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Sealing the Leaky Bucket – 8 Research-Based Tips for Retaining New Members

Written by James Charles

With things starting to calm down again after the new year rush, the focus on filling your ‘bucket’ with new members should have returned to minimising ‘leaks’.


It is important to ensure you deliver the club experience your new members desire so that the time, effort, and money invested into getting them through your doors in January isn’t wasted as they lose interest and drop off in the spring and summer.

Based on our extensive research into member behaviour, experience, and retention, conducted in partnership with esteemed academic, Dr Melvyn Hillsdon, here are some top tips for holding onto new members longer.


1. Create a Friendly, Welcoming Club Community Which Your New Members Can Be Part Of.

58% of members report being highly motivated by the social aspect of attending the gym.


2. Get Your New Members into Group Exercise.

Members who take part in group exercise are 26% less likely to cancel than those who only workout in the gym.

Get your new members into group exercise with the help of your raving fans >


3. Talk to Your New Members When They Visit.

Almost 9/10 members say they value fitness staff speaking to them.


4. Find Out What Motivates Your New Members and Ensure They Have a Regularly Updated Plan of Action to Achieve Their Goals Which Has Bitesize Milestones They Can Hit to Keep Them Motivated.

For each factor that a member reports they have made progress on, the risk of cancelling during the following 7 months reduces by 10%.


5. Create Opportunities for New Members to Socialise with Other Members Old and New.

Compared to members who don’t make a friend, those who do are 40% less likely to cancel their membership.


6. Utilise Digital Communication Channels to Engage with Your New Members When They Are Away from the Club to Encourage Them to Make Visits.

In the first 6 months of membership, making at least 1 visit in a given month reduces the risk of cancelling in the next by 27%.


7. Member Engagement Doesn’t Stop in the Gym. Ensure Your Reception Staff Are, at Minimum, Saying Hi and Bye to New Members When They Visit.

Compared to members who say they are always spoken to by reception staff, members who are never spoken to cancel at a rate 2.8 times higher.


8. Get All of Your New Members Following Your Club’s Social Media Channels and Ensure You Are Regularly Posting Engaging Content That Adds Value.

Members who receive club communications via social media are 3x as likely to be ‘Promoters’ as defined by the Net Promoter Score® methodology.

Learn More About Member Behaviour, Experience and Retention

Access all our research reports in full, completely free of charge!

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Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.