention rates, and ultimately grow their business.

Read More: Best Gym Features and Amenities

Enhancing Member Experience

At our gym, we are committed to providing our members with the best possible experience. We understand that going to the gym can be a daunting experience, especially for those who are new to fitness. That’s why we go the extra mile to ensure that our members feel comfortable and supported every step of the way.

Personalized Fitness Programs

Our personalized fitness programs are designed to help our members achieve their fitness goals in a safe and effective way. We start by conducting a thorough fitness assessment, which includes a body composition analysis, cardiovascular fitness test, and muscular strength and endurance test. Based on the results of this assessment, we create a customized workout plan that takes into account our members’ fitness goals, fitness level, and any medical conditions or injuries they may have.

In addition to the customized workout plan, we also offer goal-setting sessions where our members can discuss their fitness goals with one of our certified personal trainers. Our trainers work closely with our members to ensure that they stay motivated and on track to achieving their goals. We also monitor our members’ progress regularly and make adjustments to their workout plan as needed.

Group Classes and Community Building

We believe that fitness should be fun and engaging, which is why we offer a wide range of group classes that cater to different fitness levels and interests. Our classes include yoga, Pilates, high-intensity interval training, dance workouts, and more. Our certified instructors are passionate about fitness and work hard to create a welcoming and supportive environment for our members.

In addition to our group classes, we also host social events throughout the year, such as potlucks, charity runs, and member-only Facebook groups. These events provide our members with an opportunity to connect with each other and build a sense of community.

Read More:

Regular Member Check-ins and Feedback

We value our members’ feedback and are always looking for ways to improve our gym. That’s why we conduct regular check-ins with our members to understand their needs and concerns. We also offer surveys and suggestion boxes to gather feedback from our members. This feedback helps us make informed decisions about our programming and policies.

We also love hearing from our satisfied members and encourage them to share their success stories with us. These testimonials not only make us proud of our work but also help us attract new members who are looking for a gym that truly cares about their fitness journey.

At our gym, we are committed to providing our members with a personalized, engaging, and supportive fitness experience. We believe that fitness is a journey, and we are here to help our members every step of the way.

Implementing Effective Retention Strategies

Retaining members is a critical component of running a successful gym or fitness center. While attracting new members is always important, it is equally important to keep existing members happy and engaged. Implementing effective retention strategies can help ensure that members stay with your gym for the long term.

Flexible Membership Options

One of the most effective ways to improve retention rates is by offering flexible membership options. Members want to feel that they are getting the most value for their money, and offering different levels of membership can appeal to different types of members. For example, some members may prefer a month-to-month membership, while others may prefer an annual membership. By offering a variety of options, you can cater to the needs of all your members.

Another way to incentivize members to stick around is by offering discounts for referrals or group memberships. When members feel that they are part of a community, they are more likely to stay committed to their fitness goals.

Reward and Loyalty Programs

Offering rewards for loyalty is another effective retention strategy. When members feel that their gym is invested in their success and well-being, they are more likely to continue their membership. Rewards can include discounts on merchandise or classes, free gym swag, or even free personal training sessions.

Creating a loyalty program can also help build a sense of investment and commitment among members. For example, you could offer a free month of membership to members who have been with your gym for a year or more. This not only rewards loyal members but also encourages other members to stay committed for the long term.

Read More:

Effective Communication and Engagement

Finally, effective communication and regular engagement with members are critical to improving retention rates. Members want to feel that they are part of a community and that their gym is invested in their success. This can include sending out regular email newsletters with updates, holding member appreciation days, or creating social media content that highlights member success stories.

By creating a dynamic and engaging gym environment, gym owners can keep members connected and committed for the long term. Members who feel that they are part of a community are more likely to stay committed to their fitness goals and to recommend your gym to their friends and family.

Remember, retaining members is just as important as attracting new ones. By implementing effective retention strategies, you can create a loyal and committed member base that will help your gym thrive for years to come.

Read More:

27 Tips to Increase Gym Member Retention

Read these concrete ways to increase gym retention, get some powerful gym membership retention strategies, and then put them into action in your gym.

  • If you want to increase gym member retention, outstanding customer service should be the top priority for management and staff.
  • Social connections retain current members and promote the business via word-of-mouth recommendations.
  • Capitalize on social media and management software opportunities.

You know a well-managed gym when you see one, and it goes beyond a clean, modern facility and equipment. The receptionist is welcoming and helpful. Positive energy and good vibes exude from smiling, sweaty customers. Trainers engage in productive conversations with their clients. The enthusiasm and fun of a group class make you want to jump right in. 

We can all picture this idealistic gym in our heads, but how do you achieve one in reality?

Look no further than our complete guide of tips that can help to increase gym member retention rates by cultivating a relational, engaging gym culture!

And be sure to request a demo of Exercise.com’s custom business software platform: the real secret to business success and profit

Increase Gym Member Retention With Customer Service

Gym membership retention statistics don’t lie.

So, how long does the average person keep a gym membership? While some attrition is inevitable, the average fitness center has an annual attrition rate of 28.6%. Almost a third of customers leaving a fitness establishment every year should give pause to any manager and question why this occurs.

Why Is Member Retention Important and How Do You Retain Club Members?

In order to explore creative ways to improve gym member retention, we must first know why they remain loyal. 

A growing trend across all businesses is services given without any personal interaction. This might be most prominently seen in the popularity of mobile ordering food and beverages: get your order without even making eye contact. These customers aren’t the ones managers worry about retaining; as long as the service is correct, these customers usually return. 

The customers who sever their membership contract are the ones who aren’t engaged or have found a better arrangement somewhere else. This can happen for a variety of reasons, leaving managers scratching their heads, hoping attrition doesn’t become a trend.

To once again return to the foodservice analogy, not many of us would return to a restaurant where the waiter was snappy, our order was wrong, and the manager didn’t refund the error. If the manager was apologetic and the wrong righted, we might give them a second or third chance, however, we remain skeptical and unattached to the establishment, ready to find an alternative. 

But we all have a restaurant, coffee shop, or grocery store we frequent because we are known, valued, and appreciated. The employees know our name and our order, they ask about our families, jobs, and lives, and thank us for our loyalty.

Fitness centers are not that different from food service. Especially in cities where gyms are almost as prevalent as fast-food restaurants, loyal gym members are the ones who feel known, valued, and appreciated, instead of hopping to the next gym down the street. They also experience the results predicted by their personal trainers.

Deliver Top Customer Service

For many members, their dedication is based upon how they feel after being at your gym–about themselves, the staff, or the other members. If members don’t feel included in the gym’s community or connected to staff and those around them, they’re less likely to renew their membership.

However, companies that prioritize customer service experience 60% higher profits than their competitors. It should be the top priority of every fitness center, then, to provide the best customer experience and service. Check out the video above for more reasons why customer service matters.

How Can I Increase My Gym Membership Retention? It Starts at the Top

Before you start listing out all of your gym member retention ideas, you need to address your customer service.

How is irresistible customer service achieved? With a strong vision and total buy-in from your staff. 

Have a Captivating Vision

Go beyond simply providing a space where people can exercise; how will your fitness center change peoples’ lives? Choose three or four words that sum up and describe what you’re hoping to achieve, then write compelling mission, value, and vision statements that are customer-oriented. 

If these statements aren’t empowering, exciting, and engaging, chances are your employees won’t feel this way either. This means customer service will be lacking, with attrition soon to follow. 

Hiring the Right People

When filling a vacant position, you want to hire the best gym staff who are motivated by your mission, value, and vision statements. The new hire should be someone who upholds these statements. If employees aren’t committed to seeing your vision fulfilled, then customer service will suffer. Watch this video to learn what to look for in an employee:

As IHRSA so aptly states: “Every hiring decision is a retention decision.” This means every employee is responsible for retention by keeping a positive atmosphere and customer service experience. 

However, it is crucial to understand that not every applicant is capable of doing this! Some applicants may have a more prestigious certification, more experience, or know all the right answers, but managers must discern the applicant who truly upholds the vision for the fitness center. It might not be the applicant who looks most appealing on paper.

When you’ve hired the right people, your employees share and live the company’s values. This means there’s less need to micromanage because everyone is working towards the same goal. When conflict arises, you can easily get back on the same page by returning to the company’s values. This creates a more peaceful and productive gym culture, aiding in retention.   

Cut Your Losses

Hiring and training of new gym staff is expensive and time-consuming. Managers may struggle to cut grumbling, divisive, abrasive, or lazy employees to avoid the hassle and cost of finding a replacement. It’s especially tempting when such employees convert enough sales to make their grim personality worth bearing. However, this is detrimental in the long run. Work hard to motivate gym staff.

Spending time and energy trying to keep the difficult employees happy will drive your excellent employees away. Worse still, those great employees will be hired by another gym and build up your competitors with superior customer service.

It’s important to understand why an employee isn’t cooperating with company standards:

  • They Can’t: The inability to perform duties can be overcome through proper training and accountability.
  • They Might: The inconsistency to properly perform required duties can be overcome through coaching, written documentation, and goals.
  • They Won’t: The unwillingness or refusal to perform required duties should be met with employment termination.

Once determining where an employee stands, it’s your responsibility to take the appropriate action. If termination is necessary, then that is the best decision for your business! Your customers and other employees might even thank you! 

Tips for Quality Gym Culture: The Business

Once you have assembled a team that is pumped about the company’s values and vision, take time to carefully analyze every aspect of your business to maximize the customer service opportunities and to highlight the importance of member retention.

Lead By Example

#1 – Promote the Right Managers

First off, make sure the managers are worth emulating. Why? Because what leaders do in moderation, followers will do in excess. If your managers aren’t leading well or holding employees accountable, the business will suffer. Make sure to hire the best gym manager.

#2 – Enjoy Your Work

Everyone appreciates a manager (or employee!) who enjoys their work. Their passion is infectious, encouraging their whole team to have a positive attitude and work ethic. Lead by example and find enjoyment in every part of your job, even if it’s cleaning the bathrooms again. Everyone is watching you, all of the time! Make the most of your influence and inspire your team to be their best.

#3 – Make Introductions

Be quick to introduce yourself to anyone who is unfamiliar. Although this could be a new employee, usually this will be with new members. Take a few minutes to get to know them, thank them for choosing your gym, and encourage them to ask you any questions they might have.

But don’t stop there! Introduce new members to longstanding members, as well. This eases the new member into the gym culture by breaking the ice of awkwardness, encouraging an inclusive gym community culture.

#4 – Interact with Everyone

It’s easy to only talk to the members with outgoing personalities, where conversation flows freely and easily. But lead by example and interact with all gym members, even the ones who are less talkative or regular attenders. Plus, talking to members who come irregularly is a great way to encourage more commitment and participation in your gym!

#5 – Care For Your Team

Your gym culture is essentially the personality of your gym. Where does this personality come from? Your staff! A staff that feels valued and appreciated, as seen in the video above, will be inspired to be their best, work cooperatively, and contribute their personality to the culture of the gym. 

Have regular conversations with your employees that go beyond small-talk and what they did on the weekend. Get to know them as people, what they like and dislike. Involve your team in appropriate decisions, provide clear communication, celebrate birthdays, plan team-bonding activities, and more! Such efforts will be rewarded with a stronger gym culture that retains members. 

How to Keep Gym Members Happy: Create an Inviting Atmosphere

When learning how to increase gym attendance, creating an inviting atmosphere is key. Since gyms are a service-based company, every single impression counts. One of the first things people notice about your fitness center is the atmosphere. 

#6 – Create a Community

Humans have an innate desire to belong to a group. If there’s one easy way to retain members, it’s through creating a deep-knit gym community where members feel a sense of belonging. This takes careful planning and strategy, keeping your pulse on needs and trends, and creating space and opportunities for social connections.

We will discuss community-building ideas in more detail throughout this article, but keep the following areas in mind when you’re focused on health club member retention:

  • Each Age Group: Teenagers connect differently than college-aged than middle-aged than seniors. Consider how to maximize community engagement in each age range. Younger members may want more social media interaction, whereas older members may want face-to-face interaction.
  • Each Means of Connection: Leave no stone unturned when it comes to ways to connect! Texts, phone calls, emails, social media, websites, member activities or outings, social spaces inside the gym, and more! The more avenues you provide for connection, the more opportunities you have to retain members.

#7 – Create Social Spaces

IHRSA reports that 60% of gym members attribute social motivation as their primary reason for attending a gym. Additionally, 70% of gym members who have relationships or social connections with other gym members self-identified as club promoters in the community! (Word-of-mouth advertising is 92% more effective than other forms of advertisements!)

This means gyms should utilize non-exercise areas to encourage socialization! An easy way to do this is to observe where pockets of people tend to gather and talk. Then add some furniture or decor that makes the space more available and inviting for socialization. 

For example, add tables and chairs around the juice bar, make the lounge more interactive, update the locker room so members can mingle, and make the waiting areas outside groups classes more inviting. The more areas you provide for people to connect and build relationships, the greater your retention. 

#8 – Get Feedback

Do members enjoy coming to your gym? Why or why not? Encourage regular feedback from your members, whether it’s verbally or through an email survey. Feedback provides insight into the mind of your customers. It staves off attrition because it allows customers to feel heard and you to make changes that might drive customers away. 

Include your front desk staff and trainers in acquiring feedback. Members may not have the courage or time to share their opinions or preferences with you, but the staff might have beneficial suggestions. For example, trainers might notice frustration when a machine routinely has a line, or maybe the floor plan isn’t conducive to traffic flow. Including your staff encourages greater loyalty and ownership, which ultimately results in greater customer retention.

For more tips on how to utilize feedback to grow your business, watch the TEDx video above!

#9 – Improve Group Exercise Classes

Whether it’s the desire to connect or not knowing how to exercise, many members across all age groups participate in group exercise classes. In fact, 36% of members participate in fitness classes. Engage more members by considering the following improvements:

  • Keep tabs on participants. The experience is less enjoyable if a certain class is popular and overcrowded. Consider providing additional times for overpopulated classes by cutting less popular classes.
  • Regularly survey members for which classes they attend and how often. Offer potential classes that would provide additional member engagement and get feedback if members would participate.
  • Offer post-class social events, such as encouraging socialization after classes either in-house or out in the community.
  • Encourage participation in group classes (because group classes open doors for social connections, and social connections improve retention!) by offering an incentive like a free gym shirt or water bottle after completion of a set of group classes. 

#10 – Improve Gym Floor Experience

As mentioned above, overcrowding–especially during peak hours–can frustrate members and discourage completing a full workout – leading to decreased member retention for gyms. To combat this, track each machine’s use and consider replacing machines that aren’t used as often for machines that are. 

For example, leg press machines may not be as popular (or have as long of a wait) as treadmills. Trading out a few leg machines for treadmills will result in greater customer satisfaction and retention.

Additionally, make sure all equipment is cleaned properly and regularly examined for safety. Keep the bathrooms, showers, locker rooms, and other amenity areas clean and functional. Replace or repair broken items or equipment quickly so as to not disturb a member’s experience.  

#11 – Have the Best Software

You can have the most knowledgable staff, cleanest facility, and bonded gym community, but without the right software, something will be missing.

The Exercise.com Gym Management Platform is the secret ingredient to retaining members. Check out what is offered through our comprehensive program:

Our software increases retention by keeping things simple, easy, and fun for your members. They can track their workouts, stay in communication with trainers, join groups for community and accountability, and more on our user-friendly website and app.

Managers can easily moderate paperwork, billing, and scheduling. Trainers can design workouts, introduce new exercises with videos, track client progress, and so much more! It’s a software that you can personalize for your business to maximize member retention.  

Tony Gentilcore
Exercise.com makes my life easier by providing an all-in-one solution and the opportunity to help those who otherwise would never have access to my programming!
Tony Gentilcore
Founder, Core Online

Want to learn more about the best gym management software?

Get a demo now!

Gym Member Engagement Ideas

You’ve done your part to hire people who embody your gym’s culture, create a positive atmosphere, and improve the overall quality. Now that everything is set up to welcome and impress your customers, it’s time to win them over with a personalized exercise experience.

The New Member

In regard to member retention, fitness industry pros know that the first six weeks are crucial to building the relationship that retains new members. This is the “first impression” period where a member makes up their mind about whether to renew their membership or not. Here are some ways to boost their retention probability:

#12 – Be Welcoming

This should go without saying, but as mentioned earlier, it’s easy to just smile and give an acknowledging nod at a new member. Instead, train all your staff to introduce themselves, offer help, get to know new members, incorporate them into the gym community, invite them to group classes, and countless other inclusive ideas. Watch this video to learn more:

This is not just for the first few times they show up, but for the critical six week period! It’s easy to forget that members are still new, even though they’ve come several times. A member who feels forgotten will have no regret canceling their membership. But a member who feels included, known, and missed when they are absent has an emotional connection that often results in a renewed membership

#13 – Include All Members

Most people have a reason for signing a membership contract: they have a goal they want to achieve. Many members don’t want or can’t afford a personal trainer, but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored by trainers. Receiving affirmation from personal trainers is an excellent way to encourage a supportive gym community. Trainers who know a member’s goal and are encouraging and instructing them along the way are key assets to retaining members.

The Longtime Member

Don’t forget about your faithful members or assume they will be loyal forever. This is the group most likely to become dissatisfied and detract from your business. Consider these ways to engage longtime members and keep them happy:

#14 – Utilize Their Experience

Make longtime members feel special through acknowledgment of their loyalty and experience. Ask if they can share their favorite things about your gym in a testimony to be used for promotional purposes. Encourage leadership by having them be an assistant instructor for their favorite group class or being a “workout buddy” for new members. 

#15 – Reward Their Loyalty

Everyone appreciates saving money! Reward their loyalty with discounts, offers, tips, or other member benefits. Consider running a referral program where current members get further discounts for referring new members. 

#16 – Encourage Them to Try New Things

It’s extremely common for members to get in a routine that’s comfortable and fits their time capabilities. But this routine can often turn into a rut of boredom and customers let their membership drop. 

Fight comfort and boredom by encouraging members to try new things! If they like high-intensity workouts, offer a kickboxing class. If they like a dance-based exercise class, offer a class with a different dance style. Or go out of their comfort zone and challenge them to do something completely different. They might find a renewed love of exercise, and with it, a further commitment to your gym.

For more reasons why trying new things is important, check out the above video.

The Waffling Member

#17 – Reach Out to Infrequent Members

IHRSA lists the group with the highest risk for membership drop out as those who haven’t attended for more than a week—but have attended within the last two weeks. Don’t hesitate to contact members who haven’t come to the gym in a while! This gesture boosts retention by letting the member know they’re missed and helps them get back on track with their fitness goals before motivation completely fades.

#18 – Reach Out to Previous Customers

If a membership is canceled, this doesn’t mean the customer left on bad terms. After a period of time has passed, consider reaching out to previous customers who left because of increased financial or life stressors. You can inform them of a special promotion or discount that might result in a renewed membership.  

Care for All Members

Regardless of if a member is new, infrequent, or has been around since the gym opened, there are basic standards of membership care that boosts retention rates. Watch this video for tips on caring for your members:

#19 – Get to Know Them

Members can tell the difference between a fake and genuine connection. Are you having a conversation out of obligation or true interest? Get to know their life beyond the walls of the gym! Letting members know they are known, accepted, and appreciated through conversation and thoughtful gestures aids in retention.   

#20 – Treat Members as You Would a Friend

It’s the little things that are big things. Show them that you care about their lives beyond the gym by asking intentional questions. Say thank you to your members and always be ready to point out improvement, growth, or commitment. Sincerely apologize when you make a mistake

#21 – Offer a “What’s Next” Goal

What happens once that initial goal is completed–once the weight is off, the competition is over, or the race is finished? Members might stick around for a while if they have strong social connections, but members will quickly feel idle and aimless. 

The best way to prevent this and keep commitment and engagement high is by planning ahead with a future goal. Help members set fresh goals by looking forward to the future and by reminding them that success is a process.

#22 – Provide a Personalized Experience

This is where all of that membership data comes in! A personalized exercise experience keeps the member engaged and on track with meeting their fitness goals. A great way to personalize their experience is through Exercise.com’s All-in-One Business Platform! (And for additional ways, watch the video above!)

Exercise.com’s Business Platform allows you to easily collect and keep track of first-party data, such as initial and re-assessment numbers, class and club attendance, frequently-purchased items, personal goals and milestones, and equipment usage. 

Collecting this data enables you to personalize a member’s exercise experience by sending email or text reminders, targeted promos, direct communication, congratulatory messages on goal achievement, and more. When members feel like a priority, they’re inclined to keep their membership! 

Tips to Grow Gym Loyalty

Perhaps your members are fine with your gym offerings but don’t care about promoting it. How do you achieve bumper-sticker raving fans? Here are some tips to grow your members’ loyalty and excitement about your gym!

Capitalize on Social Media Connections

#23 – Utilize Social Media Opportunities

This is perhaps one of the easiest and most effective ways to create loyal members because there are nearly limitless opportunities and ways to connect members. These websites make it easy to keep up with fitness industry trends.

  • Create social media fitness challenges
  • Offer raffles for participating in surveys, a new group class, or hiring a trainer
  • Create a hashtag personalized for your gym for member photos
  • Use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other platforms for communication and community-building opportunities
  • Encourage members to do races, tough-mudders, or other events as a gym group; post pictures and praise participation!
  • Post testimonies, interviews, Before-and-After photos, or goal achievements; make them “shareable” so members can share on their personal page (and promote your business!)
  • Live stream in-house competitions 
  • Share videos of proper exercise techniques or tips
  • Write informative and engaging blog posts
  • And countless other ideas!

Social media is where people can connect, have fun, and be held accountable. Most people enjoy being able to share videos and photos where they are featured and praised for their hard work and achievement, so it’s an excellent way to create loyal members who promote your business at no cost to you!

Read More:

#24 – Utilize Other Technology Opportunities 

Although many people are proficient with social media now, some members may prefer receiving text or email reminders, newsletters, or phone calls as opposed to connecting on social media. Even though there may be fewer people who want these services, this produces a personalized experience for your members that promotes retention.

Keep your gym’s company website and Facebook page updated and user-friendly, moderate Google or Yelp reviews, and other connection opportunities.

Read More:

Encourage Gym Loyalty

#24 – Offer Seminars

Want an event that promotes both employees’ and members’ loyalty? Try offering seminars on various topics like marathon training and nutrition, meditation and stress reduction, or a Q&A forum with the staff.

Seminars are a great way to promote the superiority of your gym because they’re something gyms rarely offer and are great for member retention in the fitness industry. Every gym has treadmills, but your gym has training on how to improve members’ running techniques to meet their goals. This not only encourages members to then work on their running technique (which means more check-ins at the gym) but also challenges your trainers, gets them excited, and promotes loyalty.

Seminars can be a member-only event–but advertise your seminar schedule so potential customers can see the benefits of your gym over competitors. Or encourage members to bring a friend, who might turn into a member, too! Either way, your business is sure to benefit!

#25 – Get Creative with Pricing

Don’t get stuck in the standard pricing models if they’re the cause for attrition. Change to different packages, tiers, or strategies to attract or retain customers who can’t afford your current pricing. Offer a discount if they recruit a friend or Gold Card benefits for a 5+ year membership. Watch this video to learn more about how to price your personal training services then learn more in our gym pricing guide:

#26 – Advertise New Features

Have you spruced up the locker rooms or purchased new equipment? Time to let everyone know! Post photos and promos on every social media platform, email, and newsletter. Point out the specific benefits of your new investment. Doing so will help members see the value of sticking with your gym and appreciate the benefits and changes.  

#27 – Avoid Selling Too Much

We can all relate to that squirmy feeling when someone is offering a service we really don’t want, like a store rewards card or a door-to-door salesman. 

Similarly, be careful not to push services (especially if it involves a financial commitment) and thereby make members uncomfortable or turned off. They may avoid gym visits if they feel they’re always being sold to. Advertisements should be strategic and timely to avoid coming off like a sales pitch. 

And there you have it! A complete guide to creating a positive gym culture that retains members.

Using the Exercise.com Business Platform is the thread that holds all these tips together! There are countless ways to personalize the software to fit your business and members’ needs. Book a demo today to learn more!

What is membership retention and how does a fitness manager increase it?

Membership retention refers to the ability of a gym to keep its members subscribed and active over a long period. A fitness manager can increase retention by offering personalized fitness plans, organizing engaging group activities, and providing exceptional customer service.

How do I attract more members to my gym?

To attract more members to your gym, focus on targeted marketing, referral programs, special promotions, and partnerships with local businesses. Offering a range of fitness classes and services can also be appealing to potential members.

How do you fix low gym member retention?

To fix low gym member retention, identify the reasons why members are leaving, improve the quality of services, and consider implementing loyalty programs and member engagement activities. Regular communication and feedback collection can also help.

How long do people keep their gym membership?

The length of time people keep their gym membership can vary, but on average, people stick around for 6-12 months. This period can fluctuate based on the value and quality of services provided.

What is a good retention rate for a gym? Is 30% good? 40%? 50%? 60%? 70%? 80%? 90%? Help!

A good retention rate for a gym is generally considered to be above 70%. Rates lower than this often signal that there are issues needing immediate attention. Anything above 80% is usually considered excellent.

What is a reasonable gym retention rate to set as a goal?

A reasonable gym retention rate to set as a goal would be around 75-80%. This provides a good balance between maintaining a solid member base and accounting for normal attrition.

What attracts customers to a gym?

Customers are attracted to a gym based on factors such as location, equipment, cleanliness, variety of classes, and quality of trainers. Pricing and brand reputation also play a role.

How do you improve gym employee retention?

Improving gym employee retention can be achieved through competitive salaries, professional development opportunities, a positive work environment, and employee benefits.

How can Exercise.com help my gym retention rate?

Exercise.com can significantly help in improving your gym’s retention rate by offering an all-in-one management solution that enhances customer experience. Features like online booking, payment processing, personalized workout plans, and automated member engagement can help keep your members satisfied and engaged, thus increasing retention. Exercise.com provides a professional way to manage every aspect of your gym business effectively. Book a demo to find out more.

What are some ways in which a fitness instructor can positively influence gym member retention?

A fitness instructor can positively influence gym member retention through several strategies:

  1. Personalized Guidance: Offering tailored fitness plans that meet the individual needs and goals of gym members.
  2. High-Quality Classes: Ensuring that fitness classes are engaging, fun, and deliver results can encourage members to stick around.
  3. Building Relationships: Connecting with members on a personal level can make them feel valued and more likely to stay.
  4. Regular Updates: Keeping members informed about new classes, equipment, or gym policies can increase trust and satisfaction.
  5. Active Listening: Addressing any concerns or feedback from members promptly and effectively can create a positive gym experience.
  6. Creating Community: Hosting events or socials to build a sense of community among members can foster loyalty.

By executing these strategies, fitness instructors not only add value to the gym’s offerings but also play a crucial role in retaining members.

Why is a good gym culture important?

Customer retention in the fitness industry should be a top priority. Members who enjoy their gym are the ones who renew their membership year after year. Attrition occurs when members aren’t satisfied with the culture of their gym and join another gym instead. 

How do I nurture a positive culture in my gym?

Gyms are a business, and like any business, customer service is the priority in order to retain customers. Make sure your staff’s main goal is superior customer service. Engage members through relationships, community, and social media. 

How can you attract more members to your gym?

Here’s how to increase gym membership: your current members are your biggest assets. Word-of-mouth recommendations are 92% more effective than company advertisements! Provide opportunities for your members to promote your gym: paraphernalia, invite-a-friend rewards program, community seminars, and more! Make sure to market strategically!

How can I improve my retention at the gym?

Improving retention at the gym involves creating a strong community, offering quality services, and maintaining excellent customer service. Consider offering a variety of classes and programs that cater to different fitness levels and interests. Personalizing workout plans, recognizing member achievements, and fostering a supportive and inclusive environment can also improve retention.

How do you increase gym membership retention inexpensively?

To increase gym membership retention inexpensively, foster strong relationships with your members. Regularly communicate with them through email or social media, asking for feedback and showing appreciation for their loyalty. Organize free community events or challenges, provide educational content, and offer incentives for referrals.

How do you retain customers in a gym?

Customer retention in a gym is best achieved by offering an exceptional experience that meets or exceeds expectations. This includes providing excellent customer service, maintaining clean and up-to-date facilities, offering diverse and engaging fitness programs, and providing personalized attention to each member. Regular feedback collection and prompt action on the issues raised also contribute to customer retention.

What is a good membership retention rate for a gym?

A good membership retention rate for a gym is around 70-80%. However, this rate can vary widely depending on various factors, such as location, competition, and demographics. It’s also important to note that improving retention rate even by a small percentage can significantly affect a gym’s profitability.

Why is member retention important in a gym?

Member retention is important in a gym because it’s more cost-effective to retain existing members than to acquire new ones. Retained members are more likely to refer others, provide valuable feedback, and contribute to the gym’s community. Moreover, improving member retention can lead to increased profitability and longevity for the gym.

What is the formula for gym membership retention?

The formula for gym membership retention is:

Retention Rate = ((CE-CN)/CS) x 100

Where: CE = Number of customers at the end of the period CN = Number of new customers acquired during the period CS = Number of customers at the start of the period

This formula gives you the retention rate as a percentage. Higher percentages indicate better retention.

How can I enhance my gym’s customer experience to improve retention?

Enhancing your gym’s customer experience to improve retention can be achieved by prioritizing customer service, regularly updating equipment, and maintaining a clean, inviting space. Offering diverse, engaging classes and programs, and providing personalized fitness plans can also enhance the gym experience. Additionally, utilizing a comprehensive gym management software like Exercise.com can help streamline operations and provide a seamless experience for your members.

What role does community play in gym membership retention?

Community plays a significant role in gym membership retention. Members are more likely to stay engaged and committed if they feel part of a supportive and inclusive community. Hosting regular social events, creating online communities on social media, and fostering a culture of mutual support and encouragement can help build a strong community.

What is the impact of staff interaction on gym member retention?

Staff interaction has a direct impact on gym member retention. Members who feel acknowledged, supported, and motivated by staff are more likely to remain loyal to the gym. Regularly training your staff in customer service skills, creating opportunities for staff and members to interact, and recognizing member achievements can improve staff interaction and increase retention.

How can feedback and communication affect member retention in a gym?

Feedback and communication greatly affect member retention in a gym. Regularly asking for and acting on feedback shows members that their opinions matter and improvements are being made. Keeping open lines of communication, updating members on changes, and engaging with them on social media can also boost retention.

How can a gym management software improve membership retention?

A gym management software like Exercise.com can significantly improve membership retention. Such software can streamline various operations like class scheduling, member management, payment processing, and more, leading to a smoother experience for members. It can also provide valuable insights into member behavior, helping you to personalize services and improve member engagement.

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Start Improving Gym Retention

Improving gym membership retention rates is essential to the success of any fitness business. By creating a positive gym environment, enhancing member experience, and implementing effective retention strategies, gym owners can create an engaging and satisfying gym experience that keeps members coming back for more. By putting these strategies into action, gyms can build a loyal customer base, generate positive buzz, and ultimately thrive in the competitive world of fitness.

Carr Elite
Exercise.com has enabled our company to expand in ways we couldn’t imagine possible. It is much easier to get our programming out to not only our local clientele but also new clientele throughout the world as well as our professional athletes in different cities.
Eric Mahanke
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach, Carr Elite

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  1. https://www.ihrsa.org/improve-your-club/15-surprising-facts-about-health-club-member-retention/
  2. https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/report/2012/global-trust-in-advertising-and-brand-messages-2/
Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®). He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life.
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