Tripping Points (IAD -> PVD)

Customer analytics based on 1.5M members identifies “tipping points”

As I have mentioned in past posts, I was fortunate to be invited to a friend’s REX Roundtable meeting to share some insights based on customer analytics done by my company based on 1.5 million health club members. A club owners asked if I could summarize “tipping points” at which customer behavior changes. I am in the midst of some travel, so I thought I’d tackle a “tipping point” on each trip.

Tipping Point #2. Men and women are different. Yes, that is a blinding flash of the obvious and probably millions of words have already been written on the topic. But my observation is narrowly focused on how engaged your members are with your club, how that changes over time, and how those changes tend to differ for men and women.

Middle-aged members tend to be less engaged. (We have looked at several different ways to measure “engagement.” For this post, I am going to simply use average check-ins per week.) While specifics vary by market and by brand, we consistently see that members over 35 tend to check-in at a lower rate than their younger peers.

In some ways that shouldn’t be too surprising. As members reach their mid/late-30s and 40s, they are more likely to be married, involved in a professional career, starting and/or raising a family. In other words, there is a lot going on in the lives of your Gen X members right now.

This decrease in engagement is particularly true for members in their mid/late-30s and 40s who are in urban areas. These members also tend to report lower satisfaction with the “value” they receive from their membership. However our findings (and findings cited in other research) do not see increased attrition for these members…despite their lower engagement and lower perceptions of value.

Anecdotally we hear that these members value stability. Their intent is to re-commit to their fitness. Cancelling their membership would be a recognition that they are not going to re-engage.

These members also tend to have higher household income levels than members who are earlier in their careers. This higher income means that your membership fees are a smaller share of their wallet.

The combination of not wanting to admit defeat…and the ability to afford the membership (even if they don’t use it a lot), means attrition rates do not follow lower engagement for this particular group.

There are some differences between men and women in this group. Although they work out less than younger members, men in their mid/late-30s and 40s are more engaged than women.This seems to be particularly true around key milestone ages (45, 50, 55,…). These same men also tend to report higher levels of satisfaction with their fitness results.

So what do you do with this information. Find ways to help all of these members get re-engaged. Not only is it good for their health and fitness…but it is also good for your business. Remember, these members tend to have discretionary income. Helping them increase their engagement level can lead to increased Personal Training sales and other services that you provide.

How you do it will vary by club. Increasing the engagement level of these middle-aged members may require you and your staff to be flexible in order to accommodate the demands on their leisure time. For example more pre-work classes, weekend or after-work kids programming for a wider age-range of their children (not just pre-schoolers), 45min GroupEx at lunchtime so they can workout and get back to work,…

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