As a club operator, you strive to provide the best possible fitness experience for your members while effectively attracting new ones. Often times, you ask yourself: How can I keep exercisers engaged and excited about my facility?

The 2013 IHRSA Health Club Consumer Report notes that about 27 percent of gym members belong to their fitness facility for a year or less, and approximately 50 percent of members maintain their membership for two to five years. Upon reaching their fitness goals, many cancel their memberships because they do not see the value in continuing their memberships. Also, the typical member tends to visit the gym about two times per week.

What can be done to increase gym visitation and membership duration? Here are three ways that you can ensure a successful future for your facility.

1. Follow the new trends. In recent years, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has surveyed worldwide fitness professionals and compiled a list of the predicted fitness trends for the year ahead. Here are ACSM’s top fitness trends for 2014:

  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • Body weight training
  • Educated and experienced fitness professionals
  • Strength training
  • Exercise and weight loss
  • Personal training
  • Fitness programs for older adults
  • Functional fitness
  • Group personal training
  • Yoga.

It is absolutely necessary for club owners to acknowledge these trends and to incorporate them into their facilities. After all, everyone wants to try the latest fitness craze. Making these trending workouts available will not only draw in new members and keep them coming back but also will offer variety to current members.

2. Make strong investments. Keeping up with fitness trends is important, but it also is wise to keep in mind the essential activities that people consistently rely on doing at the gym. According to IHRSA, the two most popular pieces of equipment used in U.S. health clubs are treadmills and strength training machines—they are tied for the top spot, with 42 percent of all health club members using them.

Exercisers rely heavily on gyms for their cardio and strength workouts. They typically prefer doing their cardio workouts indoors in a gym, health club or similar fitness center versus performing cardio outdoors. When surveyed, 616 of 1,000 exercisers say they use a treadmill for cardio exercise at the gym, and 99 percent of users are satisfied with their results. The gym setting also is important for exercisers when it comes to strength training, because it can be hard to find access to weights outside a gym.

Based on these facts, it is easy to see that investing in high-quality fitness equipment is a win-win for operators and exercisers. Treadmills, the cornerstone of any fitness facility and the most-used piece of equipment in any gym, tend to last an average of five to seven years; strength equipment generally has a longer life—seven to 10 years. Maximize your return on investment by choosing the highest-quality, easiest-to-use cardio and strength equipment available in order to exceed exercisers’ expectations about what their gym has to offer.

In addition to investing in equipment, we recommend investing in knowledgeable and certified personal trainers. Not only is personal training a top trend in 2014, but exercisers also heavily rely on trainers for the latest information on weight loss, fat burn, building muscles and nutritional information. Personal training also may lead to increased revenue, so make sure you offer it in your facility. Promote personal training packages that will get members to your gym more often.

3. Win with incentives. One of the best ways to keep customers excited and engaged with your fitness center is by offering perks, be it in the form of a competition with a special prize for the winner(s) or a celebration of members who have recently completed an awe-inspiring race or who have reached their fitness goals. Celebrating success and showing that you appreciate your facility’s members are proven ways to boost morale and to encourage increased visitation and participation in gym events.

Here’s the bottom line: Invest in fundamental, high-quality equipment and knowledgeable personal trainers. Make the top trending fitness workouts available at your gym. Reward exercisers for accomplishing and surpassing their fitness goals. These actions will result in happy members. Happy members equal more frequent visits and longer memberships, and in the end, an all-around successful fitness facility.

This content is brought to you by Precor, republished from Club Industry.

About Precor

Precor designs and builds premium fitness equipment for effective workouts. With a focus on ergonomic motion, proven science and superior engineering, the company continually advances the home and commercial fitness industry with new product categories, including EFX® Elliptical, Adaptive Motion Trainer® (AMT®) and Preva® Networked Fitness. Precor is a subsidiary of Amer Sports Corp. For more information, click here.