Four Absolutely Essential Metrics for Membership Retention

By Aaron Eisberg

Managing membership retention for your fitness center business involves more effort and analysis than simply counting how many members you have now compared to how many members you had six months ago. The good news? Technology makes it easier than ever to understand whether your membership numbers are rising or falling, and how to take corrective action, if necessary. Wondering where to start? Here’s a closer look at four must-have metrics for maximizing your membership. 

1. Member Usage Patterns

According to Club Industry, the number of members only tells one part of the picture. An equally revealing metric? How often members are using your facilities and programs. Says Club Industry, 

“Usage, not cost, is the primary driver of a member’s perceived value of membership. Members who use your club at least two to three times per week are more likely to continue their memberships than those who come less frequently.” 

Declines in attendance, meanwhile, signify dwindling member engagement. Continues Club Industry

”Any decline in attendance is a potential warning sign. If over a two-month period you see a drop of 50 percent or more in a member’s typical attendance, that member is at higher risk of quitting your club, according to research by Richard Blacklock for Sport & Health.”

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2. Average Length of Membership

You’re already measuring how many new members are enrolling, but are you measuring how long they stay? Everything from New Year’s resolutions to upcoming swimsuit season can incentivize members to join a gym. But are you losing these same members when their event ends and takes their motivation along with it?  Factor in that recruiting members is significantly more expensive than keeping members, and the mandate to measure how long members tend to stick around becomes clearer. Not only that, but current members are also more likely than new members to invest in adjacent products and services, such as apparel and personal training. 

3. New Prospects and New Prospect Conversion

In a perfect world, you’d never lose a member. In the real world, house, attrition is very much part of the business. This is why building a healthy prospect pipeline is essential. Gyms should track both how many people express interest in joining your gym via visits, calls, emails and website forms, as well as who many who indicate interest actually go on to become members. If many people are expressing interest in your health business but few are actually following through on becoming members, this may indicate the need for improvements to the sign-up process. 

Additionally, if some channels are more successful than others for converting prospects to members -- for example, if enrollment numbers are lower for prospective members who take tours than for those who call -- a change of approach may be in order. 

4. Employee Satisfaction

What does employee satisfaction have to do with membership rates? Plenty, as it turns out. While action-based and results-based metrics may shed more direct light on your numbers, employee satisfaction also speaks volumes. Why? Because not only are happier workers more engaging to clients and members, they’re also more productive. Conversely, drops in employee satisfaction may indicate trouble on the horizon. This is the time to take proactive action to boost employee morale and, by proxy, membership. 

Fitness center business

In the words of American engineer, statistician, and management consultant W. Edwards Deming, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” This is no more applicable than when it comes to fitness center retention. One particularly useful way to keep members engaged toward optimal membership numbers? Fitness monitoring.  Request a demo today to learn more about what the Accurofit System can do for your fitness business. 

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