Customer loyalty: how to increase retention in your sports centre

Feb 24, 2023 | Marketing sports centres

With the wide range of offers available today, obtaining a new client is becoming more and more complicated, so gaining the loyalty of your clients becomes a crucial strategy in every sports centre. A client who remains, becomes a recurrent source of income, ensuring the profitability of your sports center.

What do the statistics say about customer loyalty in sports centres?

Numerous sports associations have carried out studies on customer loyalty in sports centres as it is a widespread weakness. Below, we will look at some of the conclusions on five different aspects:

    • Club selection: 60% of people value more than one option when selecting a club. In addition, 50% of users believe that their sports centre is no different from the others.
    • New customers: New customers who use the club about 3 times a week during the first month are more likely to stay as members for the first year. Between 30 and 40% of new members are people who have no previous experience and this is the first time they have joined a club.
    • Customer service: 12% of customers say that no one ever, or almost never, talks to them when they go to the sports centre. The contact of instructors with users increases the number of visits. Approximately 2 interactions per month, add at least one extra visit the following month.
    • Ex-members: About 20 percent of a club’s ex-members return to the same club and only 15 percent leave it to join another club.
    • Community: social support is a relevant factor in client retention; training with family or friends increases retention. In addition, the relationship between memberships positively affects retention and is as important as the member-staff relationship.

5 strategies to increase customer loyalty in a sports centre

Keeping members in your centre can be a problem. This is a sector where there is a high turnover of users, often those who manage these centres have no idea why a member is leaving.

Sometimes the answer is simpler than many people think. You just need to pay attention to the routine of a day to understand what is going on in your sports centre.

In many cases, high turnover of members can be solved by paying attention to their needs and desires, which can be the key to improving your retention rates.

In any case, planning a customer loyalty strategy for your sports centre is essential. Here are 5 strategies that you can easily implement.


1. Closer communication

Perhaps, maintaining a close communication with your clients is one of the most relevant factors in retention. By doing so, you will not only make them feel valued and listened to, but you will also be able to anticipate their needs. In addition, this way you can get to know your users better, which will help you in the management of your sports centre.

Often gyms don’t stop to ask what a person’s purpose is when they join. Sometimes it may be to lose weight, sometimes it may be to improve fitness and muscle tone. In some rare cases, it is just an excuse to go to the gym to meet people.

In any case, your duty is to ask. This will allow you to have a clear idea of what your exact objective is so that you can satisfy your client’s needs and make them feel that your gym is taking care of what they want.


2. Improves the service and the attention to user that you offer in your centre

Keep your staff motivated and prioritize the user experience from the moment they arrive at your sports centre until they leave. Check your facilities and the treatment of your staff with your users as starting points.

While it is very important to ask about their objectives, it is also very likely that many of them will not be completely honest and will not confess their true motivations.

Therefore, you always have the possibility to observe the behaviour of your users. This will tell you more than any survey you can do. The attitude and energy of each user is different.


3. Create exclusive offers and promotions for members

Depending on your business model, you will have to design strategies that are profitable and that will help you build customer loyalty. Offers, discounts, VIP cards and gifts, are some ideas that will help you in this process.

When creating an effective customer loyalty plan we must define criteria, for this you have to segment your customers, as not all of them are the same. Therefore, we propose to separate them according to their seniority as members in order to offer them benefits according to their needs.

Resasports example:

  • New users (Less than 1 month subscribed). These are characterised by entering with a lot of doubts and insecurities, they will be constantly evaluating whether your gym is ideal for them. The aim should be to make them feel more comfortable, encourage them to attend regularly and encourage them to try out the different activities your facility has to offer. This could include a welcome with coaches or complimentary classes.
  • Average customers (1 month to 1 year subscribers): These users are already familiar with the facilities and services you offer, so you can already be sure that they are happy with their decision to join your sports centre. This being the case, you should focus on creating motivation for them to continue to sustain with enthusiasm and dedication. For this, we suggest you implement personalised services, focused on helping the client to achieve their goals.
  • Older customers (more than one year subscribed): This indicates that the user is motivated and dedicated to exercise in your gym, great. This is why your objectives should be geared towards rewarding their loyalty to your sports centre. It is important to make these customers feel appreciated and valued for choosing you over other fitness centres. Thus, implementing a VIP Card system would be ideal. With these your customers could access special privileges, such as being able to bring extra companions or access to special areas.

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4. Create events, competitions or challenges for your club’s users

Never stop implementing new things in your gym. It’s the only way to make your customers feel that services are improving, foster a sense of belonging to a community and that there is a culture focused on service and member care – in other words, make them feel that you really care about them. A great way to do this is to create events, competitions or challenges in which your customers participate and feel even more a part of your sports centre and your community. If you can make your users feel a sense of belonging, you will be almost halfway there.


5. Turn your clients into ambassadors of your centre

Nothing works better than a satisfied customer who recommends your center to someone else. Word of mouth is still essential today. You can design discounts for bringing in new recommended members or gifts such as T-shirts or promotional backpacks.

Social media is the trend of the moment, and gyms are a social network par excellence. If you can build a synergy between your customers, creating communities where they share interests, activities and favourable opinions, then you can build a synergy between them.

If you build such networks among your partners you will have two points in your favour. Firstly, you will have achieved a great promotional strategy, especially if they publish all this activity on their social media channels.

Secondly, you will create a loyalty mechanism, if your members build closer relationships with each other they will be more motivated to stay as members of a group in your gym.


Extra tip – Use a management software

An ideal way to show interest in them is to implement a gym management system. This technology allows you to have all the necessary information about your members. You can also provide them with innovative services such as the possibility of booking classes, access control to the gym areas, online payments, or personalised messaging with segmented information for each of your clients.


How can a management software like Resasports help you to get to know your users better?


  • Track your client retention with our registration, cancellation and renewal reports: With this you will be able to see how the loyalty of your users evolves in the centre, as well as to have a report of the cancellations.
  • Check the statistics of the most popular time slots to increase the activities and staff of your sports centre at that time.
  • Check attendance to a specific activity: This way you will know which activities are most in demand, as well as being able to see if users are returning to that activity day by day, week by week or month by month. In addition, you can also see which coach is the most popular among your users. You will also be able to take action with those activities that present low retention levels or motivate coaches with low attendance or loyalty.
  • Consult the socio-demographic data of your users from statistics or reports in order to establish age or gender ranges of your current retention.

By taking these points into consideration you are destined for success, you will make your members feel satisfied to be part of your sports centre and you will gain their loyalty.

So, while there are many customer loyalty strategies you can implement, not all of them will work as well in your fitness centre as they will in your competitors’. Therefore, it is important that you find the formula that best suits your style of gym and your needs.

However, if you are a bit lost and need a little help, don’t hesitate to request a demo. We will give you the advice you need to grow your sports centre. We will study your case in a personalised way and plan the most appropriate customer loyalty strategies for your sports centre. What are you waiting for to increase your centre’s profits?

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