Dec 18, 2012

Perkville’s Gamification Features Increase Retention, Referrals, and Social Media Engagement

Executive Summary  

To survive in the competitive health and fitness industry, club operators must focus on what differentiates their club from their peers.

“The gyms and centers that do best are the ones that know who they are and do not try to be all things to all people.  Most importantly, they truly focus on customer service and on making sure that they deliver an environment and services that will help their members meet their wellness goals,” said Meredith Poppler, VP of Industry Growth at IHRSA in May 2012 of South Source.

Perkville provides health and fitness businesses with a competitive advantage – giving businesses a platform to drive lifestyle changes by providing gamification tools to boost retention, referrals, and social media. 

Perkville enables businesses to address the real long-term challenge of converting the public’s sedentary status into active lifestyle habits.

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Reward Program

Business Perspective: Gyms and studios have the ability to log into Perkville and customize their reward program to reward class attendance, personal training sessions, and more.  The reward program can be updated at any time to accommodate new behaviors, classes or services that the staff determine they would like to incentivize.  Staff can easily modify the list of point-generating activities in just a few clicks.

Redeemable rewards are viewed as tangible tokens of achievement in the fitness game.  Whilenothing can substitute for a great workout, redeemable rewards are motivational factors and help retain clients.  For many clients, rewards provide a goal they can strive to achieve.   Based on our discussions with gyms using Perkville, we recommend a 40 to 1 ratio where 40 works outs or activities equate to a retail, service, or discount reward.  

Royal Fitness, a gym in Barrington, New Jersey demonstrates how a reward program can improve retention.  They are a 35,000+sq foot gym with over 3,500 members and 800 check-ins per day on average.  They set up their reward program to reward clients for checking into the gym as well as attending weekly classes, personal training, and massage sessions.  Royal Fitness found that members participating in the program sign up for two times more classes on average than members that do not participate.  Since implementing Perkville, their monthly retention rate has also improved.

“We have to be mindful of the seasonal changes when calculating retention.  For instance, in the summer or Christmas break, we may have about 60 to 80 more memberships, but these are not year round members,” said Anne Sieck, co-owner of Royal Fitness.  

To make accurate comparisons when reviewing retention, Royal Fitness compared cohorts of auto-paid members for a 12 month period.  “We found it most helpful to compare September 2011 membership with September 2012 membership in our yearly membership plan,” said Anne.  

“Perkville has created a buzz in our gym as well as on social media and has helped us perform better in comparison to last year.  Our annual memberships grew by 6.6% this past September (2012) compared to 3.0% in September 2011.  We saw an improved trend in October as well, and November is looking good too.  I get really excited by annual membership growth,” said Anne.

“With seasonal memberships and Groupons, there is a need to track cohorts of members.  Looking at cohorts (where seasonal memberships were excluded), we had 1.2% attrition in October 2011 compared to 0.5% attrition this October (2012).”

“Whichever way you want to track retention or yearly membership, Perkville has increased engagement, which I believe has increased commitment so that more members sign up and stay,” said Anne.


Client Perspective:  Customers are more motivated to sweat when there is a goal.  Changing habits and making time to work out is easier when there is a method for tracking consistency. Perkville automatically tracks workouts and rewards clients by integrating with the gym’s membership system.  

“We do not like to exclude anyone at our gym.  Not everyone here owns a smartphone (those who do, use it to track and redeem), but everyone has an email address and that makes Perkville accessible and simple,” said Tom Sieck, co-owner of Royal Fitness.  Members receive an email after every visit to the gym or when they attend a special class.  “People like the emails notifying them about how many points they have earned towards a free workout shirt, pants, or massages,” said Tom.  

“When I found out about Perkville from the membership staff, I knew I would love it.  I loved earning Perkville points and logging in to see my progress bar move closer to 100% which meant new yoga pants,” said Renee Williams, a rewards member at Royal Fitness.  She currently leads the pack in rewards and recently won the first pair of black yoga pants.  “I really wanted these yoga pants and worked out every other day so I would get them quickly,” said Renee.   

* In additional to increased retention, Royal Fitness has grown its social media presence since integrating with Perkville with members publishing over 200 Facebook postings and 200 tweets about the gym and its classes.  Additionally, 382 members recommended the gym on the Perkville platform resulting in 65 referrals—63% of which signed up to be members for 6 months to a year.

 

Referring Friends

Business Perspective:  Almost all successful fitness pros list referrals as their most valuable source of leads.  Personal referrals are the most effective.

Traditionally, referrals have been strongly encouraged by gyms, but have often been difficult to obtain.  Many gyms and studios offer gift cards or special promotions to encourage referrals.  However, the housekeeping associated with such programs can be tedious.  Such was the case for Sturgeon Valley Athletic Club in Edmonton, Alberta.

“We were constantly looking for fun ways to motivate our members to refer friends; but despite some very attractive rewards, we did not receive many referrals.  Perkville provides an electronic platform to facilitate this at just the click of a mouse and prompts clients to make referrals in a way we never could before,” said Christine Ramussen, the club manager.

Submitting a referral is easy with Perkville.  Reward members click on the referral prompt in one of their Perkville point notification emails and submit their friends’ email addresses on their phone or computer. Perkville automatically tracks when their friends visit the gym and rewards the member accordingly. Active members are the best marketers of a gym or fitness center because they know the instructors, coaches, and facilities firsthand.

“I can see directly from the Perkville daily reports which members are making recommendations and referrals that resulted in membership.  In a month alone, we received 38 organic recommendations.  Referrals from friends are the most compelling referrals.  Perkville makes this process highly efficient,” said Christine.

 

Client Perspective:  Perkville simplifies the referral process for clients.  When clients log onto Perkville, a referral link appears as part of the dashboard.

Simplifying the process for clients to submit referrals increases the chances that clients will refer their friends.  Clients often already want their friends to come along because staying motivated to exercise is easier with a friend to provide accountability.

This was the case for Chelsea Von Grat who used Perkville to refer friends to Sturgeon Valley Health Club.  “A few friends of mine had asked about my gym.  With Perkville, I was able to conveniently refer them to check out Sturgeon Valley and earned myself some easy Perkville points.  Perkville points are a great motivator,” said Chelsea.

“Seeing familiar faces each class makes it more than a stale exercise environment.  It becomes a community with common goals,” said Cherilyn Hultquist, assistant professor in the department of health, physical education and sport science at Kennesaw State University in her interview February 2012 in Fox News Health. 

“I love camaraderie and classes here at SVAC and I wanted to refer.  The ease of Perkville motivated me to refer friends I thought would benefit from part of my diet group,” said Evelyn Hartel another Sturgeon Valley club member.  This data indicates that many clients who see the value of a facility or class naturally want to refer friends to share in that experience in addition to earning extra points.

 

Social Media Sharing

Business Perspective:  With Perkville, businesses immediately have a social amplification tool where each and every customer in the program can share their workout experience.  After a client works out or attends a personal training session, they are prompted to post on Facebook and tweet about their experience from the Perkville dashboard.  Perkville encourages social media sharing so that all of your clients’ friends and followers can see the buzz about your gym or studio.

By making social media sharing a point earning activity, Perkville businesses have been able to increase social media exposure.  Furthermore, Perkville is programmed so that clients can only access the social media sharing option after they’ve visited the gym or attended a class – thereby increasing the relevance of the content shared.  Once a client shares his or her experiences, friends will be able to see the post that links to the gym’s website to learn more.

Charm City Yoga, a chain of six yoga studios in Baltimore, Maryland has seen the increased social engagement generated by Perkville firsthand.  They received over 2,600 Facebook posts and over 2,700 tweets from students on their Perkville powered rewards program.

“It’s a difference between nobody talking and lots of people talking.  We have three to five, sometimes seven tweets a day from students so this has really created quite a buzz.  From my perspective, I wasn’t sure how to use Facebook and Twitter.  As a studio, we could be sending uplifting ideas or [saying] ’Come to class today,’ but I was never convinced that was a good way to connect with students.  With Perkville, our students are tweeting about us and talking about us on Facebook — sending photographs and liking things — so it has made sense for me. It showed me how we make those connections,” said Chris Blades, owner of Charm City Yoga.

Businesses receive daily reports with updates showing the number of social media posts and tweets as well as emailed reports of customer comments on Facebook and Twitter.

Client Perspective:  Clients feel good after working out and enjoy sharing their progress via social media.  Perkville facilitates social sharing by making it easy for the customer to create a post and then automatically rewarding them for the effort.

Posting about workouts on Facebook or following Twitter feeds are especially gratifying when there are extra points involved.  

“When I tweet about my practice I get virtual fist-pumps from friends—and I get extra Perkville points,” said Siman Halim a loyal Charm City yogi.  Siman is working towards 500 points which will give him $50 worth of credit for anything at Charm City Yoga.

“It’s an added bonus to be able to earn points by sharing our experiences online,” said Siman. Perkville engages customers long after the workout has finished and keeps them thinking about your gym or studio.

 

Conclusion

In today’s fitness industry, Perkville gives businesses a competitive advantage by incentivizing members to work out more often, share their experiences online, and refer friends to join.  

Members are able to track their workout progress towards perks, making exercise fun.  Perkville helps members reach their fitness goals at your facility so that they continue to come back, thereby building loyalty towards your business.

Perkville offers a 30-day free trial and monthly subscription plans. Contact us at sales@perkville.com to get started for your fitness business.