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Les Mills International
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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Editor's letter: Engaging the public

By Kate Cracknell | Published in Health Club Management 2013 issue 2

Is the health and fitness industry currently doing all it needs to do to genuinely engage with today’s consumer?

As physical activity options continue to proliferate, the challenge of getting more than 12 per cent of the population engaged with gyms is becoming even tougher. As technology in particular helps people take control of their own workouts, the competitor pool for the traditional fitness facility is expanding to encompass independent, ‘out of gym’ exercise powered by the likes of iPhone apps and Nike Fuelbands.

If you’re in any doubt about that, just take a look at the media. When the UK’s newspapers and magazines rolled out their usual ‘new year’s resolution’ editorial last month – homing in, inevitably, on ways to get fit and shape up – where were the high street gyms? The coverage focused on diets, gadgets, home-based exercise, occasionally on fitness getaways abroad... Health clubs should have been at the very heart of this, but they weren’t. And it wasn’t just the tabloids: titles such as The Guardian and The Economist also weighed in with a spot of gym-bashing – heavyweight criticism that we ignore at our peril. Meanwhile Cosmopolitan’s new offering, Cosmo Body – a magazine dedicated entirely to shaping up, losing weight, looking and feeling good – barely mentions gyms at all.

So is the fitness sector currently the B2C industry it needs to be? Are gyms, and even equipment manufacturers, really thinking of themselves as consumer brands jostling for space in an increasingly diverse marketplace?

If gyms want to survive, they must drive a deeper level of engagement with consumers. That will in part come from a more proactive relationship with the media, not only reacting to negative coverage but also actively driving respect for the fitness offering. But it’s not just about PR and communications. In today’s market, it’s about recognising, and responding to, the growing remoteness of consumers – the fact that people no longer need the reassurance of dealing with businesses enclosed by four physical walls. Gyms must give people a reason to engage: a sense of community driven by ‘clubs in clubs’ and group exercise sessions, for example, or a focus on expertise. As part of this, gyms must latch onto the new generation of fitness gadgets: selling them, educating members in their use, incorporating them into workouts. It’s about making sure the gym acts as the hub of people’s fitness existence rather than being sidelined – a place they go to get the expertise, guidance, inspiration and community they can’t get by themselves or online.

It’s also about reaching deeper into the community. Talking to Glasgow Life for this month’s interview (see Health Club Management 2013 issue 2 p30), and hearing about the organisation’s extensive outreach schemes – from partnership with the NHS to ‘grey market’ classes and childhood obesity initiatives – I was genuinely inspired to recognise new ways in which the sector could evolve its offering to engage new users.

As consumers become less dependent on bricks and mortar businesses, we need to work harder to remain relevant. That means getting out into the local community; it means creating a role for ourselves alongside – rather than in competition with – new technology; it means a strong focus on creating a sense of club; and it means proactively championing our offering to the consumer media.

https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/HCM2013_2editor.gif
Is the sector doing everything it needs to do to engage with today's consumer, asks Kate Cracknell
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Latest News
UK Health clubs, gyms, hotels, pubs and other leisure businesses will all receive a 50 ...
Latest News
Fitness First UK has changed its pricing structure and is now offering a flexible membership ...
Latest News
Boutique operator 1Rebel has launched its first 1Rebel Labs Studio at its club in Holborn. ...
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The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on the UK government to invest £875m in ...
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Anthony Hamilton, the father of F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton, is launching a fitness equipment ...
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: EMS personal training: shockingly simple
People's fitness goals are extremely diverse – ranging from an elite athlete focused on the next goal to someone who dislikes all activity due to chronic back pain.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Life Fitness introduces Integrity SL, the next generation LED console
Life Fitness has unveiled the new Integrity SL, its connected LED console designed for the Integrity Series cardio portfolio.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Sporting heroes to officially open £22 million redevelopment at Everyone Active centre
A £22 million redevelopment project will be unveiled at Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre, as part of the official launch of the state-of-the-art centre.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active bolsters Everyone on Demand and enters second year with five new partnerships
Everyone Active has signed a number of new deals which will see the operator strengthen its digital product offering, Everyone on Demand.
Company profiles
Company profile: RISE Fitness Franchise
RISE is a brand-new franchise created to fill an emerging gap. Outdoor workouts have become ...
Company profiles
Company profile: IONTO Health & Beauty GmbH
IONTO-COMED offers a wide range of treatment beds offering maximum flexibility and the symbiosis of ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
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

Editor's letter: Engaging the public

By Kate Cracknell | Published in Health Club Management 2013 issue 2

Is the health and fitness industry currently doing all it needs to do to genuinely engage with today’s consumer?

As physical activity options continue to proliferate, the challenge of getting more than 12 per cent of the population engaged with gyms is becoming even tougher. As technology in particular helps people take control of their own workouts, the competitor pool for the traditional fitness facility is expanding to encompass independent, ‘out of gym’ exercise powered by the likes of iPhone apps and Nike Fuelbands.

If you’re in any doubt about that, just take a look at the media. When the UK’s newspapers and magazines rolled out their usual ‘new year’s resolution’ editorial last month – homing in, inevitably, on ways to get fit and shape up – where were the high street gyms? The coverage focused on diets, gadgets, home-based exercise, occasionally on fitness getaways abroad... Health clubs should have been at the very heart of this, but they weren’t. And it wasn’t just the tabloids: titles such as The Guardian and The Economist also weighed in with a spot of gym-bashing – heavyweight criticism that we ignore at our peril. Meanwhile Cosmopolitan’s new offering, Cosmo Body – a magazine dedicated entirely to shaping up, losing weight, looking and feeling good – barely mentions gyms at all.

So is the fitness sector currently the B2C industry it needs to be? Are gyms, and even equipment manufacturers, really thinking of themselves as consumer brands jostling for space in an increasingly diverse marketplace?

If gyms want to survive, they must drive a deeper level of engagement with consumers. That will in part come from a more proactive relationship with the media, not only reacting to negative coverage but also actively driving respect for the fitness offering. But it’s not just about PR and communications. In today’s market, it’s about recognising, and responding to, the growing remoteness of consumers – the fact that people no longer need the reassurance of dealing with businesses enclosed by four physical walls. Gyms must give people a reason to engage: a sense of community driven by ‘clubs in clubs’ and group exercise sessions, for example, or a focus on expertise. As part of this, gyms must latch onto the new generation of fitness gadgets: selling them, educating members in their use, incorporating them into workouts. It’s about making sure the gym acts as the hub of people’s fitness existence rather than being sidelined – a place they go to get the expertise, guidance, inspiration and community they can’t get by themselves or online.

It’s also about reaching deeper into the community. Talking to Glasgow Life for this month’s interview (see Health Club Management 2013 issue 2 p30), and hearing about the organisation’s extensive outreach schemes – from partnership with the NHS to ‘grey market’ classes and childhood obesity initiatives – I was genuinely inspired to recognise new ways in which the sector could evolve its offering to engage new users.

As consumers become less dependent on bricks and mortar businesses, we need to work harder to remain relevant. That means getting out into the local community; it means creating a role for ourselves alongside – rather than in competition with – new technology; it means a strong focus on creating a sense of club; and it means proactively championing our offering to the consumer media.

https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/HCM2013_2editor.gif
Is the sector doing everything it needs to do to engage with today's consumer, asks Kate Cracknell
Latest News
UK Health clubs, gyms, hotels, pubs and other leisure businesses will all receive a 50 ...
Latest News
Fitness First UK has changed its pricing structure and is now offering a flexible membership ...
Latest News
Boutique operator 1Rebel has launched its first 1Rebel Labs Studio at its club in Holborn. ...
Latest News
The Local Government Association (LGA) has called on the UK government to invest £875m in ...
Latest News
Anthony Hamilton, the father of F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton, is launching a fitness equipment ...
Latest News
The pandemic has had an "unprecedented" impact on physical activity levels in England, with 1 ...
Latest News
The first énergie Fitness club has opened in Spain as part of a push for ...
Latest News
A global innovation competition has been launched to find ways to encourage and support more ...
Latest News
Xponential Fitness has acquired Body Fit Training in a deal worth US$44m. The deal takes ...
Latest News
Exercise has been highlighted as a crucial weapon in cancer patients’ battle against the disease. ...
Latest News
The global health and fitness industry is returning to a busy programme of live trade ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: EMS personal training: shockingly simple
People's fitness goals are extremely diverse – ranging from an elite athlete focused on the next goal to someone who dislikes all activity due to chronic back pain.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Life Fitness introduces Integrity SL, the next generation LED console
Life Fitness has unveiled the new Integrity SL, its connected LED console designed for the Integrity Series cardio portfolio.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Sporting heroes to officially open £22 million redevelopment at Everyone Active centre
A £22 million redevelopment project will be unveiled at Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre, as part of the official launch of the state-of-the-art centre.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active bolsters Everyone on Demand and enters second year with five new partnerships
Everyone Active has signed a number of new deals which will see the operator strengthen its digital product offering, Everyone on Demand.
Company profiles
Company profile: RISE Fitness Franchise
RISE is a brand-new franchise created to fill an emerging gap. Outdoor workouts have become ...
Company profiles
Company profile: IONTO Health & Beauty GmbH
IONTO-COMED offers a wide range of treatment beds offering maximum flexibility and the symbiosis of ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Exercise equipment
Matrix Fitness: Exercise equipment
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
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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