Leaderboard
Les Mills
Les Mills
Les Mills
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

Follow Health Club Management on Twitter Like Health Club Management on Facebook Follow Health Club Management on Google+ Join the discussion with Health Club Management on LinkedIn Subscribe to Health Club Management Get RSS alerts from Health Club Management magazine
Get the latest news, jobs and features in your inbox
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Interview: David Lloyd

The serial health club and sports entrepreneur speaks to Steph Eaves about creating a brand new adventure park concept and what he learned from his years in the health and fitness industry

By Steph Eaves, Health Club Management and Sports Management | Published in Health Club Management 2017 issue 6
David Lloyd
David Lloyd
I believe in keeping things open plan – that’s what changed health clubs and sport. If you see everything, then you want to try everything – David Lloyd

When you talk to David Lloyd about his latest venture, you can have no doubt as to why he’s been so successful in business. At the first mention of his new adventure parks concept, Lloyd’s face lights up, and it’s clear that he’s never lost his passion for turning ideas into reality. In fact, it’s no wonder that his latest idea centres around play and adrenaline – it’s obvious from his enthusiasm that his inner child is very much alive.

The man who created and then sold David Lloyd Leisure, a full service fitness and leisure offering with a focus on family, is now taking this same idea into his adventure parks – bringing together a wide variety of fun activities, food and leisure under one roof. Although to be more exact, over half of the offering will be roofless, as there’s a huge outdoor component to the parks.

“We’ve got 24 different activities, indoor and outdoor, from climbing walls to ninja warrior races, to zip lines, to gliders, to bouncy castles and mini golf,” Lloyd enthuses.

“I’m very excited about it because I’ve got a young family, and at weekends you’re always thinking, where the hell can I take my five year old? These parks are going to be 60,000sq foot indoor and about 1.5 acres outdoor, and it’s a day out for the family – a whole day out – you can stay as long as you want.”

Family fun
Lloyd came up with the concept while dabbling in trampoline parks. After coming across an indoor activity centre in Florida called Planet Air and looking back on what he had learned from his leisure clubs, he realised that the way forward was an all-inclusive offering, rather than a specialised one.

“I thought, trampolines are great, but it’s going to change. My health clubs started as just tennis and that was the mistake I made. But now they have everything. We called them a sporting city under one roof. So this is an activity city under one roof.”

Importantly to Lloyd, the parks will provide lots of opportunity for guests to see what’s going on around them.

“I believe in keeping things open plan – that’s what changed health clubs and sport, really,” he says. “If you see someone at the club playing tennis, you think, ‘oh, I must try that”, whereas if there’s a wall, you never see it. So if you see everything, then you want to try everything.”

The adventure parks will also feature barbecue pits, where families can choose their own pre-marinated meat and cook it themselves. Lloyd believes this, plus the huge variety of activities on offer will help kids to be healthier. “Everyone is getting obese these days,” he says. “We have to make sure kids get the activity they need to stay healthy. And the way to get kids active is to make them enjoy it.”

A big part of keeping up this enjoyment all year round, explains Lloyd, is the outdoor offering.

“Any indoor activity in Britain – like bowling or trampolines – dies in the summer, because us British people don’t mind getting a little bit wet, and as soon as summer comes, we want to be outside. So having the outdoors with the barbecues and the zip lines, etc, is very important.”

Passion and people
Lloyd is confident that this new venture will be a success, and with good reason. In 1995, 13 years after he opened the first club, David Lloyd Leisure was sold for a reported £200m.
Lloyd says that he learned some important lessons from the years he spent building up the leisure clubs, particularly about the need to be adaptable.

“Whatever you do, you will make a mistake,” he explains. “Maybe one or two, maybe three, but you will. Because although you believe you’ve done all your demographic profiling, you will get it wrong, and then you have to be brave enough to change it quickly. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong – you’ve got to change, you’ve got to put something else in.”

Another thing that Lloyd believes has been key to his success is giving everyone involved a sense of ownership, through share options and a high level of responsibility. He says: “I told all my managers at David Lloyd Leisure – and it will be the same at the new adventure parks – that this was their club. They know their customers better than me. I’m not going to dictate, as long as they stick to the margins I’ve given them.”

Above all else, says Lloyd, the key to success is simply to have a real passion for what you’re doing and to keep enjoying it.

“I just think if you enjoy something and you believe in it, and you pick the right people, then nine times out of 10 you’ll be successful. I love vision – seeing it and then making it happen.

“I’ve always been a great believer in family entertainment, I just think it’s so important. And we’re going to need it more and more in my opinion.”

DAVID LLOYD’s path through sport and leisure

1965
Won both singles and doubles titles at Junior Wimbledon, aged 17

1981
Retired from professional tennis with a career high of 128 in world singles rankings

1982
Founded David Lloyd Leisure Clubs – family-orientated, with an emphasis on tennis

1992
David Lloyd Leisure floated on the London Stock Exchange

1995
Company acquired by Whitbread for £200m. David Lloyd appointed captain of the British Davis Cup team

1997
Created Next Generation Clubs with son Scott. Later acquired by London & Regional and Bank of Scotland, along with David Lloyd Leisure for £925m

2015
Launched MegaJump trampoline parks
with entrepreneur Mitchell Tillman

2017
Announced new adventure parks concept

HIP marketing director David Dean
HIP marketing director David Dean
HIP CEO Martin Helme
HIP CEO Martin Helme
Lloyd has always had faith in the family market – his eponymous fitness business has families at its heart
Lloyd has always had faith in the family market – his eponymous fitness business has families at its heart
David Lloyd playing at the 
Dewar Cup in London in November 1976 / PA S&G/S&G_Barratts/EMPICS Sport
David Lloyd playing at the Dewar Cup in London in November 1976 / PA S&G/S&G_Barratts/EMPICS Sport
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/947813_973919.jpg
The serial health club and sports entrepreneur speaks to Steph Eaves about creating a brand new adventure park concept
Rephouse
Rephouse
Latest News
The University of Birmingham has officially opened an indoor sports centre, designed by British architecture ...
Latest News
Low-cost fitness operator The Gym Group today announced it has acquired 18 gyms from fellow ...
Latest News
The physical activity sector's chartered professional body has received £1.2m (US$1.6m, €1.3m) from Sport England ...
Latest News
Australian fitness franchise F45 is concentrating on growth in the US and UK as it ...
Latest News
David Lloyd Leisure (DLL) has completed the sale and leaseback of its health and fitness ...
Latest News
Leisure development company Alliance Leisure and group exercise specialist Les Mills UK are working together ...
Latest News
UK-based dance fitness brand Clubbercise has launched an instructor training course in Australia. Nine students ...
Latest News
St George’s Park Westfield - the third hub of the FA Parklife Programme - will ...
Latest News
Triyoga will open a 6,000sq ft (557sq m) studio in East London’s Shoreditch next month ...
Latest News
Industry veteran Jon Johnston, formerly managing director of Matrix Fitness, today announced the launch of ...
Latest News
Construction of a £26m leisure centre in Dover, Kent, has been given the go ahead, ...
Job search
Current vacancies
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Company profile
Company profile: EZ-Runner Systems Ltd
With over 600 clients worldwide in Spa, Golf, Health Club, Hotel and Kids Play Leisure, ...
Company profile
Company profile: Life Fitness
For more than 45 years, Life Fitness has been dedicated to creating fitness solutions that ...
directory
directory
Cybex International UK Ltd
directory
Legend Club Management Systems (UK) Limited
directory
EZ-Runner Systems Ltd
directory
MYZONE
directory
Move GB
directory
Zynk Design Consultants
directory
SpaBooker
directory
Fitlockers
directory
Swimrite Supplies Ltd / SRS Leisure
directory
Lightmasters UK Ltd
directory
Featured supplier
Supplier profile: Olympia Beauty: Your guided tour
Your 5 step guide to the ultimate beauty experience! Taking place Sunday 1 October (10am- 6pm) and Monday 2 October (10am-5pm) at London’s Olympia Exhibition Centre. View full profile...
Featured supplier
Supplier profile: Running down running costs: how to put your portfolio on a low-energy diet
Running down running costs: how to put your portfolio on a low-energy diet View full profile...
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
23 Sep 2017
Bucks New University, High Wycombe, United Kingdom
Diary dates
26 Sep 2017
Le Meridien, Piccadilly, London , United Kingdom
Diary dates
Leaderboard
Leaderboard
Les Mills
Les Mills