It’s that time of year again: the time where you notice that your gym, which was once bustling with motivated new faces, has begun to revert back to its previous state of mostly “the regulars.”

The new year likely brought with it a surge of new memberships, and while your regular members may be grateful they aren’t having to wait for machines anymore, you’re getting nervous about all the new members who seem to have jumped ship.

Research shows that almost a third of all resolutions are related to health and fitness, which can lead to a big spike for the fitness industry. Unfortunately, data also shows that people are likely to give up on those resolutions as early as mid-January.

So, what can you do to not only attract new members, but also keep them? Below are some membership retention ideas to help you keep your members satisfied, successful, and coming back for more.

Personalize the experience

It all starts at the front desk. Your members have done the hard part — they’ve put on their workout clothes and made it to the gym. Now it’s your job to make sure they don’t walk right back out the door.

Make sure your front desk staff is ready to greet members and guests with a smile when they come in. If they can learn members’ names, even better! Creating a welcoming and familiar atmosphere lets your members know that you care about them and are invested in helping them achieve their goals.

Reach out at the right time

In the world of health club marketing, timing is everything — especially when it comes to retention.

Take personalization a step further and utilize your member data to reach out to them at the right time in their journey. Collecting data such as check-ins, purchases, goals, and milestones can help you hone in on when members might be in need of a little extra encouragement.

Has your staff noticed that a certain member hasn’t been coming to the gym lately? Send them a friendly email or direct mail postcard encouraging them to get back in the groove — you might just catch them before they decide to cancel.

On the flip side, take note of when a member seems more committed than ever. If someone’s showing up more than usual, take advantage of that increased interest. Ask if they’d like to sign up for a new fitness class, and remind them about your referral program. In other words, strike when the iron is hot!

Create new challenges

Though a regular routine can be a great thing, too much routine can lead to boredom. Make sure you’re keeping things interesting for your members with regular challenges and events that keep them engaged. 

Holding regular fitness or weight loss challenges will not only get your members back on track with their goals, but also helps build the sense of community that truly drives retention. It’s also an opportunity for members to get to know each other, to motivate each other, and to cheer for each other’s accomplishments.

Gym members working out together

Another great challenge rewards members based on their number of annual check-ins. For example, those who achieve a certain threshold might receive recognition and a T-shirt, offering them that extra incentive to keep showing up.

Listen to your members

The best way to find out what members want out of your club is to ask. A traditional paper survey (or a more sophisticated digital survey on your website or sent via email) can provide insight on the areas where you need to improve.

It could be that your facility needs more treadmills, or that the music is too loud, or that you don’t offer classes at times that accommodate a variety of schedules.

Repeat the survey several times throughout the year to ensure that you are continuing to provide the best experience possible. Don’t be shy about following up personally with those who give you feedback, letting them know you appreciate it and are working to address their concerns.


At the end of the day, your members make your gym what it is. The community that you build is what takes your facility from being somewhere your members have to go to somewhere they want to go.

By showing that you know them, are rooting for them, and are always looking to improve for them, you’ll build solid relationships with your members that will last long beyond their New Year’s resolutions.

Want to learn more about which member retention strategies will work best for your gym? Contact us today!

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