Locker Rooms and Member Retention

locker rooms

While the locker room might not be the first thing that attracts students to your recreation facility, it’s a critical space. Providing the right amenities and ensuring your locker rooms are up-to-date, clean and safe can make a big impression and dramatically help with member retention.

The International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association (IHRSA) reported in its 2008 “Guide to Health Club Cleanliness” that 69 percent of members assess cleanliness of a facility by visiting its locker rooms; yet far too often locker rooms are overlooked and forgotten by staff members as they walk through the facility each day. In a competitive environment, it is important to focus on facility changes that can positively increase member retention rates.

Implementing procedures to ensure a consistently clean locker room will likely lead to greater member and student satisfaction with the facility. You can begin by creating a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule that directs staff members to check locker rooms at regular intervals throughout the day. These schedules should include restocking toilet paper, cleaning mirrors, emptying garbage, sanitizing surfaces, and keeping floors and fixtures dry. Routine checks by staff members will not only keep small issues from becoming larger problems, but will also create a clean space that will lessen member concerns about germs, thereby allowing them to focus more on their workout.

As the locker room is one area that almost every member sees at some point during his or her visit, it should be an integral part of the member experience. The locker room should set the tone for your entire facility, from cleanliness to amenities and aesthetics. Just as a clean locker room space can ease member concerns about hygiene, locker room aesthetics should create a welcoming environment and locker room amenities should show an understanding of member needs and wants. For example, if a large majority of your members use aquatic facilities, you should consider providing towels, hair dryers and a means to handle wet swimsuits. Or if your facility offers spa services, consider replacing metal lockers with wood laminate or recycled plastic to create a more aesthetically pleasing, quiet experience.

Consumers will always have certain expectations of what they would like to see at a recreation facility. As a facility operator, it is your job to anticipate those expectations. In understanding the crucial role that your locker room plays in the member experience, you can differentiate your facility in ways that will not only appeal to new members, but will also keep your current members coming back year after year.

  Lindsay Hoffman is the vice president of operations for Extractor Corporation, the manufacturer of SUITMATE. She can be reached at 800.553.3353 or lindsay@suitmate.com.

Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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