3 Tips To Futureproof Your Health & Fitness Business

As gyms and leisure facilities across England start to reopen, we’ve taken a look at what happened elsewhere in the world follow reopening and what you should do to futureproof your Health & Fitness business.

TSG is as a leader in global end-to-end business management solutions for the health & fitness, boutique & studio, and early education markets, so sees more data than most.

TSG’s health and fitness clients in many areas of the world (including New Zealand, Australia and France) have started to reopen. As a TSG solution, DFC looks to give you actionable insights to guide your business forward.

What happened when French gyms reopened?

Many gyms in France started to reopen from 2 June (in some areas reopening was not allowed until later in June). Following reopening, visitor trends were closer to business as usual than might have been expect:

  • Nearly all TSG’s clients in France had reopened by late June
  • Visits were down on 2019 but by late-June had returned closer to expected levels

Some demographics seem keener and more ready to return than others:

  • In total men are getting back to the gym faster than women
  • Younger members are returning at a quicker pace than those aged 30+, particularly visiting low cost or budget facilities
  • The group most likely to return are men under 30, visits even surpassed 2019 levels by late-June

Local outbreaks and closures can impact the confidence of gymgoers:

  • Recovery of usage levels back to those of 2019 did slow when local outbreaks and closures started to become increasingly common

Tip #1: Don’t stop building customer confidence when you reopen

Members should feel safe every time they visit your facilities. Look to ensure your business management software has the right mix of functionality to make it easy for you to ensure you operations run smoothly. From monitoring adherence to cleaning schedules, to capacity management to facilitating cashless facilities, your software should free up time to allow your people to focus on serving members.

Keep talking to your members. Outbound calling campaigns (these can be outsourced to our team) can be key to engaging members haven’t visited yet to understand why and address any concerns. Regular surveying of members online and/or by phone following visits can be key to quickly resolving any concerns or negative experiences.

Look beyond your own channels to build confidence amongst your member community – word of mouth can be much more powerful. Encourage members to ‘check in’ and share workout experiences on social media, ask for online reviews, make use of refer a friend promotions and even just ask members using your facilities to tell friends, family and colleagues about their visits.

Tip #2: Strengthen your membership offering

Members will likely have become used to working out at home or outdoors, some may even prefer this. Adding digital or virtual options into your membership packages, and even as a separate type of membership, will allow you to serve members no matter where they are working out. With lots of pureplay digital fitness services available, it is important to carefully consider the right digital options to suit and engage your membership base.

Your people can be key to the success of your digital offering. Invest in training and technology to help your instructors and trainers successfully adapt the skills that make them popular with members to a new digital setting.

With localised lockdowns a real possibility, you may need to close your doors again at short notice. Robust membership options will allow you to continue to serve members when they can’t visit in person.

Look at your scheduling to ensure you allow as many members as possible to take part in the activity they enjoy. Lack of availability due to limited capacity is likely to be a key reason for cancellations. Making small changes to schedules to reach more members can go a significant way to increasing retention.

While customers of all ages will stay away for a variety of reasons, when you look at your scheduling consider how you can help those in more vulnerable groups to attend. Perhaps add timeslots where older and more vulnerable members can attend – much like we’ve seen in supermarkets during lockdown.

Tip #3: Review your pricing structure and payments approach

The financial impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt by people of all age groups, and particularly those aged 17-24. Adjusting your operating model to incorporate more low cost and basic membership options may help you both retain existing members and attract new ones. With these members onboard it will open future opportunities to offer upgrades and cross-sell add on or one-off options (e.g. access to extra facilities).

Last but not least, knowing why members cancel and freeze memberships allows you to pinpoint those experiencing financial hardship. With this knowledge, consider taking a flexible approach focused on retention, empowering your team to offer temporary or ongoing reduced rates to retain these members.

If you want more detailed insights into what we’ve seen in France and elsewhere, as well as assistance to put these tips into action, get in touch with our team who will be happy to help.

Planning for the successful reopening of your leisure facility


With clear dates for the much-anticipated reopening of gyms and leisure facilities still unclear, there are a multitude of things to consider when getting business up and running again.

For most businesses, initial preparations will focus on adopting new practices to meet government guidelines and ensure the safe operation of your facilities. However, it is equally important to plan how you will engage and entice members back. At DFC we wanted to make it easier for our clients by putting together a guide outlining six key strategies to assist in the safe and successful reopening of gyms and leisure facilities.

Strategy 1: Let members know your reopening plans

Building and maintaining a communication channel with your members will provide you with a strong basis to encourage them back through the doors. It provides the opportunity to explain what you are doing to prepare, what to expect, and what will be happening with their membership once you reopen.

Highlighting your new operational practices and social distancing measures will reassure members who may have concerns about returning. Don’t let the heavy topic of safety regulations make you forget to create a buzz – let your members know that you can’t wait to see them again!

To get your message out as far and wide as possible, we suggest utilising all of your available channels. For example:

  • Your website
  • Email
  • Social media channels
  • SMS/text message
  • Push notifications via your app
  • Telephone
  • Direct mail
  • Banners and/or signs outside your facility

Strategy 2: Prepare for possible social distancing restrictions in place when you reopen

While you may be raring to go back to work, it will be far from business as usual, with many social distancing measures predicted to remain long after lockdown. Now is the ideal time to look to different industries and other fitness operators from elsewhere in the world as an example of how you can adapt to social distancing restrictions. These may include:

  • Reduced capacity
  • Enhanced cleaning practices
  • Layout changes
  • Additional signage and floor markings
  • Provision of hand sanitiser or wipes

If you have multiple sites, you will also need to consider how restrictions may vary by location. Permitted reopening dates may differ between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland or certain cities or counties may require temporary closures. But don’t fret, there are many useful resources published by industry bodies and organisations to find information on required restrictions and best practice, such as; ukactive, CIMSPA, and Sport England to name but a few.

Strategy 3: Re-engage members who cancelled during the closure

During the closure period, even if memberships were frozen, a portion of your members will still have cancelled their Direct Debit with banks, perhaps due to unforeseeable financial concerns or uncertainly around the future.  However, all is not lost, now is the time to get back in touch with these members to let them know your plans of reopening and encourage them to re-instate their Direct Debit payments.

To help re-engage members who feel uncomfortable about returning, or are unable to return right away, you can offer them the option of freezing their membership for a period of time once you reopen.

Strategy 4: Evaluate your membership packages

It is difficult to comprehend what the full impact of this crisis will be when we’re out the other side, but one thing is for certain – it is unlikely to return to normal for quite some time. This view is highlighted in the recent COVID-19 Impact report produced by ukactive, which reveals that reopening may receive a mixed reception by members.   

Moreover, many members will have formed new habits during the lockdown – from working out in the great outdoors to taking on home workouts. They may be looking to use your site(s) differently in the future.  

This is why now is the best time to evaluate and futureproof your membership options for existing and new members to better serve even those who are uncertain about returning. You may wish to consider:

  • Digital fitness services as part of your core packages
  • Purely digital or virtual membership options
  • Peak and off-peak options
  • Pricing strategy

Strategy 5: Build your pipeline of new members

Fitness facilities have never had a more captive audience, with medical professionals emphasising the importance of staying fit to fight against COVID-19, the opportunity exists to drive up activity levels and grow your membership base when you reopen.

Running a reopening campaign targeting new members, as well as those who have previously held memberships, will help you on your way to making a strong come back.

Campaign options could include:

  • Pre-sale and/or reopening offers, such as a discounted membership rates or the removal of joining or administration fees
  • A reopening event that will encourage new members to join up in advance in order to be a part of it, for example free giveaways, prize draws or refreshments for those visiting on reopening day
  • Advertising and PR activity targeting local publications and other influencers to show how you are adapting to new operating requirements and what is on offer for new and existing members

Strategy 6: Offer financial support to help members maintain their membership

Start planning to develop a financial support strategy to help members continue to pay their membership where they are experiencing financial hardship – or have accrued arrears before or during the closure.

Even small gestures can make a difference to members. For example, implementing a backdated freeze to provide extra time on a membership contract when reopening or offering free membership freezes for an agreed period.

Supporting members through difficult times will help them to maintain their membership once they are back on their feet again.

Our team is here to help you at this time, get in touch with our team for more information on these strategies or to find out how we can help make life easier for you.

Bacs processing calendar 2020

At the end of every year, Bacs release their processing calendar for the year ahead, giving organisations the info they need to plan Direct Debit transactions around holiday periods.

Whilst we’re now some of the way through 2020, situations such as the COVID-19 outbreak have meant that many businesses have had to devote a lot of their time to fire-fighting, rather than strategic planning.

This can mean that important deadlines and dates fall under the radar, so here at DFC, we’ve put together a guide on how to monitor and use the Bacs processing calendar so that your business can stay on track – even if you’re worrying about other things.

Why is the Bacs calendar so important?

According to Bacs themselves, the Bacs processing calendars “are a valuable tool to help you ensure you don’t miss those important processing dates over the holiday period. The Bacs processing calendars supply you with the all-important Julian dates you need to process your payment files.”

Simply put, this calendar will stop your business from missing any important deadlines which could have a catastrophic impact on profit, cash flow, or customer satisfaction.

What do the colours mean?

The greyed-out boxes indicate the non-input and non-processing days. On these days, Direct Debits won’t be processed, which means that you’ll need to allow more time for Direct Debit transactions to process or organise your Direct Debits to come out earlier.

On the whole, processing will take place over a three-day cycle, but it’s vital to make sure you leave enough time for any payment bounces. If you’re not up to speed with Bacs processing cycles, you can find out more here.

The blue boxes show Northern Ireland bank holidays.

Christmas processing dates

Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for most businesses, so making sure that you’re up to speed on Bacs Christmas processing dates is important.

During the holidays, Direct Debit payments can be submitted up until the 22nd December to be paid in time for Christmas Day.

Important processing information

Along with the calendar, Bacs has also released important processing guidelines:

  • Ensure your software reflects Bacs non-processing days
  • You can submit your file up to 30 calendar days in advance of the processing date. If you cannot submit in advance, we recommend early submission on input day (from 07:00 onwards)
  • Ensure all staff involved in processing your Bacs payments have access to a copy of the Bacs 2020 processing calendar

Remember, if you are a DFC customer, then you don’t have to worry about remembering dates, calendars, instructions, or rules. We’ll handle all the processing for you so you can simply focus on running your business.

How the most successful businesses proactively generate revenue in downturns

Getting and maximising sales is one of the most important activities that any company can do. Without a good revenue stream, a company cannot hire essential staff, buy new equipment, or even create their products and offer their services.

At the time of writing this blog, the COVID-19 outbreak has forced many businesses to close their premises, which has hit small businesses particularly hard. The loss of footfall has resulted in a huge loss in revenue, and many premises still need to pay for rent and utilities despite being closed.

So, whether you’ve been affected by a drop in revenue or simply want to boost your sales figures, DFC has put together some foolproof strategies that will raise revenues for most businesses. Deciding which ones to implement will likely depend on:

  • Whether they are compatible with your products, your brand, or your business as a whole
  • Whether the strategies will benefit your customer
  • Whether your customers will respond well to the changes
  • Whether the rest of the business is ‘bought in’ to the changes and are willing to carry out the strategy effectively
  • Whether competitors copying your new strategy will dilute the impact and effectiveness of the changes

The good thing about the following list is that each strategy can be used alone or in combination with any other to seriously boost your revenues.

Introduce digital products

Selling products online or digitally means that your customers don’t need to even set foot on your premises to engage with your business.

Instead, they can buy products from you whenever it suits them and from the comfort of their own home. Your online products are available for purchase 24/7, and aren’t constrained by your business’ opening times.

For example, lots of people are currently having to work out at home. A gym (who might not be open or may just be looking to corner a wider market) may decide to launch an online equipment store, selling things like dumbbells, skipping ropes, and yoga mats. These products fulfil the needs of members and fitness fans whilst keeping them engaged with your brand and adding to your revenue.

Just make sure that if you’re going to be selling new products and services that you take into account overhead costs. These services should help your team make money, not cost you more money.

Not all digital products are physical, though. Digital products are increasingly common and are used by bloggers, speakers, public figures, and companies already. The key to digital products is to make them useful and sought-after, such as in-depth content like blogs, PDF guides, eBooks, podcasts, and videos.

Content published on the site of a business can attract customers who are already interested in your product.

If you’re looking to monetise these assets, making them gated content and asking for a fee to download is an effective strategy.

Virtual training options

Offering virtual training or virtual membership options are a great way to keep your members and customers engaged with your business, even if they’re unable to be physically present on your premises.

In other words, you can offer virtual products that your customers can engage with from their own homes.

A good example of this exists in the fitness world. The Nike Training App offers a video series of gym workouts that let users customise the length, intensity, and type of movement as soon as they’ve downloaded the ap.

Gyms have also started doing something similar, offering things like video-based gym classes that members can access from their own home or wherever is convenient for them for a small fee or as part of a special virtual membership.

You can find out more on virtual memberships here.

Adjust your pricing strategy

No need to panic just yet – we’re not suggesting that you completely rethink the price of every single product that your business offers.

Instead, consider whether the price of some of your most popular or best revue-generating products is prohibitive in hard times. Can your customer afford to continue using your products?

An easy solution to implement is to create a discount or sale on selected products, or to sell products as a bundle.

If you market them effectively, discounts can feel like a special and exciting buying opportunity for your customers, often prompting them to take action and buy from you earlier than they usually might.

You can be judicious with your discounts too, applying them to certain products for a limited time only, to products that are likely to boost revenue the most, or only offering the discount to loyal customers.

Good examples of sales include:

  • Quantity Discount: A discount is applied when two or more of the same products are bought at the same time
  • Bundles: Products are grouped together to be purchased at the same time, often for a lower price than if they’d been bought separately
  • Seasonal Discount: When products are purchased within a specific and pre-disclosed time frame
  • Stripped Discount: When the products purchased are “stripped” of one or more features, or sold as a more basic version

The great thing about sales and discounts is that they are temporary, and you can always go back to your normal price whenever you choose. Hopefully, these strategies are useful and will help your business to create extra revenue. If you are experiencing tough times, there are many things you can try to boost your business’ bottom line and to take some pressure off.

Do businesses need to build a virtual membership option?

Attracting and keeping customers is the bread and butter of running any business.

Any business that offers membership options is constantly trying to find the next big thing that will attract new members or keep existing ones engaged with their brand, their services, or their community.

The problem is, finding time and resources to spend between acquisition and retention strategies can be extremely difficult as you grow and develop your business. This is particularly true for small businesses who don’t have a lot of staff, resources, or money yet.

But consider this.

According to one report on member engagement and retention, it has been shown to cost a whopping nine times as much to acquire a new member as it does to simply retain an existing one.

In fact, according to Bain & Company, increasing member retention rates by just 5% has been shown to increase profits by between 25% and 95%.

It’s pretty clear, then, that putting time and effort into the right retention strategy can yield massive benefits. In this article, we’ll be discussing how businesses can build virtual membership options into their offerings to amp up their member retention rates and, ultimately, their profit.

What are virtual memberships?

Virtual memberships allow your members to engage with your business, even if they’re not on your premises.

For example, gyms that offer virtual memberships might provide video-based gym classes that members can access from their own home or wherever is convenient for them.

This allows businesses to retain members who might otherwise leave or cancel their membership because they simply don’t have time to make the most of member benefits, they can’t physically attend your premises or have moved away.

It also helps to recruit people who otherwise might not join your membership programme.

What makes a good virtual offering?

Of course, your virtual offering needs to be something special in order to provide value to your members.

But what makes a good virtual offering?

Offerings that are easy to do remotely, convenient, and simple to access are proving to be the most popular and most successful.

For example, the Nike Training App offers a video series of gym workouts. Users need only download the app to access a wide range of different types of workout that vary in length, intensity, and movement.

Are virtual offerings here to stay in the longer term?

The COVID-19 crisis has seen the closure of many different sites, affecting lots of businesses, and changing the way in which they are run.

One of the good things to come out of the situation is the expansion of different services, offerings, and services. Virtual offerings are a piece of this.

With the popularity of at-home workouts and other virtual offerings becoming clear, it’s likely that this type of membership is here to stay. These offerings tap into the convenience that members are craving, offering them a way to engage with your club without leaving the comfort of their own home.

Make sure you have the right technology to support a virtual membership

So, virtual memberships are an undeniable asset to your business and your members. However, you also need the appropriate administrative software and technology to support the option.

  1. Joining. Your joining system needs to be able to allow virtual members to sign-up and pay their memberships online. Imagine having an online membership option but then having to call your office to join and pay. It would, understandably, turn your customers off. DFC’s FastDD Platinum solution acts as a 24/7 sales aid to sign up new members even outside of your office hours.
  2. Access. Your members need a virtual members-only website that will allow them access to your valuable content resources, such as video content, discussion forums, and expert guidance. This may become the cornerstone of your virtual members’ experience.
  3. Reporting. Being able to create custom reports and keep on track of Direct Debit payments is extremely important when managing your cashflow. DFC’s innovative 24-hour Data Retrieval Service lets your business track, analyse, and keep ahead of your Direct Debit collections. You can stay informed about defaulted and cancelled payments.

In summary

Expanding your membership offerings improves your business’ reach and lets you appeal to busy or physically distant people.

The main thing that you need to ensure is that your virtual offering addresses a need that people have, whether that’s convenience or expert guidance. If you offer valuable and useful content to your members, have the technology to make it a smooth journey, and have an attractive price, your virtual members will get a lot out of your membership offering.

Whilst this can sometimes take some time to put in place, your business can amp up its profits with an expanded membership selection.

Virtual assets: how gyms can retain members who can’t attend physically

Sometimes, situations outside yours or your members’ control arise that mean that members can’t attend your gym.

Whilst this undoubtedly puts gyms on the back foot, the good news is that there are many ways in which fitness providers can engage with their members even when they can’t attend physically.

Some of the most successful recent changes in the fitness industry focus on changes in what the customer wants or needs. It’s clear that, when it comes to fitness, flexibility is key – both inside the gym and out.

Virtual assets tap into this need for flexibility. Providing your members with useful virtual assets can help by reducing attrition rates and boosting member loyalty, making sure that your bottom line is less affected by members being unable to be on your gym floor.

Virtual training

Virtual training is arguably one of the biggest current trends in the fitness industry. Customers can exercise anytime, anywhere, and can even access training on a single class basis.

By recording trainers performing and demonstrating different fitness moves and collating them into different exercise routines, you can make sure that your members are keeping fit even when they’re not at your gym.

Members are engaged with the brand and their activity is still provided by the gym, whether or not they’re physically in the space. This decreases the risk of members cancelling their membership as they can still access useful services remotely. Furthermore, virtual instructors replace the need for physical instructors for the duration of that session, decreasing staffing costs.

Fitness challenges

To entice members to your virtual platforms, you can run fitness challenges.

Gym challenges create a fitness community amongst your members, as members can work towards a similar goal. This can increase your customer retention.

You can motivate your members online by sharing a weekly leader board, prizes, and updates. What’s more, by moving activity to your social media and website, you can benefit from the great online exposure for your gym.

Even when members can’t access gyms, there are many ways in which fitness providers can still engage with their customers. In fact, making sure that you are still providing high-value content to your members will increase your retention in hard times.

By moving your services online, you can remotely reach members and keep them engaged with your brand. DFC can help you move some of your services online, including your membership management services. For more information, read more about our FastDD Platinum solution.

What is Paperless Direct Debit?

Paperless Direct Debit (PDD) lets businesses and organisations skip paperwork-heavy processes and to simply sign a customer up to the Direct Debit scheme online, face to face, or over the telephone.

Once the customer gives a business their payment service provider​ (PSP) account details, they can agree for a Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) to be set up.

Using the customer’s bank account number, sort code, and other relevant bank details, the customer’s sponsor bank sets up a regular Direct Debit from the customer’s bank to your account.

Since customers can sign up instantly online or over the phone, this method of setting up a Direct Debit collection involves far fewer manual processes. In fact, the data is entered directly into your database.

This means that the entire sign up process is sped up and simplified, which can save crucial administration resources.

How are Paperless Direct Debits collected?

As we’ve mentioned, there are a variety of ways in which businesses can collect Direct Debit mandates virtually.


The payer or customer gives their account details verbally over the phone to the Service User representative.

If there are any errors in the account details given, these can be checked whilst on the phone.

By doing this at the point of sale, businesses can avoid having to chase customers for incomplete Direct Debit forms, incorrect details, or failed set up.

What’s more, by speaking to the customer directly, you can build some relationships and address any concerns.


The payer provides their account details through an on-screen Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) which is sent via the internet.

This is the most convenient option for customers, as they can sign up for your services at any time of the day or night. This creates a 24 hour sales cycle and increases your profits.

You can also build in an automatic detail checking system which means that customers can’t progress if they enter the wrong details.

Face to face

Whilst this likely includes paper mandates (as customers must be offered a DDI form to fill out and sign), the business or a member of staff can also enter the details straight into a computer without the customer having to sign a paper copy.

This means that the DDI can be set up far quicker. It also means that you can immediately check whether the details supplied are accurate, as well as ensuring that the paper DDI is definitely completed – thus increasing your chances of a sale.

The advantages of paperless mandates

Whilst paper mandates have been used for years, Paperless Direct Debit is rapidly gaining popularity, both from customers and from businesses.

There are a few factors that make this method of collecting payments a better option for businesses:

  • Speed. Businesses don’t have to wait for a DDI to be posted back to them. Your customer can immediately access your services and you can immediately start collecting money.
  • Popularity. Customers increasingly prefer PDD because it’s a convenient option.
  • Storage. The lack of a physical document means that there’s no need to store PDD. Businesses only need to keep an electronic database and sign-up log.
  • Reduced admin processes. Allowing customers to sign up almost instantly means far fewer manual processes. Since you don’t have to transfer data from paper into an electronic database (since the data is often automatically transferred into one), you save on a lot of admin resource time.
  • Cheaper to set up. Since they use a fully electronic process, PDD are lower cost to set up. Printing and postage costs are avoided.
  • Additional revenue. The speed of PDD sign ups means that businesses are likely to get more customers signing up. This naturally leads to increased revenue and a larger profit.
  • Environmentally friendly. The lack of physical, paper forms means that a lot of paper is saved annually.

For a Paperless Direct Debit solution that integrates straight into your business’ website, DFC has created FastDD Platinum. This solution creates a fully-integrated, 24 hour sales aid which automatically provides automatic bank account verification and reduces erroneous entries.

To find out more about how FastDD makes Direct Debit payment collections easy, read more about our ingenious solution.

Should gyms be encouraging members to take more rest days?

It seems like an idyllic situation to have hundreds of members hitting the gym every day, using your facilities to smash their personal bests over and over again. Since this marks a sure and steady client base, having this happen consistently would indeed seem to make a huge difference to your gym’s bottom line.

The reality, however, is that training hard for multiple days per week can lead to decreased performance, muscle soreness, and – ultimately – a big dip in your pool of regular gym-goers.

Gyms should, therefore, think about advertising the benefits of active rest days to their members.

Whilst this can seem counterintuitive for gyms – since you’d be actively encouraging members not to visit your facilities for a set number of times a week – there are some surprising benefits.

Proper rest can help to prevent injury

Any gym operator knows that every time someone completes a high-intensity workout, they are creating microscopic tears in their muscles. This is what allows the body to adapt and become stronger.

The problem is that not all gym-goers know this, particularly those who are new to their fitness journey.

In fact, when members – who don’t necessarily know what they’re doing in the gym yet – overdo their training or don’t rest enough, those microtears don’t have any time to recover and can easily become real injuries.

Whilst this can be a sprained ankle or a pulled muscle, members who overtrain are at real risk of Overtraining Syndrome (OTS). This affects the central nervous system and is caused by training too hard without enough rest.

If people overtrain for too long, they might find that their strength and conditioning progress fizzles out, their immune system suffers, and their mood drastically worsens. Instead of taking a rest day or two, members who overtrain might have to stop training for weeks or months in order to recover.

With this prospect looming, gym operators should be prepared to educate their members on appropriate training schedules and the importance of occasional rest days.

Better workouts mean happier members

When members have occasional rest days, they can maintain a consistent training routine with the same enthusiasm and energy from start to finish.

One of the biggest causes of people quitting the gym is a lack of motivation. As soon as members feel despondent, tired, and hopeless, they are far more likely to leave the gym. Overtraining to the point where every workout is dreaded without factoring in recovery time is a sure-fire way for members to reach this conclusion.

This is particularly true for those members who consistently work the same muscle group or always do the same workouts – from strength training and lifting weights to hitting the treadmill every day.

Encouraging active recovery days will ensure that muscles have the right amount of time to recover before another tough workout, and that your members stay motivated and engaged with their fitness journeys.

And when muscles are rested, workouts are much better and more energetic. How’s that for motivation?

Rested muscles, bigger muscles, more noticeable results

Rested muscles are able to build themselves up much faster – and much bigger – than overtrained ones. Proper active rest and nutrition allow little muscle tears to repair themselves properly, meaning that members who take rest days are likely to see better muscle growth.

And members who see faster results are likely to keep coming back for more. Rest days can increase motivation and therefore increase gym retention rates.

The benefit to your bottom line

Ultimately, making sure that your members are happy, motivated, and less injury-prone will have amazing effects on your gym’s retention rates. And when you retain your members, you have a steady source of income for the duration of their membership.

Fitness after 50: Why your gym should start catering to older adults

Recent years have seen a boom in the number of older adults who are joining gyms and health clubs. This is likely due to a fitness zeitgeist, better access to gyms, and studies which show that many mental and physical deteriorations can be helped with regular exercise.

This means that over 50s now make up a significant portion of gym attendees. Despite this, many gyms haven’t cottoned on.

Here’s why your gym really needs to start catering to older adults.

Tapping into the most loyal customer

Most gyms tend to target younger customers, such as millennials and, increasingly, Gen Z. As a demographic, they take an active interest in their health and body image, so it makes sense for them to be a strong target market.

However, the downside of having a young demographic as the target market is that they are not usually totally settled yet. They tend to move to a new house regularly, have less money to spend on premium memberships, and be more fickle in terms of brand loyalty. All of this means that they are rarely at your gym for the long run, and don’t form a very secure membership base.

Conversely, reports say that members over the age of 50 are more likely to keep up a gym membership than any other age group. This is because they mostly are settled in one place (and unlikely to move house repeatedly), have more expendable income, and have more time to spend looking after their health.

Also, since the health impacts of exercise are acute for over 50s, their drive to go to the gym and get fitter and healthier extends beyond purely aesthetic reasons.

If gyms open their offerings to a wider age demographic, it’s possible that the over 50s will prove a steadier, more secure membership base which brings business stability.

A bigger prospective pool of clients

Granted, millennials will still most likely be your biggest pool of potential clients. However, on an international level, that’s not always the case. In the USA, India, Pakistan, South Africa, and lots of Europe, for example, their silver generation makes up a higher percentage of the overall population. In Germany alone, 50% of the population are aged 50+.

If the trend continues, we could see our millennial gym enthusiasts almost eclipsed by older ones.

It’s a wise move, then, to begin marketing to older adults now, so that if our population becomes more grey heavy, you are in an excellent position to truly capitalise on the largest demographic.

Encouraging health at any age

It’s becoming more and more clear that exercising frequently in later years can do wonders for your health. There are reams of purported health benefits, including:

  • Improved quality of life
  • Reduced risk of falls
  • Reduced risk of degenerative diseases
  • Weight loss, which can benefit joints
  • Reduced risk of later injury
  • Potentially reduced chronic pain
  • General improvements in health, including blood pressure
  • Alleviates stress, depression or anxiety
  • Social interaction

Since gyms are concerned with health and fitness, it will only improve your brand to encourage these habits amongst your older members too.

Older people can thrive at the gym

Those over 50 can more than keep up with the rigours of a gym session, provided that appropriate safety measures are in place. One of the emerging trends in fitness for the age group is strength training. Although this was once seen as only suitable for the younger generation, recent research has shown the importance of strength training when you hit your fifties and beyond.

A study conducted with German nursing home residents aged 77 to 97 showed almost 180% improvement in muscle strength after eight weeks of weightlifting.

Strength training can have many great benefits for older adults, including:

  • Joint support
  • Better stability
  • Reduced injury rate
  • Improved bone density, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes
  • Fat burning and weight loss, which can help with joint problems
  • Reduced muscle loss
  • Improved posture
  • Reduced back pain.
  • Improvement in sleep quality

Therefore, your gym should be able to offer weights classes (alongside cardio) to older members.

It seems like the world is slowly shifting towards an older demographic, since people are living longer and healthier lives. Isn’t it time that gyms followed suit?

More appointments, less hassle: how spas can amp up their customer retention rates

In the spa business, the smallest numbers can make the biggest difference.

For example, research on customer retention rates almost unanimously suggests that trying to acquire a new customer is up to 25 times more expensive than rebooking an existing client. So, the type of client that you target makes a huge difference to your bottom line.

If that doesn’t convince you to step up your client retention efforts, research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company (inventor of the net promoter score) shows that upping client retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

Pretty valuable, then.

So, how can you improve your customer retention rates? Here are a few suggestions:

Notice risky customers in advance

The simplest way to improve your customer retention rates is to stop customers from drifting away in the first place.

Most customers who are thinking of leaving your spa give signals that hint at their intentions.

Good examples of these include a drop-in visit or treatment frequency, a history of customer service enquiries, and lack of engagement with your email marketing or online materials.

By noticing these signals, you should be able to take action before the customer churns.

For example, if you pulled a list of every customer who hasn’t had any treatment in the last six months, you would have a list of customers who are at risk of leaving your business and taking their money to your competitors.

You can send a personalised follow-up email to these customers with offers, discounts, or incentives to use your product or service again, or simply send a survey to try to understand why they haven’t visited in a while. Using this information can help you understand why your customers might want to leave and hopefully allow you to reel them back in.

Make the whole spa experience easy on your client

You know better than most that your clients are busy and stressed. Make a note of individual clients’ habits and preferences, such as frequent treatments – or even how they like their coffee! It only takes a small, thoughtful detail to make their experience incredible. And how your clients feel has a direct effect on your salon client retention rates.

Furthermore, many customers simply forget to revisit or find it too inconvenient to rebook an appointment. This is particularly true of spas who don’t offer online booking services.

An easy way around this problem is to simply offer to pre-book appointments whilst your client is still on your premises. Not only does this cut down the effort for the client, but it allows you to easily leverage existing customer appointments to give you higher retention.

On top of this, taking the time to pre-book a customer’s appointment can make them feel valued and taken care of, enhancing the customer experience and brand loyalty.

Offer rewards!

Although offers and rewards programs are popular with new clients, offering a specific existing customer loyalty program can boost your retention rates.

Showing your appreciation for your clients by e-mailing or texting an added value offer to thank them for their loyalty ‘just because’ can make your clients feel special. Plus, if you’re offering them something, it’s very difficult to resist coming back!

Perfect for filling gaps in the early part of the week or seasonal quiet times, you can suggest offers for particular treatments. This is particularly effective if you tailor your offers to specific customers, for example, offering a massage discount to someone who’s had six massages in the past year.

Adding a minimum spend limit, a time limit on the offer, or simply having a loyalty card that demands a certain number of stamps before a customer gets a reward will keep your margins healthy whilst offering your customers a great incentive to come back.

Get feedback

The best way for business owners to work out what’s working and what isn’t is to get feedback directly from your customers.

This shouldn’t just come from clients which look as if they’re about to churn, but from your entire database. Engaging with customers on social media, email, and in person to ask for their feedback will give you a lot of data to work with.

Make sure you follow up

Make sure that your clients don’t feel like you’ve forgotten about them as soon as they leave your spa. Send a follow-up email or text to thank them for their visit and to invite them to come back.

Treating your clients like individuals will make them feel more inclined to enjoy your spa’s services again.