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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Profile: Nerio Alessandri

As Technogym deepens its commitment to delivering experiences, as well as products, its CEO tells HCM this is the next stage in a long-term plan, as Liz Terry reports

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 4
Nerio Alessandri: our mission is to create irresistible experiences
Nerio Alessandri: our mission is to create irresistible experiences
Fitness is cool, but sport is also a significant growth market for the health club industry and it’s important for us to share what we’ve learned through our Olympic contracts

Talking to Nerio Alessandri is heightening – his passion and commitment to making a difference are inspiring.

We’re discussing developments at Technogym, the company he started in his garage in 1983 and which he and brother, Pierluigi, have grown to be a global force in fitness, sport and wellness.

“Exercise is an emotional experience,” says Alessandri, “it’s very personal, and this is why we’re obsessed with customisation – which we see as a major industry trend.

“It’s not just about machines or programmes, or connectivity,” he explains, “it’s about all of these together, creating a completely holistic ecosystem.”

People are driven to follow their passions, he says and so the next generation of Technogym products are all about providing different formats and experiences for different people: cycling for cyclists, running for runners, rowing for rowers and so on: whatever motivates and inspires them.

“Our value proposition is increasingly based around a club-in-club approach, with a range of different options available,” he says, “this ensures everyone gets a workout they find motivating and rewarding.”

New directions
He’s referring to innovations such as Biocircuit – a new plug and play circuit designed to challenge people of all fitness levels – and Skillathletic, an athletic training experience, which draws on expertise gained from the company’s seven-strong Olympic contracts.

“The products we’re building now are the culmination of a 20-year drive towards total integration,” says Alessandri, “we’ve created end-to-end, seamless journeys with a focus on the customer. At its heart, our mission is to create irresistible experiences.”

The detail
Biocircuit, for example, remembers individual settings from one log-in, making it fast and easy to move between machines. The cardio circuit takes 22 minutes and the strength circuit 30.

Workouts can be customised to suit the exercise needs of a wide range of different exerciser personalities.

Skillathletic is a product line close to Alessandri’s heart, as it plays to the company’s athletic and sports science credentials. “It’s an experience conceived to train athletic performance,” he says. “There are different programmes for different aspects of fitness – cardio, strength, stamina and flexibility.

“Fitness is cool but sport is also a significant growth market for the club industry,” he says – “it’s very important for us to share what we’ve learned about sports performance training through our Olympic contracts.”

Focus on design
Decisions around product development at Technogym are based on a deeply held belief in the power of being holistic and Alessandri is keen to discuss the thinking which drives this.

“As a company, we’re Apple-like,” he says. “Our brand values are fundamental to who we are. Technogym is an aspirational brand, in terms of its Italian design and the intuitive functionality built into everything we make.
“We create a complete range of products with a ‘family’ feel – this is important because equipment and systems across all areas of a club must work together in every way – ergonomically, in terms of look and feel, and also in terms of functionality – so all the parts of the range fit seamlessly together to create a great user experience.

“Being able to deliver this Apple-like consistency is vital,” he says, “Without it, people have to move between interfaces on the gym floor – between different biomechanic adjustment styles on the machines and between ergonomic solutions and tech platforms. It makes for a far less pleasurable experience.

“People today want everything to be frictionless, frictionless, frictionless,” he says, “and that’s what we’re committed to delivering.”

Digital engagement
The company embraced technology early on, as is demonstrated by its name. No-one was talking about fitness tech in 1983 when Alessandri choose the name Technogym – another example of how his foresightedness has enabled the business to stay relevant.

At the heart of the ecosystem is mywellness Cloud, Technogym’s cloud solution which drives a wide range of functions, from data analytics for operators to programme sharing and performance logging for users: “Digital is fundamental for us,” says Alessandri.

Mywellness Cloud is an open platform able to integrate with all major wearables, such as the Apple Watch. One fun application is the ability to track an outdoor run and then replicate the same speed, varied gradient and run-time on a treadmill – a neat piece of gamification.

Focus on partnerships
Alessandri recognises that fitness is very much a supplier-driven market and Technogym has a laser focus on its customers: “Our aim is to create profits and success for our operator partners,” he says. “We want to enable them to evolve their business model – we believe this is the challenge for the whole industry.

“This evolution needs to happen in all areas,” he says, “from attraction to retention, and from experience design to secondary spend.

“We’ve invested significant resources in R&D in the last 20 years to create products which will enable operators to thrive and be successful.”

Growing profits
I ask how Technogym supports operators to grow their profits and he uses secondary spend as an example, saying: “Up-selling and cross-selling can be very lucrative – operators can use their channels for affinity marketing of things like medical services and holidays and use their CRM systems for retailing.

“Outside the club our system enables members to do things like connect with their doctor and get reductions on their insurances, as the system proves they’re exercising.

“If operators don’t have the capacity within their business eco-system to manage data and customer profiling and the delivery of lifestyle-related services, it’s impossible for them to optimise the opportunity commercially, and to spread content from the club to all the stakeholders who are involved.

Let’s move
Another way Technogym supports operators is with its consumer campaign, Let’s Move for a Better World, which was celebrated in 130,000 clubs over three weeks in March this year.

Members earn and then donate ‘units of movement’, or ‘Moves’ to raise money for charity and the campaign helps gyms deepen engagement with members.

“Operators share campaign activations they’ve organised, and these go viral,” says Alessandri. “Members who engage in the campaign becomes promoters of it on social, and thanks to digital, the message is amplified.”

With this focus on customer success, it’s no surprise the company is energetically innovating and constantly adding to its portfolio.

BioCircuit

Biocircuit delivers resistance via the Biodrive, a motor controller, meaning workouts can be tailored to any ability from athlete to elderly, deconditioned people.

Users log in once and, thereafter, every machine is configured and personalised for them automatically.

Workouts are 22 minutes for cardio and 30 minutes for strength, with 2-3 sessions a week recommended to allow for recovery.

The new Biocircuit range was built from scratch, using aerospace technology
skillathletic

The new Skillathletic programme has six elements – equipment, digital, programmes, methodology, design and marketing.

Workouts are customised for different users and include cardio, strength, stamina and flexibility.

The Skillathletic experience was conceived to train athletes and has been refined with the addition of Technogym’s mywellness Cloud, cardio monitoring and feedback and specially trained instructors.

Nerio and Pierluigi Alessandri at the Technogym Wellness Village in Cesena
Nerio and Pierluigi Alessandri at the Technogym Wellness Village in Cesena
Technogym Skillrow at The Engine Room, London
Technogym Skillrow at The Engine Room, London
Group cycle at Fitness Space, Cardiff
Group cycle at Fitness Space, Cardiff
Skillbike at Gymbox Elephant and Castle, London
Skillbike at Gymbox Elephant and Castle, London
Skillrun at Nuffield Health City, London
Skillrun at Nuffield Health City, London
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/922740_97401.jpg
Nerio Alessandri, the president and founder of Technogym, talks to Liz Terry about innovation and his mission to get the whole world moving
People
HCM people

Ben Gotting & Dave Thomas

The Foundry: co-founders
Because of our strong focus on community and inclusivity our members really do range from unemployed, and even homeless, to CEOs and board members of major institutions and celebrities
People
Rather than just being an outdoor fitness company, we felt we could evolve and adapt the business to become a dominating force in fitness generally
People
Jimmy had the brilliant idea to put the logos of all of the current cycling brands in and around NYC onto a piece of paper and we handed it to the investor at the end of our presentation. Then we handed a blank piece of paper and referenced that this was the current number of cool fitness concepts in the world and how we would like the investor to help us fill that page. A day later he wrote us a cheque
Features
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Thanks to the rise in popularity of functional zones, there’s been an increased call for turf. We take a look at some of the turf products being installed
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feature
Technogym’s SKILLRUN now comes in different versions to suit different users’ workout needs
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Cycling
Why does indoor cycling attract so many loyal followers? Abi Harris ask industry innovators how much is down to the instructor and what part the kit has to play
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Promotional feature
As Physical Company celebrates its 30th anniversary, we talk to managing director John Halls to find out how this leading supplier continues to improve with age
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Promotional feature
Extracurricular activities are key to keeping students physically and mentally healthy. Working with Legend, the universities of Nottingham and Bristol are working to improve the user experience of their facilities to increase student participation
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feature
New refurbishment featuring Technogym’s Biocircuit sees 27 per cent membership growth in the first six months at Macclesfield Leisure Centre
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Promotional feature
When setting up a new fitness offering, having a point of difference is key. Two businesses tell us how Electro Muscle Stimulation has been successful in helping them to stand out from the rest
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Latest News
Public Health England (PHE) and the Centre for Ageing Better (CAB) have set out their ...
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Physical activity bodies ukactive and EuropeActive have agreed to strengthen their partnership in the event ...
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Latest News
Cancer survivors should undertake a minimum of 90 minutes of aerobic and resistance training each ...
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Thrive Global, the wellness and behaviour change tech firm founded by Arianna Huffington, has acquired ...
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Regular exercise is highly beneficial for all patients with cardiovascular disease regardless of age. A ...
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As an industry, we still underestimate the power of a truly varied fitness regime - and the growing appetite for it, especially among emerging customer segments.
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Click on a catalogue to view it online
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Diary dates
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Hotel Royal Savoy, Lausanne, Switzerland
Diary dates
30-31 Oct 2019
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
05-08 Nov 2019
Koelnmesse, Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
21-22 Nov 2019
JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort, Aventura,
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29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
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23-25 Mar 2020
Hilton, Barcelona, Spain
Diary dates
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tbc, Pinggu, China
Diary dates
17-18 Jun 2020
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates

features

Profile: Nerio Alessandri

As Technogym deepens its commitment to delivering experiences, as well as products, its CEO tells HCM this is the next stage in a long-term plan, as Liz Terry reports

Published in Health Club Management 2019 issue 4
Nerio Alessandri: our mission is to create irresistible experiences
Nerio Alessandri: our mission is to create irresistible experiences
Fitness is cool, but sport is also a significant growth market for the health club industry and it’s important for us to share what we’ve learned through our Olympic contracts

Talking to Nerio Alessandri is heightening – his passion and commitment to making a difference are inspiring.

We’re discussing developments at Technogym, the company he started in his garage in 1983 and which he and brother, Pierluigi, have grown to be a global force in fitness, sport and wellness.

“Exercise is an emotional experience,” says Alessandri, “it’s very personal, and this is why we’re obsessed with customisation – which we see as a major industry trend.

“It’s not just about machines or programmes, or connectivity,” he explains, “it’s about all of these together, creating a completely holistic ecosystem.”

People are driven to follow their passions, he says and so the next generation of Technogym products are all about providing different formats and experiences for different people: cycling for cyclists, running for runners, rowing for rowers and so on: whatever motivates and inspires them.

“Our value proposition is increasingly based around a club-in-club approach, with a range of different options available,” he says, “this ensures everyone gets a workout they find motivating and rewarding.”

New directions
He’s referring to innovations such as Biocircuit – a new plug and play circuit designed to challenge people of all fitness levels – and Skillathletic, an athletic training experience, which draws on expertise gained from the company’s seven-strong Olympic contracts.

“The products we’re building now are the culmination of a 20-year drive towards total integration,” says Alessandri, “we’ve created end-to-end, seamless journeys with a focus on the customer. At its heart, our mission is to create irresistible experiences.”

The detail
Biocircuit, for example, remembers individual settings from one log-in, making it fast and easy to move between machines. The cardio circuit takes 22 minutes and the strength circuit 30.

Workouts can be customised to suit the exercise needs of a wide range of different exerciser personalities.

Skillathletic is a product line close to Alessandri’s heart, as it plays to the company’s athletic and sports science credentials. “It’s an experience conceived to train athletic performance,” he says. “There are different programmes for different aspects of fitness – cardio, strength, stamina and flexibility.

“Fitness is cool but sport is also a significant growth market for the club industry,” he says – “it’s very important for us to share what we’ve learned about sports performance training through our Olympic contracts.”

Focus on design
Decisions around product development at Technogym are based on a deeply held belief in the power of being holistic and Alessandri is keen to discuss the thinking which drives this.

“As a company, we’re Apple-like,” he says. “Our brand values are fundamental to who we are. Technogym is an aspirational brand, in terms of its Italian design and the intuitive functionality built into everything we make.
“We create a complete range of products with a ‘family’ feel – this is important because equipment and systems across all areas of a club must work together in every way – ergonomically, in terms of look and feel, and also in terms of functionality – so all the parts of the range fit seamlessly together to create a great user experience.

“Being able to deliver this Apple-like consistency is vital,” he says, “Without it, people have to move between interfaces on the gym floor – between different biomechanic adjustment styles on the machines and between ergonomic solutions and tech platforms. It makes for a far less pleasurable experience.

“People today want everything to be frictionless, frictionless, frictionless,” he says, “and that’s what we’re committed to delivering.”

Digital engagement
The company embraced technology early on, as is demonstrated by its name. No-one was talking about fitness tech in 1983 when Alessandri choose the name Technogym – another example of how his foresightedness has enabled the business to stay relevant.

At the heart of the ecosystem is mywellness Cloud, Technogym’s cloud solution which drives a wide range of functions, from data analytics for operators to programme sharing and performance logging for users: “Digital is fundamental for us,” says Alessandri.

Mywellness Cloud is an open platform able to integrate with all major wearables, such as the Apple Watch. One fun application is the ability to track an outdoor run and then replicate the same speed, varied gradient and run-time on a treadmill – a neat piece of gamification.

Focus on partnerships
Alessandri recognises that fitness is very much a supplier-driven market and Technogym has a laser focus on its customers: “Our aim is to create profits and success for our operator partners,” he says. “We want to enable them to evolve their business model – we believe this is the challenge for the whole industry.

“This evolution needs to happen in all areas,” he says, “from attraction to retention, and from experience design to secondary spend.

“We’ve invested significant resources in R&D in the last 20 years to create products which will enable operators to thrive and be successful.”

Growing profits
I ask how Technogym supports operators to grow their profits and he uses secondary spend as an example, saying: “Up-selling and cross-selling can be very lucrative – operators can use their channels for affinity marketing of things like medical services and holidays and use their CRM systems for retailing.

“Outside the club our system enables members to do things like connect with their doctor and get reductions on their insurances, as the system proves they’re exercising.

“If operators don’t have the capacity within their business eco-system to manage data and customer profiling and the delivery of lifestyle-related services, it’s impossible for them to optimise the opportunity commercially, and to spread content from the club to all the stakeholders who are involved.

Let’s move
Another way Technogym supports operators is with its consumer campaign, Let’s Move for a Better World, which was celebrated in 130,000 clubs over three weeks in March this year.

Members earn and then donate ‘units of movement’, or ‘Moves’ to raise money for charity and the campaign helps gyms deepen engagement with members.

“Operators share campaign activations they’ve organised, and these go viral,” says Alessandri. “Members who engage in the campaign becomes promoters of it on social, and thanks to digital, the message is amplified.”

With this focus on customer success, it’s no surprise the company is energetically innovating and constantly adding to its portfolio.

BioCircuit

Biocircuit delivers resistance via the Biodrive, a motor controller, meaning workouts can be tailored to any ability from athlete to elderly, deconditioned people.

Users log in once and, thereafter, every machine is configured and personalised for them automatically.

Workouts are 22 minutes for cardio and 30 minutes for strength, with 2-3 sessions a week recommended to allow for recovery.

The new Biocircuit range was built from scratch, using aerospace technology
skillathletic

The new Skillathletic programme has six elements – equipment, digital, programmes, methodology, design and marketing.

Workouts are customised for different users and include cardio, strength, stamina and flexibility.

The Skillathletic experience was conceived to train athletes and has been refined with the addition of Technogym’s mywellness Cloud, cardio monitoring and feedback and specially trained instructors.

Nerio and Pierluigi Alessandri at the Technogym Wellness Village in Cesena
Nerio and Pierluigi Alessandri at the Technogym Wellness Village in Cesena
Technogym Skillrow at The Engine Room, London
Technogym Skillrow at The Engine Room, London
Group cycle at Fitness Space, Cardiff
Group cycle at Fitness Space, Cardiff
Skillbike at Gymbox Elephant and Castle, London
Skillbike at Gymbox Elephant and Castle, London
Skillrun at Nuffield Health City, London
Skillrun at Nuffield Health City, London
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/imagesX/922740_97401.jpg
Nerio Alessandri, the president and founder of Technogym, talks to Liz Terry about innovation and his mission to get the whole world moving
Latest News
Public Health England (PHE) and the Centre for Ageing Better (CAB) have set out their ...
Latest News
Physical activity bodies ukactive and EuropeActive have agreed to strengthen their partnership in the event ...
Latest News
The first-ever FIBO Southeast Asia fitness event will be held in Singapore next year. Taking ...
Latest News
Cancer survivors should undertake a minimum of 90 minutes of aerobic and resistance training each ...
Latest News
Thrive Global, the wellness and behaviour change tech firm founded by Arianna Huffington, has acquired ...
Latest News
Regular exercise is highly beneficial for all patients with cardiovascular disease regardless of age. A ...
Latest News
LXA has inserted a 2,000sq ft (186sq m) indoor/outdoor boxing gym into a mixed-use building ...
Latest News
The number of UK adults classed as physically active has increased by 1 million in ...
Latest News
Australian health club operator Viva Leisure has acquired eight Healthworks Fitness Centres in the state ...
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The physical activity economy is now a US$828bn (€752bn, £655bn) market – and its value ...
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UK-based architects Invisible Studio, founded by Piers Taylor, have designed a 150sq m (1,600sq ft) ...
Job search
POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Fusion Lifestyle incorporates Power Plate into ‘INTENCITY Studios’
Fusion Lifestyle, the highly experienced sports and leisure management brand is working with Power Plate to integrate vibration training into its high intensity fitness studios.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Eleiko makes deadlifting more accessible with the Öppen Deadlift Bar
Eleiko, a Swedish weightlifting equipment specialist, is reinforcing its position in the strength and fitness market with the launch of the Öppen Deadlift Bar,
Opinion
promotion
As an industry, we still underestimate the power of a truly varied fitness regime - and the growing appetite for it, especially among emerging customer segments.
Opinion: Collaboration vs aggregation - what’s the difference?
An ever-increasing number of Brits are engaging in sporting events, setting themselves goals and looking to increase their fitness levels....
Opinion: Dr Crionna Tobin on nutritional training for PTs and fitness experts
Video Gallery
Optimum Nutrition for Health and Performance.
Optimum Nutrition
Optimum Nutrition for Health and Performance is an Association for Nutrition (AfN) certified nutrition course & approved for CPD points from REPs and CIMSPA. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Physical Company Ltd
Physical Company provides specialist fitness solutions. This includes equipment, flooring, gym design, programming and training ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Power Plate
Power Plate is a vibrating platform that enhances any movement to help you prepare faster, ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Management software
Fisikal: Management software
Member access schemes
Move GB: Member access schemes
Audio visual
Hutchison Technologies: Audio visual
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Governing body
EMD UK: Governing body
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Locking solutions
Ojmar: Locking solutions
Fitness equipment
FunXtion International BV: Fitness equipment
Lockers/interior design
Craftsman Quality Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Property & Tenders
Kirklees Active Leisure
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
28-30 Oct 2019
Hotel Royal Savoy, Lausanne, Switzerland
Diary dates
30-31 Oct 2019
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
05-08 Nov 2019
Koelnmesse, Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
21-22 Nov 2019
JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort, Aventura,
Diary dates
29 Nov 2019
The King’s Fund, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
Diary dates
23-25 Mar 2020
Hilton, Barcelona, Spain
Diary dates
10-27 Jun 2020
tbc, Pinggu, China
Diary dates
17-18 Jun 2020
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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