Why retention is just as important as sales this New Year

Sales, sales, sales

After the hush of December comes the rush in the New Year. Sites plan, prepare, promote, sell, chase, prospect, sell again in the hope of smashing that elusive sales target. But is your attention too focused on the conveyor belt of new sales rather than looking after those new and existing members who’ve been with you through the chocolate-enticing, turkey-filled December?

Does your New Year promotion brief mention retaining these new customers? A member’s lifetime value is heavily affected by their experience during the first month after joining. And that starts on their very first visit to have a look around. This is a great opportunity to show the customer how you will support them on their quest to achievetheir health and fitness goals. Member testimonial displays and ‘meet the staff’ boards will give them confidence that your club really can make a difference.

So what happens next? A compulsory group induction for health and safety reasons or a 1-to-1 personalised appointment asking the right lifestyle questions to uncover their likes, dislikes, exercise history, barriers, exercise habits, reasons and goals. You decide which sounds more enticing!  Remind your fitness team that goal setting is more than accepting ‘get fit’ or ‘lose weight’ as a goal, and that SMART goals are the way forward. Take some measurements,  where appropriate, to define a starting point and set clear, achievable and enjoyable objectives.  All customers should be then be booked a second appointment to start their member journey and receive their personalised exercise programme. A welcome letter, guest passes for friends, advice on other facility activities all help to make that welcome a little more special.

But what if the customer throws in the towel before even starting and doesn’t come back for that second appointment? Having a customer contact strategy that identifies these customers and does something about it is essential. Regular contact with members is not a bad thing (despite rumours of waking sleeping members). Yes, we wouldn’t want to particularly contact a customer we haven’t seen in 6 months but why have we left it so long anyway? Identifying your ‘at-risk’ customers on a daily or weekly basis will help lower your cancellation rate if you contact them to get them re-started.

And for those customers making the repeat visits let’s not forget how important interactions are – not just with the fitness team but with all members of staff they come into contact with. A fantastic interaction is one that causes the customer to make another visit within 7 days, ideally using a fitness challenge to encourage them to do so. There are many excuses for interacting with customers; gym challenges, referral incentives, re-programme opportunity, technique correction, spotting, new exercises, class suggestion, new member introduction. Your fitness team should have a bank of these tools so they can never say they don’t know how to approach a member.

So finally, let’s not just concentrate on the gym. How are you looking after your class members and swimmers? The industry knows that encouraging visits in the early weeks of membership delivers longer length of stay, so how are you incentivising these groups to come back? Suggesting which classes best suit the individual and then booking their first 2 or 3 might encourage a few more visits than they had planned that week. Offer your swimmers a swim clinic drop-in session where they can get advice on technique or a personal programme setting. Set challenges that reward on attendance and get all your staff promoting length of stay and not just the initial sale.

January is a great month for new sales and February is just as good, so don’t miss the opportunity to keep these new members longer than last year. Would you rather have 100 new sales who stay a couple of months or 100 new sales who are still with you in 2016? Look after your existing members, motivate your new customers to keep up the new regime and identify those who are most at-risk of dropping off. Good luck.

JL

Centre Development Given Go Ahead for Torfaen Leisure Trust

cwmbran stadiumTorfaen Leisure Trust is delighted to announce that the development proposals for Cwmbran Stadium leisure centre will be going ahead.  The initial proposals were approved by the Torfaen Leisure Trust Board in January 2014. Since that time a great deal of detailed work has been carried out by the Trust to agree the design and the funding package, the Trust were required to seek the necessary approvals such as submitting a planning application for the 3G pitch.

The Trust Board has approved the appointment of Alliance Leisure as its development partner for the project. Alun Williams Chair of Torfaen Leisure Trust said: “I’m delighted that these exciting proposals for the redevelopment of Cwmbran Stadium are going ahead. The proposals put forward will provide improvements that are both modern and vibrant. We passionately believe that our customer experience should be first class. This is a great opportunity to reward all of our current members for their loyalty and the new facilities will offer a significant attraction to new customers and enable us to grow our business and improve the health and fitness of more people in Torfaen.”

The development project will be delivered in two Phases:

Phase 1: Changing the use of the current 4 Court Sports Hall to create an Indoor Climbing ‘Vertigo’ centre, a large Soft Play area, and a Coffee Shop A new 70 station Fitness Suite with Functional Training Improvements to the current reception area

Phase 2: Convert the current grass pitch into a 3G surface

Lewis Jones, deputy leader of Torfaen council, said: “The delivery of this project supports the council’s decision to form a trust to provide leisure services in Torfaen. These new facilities will help to sustain Cwmbran Stadium in the long term, taking into account changing fitness trends and creating a more contemporary environment for people of all ages to enjoy. Once complete, the new facilities will act as a focal point for community activities and increase levels of physical activity across the county borough.”

Sally Church CEO of Torfaen Leisure explained: “The project for Cwmbran Stadium will help Torfaen Leisure Trust deliver on its three keys aims; To have “More People, More Active More Often”, to support long term sustainability and future investment, and to ensure value for money.”

There are a couple of key messages regarding the project; the Trust are investing despite the current financial climate and significant spending constraints, and the redevelopment improvements will provide wider community benefits such as the opportunity to participate in a wider variety of new activities aimed at the whole community and with particular emphasis on children, young people and families.

Sally Church added “We have to make the best possible use of all our resources. Replacing the current grass centre pitch with a 3G pitch and converting the small sports hall will enable us to meet the demand, we know is there for more and better fitness and sports facilities and we will put the space to the best possible use for the maximum number of customers. The proposed redevelopment will not result in the closure of Cwmbran Stadium.

cwmbran stadium“We will deliver the project in two Phases, Phase 1 will be the internal redevelopment and Phase 2 will be the conversion of the current grass pitch into a 3G pitch. We have been assured by Alliance Leisure that they always work in ‘live’ facilities and its supply team are skilled in maintaining services thus keeping disruption to a minimum. We fully appreciate that some sports hall and centre pitch users will see some disruption but, where possible, we will help current users through the use of accessible, alternative, facilities, for example we are making the current grass pitch available to customers who currently use the 4 Courts Sports Hall for bookings to ensure we that we continue to provide a service, in fact we have gained new bookings as a result of making the grass pitch available throughout the week.

“The Trust will ensure that all customers, residents and other local club, or community groups will be kept up to date on progress with the proposals.”

NPS feedback 2013

Throughout 2013 we have constantly been looking to improve our delivery of innovative
products and relationships with all our customers. To gain useful feedback from clients we
have used Net Promoter, which not only provides comments on our services but also a
loyalty metric. The score (net promoter score – NPS) is used across the globe by leading
companies as the standard for measuring and improving customer loyalty. For more
information on NPS please visit our partners at The Retention People
http://www.theretentionpeople.com/products/nps/ So how did we do?

NPS feedback

Multi Million Pound Sports Centre and Luxury Day Spa Opens in Ramsgate

ramsgate openingFirst class sports and health and wellbeing facilities have been officially unveiled this week at Ramsgate Sports Centre in Kent. Your Leisure Kent Limited teamed with strategic partner Alliance Leisure, Thanet District Council and lead contractor ISG to provide top of the range facilities to not only increase sporting engagement but also aid health and wellbeing in the local community.

The £4million redevelopment project, which commenced in June 2012, consolidated two leisure facilities into one; the new site now features both wet and dry facilities including a 25 metre swimming pool and learner pool. A group cycling studio, a toning suite named the Feel Good Factory, a refurbished fitness suite and an eight-court sports hall provide customers with an array of choice. It also includes a luxury day spa, Your Spa, the first of its kind in the area. Alliance Leisure raised the required funding from the city against Your Leisure’s commitment to pay back the investment over 20 years using surplus revenues generated by the new facilities.

Tom Fairey, Business Development Manager, at Alliance Leisure says: “Having successfully partnered with Thanet in previous years to develop new fitness facilities and ancillary works at Hartsdown Leisure Centre in neighbouring Margate, we are proud to now officially unveil Ramsgate Sports Centre. Through creative design the leisure centre boasts modern facilities to engage and inspire the local community.”

ramsgate poolSteve Davis, Managing Director at Your Leisure Kent Limited adds: “We are all too aware of the Government’s demands on local authorities to make considerable budget cuts. Our focus is now to provide the very best facilities and experience for the residents and visitors to Thanet, whilst providing efficiencies for the Council. The decision was taken to replace the ageing and costly Ramsgate Swimming Pool and combine a new wet facility with the dry site at Ramsgate Sports Centre. “Our aim is to encourage people of all ages to participate in an active and healthy lifestyle. The community now has a leisure centre to be proud of with facilities far and beyond the quality of traditional local authority leisure provision at no additional cost to the Council.”

ramsgate spaSpanning 250 square metres, the luxury day spa facilities were delivered by Dalesauna. Operated by Your Leisure, the spa offers four beauty treatment rooms, a relaxation room, hydropool, sauna, crystal steam room, bucket shower, ice feature and a salt room. Gerard McCarthy, sales director of Dalesauna says: “We worked with Alliance Leisure on the first groundbreaking public sector spa at Pendle and it’s been a delight to partner with them again at Ramsgate. The public sector spa model continues to evolve and is providing both an attractive and affordable alternative to private spas.”

Savings of £100,000 are predicted through the consolidation of the two operations into a single site along with enhanced revenue streams through commercial facilities such as Your Spa and the Feel Good Factory.