Achieve Club Membership Retention Without Lower Rates

June 25, 2012

“Buy one membership, get the second half off with our summer family plan.”

“One month free with a three month membership!”

“50% off all summer membership dues!”

Health clubs can come to dread the summer months, a time when memberships slide as social calendars fill, vacations commence or outside exercise beckons. An understandably common advertising approach to health club membership retention in the summer months is displayed in the first three lines of this post. But if the filling of social calendars, vacations or outside exercise opportunities are more of the root cause of this problem – is offering and advertising lower membership prices truly the solution?

Think about what you hear from members in your health club. Do they approach you frequently to thank you for offering the lowest prices in town – or – are they thanking you for helping whip them into shape with power yoga, offering a space for their intramural basketball league or keeping the kid’s busy while they get their workout in? If so, is it price or programs that contribute more heavily to your club membership retention goals?

Keeping that in mind, compare the ads above to a few alternate variations below:

“Sign up now for outdoor power yoga – all summer long.”

“Outdoor summer basketball leagues start this June.”

“Summer kids clubs programs offered every afternoon through Labor Day.”

Ultimately, the question of why your health club memberships may tend to lapse each summer will be specific to your club. As such – the proposed ad copy above may not be right for you – as it simply may not sync with your current offerings. Health club membership retention lapses may also tie into more
over-arching issues, including your members’ dissatisfaction with staff or equipment – in which case – you really need to be listening more closely to member feedback.

But as you’ve probably learned from this post, if your health club membership lapses from June through August, it may simply not have anything to do with
your prices. And if this is true, advertising a lower price point will likely have little if any impact on your bottom-line. Your key in overcoming this hurdle will be to meet the wants and needs of your members by promoting what it is they want from your health club – and their exercise regimen as a whole – in the summer months.

And in lieu of asking your members what they want, sometimes the best way to determine this is just to listen.

To learn more about the health club membership retention services our team provides, request a demo from ABC Financial.