More behavioral economics gym memberships

We recently blogged about a behavioral economics gym membership plan in which people pay more money if they don’t visit the gym. A commenter said that a similar plan already exists at the SF Bay Club in San Francisco where members must “swipe in 8x/month or pay more that month.” This doesn’t quite appear to be the case, at least according to the staffer who answered the phone when the Nudge blog called. The club does appear to use behavioral economics principles in its gym memberships, however. Here are two nice examples:

1) Last year, the club offered local companies a membership package for their employees in which an employee would receive a discount off the standard membership rate if they used the gym at least eight times a month. This seems to be the membership plan the commenter was referring to.

2) The club has also instituted a new years resolution promotional plan. Gyms frequently get a membership boost at the start of the new year as people make plans to work out more. Typically, people give up on their resolutions and those memberships end after three months. To fight that phenomenon, the club offers $50 in credit that can be applied to future dues for every 10 gym visits the new member makes. You have to visit the gym before March 15th, and you get credit for a maximum of 30 visits (for a total of $150 – you can, of course, visit the gym as much as you want). The idea behind the plan is to get people into the gym more often so that they are less like to drop the membership after the usual three month run. It’s an interesting idea that will be worth following up on.

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  • http://twitter.com/PhilippaDunjay Philippa Dunjay

    Fitness First in the UK uses a motivational program where it gives you back your joining fee if you go 20 times in the first 8 weeks, and book in for your free personal training sessions. Even better as it’s a form of loss aversion, where you go to gain back the money you’ve paid out initially.

    Though often the economics of gyms work on persuading people to sign up for long contracts in the hope they will under-use the facilities but have to continue to pay.

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