Pro-Active Member Retention: How to Increase your Profit and Help More People

Steve Grant from Gymhub, provides six simple ways to boost member retention.

When I started in the fitness industry 23 years ago the term ‘member retention’ generally referred to a desperate last-minute attempt by a gym’s sales team ‘to save an unhappy member’, only after they had submitted a request to cancel their membership. Fast-forward to today and times have changed a lot; the general public are much more educated and have dozens of alternate gym options at their fingertips. The impact of this is that the world’s leading gym brands are prompted to implement a more pro-active member retention strategy, in order to succeed.

Customer experience sets winning gyms apart

In all competitive industries like cafés, hairdressers, real estate and now fitness, research shows 55 per cent of people will prioritise buying a product or service with a good customer experience. So, today I want to share my six favourite customer experience strategies. By using these you’ll ensure your business is viewed as delivering great customer service, allowing you to help more people and build a more successful business.

Be first in line to welcome and memorise names

When a potential member comes in to check out your fitness studio for the first time, it is a must that you give them exceptional service. Smile, show them around, pay a genuine interest in what they need, and try to learn their name. If they do buy in, make sure you continue to give them that same level of attention each time they come into the gym for a workout. After class, check in with them again. See how their workout was, ask how they feel after the session, and make them feel like a Rockstar.

These may seem like little things, but they make your gym stand out because it builds a more personal relationship and makes your members feel important. And, ultimately, you want walk in leads to buy a membership.

Make a birthday calendar

While your members are already having a great experience at your gym, go the extra mile by making their birthdays extra special. Some ideas to give them an awesome experience they won’t forget include:

Encourage feedback and learn from it

Whenever you get a great review, or any other type of criticism from your members, be open to their suggestions and view it as a chance to make your gym better.

If you get a negative review that is constructive feedback, share it with your staff in a team meeting and brainstorm ways to get better as a business. On the flip side, openly share the positive reviews, so the team feel appreciated for the great job they’re doing.

Don’t forget to also respond to negative online reviews. When you address complaints, it is a good way of showing that you are responsive to what people are saying about you and your gym. If you don’t respond, people will think that you don’t take their opinions seriously.

Remember, when someone leaves an online review, anyone who looks you up can see it, so make sure that you respond quickly and politely, and not just for negative reviews. When someone leaves a positive comment, thank them and make sure to let them know that you appreciate them taking the time to leave a review.

Offer Rewards

Setting up a reward system is a great way to show your members how much you appreciate and care about them. Here are two ways we do it at my gym in Sydney:

Keep your staff on their toes

Your trainers and staff play a crucial role in the overall gym experience that your members have when they come to your studio.

If one of your trainers is unfriendly, doesn’t teach great classes, or doesn’t have good customer service skills, members may feel negatively about your entire studio. That’s why it’s important that all staff get regular training on how to provide exceptional service. In fact, your staff must be involved in all of the other points listed here. We teach our team to open doors, pick up towels and carry water bottles for our members. We teach them to be punctual, well dressed and prepared for each session with a progress update and something small they can work on for the week ahead.

Social media and technology

Using technology to promote and market a gym is a very common way to find new prospects, but it also a powerful tool to engage existing members, add value to their membership, and encourage them to stay with you for longer.

Research suggests that the average person checks their phone around 58 times per day, so it’s only logical to reach out to our members on this platform. Whether we are telling them about a promotion, giving education, offering additional support or announcing studio updates – we can be sure that our members want to hear from us!

As a gym owner, you want to use social platforms like Instagram and Facebook to keep your members motivated to exercise. Creating a fun and supporting gym network helps your members feel safe, which will mean they’re less likely to leave. We can also use socials to promote new classes, seminars, six-week challenges and parties – giving the members lots of things to look forward to.


Analyse members’ online data to give the right content at the right time, each day.

Wearable technology like smartwatches, fitbits, and fitness apps are a great way to engage your members and allows them a tangible way to track their progress. As a fitness professional, members look to us for direction on training, food, recovery, supplements and heaps of cool stuff; so you need to brush up on new and upcoming fitness technology.  It’s important that you educate your members on how to properly use these trackers, and then use the data you get to formulate exercise plans or fitness strategies, so they stay with you longer. Sending out reminders, notifications or training tips is a perfect way to keep things interesting.

By implementing any or all of these six tips for pro-active member retention, you’ll increase your profit and help more people.

Good luck!

Steve Grant

Steve Grant

Steve is an award winning gym owner in Sydney and Director of Gym Hub, which helps gyms increase annual revenue by $100,000 and start taking Fridays off.