Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

August 2015

IHRSA Report Examines Member Retention in Detail

The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) recently released the third installment of its "IHRSA Member Retention Report," examining how member demographics, duration, attendance and activity participation vary between "promoters" and "detractors."

The "IHRSA Member Retention Report (Volume 3, Issue 1): What Differentiates Promoters From Detractors?" was conducted in partnership with The Retention People, and focuses on the impact of the "Net Promoter Score" on club member retention. It is based on a survey of more than 10,000 health club members in the United Kingdom.

Jay Ablondi, IHRSA's executive vice president of global products, said this most recent installment "… will help club operators better distinguish the characteristics of loyal members, who may endorse their club to family and friends, from those who may be more likely to badmouth their business." He added, "Although longer tenure is historically indicative of member loyalty, the report shows that recently joined members are most likely to be promoters."

According to the report, 51 percent of members who belonged to a club for less than six months were promoters, in comparison with 20 percent who were detractors. For members with a tenure of at least three years, 35 percent were promoters and 31 percent were detractors.

The report also explores the relationship between both gender and age with Net Promoter Score. While the relationship between gender and promoter or detractor status is not particularly strong, it does vary by age groups. Members between the ages of 16 and 24, as well as those 65 years or older, are most likely to be promoters. Half of members (50 percent) in the 16-to-24 age group are promoters, while 46 percent ages 65 and older are promoters. The percentage of detractors increases between the ages of 25 and 64. The report suggests leveraging the power of staff interactions and group activities with members of all ages, as social activities, including group exercise, typically lead to a higher rate of promoters.

"Understanding the mindset of promoters is critical to improving overall member satisfaction, which has a direct impact on improving retention," said Phil Bonomo, director of TRP North America. "TRP will be studying promoters in depth during an upcoming, first-of-its-kind North American health club member 'longitudinal study.' This study will track active club members over a multi-year period and provide meaningful insight into what makes a promoter, and how clubs create a culture that yields more promoters than detractors."

More information on promoters and detractors, as well as other installments of the IHRSA Member Retention Report, is available at

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