If you want your gym business to become even more successful in 2023, it’s vital that you keep your members active and engaged. That you retain them, and make sure they stay with you.

That’s because it’s easier and more cost-effective to retain your existing gym members than it is to attract new ones. And the best way to retain your members is to create a ‘sticky’ experience in your gym.

A ‘sticky’ member experience is one that encourages your members to keep coming back. You want them to stick around – spending more time in your fitness club itself – instead of looking around for alternative gyms or fitness clubs. Or even giving up on their fitness goals altogether.

But how do you create a ‘sticky’ member experience?

There are four things you really need to consider.

1. Sticking around after a workout

Most of your members will use your gym in a certain way. They’ll have a routine. They’ll arrive for a set class, workout routine or session, and then shower, change, and leave.

Encouraging them to spend more time in your gym means disrupting this routine and giving them reasons to stick around for longer.

The most obvious way to do this is to expand your offering. Members visit for classes, sessions, and equipment. So, if you offer more equipment, a wider range of classes, or entirely new sessions, they’ll want to spend more time at your gym and visit more often.

But that’s not all you can do. You can encourage your members to stick around by supporting them after their workouts. Instead of grabbing a quick shower and leaving, is there something else your members would like? Ask them what they think about sports massage, rehab and recovery equipment, or even a sauna or steam room.

By adding more cool-down options, you’ll encourage members to spend more time in your gym and get more value for their money.

2. Sticking around for social reasons

For lots of members, gyms and fitness clubs are more than just a place to work out. They’re social spaces. By playing to this and making your gym a more welcoming place to socialise, you’ll offer a truly ‘sticky’ experience.

One way to do this is to set up a dedicated social area in your gym. Somewhere your members can chat with each other (or your team) and grab a well-earned post-workout meal or supplement – something that’ll increase both your ‘stickiness’ and your revenue.

You’ll need to invest in your drink, food, and supplementation options. And make sure that these new social areas are pleasant to spend time in. If they’re welcoming, comfortable, and offer your members what they’re looking for, people will stay longer, spend more, and want to stick around.

3. Sticking with you for the long term

Stickiness doesn’t just mean a longer visit to your gym – it also means a longer overall membership period.

Look at members who are cancelling – or thinking about it – and get to the bottom of their reasons. Are they cancelling because of financial pressures? Or are your competitors offering something that you don’t currently provide?

If you see the same answers time and time again, make sure you address them. Offer more financial incentives with discounted renewal offers or invest in expanding the range of services you provide to your members.

You should also analyse your membership data and look for key trends. Identify the average length of a membership and see if your changes are working to increase it.

Conversation is the key factor in long-term stickiness, so spend time talking to and engaging your members. It’s easy to just assume you know why your long-term members are still with you. Don’t act on assumptions, find the real reasons, and make sure you have a real, accurate understanding of member experience and behaviour.

4. Staff help stickiness too

Stickiness doesn’t just apply to your members. If you want to succeed in 2023 and beyond, you need to think about your staff. Your team is often one of the primary reasons that your members stay with you long term, so reward them, look after them, and treat them like your biggest assets.

You need to support them with the right training too. Teach your team to think ‘sticky,’ so they’re always trying to do everything they can to improve your members’ experience.

And give them the right tools. Do they have enough time to really focus on your members, or are they stuck on time-consuming admin tasks that could be automated using the right software? Giving them the right tools and training will help your team feel valued, and they’ll have the time to support your members.

That will encourage everyone to stick around.

Stickiness means you don’t need to work twice as hard

If you don’t retain your existing members with a ‘sticky’ member experience, then you’ll need to work twice as hard to attract new members in the coming year.

With the right software and training, you can make success easier by building a highly effective team who’ll create a truly sticky experience for your existing members – and all new sign-ups in 2023.

And the right software – like Xplor Gym Management Software – can help your stickiness too, improving your member experience and giving them another reason to stick around.

Looking for even more ways to get ahead next year? Download our free 7 Step Guide to a Successful Gym Business in 2023.

Article by Xplor Gym

First published: 12 December 2022

Last updated: 02 November 2023