How to manage the January membership boom

How to manage the January membership boom

The start of January has seen full spin classes, crowded weights rooms, and chock-a-block treadmills. Gyms fill up in January thanks to the popularity of new year’s resolutions and the hope that this will be the year to get in shape.

In fact, more than 12% of gym members join in January, compared to an average of 8% per month for the rest of the year, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA).

This January bump requires a lot of pre-planning and organisation, with gyms needing to make sure that they’re taking full advantage of their rush of new clients whilst also making sure that they keep retention as high as possible.



Plan staffing and equipment ahead

This may sound obvious, but a lot of gyms find themselves totally swamped in the first quarter of the year with too little staff to handle the rush.

New gym members need extra help with inductions, equipment explanations, and signing up. This will eat away gym staff’s time, so making sure that you have extra staff on hand to bring up the shortfall is essential.

Making sure that you have a clear staff rota in place with plenty of staff available before January will reduce wait times for new members.


Ramp up group exercise classes

Most people find going it alone at the gym hard. Group exercise classes guide new gym-goers through exercises, making their results easier to achieve – and more fun. Group programmes also connect people with similar interests and goals whilst creating a sense of community.

In fact, according to IHRSA, the likelihood of cancelling a gym membership is 56% higher among members who just use gym equipment than those who exercise in groups.

Whilst your gym is probably already offering a range of group classes, putting on a few extra ones throughout January and February will see you retain more new members.


Analyse, analyse, analyse

With a flood of new members, the start of the year brings loads of new data. If you’re not already tracking membership engagement, now is the time to start.

By monitoring engagement, you can tell which members with mixed attendance records are likely to drop out. This gives you the opportunity to touch base with certain members and keep them engaged with your gym.

And if your data is showing that your members are finding it hard to manage their classes – and their memberships – it might be time to onboard a great customer self-service and membership management solution like Leisure Hub.


Don’t just focus on new members

It’s just as easy to identify loyal members who frequently attend the gym as it is to identify those with spotty attendance. Whilst it’s easy to focus on new members during the start of the year boom, engaging with older, loyal members will stand you in good stead.

Engage members with new offers, member benefits, and tips and encourage them to send new referrals to your gym. Leisure Hub can intelligently display offers that are suitable and most relevant to members.

This will ensure that you retain your old members whilst you onboard a host of new ones.


Communicate with your members

The relationship between you and your members continues outside of the gym, whether that’s on email, social media, or apps. Whilst people don’t want to be harassed by push notifications, emails, and phone calls, it’s still important to maintain some communication with your members. Using social media to provide fitness tips, free workouts, and recipe ideas is a great way to leverage content marketing to engage your members. 

And if your member engagement tracking has flagged up a few members who are at risk of cancelling their membership, you should check in with them.


The Q1 boom can do great things for a gym’s membership numbers if handled correctly. Even simple steps can make a huge difference to customer experience and will make the running of your gyms smoother and easier.

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