A Business student investigates how to increase gym members' level of engagement.
Health and fitness is a big industry in New Zealand, but many people sign up to a gym then don't go very often. For one Dunedin gym this was unacceptable - Flex Fitness Green Island's goal was to see its members succeed in their fitness goals and increase their wellbeing. Jassmyn Walker, an employee of the gym and one of our Business students, undertook a research project to learn what more the gym could do to engage those members who did not regularly attend.
Jassmyn looked at consumer behaviour, relationship marketing and customer satisfaction theories and case studies. She then analysed Flex Fitness Green Island member participation over a three month period, identifying 74 high users who attended more than 20 times per month on average, and 310 low users who attended less than three times per month on average. By phone during COVID-19 lockdown she interviewed three high users, three low users, and the gym's manager. She then conducted a survey; 31% of the high users responded to the survey and 25% of the low users.
Amongst other things the results identified two key factors that distinguished the high users from the low users:
- Self-determination: The high users were highly motivated to come to the gym to work out, and stuck to a routine to achieve this.
- Self-confidence: The low users were uncomfortable about using the gym, especially if there were many people there.
Jassmyn has recommended that the gym take steps to boost member motivation and confidence, for example helping with goal setting, providing options, and explaining why a certain exercise is helpful. Relationships with gym members can also be strengthened with more email messaging and use of social media, for example videos about how to use equipment, and information about quieter times in the gym and the full range of services available to members.