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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Editor's letter: Strength in numbers

By Kate Cracknell | Published in Health Club Management 2013 issue 4

What might the gym of the future look like? Are we reaching a point where group exercise – far from being a mere complementary offering sitting alongside the gym in a full-service club – has actually become a strong proposition in its own right? And if so, what models might operators consider to ensure they tap into this?

There’s certainly a lot of buzz around group exercise these days, from virtual classes and gym floor team training to standalone ‘microgyms’ (see Health Club Management 2013 issue 4 p47, and Health Club Management 2012 issue 5 p3 and p28) – not forgetting the ongoing enthusiasm for Zumba, which won the John McCarthy Industry Visionary Award at IHRSA this year (see Health Club Management 2013 issue 4 p22). When you combine all that with the potential of group exercise to boost both retention and revenues, now certainly seems to be the time for all operators – from full-service to low-cost – to be reviewing their offering in this area. So what are the options, and how can operators implement these cost-effectively?

Team training programmes are one possibility for existing clubs, with clear opportunities to drive secondary spend. “Gyms must charge for team training,” says Phillip Mills of Les Mills International, whose GRIT Series of HIT programming sits firmly within this category. “But it needs a separate studio, and you can’t call the sessions ‘classes’ – millennials see these as things their parents did.”

Meanwhile, virtual classes offer a cost-effective way of developing a group exercise offering, whether to give more choice during off-peak periods, to enhance live classes, or to make up the entirety of a studio timetable in clubs where the model doesn’t allow for a live offering. Operators already using a virtual system even credit the all-day availability of group exercise with a rise in membership sales (see Health Club Management 2013 issue 4 p58).

But for would-be operators starting from scratch, the standalone model is also worthy of consideration. Much has been said about the microgym, but we’re also witnessing a new take on group exercise-only venues: less the specialist, one-activity venue, more a standalone version of the diverse class offering found in full-service clubs. With the news that Fitness First Middle East was launching such a studio, we recently asked if this approach represented the future of fitness (see Health Club Management 2013 issue 2 p28). The founders of 30-Minute Fitness certainly think so: this new franchise, which launches in the UK this month, focuses exclusively on group exercise, with franchisees able choose from a portfolio of modules, from cycling to TRX to circuits.

And the numbers stack up for the standalone model, with minimal investment in kit, the option to charge a premium and, anecdotally at least, more loyal customers than gym-only members – anecdotes that look set to be given the weight of fact later this year in new research from Melvyn Hillsdon and TRP.

But however operators choose to enhance their group exercise offering, there’s an important consideration for all UK gyms: the change to the PPL licence that takes effect on 1 May, and that places responsibility for music usage in the hands of the operator (see Health Club Management 2013 issue 2 p24). Tariffs are also rising, and clubs hoping to boost their class timetable will need to factor this into their budgeting.

Nevertheless all the evidence suggests that, provided the right model is selected, gyms could benefit in terms of both revenue and retention from giving their group exercise offering a bit of TLC.

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features

Editor's letter: Strength in numbers

By Kate Cracknell | Published in Health Club Management 2013 issue 4

What might the gym of the future look like? Are we reaching a point where group exercise – far from being a mere complementary offering sitting alongside the gym in a full-service club – has actually become a strong proposition in its own right? And if so, what models might operators consider to ensure they tap into this?

There’s certainly a lot of buzz around group exercise these days, from virtual classes and gym floor team training to standalone ‘microgyms’ (see Health Club Management 2013 issue 4 p47, and Health Club Management 2012 issue 5 p3 and p28) – not forgetting the ongoing enthusiasm for Zumba, which won the John McCarthy Industry Visionary Award at IHRSA this year (see Health Club Management 2013 issue 4 p22). When you combine all that with the potential of group exercise to boost both retention and revenues, now certainly seems to be the time for all operators – from full-service to low-cost – to be reviewing their offering in this area. So what are the options, and how can operators implement these cost-effectively?

Team training programmes are one possibility for existing clubs, with clear opportunities to drive secondary spend. “Gyms must charge for team training,” says Phillip Mills of Les Mills International, whose GRIT Series of HIT programming sits firmly within this category. “But it needs a separate studio, and you can’t call the sessions ‘classes’ – millennials see these as things their parents did.”

Meanwhile, virtual classes offer a cost-effective way of developing a group exercise offering, whether to give more choice during off-peak periods, to enhance live classes, or to make up the entirety of a studio timetable in clubs where the model doesn’t allow for a live offering. Operators already using a virtual system even credit the all-day availability of group exercise with a rise in membership sales (see Health Club Management 2013 issue 4 p58).

But for would-be operators starting from scratch, the standalone model is also worthy of consideration. Much has been said about the microgym, but we’re also witnessing a new take on group exercise-only venues: less the specialist, one-activity venue, more a standalone version of the diverse class offering found in full-service clubs. With the news that Fitness First Middle East was launching such a studio, we recently asked if this approach represented the future of fitness (see Health Club Management 2013 issue 2 p28). The founders of 30-Minute Fitness certainly think so: this new franchise, which launches in the UK this month, focuses exclusively on group exercise, with franchisees able choose from a portfolio of modules, from cycling to TRX to circuits.

And the numbers stack up for the standalone model, with minimal investment in kit, the option to charge a premium and, anecdotally at least, more loyal customers than gym-only members – anecdotes that look set to be given the weight of fact later this year in new research from Melvyn Hillsdon and TRP.

But however operators choose to enhance their group exercise offering, there’s an important consideration for all UK gyms: the change to the PPL licence that takes effect on 1 May, and that places responsibility for music usage in the hands of the operator (see Health Club Management 2013 issue 2 p24). Tariffs are also rising, and clubs hoping to boost their class timetable will need to factor this into their budgeting.

Nevertheless all the evidence suggests that, provided the right model is selected, gyms could benefit in terms of both revenue and retention from giving their group exercise offering a bit of TLC.

https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/HCM2013_4editor.gif
Are gyms currently maximising the revenue and retention potential of group exercise, asks Kate Cracknell
Latest News
The US fitness industry lost around 58 per cent of its revenues during 2020, due ...
Latest News
Speaking exclusive to HCM, Ralph Scholz and Nathalie Smeeman have confirmed that B2B trade show ...
Latest News
The Pingdemic of people receiving notifications on their phones, telling them to self-isolate because of ...
Latest News
The Gym Group has extended its partnership with digital fitness platform Fiit, becoming the first ...
Latest News
The world's largest fitness trade fair, FIBO, has been rescheduled again and will now take ...
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Rainer Schaller, founder of budget gym megabrand McFIT, says that the global fitness industry will ...
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L&R Kältetechnik has launched a new division, named artofcryo.com, after 30 years’ experience with -110 °C electrical solutions.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: FunXtion enhance interactive workouts with the launch of Virtual Player
Digital meets personal with the new Virtual Player from FunXtion, experts in interactive fitness, which allows clubs to stream and schedule world class virtual classes anytime, providing an interactive workout experience on the gym floor, functional area or directly to members at home via an app.
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.
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.
Company profiles
Company profile: énergie Fitness
Empowered Brands, owner of the énergie fitness business, has leveraged more than 18 years of ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Freemotion Fitness
With science and innovation at its core, Freemotion questions how we work out and then ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Gympass
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
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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