Gyms, Health & Fitness
September 5, 2023

8 Gym Retention Strategies to Increase Member Lifetime Value

This blog post delves into a series of dynamic strategies designed to captivate and retain gym members. We aim to provide you with actionable insights to ensure that your gym holds onto the customers you have. 

It's no secret that attracting new members is essential, but retaining existing ones is equally, if not more, crucial for long-term success. From flexible membership options to personalised onboarding experiences, we will explore proven approaches to transform your gym into a thriving, member-centric community.




  1. Reward Programmes

  2. Referral Programmes

  3. Gamification

  4. Flexible Membership Options

  5. Personal training and support

  6. Feedback and Surveys

  7. Personalised Onboarding

  8. Personalised Communications

Gym Retention Strategies Guide


Here's something extra: In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn how to drive sustainable growth for your gym. We have got you covered, from member acquisition to engagement and retention. Get ready to revolutionise your gym's performance and create an exceptional experience for your members.


Making a Difference By Keeping Customers — Why Member Retention is a Big Deal

In the fitness industry, gym member retention is the lifeline of long-term success. Simply put, gyms need to retain members to stay profitable. Yet, the fitness sector 28.6% attrition rate.


According to gym membership retention statistics published by the IHRSA, gyms, health clubs and fitness centres have an annual retention rate of around 71.4%


This is where gym retention strategies come in.

They are a series of deliberate strategies and practices aimed at keeping existing members engaged, satisfied, and committed to their memberships. 

Here are some of the benefits of implementing these strategies:

  • Steady Revenue Stream: Maintaining a strong base of loyal members ensures a consistent and predictable revenue stream for your gym. It stabilises your financial outlook and helps you plan for the future with confidence.

  • Community Building: Member retention fosters a sense of community within your gym. When members feel connected to the gym and their fellow members, they are more likely to continue their memberships. This sense of belonging can lead to long-lasting relationships and increased member satisfaction.

Over 29% of gym members say having a sense of community is essential

  • Lower Acquisition Costs: Acquiring new members typically involves substantial marketing and advertising expenses. In contrast, retaining current members is more cost-effective, as you've already invested in acquiring them initially.

  • Positive Word of Mouth: Satisfied, long-term members often become your gym's best advocates. They share their positive experiences with friends and family, leading to organic growth through referrals. This word-of-mouth marketing is invaluable and can attract new customers at no additional cost to you.

60% of marketers agree that referrals generate a high volume of leads.

  • Data-Driven Insights: Retained members provide a wealth of data that can inform your business decisions. You can analyse their behaviour, preferences, and feedback to tailor your services and offerings to better meet their needs. This personalisation can significantly enhance member satisfaction and retention rates.

  • Enhanced Brand Reputation: A gym with high member retention rates is often seen as a trusted and reputable establishment. This positive reputation can attract potential members who value consistency and reliability in their fitness journey.

  • Reduced Churn Rates: High churn rates, where members leave shortly after joining, can be detrimental to a gym's success. 

About 8% of male gym-goers and 14% of female gym-goers quit their membership after a year.

Effective retention strategies aim to minimise this turnover, ensuring that your membership base remains stable and healthy.

  • Long-Term Sustainability: Ultimately, a gym's growth and sustainability depend on its ability to retain a satisfied clientele. By prioritising member retention, you build a foundation for long-term success, enabling your gym to thrive in a competitive market.

    In the following sections, we'll delve deeper into specific strategies and tactics you can implement to boost gym member retention and reap the benefits outlined above.

Back to top

8 Gym Member Retention Strategies: Creating a Compelling Point of Difference


1) Reward Programmes

Look no further than customer reward programmes if you want to provide value to your customers and encourage their loyalty. A reward programme offering relevant rewards is also an attractive proposition for potential new gym members and should be central to increasing your gym membership sales

90% of companies have a loyalty programme.

It is a proven marketing strategy that boosts customer loyalty and engagement. It does this by rewarding loyal customers to encourage repeat business. 

This is crucial since
65% of a company's revenue comes from repeat customers.

Here are some features of reward programmes that deliver exciting benefits.

  • Upselling and Membership Upgrades: A loyalty programme could offer exclusive rewards that increase with customer spend and participation. This encourages members to upgrade their membership level, increasing their lifetime value and your retention rates.

  • Hyper-Relevant Brand Partner Rewards: Loyalty programmes can address customer pain points with relevant rewards. You can add value to your service delivery with unique partner brand offers beyond your core offerings. Members feel accomplished, motivated, and connected to your gym with these rewards. 

  • Integration with a Referral Programme: Your loyalty programme can reward members for referring friends and family. When members refer new customers, they receive loyalty points, subscription discounts, or member-only events. This integration boosts member engagement, word-of-mouth, and acquisition.

  • Win-Back Rewards: Loyalty programmes can help you retarget and remarket. Offer discounted reactivation fees, exclusive promotions, or personalised offers to attract former members.

Back to top



2) Referral Programmes

Referral programmes reward gym members for referring friends, family, and acquaintances. These programmes recruit new members through word-of-mouth marketing from loyal customers. 

Businesses with referral programmes
grow revenue 86% faster.


Here’s the significance of launching a referral programme:

  • Increased Trust and Credibility: 87% of consumers trust personal recommendations from friends and family for brand information. Referral programmes leverage this trust since referrals often come from customers who have firsthand experience with your gym.

  • Higher Conversion Rate: Referral leads convert 30% more and have a 16% higher lifetime value compared to other marketing channels. 

  • Cost-Effective Outreach: Referral programmes significantly reduce advertising costs. Customers do the marketing on your behalf, and you save money on extensive advertising costs.

  • Relevant Incentives: Over 50% of buyers will recommend others for a reward, recognition, or exclusive loyalty programme membership. Offer discounted memberships, free fitness classes, or exclusive services to referrers and new members.

    Group 130Referral_Mobile

Back to top



3) Gamification 

This powerful strategy makes gym workouts more fun and actively engages your members. It  Involves incorporating elements of game design and mechanics to motivate gym-goers, enhance their engagement, and encourage them to achieve fitness goals while building loyalty to the gym

A study found that
member engagement directly affects retention rates.

Gamification provides healthy competition and interaction, which boosts member retention and creates an engaging atmosphere. The benefits don’t stop there.

Gamification in customer engagement strategies increases engagement by 47%, brand loyalty by 22%, and brand awareness by 15%.

Gym equipment, apps, and loyalty programmes are all viable platforms for adding gaming elements. Here are some gamification ideas to consider:

  • Goal Setting and Progress Visualisation: Let members set fitness goals and track their progress visually in member profiles or apps. Actively tracking their progress inspires members to keep going.

  • Challenges and Competitions: Organise challenges and competitions to keep members interested in their fitness journey. Introducing leaderboards and prizes or recognition for winners encourages active engagement and improvement.

  • Team-Based Challenges: Create team-based challenges or group workouts where members work together to achieve collective goals. This creates friendly competition and accountability among members, fostering a strong sense of community.


Gamification in gym loyalty and reward programs

Here's how gamification can work in gym loyalty and reward programmes:

  • Point Systems & Reward Tiers: Gym members earn points for various activities like attending classes, working out for a specific duration, achieving fitness milestones, referring friends, or engaging on social media. Accumulated points can be redeemed for rewards, such as free gym merchandise, personal training sessions, or exclusive access to classes.

  • Instant Reward Programmes: Participants earn hyper-relevant rewards and incentives from a network of relevant partners, your own incentives or badges for completing challenges or achieving top rankings 


  • Rewards for Attendance or Streaks: Reward members who have good attendance or workout records. For instance, members can receive a small reward or get into a special class or facility when they complete an attendance or workout streak.

  • Virtual Rewards and Progress Tracking:

    • Use gamified elements like progress bars, virtual coins, or tokens to visualise members' progress.

    • Members can unlock virtual rewards as they achieve specific milestones, fostering a sense of accomplishment.


Back to top



4) Flexible Membership Options

Offering flexible membership options is a key gym retention strategy. Members have diverse needs and preferences, and you must try to accommodate those differences. 

Here's a closer look at the significance of flexible membership options:

  • Customised Membership Plans: Membership tiers or plans allow members to choose the one that best aligns with their fitness goals, budget, and commitment level. Whether it's monthly, quarterly, or annual memberships, offering options makes it more likely that they will find a suitable plan.

  • Financial Accessibility: Flexibility extends to pricing as well. By offering tiered pricing structures, you can appeal to a broader range of potential members.

  • Trial Periods: Introducing trial memberships or day passes lets prospective members experience your gym without making a long-term commitment. This gives them a feel for your gym and services before they fully commit, reducing the risk of immediate churn.

  • Easy Upgrades and Downgrades: Fitness needs often evolve over time. Allowing members to easily upgrade or downgrade their membership level keeps them engaged and committed. For example, someone who started with a basic membership may later opt for a premium one as they become more dedicated to their fitness journey.

  • Paused Membership: Members may need to temporarily pause their memberships due to vacations, illnesses, or other commitments. Providing the option to put memberships on hold demonstrates understanding and flexibility, reducing the likelihood of members cancelling entirely.

  • Cancellation Policies: While the goal is to retain members, it's essential to have clear and fair cancellation policies in place. A hassle-free cancellation process, coupled with an easy path to rejoin, can leave a positive impression even when members decide to leave temporarily.

Back to top



5) Personal training and support

Offering personalised training and support is a winning strategy to keep gym members engaged. It's like providing a VIP experience that keeps them coming back for more. Here's why it's a game-changer:

  • Tailored Member Journeys: Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, personal training and support create customised fitness journeys for each member. It's like having a roadmap designed specifically for their fitness goals.

  • Built-In Motivation: We all have those days when motivation wanes. Personal trainers act as dedicated motivators, ensuring members stay enthusiastic and committed to their fitness routines.

  • Navigating New Territory: For those unfamiliar with the gym, it can be an intimidating experience. Personal trainers act as friendly guides, making the gym experience less daunting and more enjoyable.

  • Accountability Partner: Knowing they have a personal trainer waiting for them at the gym can be a powerful incentive for members. It's not so different from having a fitness buddy who keeps them accountable.

  • Progress Tracking: Personal trainers closely monitor members progress and make necessary adjustments. It's like having a fitness GPS, ensuring members stay on the right path towards their fitness goals.

Back to top


6) Feedback and Surveys

Gathering feedback and conducting surveys is another powerful way to enhance member retention. It opens a direct line of communication with your members, ensuring that you meet their needs. Here's why this strategy is so effective:

  • Listening to Member Voices: Instead of assuming what members want, actively seek their opinions through surveys and feedback channels. Give them a seat at the decision-making table.

  • Continuous Improvement: Use member feedback to make targeted improvements in your gym's services and facilities. This increases the value of your offerings based on real member preferences.

  • Problem Resolution: Identify and address member concerns promptly. It's like fixing potholes in the road before they become major roadblocks.

  • Enhanced Engagement: When members see that their feedback is valued and acted upon, they feel a stronger connection to your gym. It's like strengthening the bonds of a community.

  • Predictive Insights: Data from surveys can provide valuable insights into member behaviour, allowing you to predict and prevent potential churn. It's your very own crystal ball to foresee and prevent issues.


Back to top



7) Personalised onboarding

New members should get a personalised onboarding process that includes gym orientations, fitness assessments, and goal-setting. This establishes a connection with your gym, gives members a sense of purpose, and encourages active participation.

Here's why this strategy is a game-changer:

  • Tailored Member Experiences: Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, personalised onboarding creates unique experiences for each member. In fact, studies show that comprehensive onboarding programmes can increase member retention by up to 82%.

  • Data-Powered Insights: Use data analytics to understand member preferences, goals, and fitness levels. This information helps you craft a customised onboarding plan that resonates with each member.

  • Building Early Engagement: Engaging members right from the start is crucial. According to industry data, proper onboarding boosts engagement for 87% of members, setting the stage for long-term commitment.

  • Clear Goal Setting: Personalised onboarding helps members set clear fitness goals. Goals motivate gym members to return by giving them something to look forward to. This is crucial since reports indicate that repetitive workouts can lead to decreased motivation and boredom

  • Continuous Adaptation: The beauty of personalised onboarding is its ability to adapt as members progress. Regular assessments and adjustments ensure that members stay motivated and committed over time.

Back to top

Personalised Communications

Communicate with members through newsletters, social media, or feedback surveys. Keep members informed with updates, special offers, and success stories. Personalise these messages to enhance your relationship with your members.

Here's why this strategy is a game-changer:

  • Tailored Engagement: Instead of generic messages, personalised communications address each member's unique preferences, progress, and milestones.

  • Timely Motivation: Use data to send encouraging messages, workout tips, and special offers when members need them most. This keeps them engaged and motivated, reducing the risk of churn.

  • Celebrating Achievements: Recognise and celebrate member milestones, whether it's a weight loss goal or completing a fitness challenge. Acknowledging their accomplishments fosters a sense of belonging.

  • Feedback Loop: Encourage members to share their feedback and insights. This two-way communication helps you understand their needs and concerns, allowing for proactive problem-solving.

  • Member-Centric Approach: Personalised communications demonstrate your commitment to each member's fitness journey, strengthening their loyalty to your gym. 

    Back to top

Key Takeaways: Our Top 8 Tips for Member Retention Summarised

Benefits of Member Retention

  • Steady Revenue Stream
  • Community Building
  • Lower Acquisition Costs
  • Positive Word of Mouth
  • Data-Driven Insights
  • Enhanced Brand Reputation
  • Reduced Churn Rates
  • Long-Term Sustainability

Member Retention Tip 1: Reward Programmes

  • Upselling and Membership Upgrades
  • Hyper-Relevant Brand Partner Rewards
  • Integration with a Referral Programme
  • Win-Back Rewards
hero-mob 2

Member Retention Tip 2: Referral Programmes

  • Increased Trust and Credibility
  • Higher Conversion Rate
  • Cost-Effective Outreach
  • Relevant Incentives
  • Lower customer acquisition costs
Group 130

Member Retention Tip 3: Gamification

  • Goal Setting and Progress Visualisation
  • Rewards for Attendance or Streaks
  • Challenges and Competitions
  • Team-Based Challenges
  • Point Systems & Reward Tiers
  • Instant Rewards - completing challenges or achieving top rankings 
  • Virtual Rewards and Progress Tracking

Group 107-1

Member Retention Tip 4: Flexible Membership Options

  • Customised Membership Plans
  • Financial Accessibility
  • Trial Periods
  • Easy Upgrades and Downgrades
  • Paused Membership
  • Cancellation Policies
Gym Membership

Member Retention Tip 5: Personal training & Support

  • Tailored Member Journeys
  • Built-In Motivation
  • Navigating New Territory
  • Accountability Partner
  • Progress Tracking

Member Retention Tip 6: Feedback & Surveys

  • Listening to Member Voices
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Problem Resolution
  • Enhanced Engagement
  • Predictive Insights
Gyn survey feedback

Member Retention Tip 7: Personalised Onboarding

  • Tailored Member Experiences
  • Data-Powered Insights
  • Building Early Engagement
  • Clear Goal Setting
  • Continuous Adaptation
Gym Onboarding

Member Retention Tip 8: Personalised Communications

  • Tailored Engagement
  • Timely Motivation
  • Celebrating Achievements
  • Feedback Loop
  • Member-Centric Approach

Gym communication-3

Start Your Journey to Membership Growth Today!

Ready to unlock your gym’s full potential? 

Download our Gym Member Retention and Acquisition Guide now. Your members deserve the best, and so does your gym. 

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn how to drive sustainable growth for your gym. We have got you covered, from member acquisition to engagement and retention. Get ready to revolutionise your gym's performance and create an exceptional experience for your members.

Gym Retention Strategies Guide




Related article

September 12, 2023

We have listed our top tips for keeping gym members engaged. These ideas help gym members get more...

Start your customised Propello journey today

Explore the platform's scalability, features and customisation options and get answers to your unique questions.

Request a demo >