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Carley S.

Gym's are losing too many members and it's preventable.

Gym retention rate

It’s inevitable. People canceling their gym membership is something that happens to the best of gyms. Yes, it always feel like a bummer, but did you know that according to a study done by IHRSA,

at least 50% of these cancellations are preventable?

How much are gyms losing?

A recent report from the Australian Fitness Industry Retention Report shows that 48% of club members cancel their membership within 12 months. That's about half of your members walking out the door every year!
Why is this important to know? Firstly, that's revenue that you are missing out on, but more importantly, you could be losing money if you are unable to retain enough members to cover your acquisition costs.

"What are you doing about this?"


Increasing your sales does help your overall retention rate but let me tell you why that is the wrong approach.
Imagine a gym is like a car tyre. If you have leak in your tyre (members leaving), should you spend more time trying to increase the pressure of air into your tyre (new leads), or fix the leak first? As you may have guessed, retention wins every time.

Why retention is the name of the game

As competition increases, it becomes imperative to have a strong retention strategy, but don't just take our word for it. Here are a few more reasons why focusing on retention has the highest return on your investment.

  1. It typically costs 5 x less money to keep a member than to gain a new one.
  2. It improves the customer experience and therefore increases word of mouth marketing.
  3. Increasing retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%.
Why members are leaving

Members leave for several reasons, but interestingly, a study done by IHRSA found that the top 3 preventable reasons for cancellations are:

  1. Members not making sufficient use of their membership (43%)
  2. Simply losing interest and motivation (17%)
  3. Never felt completely comfortable (11%)


The typical trend is that members are motivated for the first 3 months of joining, but then attendance drops significantly after that period. This is also known as the New Years Resolution Syndrome and is typically linked to members lacking the motivation to keep up the routine.

How you can squeeze additional months

There are several ways gyms are crafting their retention strategy, but if you haven't gone mobile, it's time to seriously consider it. Apps are becoming a critical tool for gyms to go beyond their brick-and-mortar model and can dramatically improve the gym experience. Let's take a look at how we at Go Gym Buddy are helping gyms increase membership retention rates.

Increase gym retention
"Giving members that are on their way out a reason to stay. "
1. A Social Experience

Did you know that, according to TRP research, members who have made a friend at the gym are 40% less likely to cancel their membership? The Go Gym Buddy app allows members to find like-minded workout partners and compete on social leader boards. Members who visit the gym 2-3 times per week add an additional 19 months to their membership lifespan, so having a gym buddy is a great way to get some accountability to turn up more frequently. Additionally, 3 or more visits per week tends to add an extra 28 months on to a membership lifespan. That's over 2 years worth of extra revenue from that gym member!


Pro Tip:
For members whose attendance drops after the 3 month mark, simply remind them to use the app to find a gym buddy to get back into routine. They may be surprised to hear that scientific studies have shown that you are 3 x more likely to achieve your fitness goals with a workout partner.

2. Stay Connected! Be Relevant.

Members want to be informed, but unfortunately most people feel like they are left in the dark. This isn't necessarily the gym's fault, it's just that there are effective and ineffective ways of reaching out to members. For example, rather than fighting for email inbox visibility or social media attention, Go Gym Buddy delights your customers with personalised, timely push notifications on their mobile phones. Push notifications have open rates that range between 47-80%, compared to emails which are around 17.7% for gyms, according to Constant Contact.


Pro Tip:
Remember, it's important that your members feel listened to. We recommend using providers such as Typeform, where you can create free online surveys to easily distribute to your members.

3. Make it easy to get involved.

While gym websites still have their place, they are becoming utilised less and less by members. These days people spend on average 69% of their time on mobile devices and expect instant and effortless access to information. Go Gym Buddy allows gyms to easily schedule classes, events and challenges and makes them available through the app. Members can instantly see the class schedule and join with a click of a button. Now that's effortless. Oh yeah, and it automatically syncs with the member's calendar so they can plan ahead and be reminded to actually go!


Pro Tip:
Host free fitness related events for your members to join. For example a fun run, a local triathlon or a free class day will help build a tribe mentality.

If you have any more questions, or want to know more about how Go Gym Buddy works feel free to get in touch here.