The U.S. health and fitness industry is worth $30 billion and continues to grow, largely due to millennials and other fitness enthusiasts who are quick to adopt the latest health and wellness trends. But with fitness customers having countless options to get in shape – including at-home fitness apps and studios dedicated to specific activities, this leaves many large, value gyms wondering how to stay competitive.
To attract customers in today’s competitive fitness industry, it’s critical for fitness centers to focus on hiring the right people and creating an experience that gets customers excited about remaining loyal. We’ve pulled together several tips to attract new members and increase member retention.
Hire Quality Personal Trainers
Your fitness center staff can make or break your overall business success, so one of your top priorities should be staffing up with quality personal trainers, group fitness instructors and front desk staff. According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), 68 percent of fitness customers have stopped working with a personal trainer because of a poor experience. When your fitness center is equipped with great employees, customers will get excited about coming in for their next personal training session or group fitness class.
For personal trainers in particular, the one-on-one experience can help members have a similar experience to a specialty fitness center, due to the dedicated service customized to their personalized fitness goals. The more your employees create a compelling customer experience, the less likely your members will be to leave for another fitness center – and the more likely they will be to refer your fitness center to friends and family.
Add Specialty Fitness Classes
One of the reasons today’s consumers might opt for boutique, specialized fitness centers is because they offer popular, specialty classes that aren’t often available at large, budget-friendly gyms. Some examples include cycling, barre, hot yoga and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes. To attract members looking for these unique training experiences, try experimenting with new classes at your fitness center. This doesn’t mean you need to give your whole class schedule an overhaul – instead try a little bit at a time.
Consider covering the cost for a handful of your group fitness instructors to get certified in barre, hot yoga, or other specialty classes and add them to the schedule once or twice a week. If it turns out the classes are always booked to capacity, you can add even more to the schedule based on demand.
Collect and Address Feedback
Whether you’re adding fitness classes, hiring employees or buying new equipment for your fitness center, maintain a process to continuously ask customers for feedback. Your fitness center will only be successful in the long haul if your customers are satisfied with what you have to offer and the experience with your employees. In fact, IHRSA found that while happy fitness clients tell four to five others about a positive experience, dissatisfied customers tend to tell nine to 12 others about a negative experience. Your fitness center has many options when it comes to collecting feedback. Leave cards at your fitness center’s front desk, send emails to members, include a contact form on your website specifically for feedback and encourage members to share feedback on social media.
If you receive negative feedback, have someone from your fitness center respond quickly and use the feedback as an opportunity to improve the customer experience. And when your members share positive feedback, you can push it out across social media channels or on your company website so even more members – and prospective members – can learn about the positive experience. The more people who see great reviews across social media and other assets, the more likely you’ll attract new members to join.
Building your best team and offering a top-notch customer experience are both key to standing out from the competition, and attracting and retaining members at your fitness center. For more information on building your best team, download our eBook, “Overcoming the Fitness Industry’s Top Challenge: Competition.”