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JP Lennard
JP Lennard
JP Lennard
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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Consumer culture: Unique challenge

Ken Hughes, expert in consumer culture and human behaviour spoke as part of the Technogym Talks series of webinars about how operators can navigate the new consumer landscape

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 5
Radical disruption means you need to make a plan to refocus your business now and in the longer term
Radical disruption means you need to make a plan to refocus your business now and in the longer term
There’s been a lot of disruption and when everything stops, the winners will move into the space. You need to get ready for the next 24 months

The coronavirus pandemic, lockdown and aftermath have given human behaviourists new insights into global consumer behaviour,” said Ken Hughes.

“For fitness business owners, this is an important time in your working life because there’s been a lot of disruption and everything has changed quickly.

“If you stand still, you’ll be moving backwards. When everything stops, the winners move into the space. You need to get ready for the next 24 months.”

Predict and prepare
“The captive economy, with consumers in lockdown, is unique,” he said. “It’s global and spans all ages, beliefs, languages and locations.

“You need to appreciate consumers’ concerns and anxieties. Data from YouGov shows only a proportion of people will feel comfortable with the idea of going back to the gym.

“Understand what they want, need, and expect during recovery, and you will thrive,” he said.

Action now
“Consumers are rethinking what is important,” said Hughes – “make sure you’re one of the things they need, rather than one they can do without.
“Devise a strategy and start investing in key stages: the next six weeks, the next six months, and the next two years.

“Understand the strong desire for human connection and you can grow the business more than you ever thought possible. 2021 could be a significant year for your business.”

#1 Attachment

• The current situation offers you a shortcut to building lifelong brand loyalty. When people are scared, sad, and lonely they naturally want to attach themselves to someone or something that offers stability and security.

• Make sure your business is the one they go to for help. That attachment will last far longer than the pandemic.

ACTION POINT: Think about how you can be there for them as a positive influence, give them ways to attach to your brand emotionally as a way to soothe their worries about fitness, health, nutrition and wellness.
#2 Freedom

• Freedom is important to us and has suddenly been taken away for the foreseeable future.

• This overnight loss of freedom and choice has significant emotional and mental ramifications, leaving consumers in a cycle of grief. You need to understand which phase your customers are in.

• Customer experience will be more important than ever, so multiply your efforts by 10. Customers want their freedom back and your brand, business and team need to be that point of human connection, giving them solutions that reinstate freedom and choice.

ACTION POINT: Give customers freedom to book, choose and access services in a way that puts them in control.
#3 Autonomy

• People feel safe when they know what’s going to happen. The pandemic has removed this sense of autonomy. Your customers can’t see what’s coming, and don’t know when it’s going to end.

• Two of their main environments – home and work – have collided, and many are locked in.

• People desperately want to get a sense of control and autonomy back over key areas of life. One of these areas is fitness and health. This gives you a huge opportunity if you get the conversation right.

ACTION POINT: Make customers feel involved, allow them to feel in control, make your services flexible so they can choose.
#4 Community

• Community has always been a key value for health and fitness brands. It’s now time to leverage this to strengthen the retention of existing customers.

• Humans need connection. Your customers are missing people during shutdown. Your gym gave them one of their tribes to belong to.

• You need to reinforce the relationship between your business and your customers, and capture those moments of community and connection.

• During this challenging time, don’t forget to build connections and emotional links.

• People need to feel that they are part of your community.

ACTION POINT: Write a list of things you’ve done to make your community feel special – you urgently need to contribute to community connection and keep this going.
#5 Digital

• Digital has always been a business advantage, and now it will be pure survival. Don’t fear digital. Create a ‘phygital’ business, where the physical and the digital combine to offer consumers what they need.

• Consumers are getting used to having digital experiences. You need to digitise your business to thrive during the pandemic and beyond. The gym and your other physical assets are the core of your business. But have that as the hub, with digital strands.

• The gym is not your product. Customer wellness is and delivering on their wellness is your solution. You need to be active in every part of what they need.

• Digital has destroyed some direct-to-consumer industries. Don’t let that happen to the physical activity sector. Make sure you’re crucial, so consumers can’t bypass you. Consider hiring equipment or sourcing it for customers to buy. Sell nutrition and supplements. Create a community. Give value. Link everything back to your facility.

ACTION POINT: Reshape your business by adding digital assets. Use it to build a community, strong social media, virtual home workouts, personalised online assets and anything else your customers need.
#6 Health

• Health has always been an important value, but the pandemic has skyrocketed it to the top of many people’s lists.

• Many are now interfacing with fitness for the first time, or returning to it because of this new drive. This creates a great opportunity for you to interact with 100 per cent of the population.

• Give advice, present solutions, show them what they need to do.

• When this is over, people will want more opportunities for health and fitness, but some fears and anxieties will remain. People will want to be healthy to protect themselves from illness.

• Start thinking of your business as part of a health solution, offering ways to keep people well and prevent illness. Use this health-based messaging in your communications and social media. People will want to attach themselves to health-focused businesses.

ACTION POINT: Think about how to amplify positive health attitudes and consumers’ need for health in fitness.

Watch the Technogym webinar from futurist Ken Hughes here:
HCMmag.com/KenHughes

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
The gym is not your product.
Delivering on your customers’ wellness is your ‘product’ / Shutterstock/George Rudy
The gym is not your product. Delivering on your customers’ wellness is your ‘product’ / Shutterstock/George Rudy
Give your customers freedom to book, choose and access services in a way that puts them in control / Shutterstock/GaudiLab
Give your customers freedom to book, choose and access services in a way that puts them in control / Shutterstock/GaudiLab
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/561663_207424.jpg
'There's been a lot of disruption and when everything stops, the winners will move into the space. You need to get ready for the next 24 months' – Ken Hughes shares vital insights on navigating the new consumer landscape
Ken Hughes, Technogym,Consumer behaviour, fitness industry,
HCM magazine
HCM People

Alan Leach

Chair of IHRSA and CEO, West Wood Clubs
IHRSA is now on a mission to bring the global industry together
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Armah Sports has revealed the first B_fit health club – a smart club concept that’s gearing up for the Metaverse with AI, VR, Amazon Alexa and the Internet of Things, as Tom Walker reports
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NICE has done a U-turn on its controversial guidelines for treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, saying that physical activity or therapy should not now be routinely prescribed for patients
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Promotion
A new app called Trakk, from Pulse Fitness, promises triple benefits to operators, says Chris Johnson
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Editor's letter
This has always been a creative, driven sector, but the pressures of the pandemic have inspired a new outpouring of creativity, leading to the emergence of new models, partnerships and concepts
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Sponsored
Life Fitness is introducing a new range of Hammer Strength anaerobic equipment to complement its legendary strength training range
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There’s still no ‘stress resilience’ profession. We believe fitness professionals can fill that gap
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Debate
Can partnerships and affiliations with less obvious companies, such as fast food brands, help the industry tap into a new demographic, or is the potential for them to compromise our reputation too big a risk to take? asks Abi Harris
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Research
A US study investigating consumer attitudes to gyms, health clubs and studios reveals a new focus on wellness, as well as opportunities for operators to grow their businesses
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Sponsored
Technogym’s Biocircuit offers a range of time-controlled and time-free circuits using the Biostrength line, with its Biodrive AI technology, delivering customised workouts
HCM Magazine
Latest News
The Women in Fitness Association (WIFA), is partnering with Sport Alliance to undertake a survey ...
Latest News
Location and cost are the top considerations for consumers when it comes to choosing a ...
Latest News
Increases in COVID-19 cases across Europe are forcing governments to introduce restrictions, which is having ...
Latest News
Exercise has been found to increase levels of endocannabinoids – cannabis-like substances produced by the ...
Latest News
People suffering from mild depression should be offered exercise, mindfulness, therapy or meditation before medication, ...
Latest News
Total Fitness plans to launch a new-style health club model, with plans already in the ...
Latest News
Fitness operator Crunch Fitness says it's continued its recovery from lockdowns, with membership levels across ...
Latest News
The City of Madrid could become one of the healthiest in the world if plans ...
Opinion
promotion
FitnessOnDemand’s divisional vice president Uday Anumalachetty discusses what live fitness really means for clubs and their members today
Opinion: Why we need to reimagine what live fitness really means
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: First énergie site opens in Barcelona fully equipped by Core Health & Fitness
The first énergie Fitness club in Spain has opened in partnership with Core Health & Fitness in Sant Cugat, Barcelona, as part of a seven-year exclusive supplier agreement.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Greenvale Leisure Centre reveals brand new gym equipped with Core Health & Fitness products
Greenvale Leisure Centre in Northern Ireland last month revealed its brand new 800sq m gym completely transformed with Core Health & Fitness products.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Video Gallery
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Les Mills
Physical Company Ltd
Company profiles
Company profile: Precor
Precor has been a pioneer in delivering fitness experiences for commercial customers for more than ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Keiser UK LTD
For more than four decades, Keiser has influenced the training of athletes, fitness enthusiasts and ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates

features

Consumer culture: Unique challenge

Ken Hughes, expert in consumer culture and human behaviour spoke as part of the Technogym Talks series of webinars about how operators can navigate the new consumer landscape

Published in Health Club Management 2020 issue 5
Radical disruption means you need to make a plan to refocus your business now and in the longer term
Radical disruption means you need to make a plan to refocus your business now and in the longer term
There’s been a lot of disruption and when everything stops, the winners will move into the space. You need to get ready for the next 24 months

The coronavirus pandemic, lockdown and aftermath have given human behaviourists new insights into global consumer behaviour,” said Ken Hughes.

“For fitness business owners, this is an important time in your working life because there’s been a lot of disruption and everything has changed quickly.

“If you stand still, you’ll be moving backwards. When everything stops, the winners move into the space. You need to get ready for the next 24 months.”

Predict and prepare
“The captive economy, with consumers in lockdown, is unique,” he said. “It’s global and spans all ages, beliefs, languages and locations.

“You need to appreciate consumers’ concerns and anxieties. Data from YouGov shows only a proportion of people will feel comfortable with the idea of going back to the gym.

“Understand what they want, need, and expect during recovery, and you will thrive,” he said.

Action now
“Consumers are rethinking what is important,” said Hughes – “make sure you’re one of the things they need, rather than one they can do without.
“Devise a strategy and start investing in key stages: the next six weeks, the next six months, and the next two years.

“Understand the strong desire for human connection and you can grow the business more than you ever thought possible. 2021 could be a significant year for your business.”

#1 Attachment

• The current situation offers you a shortcut to building lifelong brand loyalty. When people are scared, sad, and lonely they naturally want to attach themselves to someone or something that offers stability and security.

• Make sure your business is the one they go to for help. That attachment will last far longer than the pandemic.

ACTION POINT: Think about how you can be there for them as a positive influence, give them ways to attach to your brand emotionally as a way to soothe their worries about fitness, health, nutrition and wellness.
#2 Freedom

• Freedom is important to us and has suddenly been taken away for the foreseeable future.

• This overnight loss of freedom and choice has significant emotional and mental ramifications, leaving consumers in a cycle of grief. You need to understand which phase your customers are in.

• Customer experience will be more important than ever, so multiply your efforts by 10. Customers want their freedom back and your brand, business and team need to be that point of human connection, giving them solutions that reinstate freedom and choice.

ACTION POINT: Give customers freedom to book, choose and access services in a way that puts them in control.
#3 Autonomy

• People feel safe when they know what’s going to happen. The pandemic has removed this sense of autonomy. Your customers can’t see what’s coming, and don’t know when it’s going to end.

• Two of their main environments – home and work – have collided, and many are locked in.

• People desperately want to get a sense of control and autonomy back over key areas of life. One of these areas is fitness and health. This gives you a huge opportunity if you get the conversation right.

ACTION POINT: Make customers feel involved, allow them to feel in control, make your services flexible so they can choose.
#4 Community

• Community has always been a key value for health and fitness brands. It’s now time to leverage this to strengthen the retention of existing customers.

• Humans need connection. Your customers are missing people during shutdown. Your gym gave them one of their tribes to belong to.

• You need to reinforce the relationship between your business and your customers, and capture those moments of community and connection.

• During this challenging time, don’t forget to build connections and emotional links.

• People need to feel that they are part of your community.

ACTION POINT: Write a list of things you’ve done to make your community feel special – you urgently need to contribute to community connection and keep this going.
#5 Digital

• Digital has always been a business advantage, and now it will be pure survival. Don’t fear digital. Create a ‘phygital’ business, where the physical and the digital combine to offer consumers what they need.

• Consumers are getting used to having digital experiences. You need to digitise your business to thrive during the pandemic and beyond. The gym and your other physical assets are the core of your business. But have that as the hub, with digital strands.

• The gym is not your product. Customer wellness is and delivering on their wellness is your solution. You need to be active in every part of what they need.

• Digital has destroyed some direct-to-consumer industries. Don’t let that happen to the physical activity sector. Make sure you’re crucial, so consumers can’t bypass you. Consider hiring equipment or sourcing it for customers to buy. Sell nutrition and supplements. Create a community. Give value. Link everything back to your facility.

ACTION POINT: Reshape your business by adding digital assets. Use it to build a community, strong social media, virtual home workouts, personalised online assets and anything else your customers need.
#6 Health

• Health has always been an important value, but the pandemic has skyrocketed it to the top of many people’s lists.

• Many are now interfacing with fitness for the first time, or returning to it because of this new drive. This creates a great opportunity for you to interact with 100 per cent of the population.

• Give advice, present solutions, show them what they need to do.

• When this is over, people will want more opportunities for health and fitness, but some fears and anxieties will remain. People will want to be healthy to protect themselves from illness.

• Start thinking of your business as part of a health solution, offering ways to keep people well and prevent illness. Use this health-based messaging in your communications and social media. People will want to attach themselves to health-focused businesses.

ACTION POINT: Think about how to amplify positive health attitudes and consumers’ need for health in fitness.

Watch the Technogym webinar from futurist Ken Hughes here:
HCMmag.com/KenHughes

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
The gym is not your product.
Delivering on your customers’ wellness is your ‘product’ / Shutterstock/George Rudy
The gym is not your product. Delivering on your customers’ wellness is your ‘product’ / Shutterstock/George Rudy
Give your customers freedom to book, choose and access services in a way that puts them in control / Shutterstock/GaudiLab
Give your customers freedom to book, choose and access services in a way that puts them in control / Shutterstock/GaudiLab
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2020/561663_207424.jpg
'There's been a lot of disruption and when everything stops, the winners will move into the space. You need to get ready for the next 24 months' – Ken Hughes shares vital insights on navigating the new consumer landscape
Ken Hughes, Technogym,Consumer behaviour, fitness industry,
Latest News
The Women in Fitness Association (WIFA), is partnering with Sport Alliance to undertake a survey ...
Latest News
Location and cost are the top considerations for consumers when it comes to choosing a ...
Latest News
Increases in COVID-19 cases across Europe are forcing governments to introduce restrictions, which is having ...
Latest News
Exercise has been found to increase levels of endocannabinoids – cannabis-like substances produced by the ...
Latest News
People suffering from mild depression should be offered exercise, mindfulness, therapy or meditation before medication, ...
Latest News
Total Fitness plans to launch a new-style health club model, with plans already in the ...
Latest News
Fitness operator Crunch Fitness says it's continued its recovery from lockdowns, with membership levels across ...
Latest News
The City of Madrid could become one of the healthiest in the world if plans ...
Latest News
Luxury health club operator, Third Space, has opened the doors to its latest club in ...
Latest News
A total of 22.7 million Brits – more than a third of the total population ...
Latest News
Nuffield Health has reopened the historic Barbican health club in London, as part of ambitious ...
Opinion
promotion
FitnessOnDemand’s divisional vice president Uday Anumalachetty discusses what live fitness really means for clubs and their members today
Opinion: Why we need to reimagine what live fitness really means
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: First énergie site opens in Barcelona fully equipped by Core Health & Fitness
The first énergie Fitness club in Spain has opened in partnership with Core Health & Fitness in Sant Cugat, Barcelona, as part of a seven-year exclusive supplier agreement.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Greenvale Leisure Centre reveals brand new gym equipped with Core Health & Fitness products
Greenvale Leisure Centre in Northern Ireland last month revealed its brand new 800sq m gym completely transformed with Core Health & Fitness products.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Video Gallery
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Les Mills
Physical Company Ltd
Company profiles
Company profile: Precor
Precor has been a pioneer in delivering fitness experiences for commercial customers for more than ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Keiser UK LTD
For more than four decades, Keiser has influenced the training of athletes, fitness enthusiasts and ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Property & Tenders
Welwyn Garden City
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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