what fitness studio members wantEvery good fitness studio owner knows how important it is to bring in new members each month. But what you may not know is what a potential member looks for when they visit a new studio.

But we do. Here are 8 statistics that prove what people want in a fitness studio:

1. 95% of fitness studio members say the instructor is a crucial element that keeps them coming back.

Who you hire is important, especially when they’re in a forward-facing position like a group fitness instructor. Good instructors don’t just teach fitness techniques … they set the tone for your members’ entire fitness studio experience. They should inspire your members to work harder for their fitness goals and return to class week after week.

When interviewing, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Set expectations right away. Outline what’s expected of the trainer. Go over what the culture, hours, customer service, etc. need to look like in order for them to succeed at your location.
  2. Ask them something difficult. When’s a time they missed a deadline or got fired? Why did it happen and what did they learn from it?
  3. We ask all of our interviewees to take a DISC Assessment. This gives us more insight into their personality, how they work, how they prefer to be led and talked with.

Here are some more tips on how to hire the best staff for your fitness studio. Tune in to “Finding and Keeping Top Young Talent for Your Fitness Studio”:

Finding and Keeping Top Young Talent for Your Fitness Studio

2. 50% of members said they stayed at their current gym because it was in a convenient location.

Convenience is a huge part of whether or not people will return to your fitness studio after their first visit. And though you can’t easily change the location of your fitness studio to make it more convenient, this stat does still hold a nugget of wisdom: Your members want something that fits easily into their routine.

And there are a ton of ways you can make your studio more convenient. Here are just a few:

  • Offer more class times, including early mornings, during the lunch hour, and after work
  • Offer child care or “mommy and me” classes
  • Incorporate a snack or smoothie bar your members can visit after workouts
  • Use the MINDBODY scheduling software so that members can book classes from their smartphones

3. 46% of former members cite expense as the #1 reason they canceled.

Let’s pause here for a minute.

We’ve noticed again and again that pricing is a tricky subject for a lot of fitness studios. Sometimes that’s because your pricing structure is wrong (here’s how to tell if it is). But sometimes, it’s more than that.

When your fitness studio members say the membership is too expensive, they really mean they don’t get enough value from it.

Take a look at everything your fitness studio has to offer. Do your members typically show up, work out, and leave … or do they usually hang around for a bit after class and chat? Do your instructors take the time to engage with each student, or are some left out? What is your studio’s culture, and does it match what you think it should be?

4. 60% of lapsed fitness studio members would consider rejoining.

Just because a member cancels doesn’t mean everything is over between you and them. According to a Nielsen survey from 2013, 60% of fitness studio members who let their memberships lapse would consider rejoining. So your lapsed or canceled members provide a huge opportunity for growing your membership.

Here’s a simple way to stay on their radar. When a member cancels, add their email address to a separate mailing list specifically for canceled members. Send this newsletter out less frequently than your main one, once every other month or quarterly. You can include:

  • Offers or promotions that you run
  • Highlights of things that happened at the gym since the last newsletter
  • Sneak peeks at upcoming events or challenges
  • Shoutouts to your top performing members (challenge winners, most visits, etc.)

And if you offer an incentive for previous members interested in re-joining, this is the perfect place to mention it.

One of our previous guests on The GSD Show actually talked about this in a lot of detail with her free giveaway, “Your Effective Email Cheat Sheet.” Grab a copy here:

Your Effective Email Cheat Sheet

5. More than 40% of fitness studios now offer group fitness classes like yoga, barre, or kickboxing.

Currently, 36% of all regular exercisers do some type of fitness class, and that number just keeps growing.

If your fitness studio falls into this 40%, then you’re already on the right track. But simply offering group fitness classes isn’t enough … find a way to stand out from the crowd. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Build a bumping playlist that gets people moving
  • Increase the competition (and turn class into a game) with heart rate monitors
  • Survey your paying members and ask what other classes they’d like incorporated into your studio
  • Offer amenities that provide an experience, like cool lavender towels after yoga, a snack bar after TRX or bootcamp, and so on

6. Approximately 44% of gym-goers exercise with at least 1 other person.

Having a gym buddy doesn’t just keep your members motivated during their workout, but it may even bring them back to your studio for longer. According to a 2011 study, couples who worked out together had a 6.3% dropout rate over the course of a year, compared to a whopping 43% dropout rate among couples who worked out separately.

A great way to encourage this is an awesome membership referral program that includes incentives for both the current member and the lead they refer. This also makes your job of recruiting new members that much easier.

7. Women make up 52% of fitness club members … and 62% (or more) of group fitness participants.

It’s super important to know who your studio’s audience is. Studies show that fitness members are overwhelmingly women, especially when it comes to group fitness. Women are also more likely to purchase offers from Facebook, which comes in clutch when you start advertising online.

So be sure that your brand appeals to your audience. This means that your advertising imagery and wording, as well as your staff’s demeanor and even the type of workouts you offer are geared toward the kind of members you want to attract.

If you can’t pin down your messaging, purpose, and who you are as a fitness studio, you’ll struggle to articulate how and why you’re different from anyone else in the industry in just a few words. Here’s a quick guide I put together on “How to Identify Your Fitness Business’ Message & Purpose.”

8. 81% of Millennials exercise (or would like to), compared to 61% of Baby Boomers.

If you struggle to attract enough members, you might not be in front of the right demographic. Studies show that millennials have a stronger desire to work out than baby boomers. And 76% of regular exercisers fall right in that 18-34-year-old range (aka millennials), especially when it comes to group exercise.

Here’s a breakdown of workout popularity with each group:

millennial group fitness

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This data shows that millennials’ participation far outpaces baby boomers in every category of group fitness. But when it comes to more individualized fitness routines, the distribution is much more even. Consider this, as well as the type of fitness programs you offer, when deciding your target demographic.

These are the major things we’ve learned that people want in a fitness studio. Let us know which you plan to incorporate and what else has worked for you!

Mike Arce
Mike Arce is the CEO and founder of Loud Rumor, a lead generation company for fitness studios and independent gyms that supports their customers with sales training and techniques to grow and scale.

Mike has spoken for companies like Infusionsoft, the Better Business Bureau, ASBA, and Local First – all on the topic of Local Business Internet Marketing. He has a passion for local businesses and helping them grow. You can get fresh, updated tips from Mike here.