The Role of Smell in Health Club Memberships

health club scenting
Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

If you own or manage a health club or gym, you know that it is much more cost effective to keep your members than to go get new ones. A new study has discovered exactly how the senses (smell, sight, hearing and touch) impact attraction, retention and cancellation of health club members.

The Importance of the Senses

The researchers talked to three groups of people: current members, former members and those who have never joined a health club. Almost two thirds of current and former members (64%) affirmed that the senses were relevant when enrolled in a health club. A similar percentage considered sensory input to be relevant when considering whether to cancel a health club membership. Of the senses, every group of participants said that the sense of smell is the most important in a gym.

Sensory factors had both positive and negative effects. For example, the smell of sweat or bleach were negative while environmental scent was generally considered positive.

Biggest Sensory Factors in Cancelling Health Club Memberships (in order of importance):

  1. Smelling like sweat
  2. Loud talking among members
  3. Unpleasant music
  4. Texture of materials (machine handles)
  5. Bad distribution of machines in the room
  6. Smell of cleaning products like bleach
  7. Décor
  8. Environmental scent (air freshener sprays)
  9. Colors

Biggest Sensory Factors in Encouraging Health Club Membership Sign-ups (in order of importance)

  1. Does not smell like sweat
  2. Pleasant music
  3. Good distribution of machines in the room
  4. Environmental scent (air freshener sprays)
  5. Colors
  6. Décor
  7. Texture of materials (machine handles)
  8. Smell of cleaning products like bleach
  9. Sound of talking among members

As you can see, the sense of smell is critical to both retaining and attracting new members. Try using an odor neutralizer to eliminate sweat smells and add a subtle positive smell. It can make a big difference to your bottom line. Talk to your Air Esscentials rep to find out which system is right for you.