Member Retention Ideas for Gyms

According to TV Guide, many of the most popular television shows are contests where challengers battle it out and America gets a ringside seat. Some of these include Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelorette, America’s Got Talent, The Voice, American Idol, The Bachelor, The Amazing Race, Hell’s Kitchen, Master Chef and The Apprentice.

There can be no doubt that Americans are entertained by contests. Not only do we like to watch other people compete for prizes, but for the most part we also like to compete ourselves. Almost everyone loves playing board games, playing sports or competing with stories of who caught the biggest fish last weekend.

As a health club owner, you have the opportunity to use that love of competition to create excitement in your business. One of the best member retention ideas for gyms is to host contests where gym members can compete with themselves and each other in their quest to lose weight and get in shape. This member retention strategy works because it keeps the gym fun, while at the same time helping health club members super-charge their weight loss efforts and achieve results.

Member contests, if carefully created, can be a great way to make those ‘Type A’ members happy. Everybody likes to win, and the more competitive members almost feel a NEED to win. Contests meet that need, while at the same time generating some excitement in the gym.

A member contest can be elaborate or simple. A best practice is to host two fairly involved contests per year, spaced about six months apart. A great example of such a contest is the Biggest Loser copycat format, where you mimic the television show within the confines of your health club. Click here for a great example of how to set up a Biggest Loser gym contest.

To keep things interesting, you should also host two other (and much more simple) contest annually. Different ideas of straightforward contests you can host include:

  • Member Retention Idea: Rep Contest

For one day (or one week) members are challenged to see how many reps they can get on a particular piece of equipment in 30 seconds. The member with the most reps wins a prize.

  • Member Retention Idea: Attendance Contest

Each time a member works out during the month of __________, they get to put their name in the drawing for a __________.

  • Member Retention Idea: Inch Loss Contest

The member who loses the most cumulative inches during the month of __________ will win a prize.

  • Member Retention Idea: Team Contest

Members who want to participate are divided into teams. Each team is awarded points for attendance, inch loss, bringing a friend, or whatever. At the end of the month, the team with the most points wins a prize.

  • Conclusion

The bottom line is that exercise can get boring. Few people actually want to exercise, and even those that do may eventually get tired of the same routine. Bored health club members lead to high turnover, and that will put you out of business.

A relatively easy and inexpensive member retention idea for gyms is to host contests for the members. You’ll keep things interesting, while at the same time helping people achieve weight loss results.

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