Letters
Fitness sector is struggling to generate robust retention data


With the FIA Retention Reports (2002–2008) still held in great regard, last year Dr Melvyn Hillsdon and I attempted to produce a new report. It was pulled due to a lack of robust data: of the 3.1 million member records that operators wanted us to analyse, we could access only 1.8 million. Many operators were simply unable to extract the data from their software systems or produce viable samples from their sites.

Even among these records, significant data cleaning was required, filtering out inputting errors and certain membership categories. Pay-as-you-go is hard to analyse, for example. We also remove complimentary memberships – which offer no useful insight into behaviour – and frozen memberships. To give a sense of the scale of the problem, one multi-site operator provided 200,000 member records; after eight weeks of cleaning, this was reduced to 60,000 usable records. Others provided data sets of live members only, from which it’s not possible to identify retention/attrition behaviours.

All this raises points to be addressed:
- No operator submitted data that was clean enough to conduct analysis without human intervention to prepare it, rendering automatic reporting redundant.
- Accurate data entry by staff is not considered a high enough priority, leading to errors.
- Software systems provide no range checks, providing opportunities for further inputting error.
- Reports produced by software systems cannot be considered error-free based on the quality of data they are working from.
- Due diligence is not possible if we’re unable to compare the performance of sites for length of membership and churn rates using recognised statistical methods.
- For operators looking to sell their clubs, maximising the revenue from these sales cannot be achieved if membership length data is missing. This is also true for those looking to purchase sites.
- Asking the NHS/health agencies to take seriously the industry’s attempts to improve the nation’s physical activity is a non-starter if we cannot accurately collect even the most basic of information.

Dr Paul Bedford - Consultant & retention expert

Physicians must learn to prescribe exercise


A recent BBC News article announced: “Less than one per cent of obese children in Bedfordshire are taking part in a prevention programme that costs the taxpayer £120,000 a year.” This is another example of a pathetic waste of NHS funds, a disservice to overweight children and the main reason that paediatricians/GPs must be more proactive.

As highlighted in this story, most parents of overweight children are either in denial about their child’s condition, ashamed or totally ignorant. Physicians have an authority level that most parents respect and follow with little hesitation, especially when it comes to the health of their children. If we’re going to win this battle, physicians have to treat the obesity condition the same as all other illnesses. This not only includes appropriate testing for the condition, but also the issuance of a prescription to exercise when justified.

And therein lies the obvious opportunity for the health and fitness industry. We are the authorities on wellness through physical activity. We have the history, the people, the know-how and the programmes that the medical world lacks. A recent study, published online by The Lancet – ‘Prescription of physical activity: an undervalued intervention’ – supports this position. The fitness industry should be to the physical activity prescription what the chemist is to the pharmaceutical prescription.

Doug Werner - VP, Healthtrax Fitness and Wellness

 



Exercise should be prescribed by GPs and dispensed by gyms
 


CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2022

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
 
07 Jul 2022 Leisure Management: daily news and jobs
 
 
HOME
JOBS
NEWS
FEATURES
PRODUCTS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION
PRINT SUBSCRIPTION
ADVERTISE
CONTACT US
Sign up for FREE ezine

Features List



SELECTED ISSUE
Health Club Management
2013 issue 3

View issue contents

Leisure Management - Fitness sector is struggling to generate robust retention data

Letters

Fitness sector is struggling to generate robust retention data

With the FIA Retention Reports (2002–2008) still held in great regard, last year Dr Melvyn Hillsdon and I attempted to produce a new report. It was pulled due to a lack of robust data: of the 3.1 million member records that operators wanted us to analyse, we could access only 1.8 million. Many operators were simply unable to extract the data from their software systems or produce viable samples from their sites.

Even among these records, significant data cleaning was required, filtering out inputting errors and certain membership categories. Pay-as-you-go is hard to analyse, for example. We also remove complimentary memberships – which offer no useful insight into behaviour – and frozen memberships. To give a sense of the scale of the problem, one multi-site operator provided 200,000 member records; after eight weeks of cleaning, this was reduced to 60,000 usable records. Others provided data sets of live members only, from which it’s not possible to identify retention/attrition behaviours.

All this raises points to be addressed:
- No operator submitted data that was clean enough to conduct analysis without human intervention to prepare it, rendering automatic reporting redundant.
- Accurate data entry by staff is not considered a high enough priority, leading to errors.
- Software systems provide no range checks, providing opportunities for further inputting error.
- Reports produced by software systems cannot be considered error-free based on the quality of data they are working from.
- Due diligence is not possible if we’re unable to compare the performance of sites for length of membership and churn rates using recognised statistical methods.
- For operators looking to sell their clubs, maximising the revenue from these sales cannot be achieved if membership length data is missing. This is also true for those looking to purchase sites.
- Asking the NHS/health agencies to take seriously the industry’s attempts to improve the nation’s physical activity is a non-starter if we cannot accurately collect even the most basic of information.

Dr Paul Bedford - Consultant & retention expert

Physicians must learn to prescribe exercise


A recent BBC News article announced: “Less than one per cent of obese children in Bedfordshire are taking part in a prevention programme that costs the taxpayer £120,000 a year.” This is another example of a pathetic waste of NHS funds, a disservice to overweight children and the main reason that paediatricians/GPs must be more proactive.

As highlighted in this story, most parents of overweight children are either in denial about their child’s condition, ashamed or totally ignorant. Physicians have an authority level that most parents respect and follow with little hesitation, especially when it comes to the health of their children. If we’re going to win this battle, physicians have to treat the obesity condition the same as all other illnesses. This not only includes appropriate testing for the condition, but also the issuance of a prescription to exercise when justified.

And therein lies the obvious opportunity for the health and fitness industry. We are the authorities on wellness through physical activity. We have the history, the people, the know-how and the programmes that the medical world lacks. A recent study, published online by The Lancet – ‘Prescription of physical activity: an undervalued intervention’ – supports this position. The fitness industry should be to the physical activity prescription what the chemist is to the pharmaceutical prescription.

Doug Werner - VP, Healthtrax Fitness and Wellness

 



Exercise should be prescribed by GPs and dispensed by gyms

Originally published in Health Club Management 2013 issue 3

Published by Leisure Media Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | © Cybertrek Ltd