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Hailee Bland Walsh of Fit Truk shares outside the box approaches to boost retention.

As many brick-and-mortar community rec operators continue to see the lasting effects of COVID-19 on revenue reports, organizations are finding creative ways to help buoy profits.

The year 2022 saw an increase in innovative retention tool approaches in the form of stretch labs and recovery centers, as well as a resurgence in large group personal training. The goal is to find low-risk, high-return program offerings and to retain members. Utilizing existing spaces and repurposing them for stretch and recovery spaces have become very popular and quite impactful.

Some organizations have gone a step further to seek outside-the-box solutions. They are doing this by developing programs that include large group personal training formats that offer a boutique, studio-like experience. These give members both the flexibility of a gym experience and the personalization of a studio.

The industry has also seen a rise in member willingness to attend facility-led classes and programming outside of gym walls. Community-building groups like walking, running and triathlon training programs are on the rise. Members who never would have attended a class outside are now actively seeking outdoor workout experiences.

For many health and wellness leaders, the last few years have been the most challenging times of their careers. The silver lining is ingenuity and creativity are at an all time high, and customers are engaging in new and meaningful ways with the wellness industry. Now is the time for leadership to seek out ways to continue to bridge the retention gap with creativity and excitement. Don’t be afraid to try new approaches to boost retention — your members are ready for it.

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Hailee Bland Walsh

Hailee Bland Walsh is a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, owner and founder of City Gym in Kansas City, Missouri, and co-founder of Fit Truk. She is also a former fitness director at the Berkeley YMCA. For more information, email hailee@citygymkc.com or visit getfittrukc.com.

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