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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
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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
People
HCM people

Dr Darshan Shah

Next Health: co-founder
Our vision is that health is not the absence of disease but the abundance of vitality
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HCM people

Keith Burnet

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I wanted to do something to inspire others and encourage them to believe that no matter what age you are, anything is possible
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I think the cost of financing the Fitness World deal was more than compensated for by the £20m Fitness World brought in while the UK gyms were closed
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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
Europe's largest gym chain, Basic-Fit, has published its trading update for the first nine months ...
Latest News
Boutique operator, The Refinery E9, has launched a personal trainer (PT) service with a twist, ...
Latest News
Gains made getting people more physically active over the last few years were all but ...
Latest News
Mid Ulster District Council (MUDC) in Northern Ireland has won a landmark VAT case, which ...
Latest News
The government has pledged to invest £100m in supporting public leisure centres this winter, as ...
Latest News
Gyms in Liverpool,UK, have been given the go-ahead to reopen, following a dramatic week of ...
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Be Military Fit (BMF) has completed a restructuring project, designed to transform the outdoor fitness ...
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Opinion
promotion
In a post-Covid world, member experience is more important than ever before. Your customers’ expectations have been heightened as the coronavirus continues to dominate our everyday lives.
Opinion: Why member experience is more important now than ever before
Opinion
promotion
Our world has changed since March and together, we are learning and adapting to how this sector can continue to thrive in this COVID conscious world.
Opinion: Why fitness clubs and facilities need to evolve in a COVID-conscious world
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Frame launches new, streamlined digital offering, powered by Fisikal
When facing lockdown restrictions, Frame successfully adapted its in-club experience to an online offering for members.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Red Light Rising teams up with ITRM Clinic to supply red light therapy for injured athletes
Red light therapy equipment supplier, Red Light Rising, has partnered with Aidan Robinson of ITRM Clinic in the UK
Video Gallery
Temple Gym - Nautilus Equipment
Core Health & Fitness
Temple Gym - Nautilus Equipment Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Octane Fitness
A global innovator of high-performance fitness equipment, Octane Fitness, a Nautilus, Inc. brand, continually redefines ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Les Mills UK
Committed to creating a fitter planet, Les Mills UK works with clubs and instructors to ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Powering through
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Member feedback software
AskNicely: Member feedback software
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Fitness equipment
TRX Training: Fitness equipment
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Property & Tenders
11 - 25 Union St, London SE1 1SD
Bankside Open Spaces Trust
Property & Tenders
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
03-06 Nov 2020
Online,
Diary dates
12 Nov 2020
Virtual, United States
Diary dates
17 Nov 2020
Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-03 Dec 2020
Virtual,
Diary dates
08-09 Dec 2020
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
02-04 Feb 2021
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
23-26 Feb 2021
IFEMA, Madrid, Spain
Diary dates
03-04 Mar 2021
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-06 Jun 2021
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
16-17 Jun 2021
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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