Gym and yoga studio memberships can be fickle. Up in January, down in June; up in booms, down in recessions. There are myriad reasons, of course—discretionary income and multiple options, to name two. But for studio owners the takeaway is this: efficiency is key. A bump in incremental revenue—say improving cost per lead or upping membership tenure—can mean the difference between thriving and treading water.
YogaWorks, one of the largest, most respected chains of yoga studios in the country, is definitely thriving. Now boasting twenty-nine locations nationwide, they show no signs of slowing. And while their success takes them to new heights, their core ethos remains the same: skillful practice, precision, and experienced instructors.
In January 2012 the company unveiled YogaWorks Rewards, a loyalty and rewards program powered by Perkville. The program drives member loyalty by awarding points for taking classes in the studio, new member referrals, and social media engagement. Members can then easily redeem those points for great rewards.
“Our rewards program is one of the pillars of our customer retention and engagement strategy,” said Jeff Miller, YogaWorks Senior Director of Marketing. “Studio members are telling us that they really value the rewards we’re offering—a free month of yoga, yoga specific gear from great partners like Manduka and Yogitoes—and the gear is helping them expand their practice.”
“The program has been a huge success,” YogaWorks President Jay DeCoons said. “More than 30% of our members nationwide have signed up. Meanwhile YogaWorks Rewards users are filling YogaWorks’ Facebook pages with accolades and love for the studios and our amazing yoga, Pilates, and Mindful Fitness teachers.”
But now two years in, DeCoons wants to know if the company is seeing ROI. In addition to driving engagement, is YogaWorks Rewards (powered by Perkville) generating revenue? Is it combatting attrition and churn?
At YogaWorks’ behest Perkville analyzed the data. What follows are the results.
To determine the program’s real ROI, Perkville analyzed the key metrics its platform touched, as well as actual cost:
• Retention / churn-reduction
• Influence on membership tenure
• New membership referrals
• Social engagement
• Platform costs and cost of goods for rewards
Perkville culled data from both its internal database and from YogaWorks’ member management system, MINDBODY Online. Combining these two data sets, Perkville then created regression models predicting churn for reward program members and non-members, and calculated ROI based on membership tenure and referrals.
Analysis of churn dating back to 2008 established baseline retention rates; the in-depth look at Perkville’s impact on key metrics spans January 2011 to the present.
Membership Survival Rates
The fitness industry has seen higher cancellation rates over the last several years due to the economic recession and increased competition. YogaWorks was not immune to these trends.
Upon rollout of YogaWorks Rewards (January 2012), members who did not participate in the program continued to churn at industry standard rates. By contrast the group of members who did join showed much higher rates of retention.
If all YogaWorks members had retained at the same rate as those who participated in YogaWorks Rewards, it would have translated to 386 fewer cancellations in 2013 alone.
Of course, incremental gains in membership life with cancelled members can also drive revenue, and a look at the average membership duration of cancelled YogaWorks Rewards users versus non-users is also striking. Among YogaWorks cancels, reward program participants had a longer average membership length by 45 days.
On average, reward program participants stayed members an additional 1½-months, translating to significant additional dues revenue each quarter.
New Member Referrals
The Perkville platform creates a new pipeline of qualified leads by streamlining the member referral process. Current members are incentivized to refer, and can easily trigger referral emails directly from their rewards accounts.
To determine the dollar impact of these referrals, Perkville analyzed a subset of the YogaWorks membership. In the third quarter of 2013, Los Angeles-based program participants referred 25 successful joins per month.
This data set encompassed 55% of the YogaWorks member base. Assuming these results held across the remainder of the membership, YogaWorks saw an additional 20 memberships per month overall.
Perkville drove 45 memberships from referrals per month, and an associated increase in lifetime revenue.
Social Media Engagement
There has been a significant increase in engagement on the YogaWorks social media pages since roll out of the Perkville platform. Social posting is incentivized with rewards, and Perkville makes one-click posting easy from a member account page:
The third quarter of 2013 saw 546 Facebook posts and 410 Tweets about YogaWorks from the Perkville platform.
In Q3, 2013 reward program members generated more than 950 social media posts.
Average Monthly Check-ins
While Perkville is directly driving social engagement, it’s also driving another, even more important engagement metric: Actual class attendance. For example, of the members who had active memberships for all of calendar year 2012 (i.e. they joined on or before 01/01/2012 and did not cancel before 01/01/2013), class attendance averages were significantly higher for participants in the YogaWorks Rewards program versus non-participants.
Return on Investment
Use of the YogaWorks Rewards platform correlates positively with lower churn and an increased membership life, and these metrics are translating to real dollars for YogaWorks. Perkville drives more memberships through referrals, and is helping YogaWorks drive brand affinity by rewarding loyalty, social posts, and studio visits.
In short, Perkville is positively correlated with beneficial outcomes by every metric. But what about Jay DeCoons’ original question: Is Perkville showing ROI? The short answer? Yes. Absolutely.
Using the same sample of a subset of YogaWorks’ Los Angeles members from Q3 2014, the return on investment was calculated as follows:
• 45-day bump in member tenure correlated to Perkville, multiplied by the number of members who joined YogaWorks Rewards
• Conservative estimate of lifetime value of a new member, multiplied by the number of referrals resulting in new memberships from YogaWorks Rewards members
Finally, the revenue generated was divided by the sum of the Perkville subscription costs and the costs of the rewards redemptions. The result?
YogaWorks saw a 951% return on its investment.
YogaWorks was looking for a customer rewards program that would work well with its existing studio management software, MINDBODY Online. They wanted to reward member loyalty, incentivize behaviors that are beneficial to the company, and increase engagement with the brand. They wanted to see real ROI.
By every metric analyzed, YogaWorks Rewards has been a huge success.
And there was another, less tangible set of benefits: The ease of it all. As a chain, the company needed a member rewards program that would be easy to implement and administer across multiple locations. Perkville allows this with its readymade integration with MINDBODY Online. And as a cloud platform, Perkville is extremely flexible. Users can access accounts anywhere; there are no kiosks, membership cards, or any additional infrastructure costs.
“We needed a system that would do a lot of different things—rewards, tracking, engagement,” said Bradley Mack, the Operations Analyst at YogaWorks. “But we also did not want to manage a large-scale technology program. We were able to launch YogaWorks Rewards to our members with no headache, and Perkville managed everything else.”
Though YogaWorks has multiple locations across four unique geographic regions, it retains all of the good things about a small yoga studio: great, passionate instructors (some of the best trained in the world), world-class facilities, friendly and caring staff, and an attention to detail and success for every member. But small studio offerings are proliferating. Now more than ever, studio owners need differentiators to stay afloat. Beyond the easily quantifiable reasons mentioned above, rewards allow owners to deepen customer relationships and create stronger brand affinity. And this can be the difference between failing and thriving.
“The engagement, the social media posts—we expected increases there, and they exceeded our expectations,” DeCoons said. “But after seeing this data, we think Perkville is going to be a cornerstone of our retention and referral efforts for years to come.”
Perkville has enabled that most elusive of business metrics: true ROI. Perkville is helping with the tangibles and intangibles, and YogaWorks is reaping the rewards.
Perkville is a leader in SaaS loyalty and retention programs for retail, gyms, salons and more. Through readymade integrations with POS systems, Perkville automatically rewards customer visits, tracks referrals, drives social media, and more. The Perkville platform is a revolutionary service that empowers any local business to create a customized loyalty and rewards program in minutes. Perkville is free for users, and offers monthly subscriptions for businesses of all sizes.