Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management.

Publication Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal


Purpose – This quantitative research paper examined factors influencing re-engagement intentions and re-engagement behavior of lapsed health club members and identified which sales promotion incentives are most effective in re-engaging this lapsed member market. While previous studies examined reengagement intentions and re-engagement behavior in isolation, no research could be located which examined both simultaneously and the impact of promotion incentives in the health and fitness industry.

Design/methodology/approach – Study A (mail survey) examined re-engagement intentions of one hundred lapsed members of a medium size suburban health club. Study B (an experimental field study) measured actual true re-engagement behavior using price and gift token as incentives to re-engage 300 lapsed members of the same health club. Ten hypotheses were tested using chi-square, logistic regression and correlation analysis.

Findings – Results indicate that price is the most influential incentive in promoting re-engagement intentions, while the experimental field study tested this survey finding and reported that although incentives were more effective than nonincentives in terms of re-engagement behavior, price played a far greater significant role than gift token in actual re-engagement behavior of lapsed members. Highly satisfied customers are likely to have stronger re-engagement intentions with frequent attendees more influenced by price in terms of re-engagement intentions, while those who lapsed most recently demonstrated stronger re-engagement behavior.

Research limitations/implications – Study A: While acknowledging that the sample size was limited, a respectable response rate of 49% was recorded for the mail survey in Study A but a greater response rate and larger sample size would have allowed for a more comprehensive analysis. However, the study is primarily exploratory in nature and serves to achieve the objectives of the research. The study was based on a medium size suburban health club, therefore no comparisons can be drawn between the results of this study and that involving larger health clubs, chains, urban clubs or those outside of Ireland. Although the inclusion of moderating effects was considered, it was not feasible to develop these interactions due to the limited sample size. Study B: Generalization of the findings in this study with other international markets is not possible due to differences in demographic factors, promotions and differences in the health and fitness industry. No comparison can be drawn either between health clubs which operate in a different environment, such as public or nonmembership-based clubs, urban clubs or those constituting a chain. While the offer incentives were of equal value, it is recognized that the gift token may have appealed more to females than to males.

Practical implications – Health clubs should consider changing strategic focus, from being overly concentrated on new customer acquisition to actively re-engaging the lapsed member market by finding out why they left and offer an incentive such as price to re-engage. Although loyalty, duration, age, gender and income were found not to be significant in this study, satisfaction, frequency and recency of lapse were significant. Therefore, health clubs should strive to keep members satisfied, monitor and increase frequency of attendance with creative programming and commence the re-engagement process prior to the membership expiry so as to maximize re-engagement and customer retention using price discount as an incentive.

Originality/value – The originality of this study is that is tests statistically consumer re-engagement intentions and actual re-engagement behavior simultaneously in a health club setting using a mail survey in Study A and Experimental Design in Study B.