Over the past two weeks, we have been examining the results and extrapolating relevant conclusions from a Consumer Exercise Trends Survey conducted by Nielsen Global – a global marketing research firm that studies consumer trends and habits in over 100 countries. This survey provides valuable insight on how to increase member retention and engagement in your facility.
For the final dive into the results, we take a look at the habits and preferences listed by some of your most loyal members – the group fitness regulars. By reviewing these responses, we can start to put together the important puzzle pieces to create a top-notch group fitness experience that will cultivate and GROW your group fitness community.
Over the years, many studies, statistics, and statements have been made about the Group Fitness Groupies, and the Nielsen study did not stray from the common statements that have been made time and time again. Those that participate regularly in a group fitness class, on average, visit their facility 5+ times/week and retain their memberships longer than those who do not attend classes. However, there was one additional key point worth noting:
84% of group fitness attendees recommend their current facility to others – think of it this way, in a class of 10 people, 8 of them will recommend that class – so how do you increase your circle of influence with this group? How do you get a regular class of 10 people, to become a regular class of 20-30 people or more? Here are some ideas:
Adequate and Attractive Space – This was listed as the most important factor for this group. People like their space, some are even territorial about it. Ample space to exercise without being crowded is a legitimate request, but in some cases, there is only so much you can do. For crowded classes, is there any other space you might be able to use at your facility, i.e. a basketball court? If not, is it possible to add more of that popular class so that people have the option to attend another day or time of day?
If neither of those options are applicable, what about maximizing the space you have? If your group fitness room is cluttered around the edges with equipment, installing wall mounted or free-standing equipment storage can add more workable square footage.
Top-Notch Instructors – A flashy name paired with a class description filled with fitness buzzwords will get them there once, but the instructor will keep them coming back. Experienced instructors not only deliver programming that is safe, effective, and fun – but do so while energizing and empowering their participants to work toward their personal best. Great instructors cultivate your group fitness community by creating a welcoming environment in which they connect with each participant and challenge them appropriately both individually and as a group.
Proper Equipment – Relevant for the class formats, in good working order, and organized. Storing equipment properly will extend its lifespan and provide an organized and aesthetically pleasing workout space. Appropriate quantity of equipment is also important to regulars and newcomers to a class.
Service and support the space – If the entire staff does not value the space, the attendees will feel like you don’t value them. Service and support of the room from wall to wall, floor to ceiling, everything and everyone in it will go a long way with this group. Weekly or daily walkthroughs to ensure proper functionality of equipment, fixtures, lights, fans, sound systems and microphones will identify and prevent minor problems from becoming major issues if left unaddressed for too long. This also includes swift, timely, and proper communication via website, social media groups, and onsite signage of all class changes.
All ages and generations of our society are more willing to connect and share aspects of their daily lives now more than ever. Providing an experience based facility that delivers a sense of community and connection through positive fitness interactions will make your members (aka #fitfam) some of your most passionate ambassadors. Creating and nurturing a community WITHIN your facility will expand your influence with the community OUTSIDE your facility.