How Sports & Leisure Businesses Can Use Surveys to Drive Memberships

Topic: SMS Surveys & Feedback

Member retention is key to your business’s ongoing success

With COVID-19 operational restrictions, gyms and personal trainers have bared the brunt of the global pandemic’s challenges. Pushed to think on their feet, many sports and leisure businesses have dynamically responded by introducing virtual classes and fitness challenges to retain their members.

Fitness Australia’s survey reported that 24% of businesses recorded “a loss of membership of 61% to suspensions and cancellations.” However, all is not lost – RunRepeat conducted a global trend survey with findings that only 31.34% of Australian gym members do not intend to return to their gyms upon reopening, compared to the 46.67% average for other nations. 

Despite the seemingly disheartening statistics, it’s vital for sports and leisure businesses to focus on member retention, rather than acquisition – it costs 9 times more to acquire a new member than to retain an existing one and research shows increasing member retention rates by 5%, can increase profits by between 25% and 95%.

Home-friendly fitness apps have seen a huge spike in downloads worldwide, with as many as 75% of mobile users downloading health-related apps during the 2020 lockdown period. Whether it’s through one-on-one live sessions, pre-filmed group workouts or via an app, gyms will need to continually pivot their business model to satisfy shifting member interests as normality resumes.

Survey ideas for sports & leisure businesses to leverage member feedback

Compared to email open rates, SMS surveys were found to reach an 100% open rate amongst Australians aged 18 to 44 and an 95% open rate for people aged 44-54.

While survey responses won’t directly correspond to the open rate, Esendex offers tailored SMS Surveys and Mobile Journeys strategies to promote your business’s response rate. This ensures sufficient data to make informed decisions. 

Collecting invaluable member feedback and data, surveys are great for businesses looking to gather information en masse in a relatively structured and efficient way. Here are our top 3 survey ideas. 

1) Gather member insights on newly-introduced services

As fitness and leisure centres increasingly implement digital services for remote classes, it’s likely that many members will continue to adapt their workout preferences accordingly. Rather than treating virtual training as a band-aid solution, businesses should assess how their current members feel about the newly-introduced services and their likelihood of participation in the post-COVID future. 

Example of a customer feedback survey to assess new services

  • On a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being the most positive, how would you rate the quality of our online sessions?
  • If we were to introduce more online classes, which of the following times would you most prefer? 
    • 6AM
    • 8AM
    • 7PM
  • Once restrictions ease, would you be interested in the return of outdoor park sessions? Please reply YES or NO.

2) Identifying current levels of member satisfaction and improvement opportunities

Keeping in mind that customer retention is more cost-effective than the acquisition of new members, it’s essential that businesses are consistently evaluating customer satisfaction and proactively identifying improvement opportunities. Rather than high-pressure calls by a business representative, this is another area where SMS-based surveys are more likely to encourage a prompt, honest answer. 

Example of a member satisfaction survey

  • On a scale of 1 – 5, with 5 being the most positive, how would you rate the quality of our coaches?
  • On a scale of 1 – 5, with 5 being the most positive, how supported would you say you have felt by *insert gym or fitness centre name* during the pandemic?
  • In a few words, can you reply with feedback on any changes you would like us to make prior to your return to our gym / leisure centre? If this doesn’t apply, please reply NO.

3) Tailor your back-to-business strategy

While many sports and leisure business owners have proven themselves to be resilient in the face of uncertainty, it’s important to prepare for member expectations and fears to continually evolve in the post-pandemic world. To tailor your business’s return strategy, it’s essential to reach out to your members and gauge their responses to your operational goals. 

Example of a targeted survey to assess post-COVID interest

  • Once reopened, on average how many days per week are you planning on visiting the gym / leisure centre?
  • On a scale of 1 – 5, with 5 being the most positive, how well do you feel we have communicated newly introduced safety protocols, for example equipment cleaning?
  • Do you feel there is anything in addition to the precautions taken, we could implement to make you feel more confident returning to the gym / leisure centre?

Bolster your business’s return by listening to your members and responding accordingly

There’s no doubt that forced shutdowns severely impacted the global fitness industry. However, Fitness Australia has reported that resurgence from COVID-19 has driven jobs, memberships and demand for services – Newcastle business owner, John Pirlo, reaffirms this with encouraging feedback that within 30 days of reopening, they were back to “approximately 60% of revenue and this increased to 95% within four months with the majority of members now back.” 

As long as sports and leisure businesses are providing their members with assurance that they can visit the gym and train safely, while continuing to introduce new innovations in the new climate, they can push forward with confidence. 

If you are looking to maximise customer feedback and insights for your business’s strategic return, Esendex provides global knowledge and expertise across tailored SMS Surveys and Mobile Journeys. Specifically designed for the fitness industry, our local team can help you with identifying potential gaps and adapting to your members’ expectations. 

Plan a stronger-than-ever comeback, contact us on 1300 764 946 or email [email protected] to get started. 

Author Avatar
Prachi Bametha

Marketing Coordinator, Esendex Australia