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6 Simple Ways To Improve Your Centres’ Retention Rates

Attracting new customers is one of the costliest, most time consuming activities for any organisation. And that’s just as true for the fitness and wellbeing sector as it is for any other industry.

Retaining your members – keeping them returning time and time again – is a far more cost effective and sustainable way to improve your bottom line. Even a small uplift in your member retention rates will increase your revenue.

To achieve that, explore these six simple ways your leisure centre can retain more members for longer.

1) Get the basics right

The simplest way to improve retention rates is to take a back-to-basics approach. Look at the reasons people want to spend time in a leisure centre or gym, and put the effort into getting those things right. 

People want to go to your leisure centre because they like spending time there, can do the activities they want, and have a great experience. So start by focusing your efforts on:

  • Cleanliness – Pandemic or not, people won’t keep returning to a dirty gym. Keep everywhere spotlessly clean, and they’ll keep coming back.
  • Customer Service – Training and incentivising your team members to offer excellent service creates a more welcoming atmosphere, and members are sure to notice.
  • Fitness Options – If you’ve got the equipment your members need, offer the classes they want to attend, and give them access to activities they’re interested in, they won’t have any reasons to look elsewhere.

2) Ask your members

Once the basics are taken care of, dig a little deeper into your existing members’ needs and opinions. You could guess what your members want, or you could find out for sure, either by sending out a survey or looking at the data and KPIs available within your leisure management software to really understand what keeps members coming back.

Whether you’re asking directly or investigating data trends, you’ll want to find out:

  • Which classes are most popular?
  • Which facilities are used the most?
  • When are people coming to your leisure centre?

Once you have the answers you can look to increase capacity for popular classes, invest in the most in-demand facilities, and even consider changing your opening hours to make returning even more convenient for your members.

3) Make access easier

If you want people to visit more often, you need to make it easy for them to visit more often. Nobody’s excited by the prospect of queueing to get into a leisure centre only to be told they owe this month’s subscription or that the class they want to attend is fully booked.  

Automated access points streamline entry and reduce queuing, and they can help with the cleanliness of your leisure centre thanks to touchless entry via an app or facial recognition.

Automatic payments handled by secure leisure membership management software leads to less stress for your team members, but also ensures that members know they’re up-to-date with their gym fees and won’t be turned away at the door.
And adding an online booking function to your website or app means that members can secure their spot for in-demand classes and activities ahead of time.

4) Give back control

By now you’ll already have seen how all these small changes can add up to make your gym or leisure centre more appealing to members. But if you want to keep them coming back time and time again, you need to help them become more invested in their membership.

And that means handing back control.

As we’ve covered, online booking gives members control over which classes and activities they can attend, but that’s only the beginning. 

Members should be free to manage their own accounts without needing to queue at reception, call in, or flag down a member of staff. And that includes giving them the freedom to change, upgrade or even pause memberships themselves.

Handing them the control that will keep them coming back can be as simple as investing in the right digital member management software

5) Improve your family fitness offer

Families that play together, stay together. And families that work out together stay together with their favourite gym or leisure centre.

After two years of Joe Wicks fitness videos and endless walks, families are now venturing to their local leisure centre together. So an appealing family fitness offer is key to retaining this growing part of your member base.


There are many ways to improve your family fitness offer, but dedicated youth programmes and special family membership packages are a great place to start.

6) Reward your members

The final simple way to keep your members returning and improve that all-important retention rate is to reward them with a fun, enjoyable experience.

Personalisation is key to an enjoyable visit, but that needs to go much further than a personalised automated welcome message. 

Creating a personal rewards programme that offers members prizes or gifts for competing personalised fitness challenges will have your members returning more often to win their free class token, or free fitness gear – boosting that retention rate even further. 

You can even partner with local businesses and ask them to offer up a prize.

Improving and tracking retention is only the start

Whether you implement all six of these retention boosting ideas, or just pick and choose the most suitable, you should start to see an increase in your retention rates. But you’ll need to track the data carefully.

And that’s not all you should be tracking. Retention is a key KPI for leisure centres because it’s so important to your revenue, but you also need to look at:

  • 7 vital revenue KPIs
  • 8 important membership data points
  • 4 insightful marketing metrics 
  • 4 powerful numbers that uncover how your members feel

Learn exactly which KPIs you need to track by downloading your free KPI checklist now.

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