Meet Dr Paul Bedford

Fitness Industry Authority on Retention, Attrition and Member Experience 

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8 Common Mistakes Clubs Make Trying To Solve Retention Problems

In this guide you will discover insights and actions so you can take the right action you need today to start improving your retention.

"It's always been the same; they join and they leave and there's nothing you can do about it." 

I, like many others in the fitness industry, started off as a gym instructor and personal trainer (yep, that's me in 1990!), working with members everyday to help them achieve their goals.

While I was well qualified (YMCA, ACSM, NSCA) I could never understand why so many people started off full of enthusiasm but, after a short time, stopped exercising and quickly reverted back to their old behaviours. 

"If you don't get their head, you won't get their body."

After progressing my career to Fitness Manager, and then General Manager I continued to seek answers to the problem of exercise adherence and member retention.

This led me to studying academically, completing a Masters degree in Exercise and Health Behaviour, followed by a Masters in Social Science Research and finally onto my PhD.

Not content to sit in an academic institution, I decided to take what I had learned and apply it in real world situations.

First I tested my theories with small independent clubs then medium size businesses and then working with national and multinational operators. Each project built my understanding of what to do to increase retention, reduce attrition and improve member loyalty. 

Increasing Retention, Reducing Attrition and Improving Loyalty

Now, after 20 years of focusing on one single problem, Retention Guru serves health club business and fitness industry operators globally.

Our services are designed to guide operators out of the situation they are in now to a place where members stay longer, pay more and are more loyal.

Recognising that there is no one way to tackle this problem, we developed a framework that we guide our clients through, making the process of change and the adoption of new behaviours easy to learn and embed within their business. 

What others are saying about Dr Paul Bedford


"We've seen continuous growth in our membership base ever since and continue to enjoy working with Paul and the Retention Guru team."

Bob Peck
Membership & Infrastructure Manager - Glasgow Life


“We have a whole gaggle of so called Guru’s striding around the industry – gurus of data, retention behaviour marketing and so on – who make a great living running the industry down and contributing very little to its progress.  I should add that the exception to this is Dr Paul Bedford – a true Guru of retention with valuable advice to offer”.

Dave Stalker

CEO - Europe Active


"We had plateaued as a business and had the immanent threat of low cost operators entering our market. With Paul’s support and guidance we grew our business from 3000 members to well over 7500 in just 18 months. We have continued to grow and are more relevant to our community than ever before."

Matt Bunnell

Director of Delivery - Active Stirling


"Having attended the Retention Academy and taken our business as far as we could on our own we had Paul work with us for 24 months. In that time working with Paul and adding technology he suggested we have increased our annual income by 35%."


Dave Connell

Director Sport - Hertfordshire Sports Village

Coaching with Paul

These are the most common mistakes I see operators making.

Every time I talk to operators at conferences, workshops and trade events we end up discussing how they tackle this issue. 

You can access these same learnings today.

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