My family recently stayed in a hotel where we were greeted by an employee vaping behind the counter. Later, I found the hotel’s gym equipment broken and worn out. On my next visit to the city, I stayed at another hotel, in a different part of town.
This excursion made me think about the similarity between gyms and hotels and what the fitness industry can discover from the leaders in leisure. And, how devastating bad first impressions are on customer retention.
How the best hotels create brand love.
Hilton understands good customer experiences — coupled with excellent customer service — create a magic blend that often leads to long-term member retention and positive brand relationships.
Consider Hilton’s 2023 advertising campaign targeting Airbnbs’. Hilton’s “For the Stay,” campaign playfully targets travelers fed up with the online company’s unpredictable lodgings and sketchy customer responsiveness. Come to Hilton, the ads’ suggest, where our fresh beautiful rooms and helpful employees will make your stay perfect.
How are gyms and hotels similar?
Both industries are heavily dependent on good customer service and excellent first impressions. Just as the best hotels create environments reflecting their target demographic, a gym’s design and functionality speak to its audience. Expensive hotels feel ritzy. Budget hotels are clean and practical.
Gyms face the same initial impression. Guest members immediately take in a gym’s cleanliness, design, layout, and employee responsiveness. From this point, they may decide to join and begin exercising at the club. With the right support and encouragement from the gym’s team, they often become vocal, engaged, and loyal members.
As with a hotel, gym customer service touch points include:
- Answering questions, resolving problems or complaints,
- Providing direction or advice
- Ensuring a comfortable experience.
Unfortunately, a single bad customer service interaction — or a series of them like I experienced — can switch customer loyalties in a minute.
How important is customer service to gym retention?
It’s incredibly important to your gym’s financial success: Engaged customers stay and passive ones leave. The more positive interactions your clients experience, the more likely they are to renew each month, especially at the beginning of their membership – saving you a lot of money in the long run.
As reported in IHRSA’s Profiles of Success, “research shows that a member that leaves can cost as much as $674 in annual revenue per dropped account.” The article continues to state that “according to a survey by Invesp Consulting, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25-95%. The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is only 5-20.”
How can gyms emulate top-tier hotels?
Hotel chains and independents rely both on excellent employee training and technology-driven loyalty programs to engage, interact and create emotional connections with customers.
Fitness clubs can learn from this strategy by using the right gym management software to guide members within their first few months of membership.
We all know the first 30 days are the most important time in a new customer’s journey. The less they visit, the more likely they are to drop their membership.
To address this fact, Gym Insight provides a member usage report detailing how many times a new customer visited the gym within the first 30 days.
Used in conjunction with our bulk action tool, this feature allows you to automatically encourage and respond to new clients by sending them messages of encouragement and reminders. Other automated features include member birthday, expiring members, and searching by age. Gym Insight’s rich collection of reports, free member’s app, and feature-driven search capabilities allows owners to craft meaningful responses to clients throughout their fitness experience.
By focusing on amazing customer service, gym owners build loyal, emotionally connected member bases and financially sound futures.
Thank you for exploring the similarities between hospitality and fitness! Our award-winning software is designed by former gym owners and enthusiasts with the intention to make your club as profitable and easy-to-run as possible. From simplifying and streamlining the sales process to providing a plethora of financial reports allowing you to analyze sales from many different vantage points, we believe gym management software should make your life and business easier to run – every day. Call us at 855-FOR-GYMS for a free demo of our software. Just ask for Natalia or Anthony. Feel free to visit us on social media as well, or tune into our Gym Owner’s podcast regular streamed on YouTube.
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