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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Editor's letter: Bounceback challenges

The appetite for health clubs is strong among consumers and investors – to take advantage of this, operators must figure out how to meet key challenges in operationally sustainable ways

By Liz Terry, Leisure Media | Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 8
The Gym Group and Fiit have created in-gym branded pods / photo: The Gym Group
The Gym Group and Fiit have created in-gym branded pods / photo: The Gym Group
Regaining pre-pandemic membership levels is the first step – the next challenge is returning to profitability

It’s great to see the market roaring back in the UK and on page 44 we talk to big box operators about challenges, trading and changing consumer behaviour.

Some, such as David Lloyd Leisure (page 32), are already back to pre-pandemic membership levels only a few months after reopening, with others close to hitting this important target.

However, in a market where investor expectations are high in the private sector and financial pressures great in the public, there are also adaptations that need to be made if the sector is to fully recover.

A major priority is adapting club locations – this is clearly an issue, with city-centre sites and also some rural sites doing less well and we’re seeing operators such as 1Rebel pivoting and opening studios in residential areas (page 26) to rebalance their businesses.

The change to homeworking is seeing operators overhauling their property portfolios to align them with the new reality. This is reshaping the sector and – where sites are disposed of – boosting the independents and giving entrepreneurs and franchises a way into the market.

There’s also an issue with sleepers – members who pay but don’t use the gym. For some operators, pandemic cancellations have stripped away the accumulation of decades of sleeper Direct Debits, so even if attendances recover, the bottom line will be challenged until membership can be regrown to accommodate this.

This challenge is driving the sector to refresh and reinvent itself, making new alliances and partnerships to accelerate market penetration and growth, as we’ve seen this month with the news of Hussle’s partnership with McDonald’s (page 30).

Increased operational costs are also burdening operators – Russell Barnes, CEO at David Lloyd Leisure says COVID-secure operating protocols are costing an additional £800k a month (see our interview on page 32), making this another challenge to work through and streamline as quickly as possible: we need to find cheaper and more environmental ways to continue to deliver these elevated levels of hygiene.

Customers who are fearful of returning are being missed and operators are seeking ways to reassure them or create new services to draw them back into clubs.

On page 64 we look at The Gym Group’s collaboration with Fiit which is linking at-home workouts with new in-club solus workout pods and group studios, blurring the boundaries and helping bring members back.

Regaining pre-pandemic membership levels is the first step on the journey to recovery. The next challenge is to continue to harness creative thinking, forge new partnerships and find solutions to these and other challenges to return to profitability.

Liz Terry, HCM editor
[email protected]
@elizterry
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/802481_702413.jpg
The appetite for health clubs is strong among consumers and investors – to take advantage of this, operators must figure out how to meet key challenges in operationally sustainable ways
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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: Bounceback challenges

The appetite for health clubs is strong among consumers and investors – to take advantage of this, operators must figure out how to meet key challenges in operationally sustainable ways

By Liz Terry, Leisure Media | Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 8
The Gym Group and Fiit have created in-gym branded pods / photo: The Gym Group
The Gym Group and Fiit have created in-gym branded pods / photo: The Gym Group
Regaining pre-pandemic membership levels is the first step – the next challenge is returning to profitability

It’s great to see the market roaring back in the UK and on page 44 we talk to big box operators about challenges, trading and changing consumer behaviour.

Some, such as David Lloyd Leisure (page 32), are already back to pre-pandemic membership levels only a few months after reopening, with others close to hitting this important target.

However, in a market where investor expectations are high in the private sector and financial pressures great in the public, there are also adaptations that need to be made if the sector is to fully recover.

A major priority is adapting club locations – this is clearly an issue, with city-centre sites and also some rural sites doing less well and we’re seeing operators such as 1Rebel pivoting and opening studios in residential areas (page 26) to rebalance their businesses.

The change to homeworking is seeing operators overhauling their property portfolios to align them with the new reality. This is reshaping the sector and – where sites are disposed of – boosting the independents and giving entrepreneurs and franchises a way into the market.

There’s also an issue with sleepers – members who pay but don’t use the gym. For some operators, pandemic cancellations have stripped away the accumulation of decades of sleeper Direct Debits, so even if attendances recover, the bottom line will be challenged until membership can be regrown to accommodate this.

This challenge is driving the sector to refresh and reinvent itself, making new alliances and partnerships to accelerate market penetration and growth, as we’ve seen this month with the news of Hussle’s partnership with McDonald’s (page 30).

Increased operational costs are also burdening operators – Russell Barnes, CEO at David Lloyd Leisure says COVID-secure operating protocols are costing an additional £800k a month (see our interview on page 32), making this another challenge to work through and streamline as quickly as possible: we need to find cheaper and more environmental ways to continue to deliver these elevated levels of hygiene.

Customers who are fearful of returning are being missed and operators are seeking ways to reassure them or create new services to draw them back into clubs.

On page 64 we look at The Gym Group’s collaboration with Fiit which is linking at-home workouts with new in-club solus workout pods and group studios, blurring the boundaries and helping bring members back.

Regaining pre-pandemic membership levels is the first step on the journey to recovery. The next challenge is to continue to harness creative thinking, forge new partnerships and find solutions to these and other challenges to return to profitability.

Liz Terry, HCM editor
[email protected]
@elizterry
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/802481_702413.jpg
The appetite for health clubs is strong among consumers and investors – to take advantage of this, operators must figure out how to meet key challenges in operationally sustainable ways
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 ...
Latest News
Matrix and Intelivideo have signed a strategic partnership, which will see Intelivideo's fitness content integrated ...
Latest News
Nadine Dorries, the recently appointed secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport at ...
Latest News
Mindbody has announced it's buying ClassPass, the consumer wellness subscription service that enables people to ...
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Tanni Grey-Thompson has outlined her vision on how the physical activity sector can play "the ...
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The Global Health & Fitness Alliance (GHFA) has revealed the makeup of its inaugural nine-member ...
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Power Plate teams up with Myzone for a new exercise experience
Power Plate has teamed up with Myzone to provide its community with new class experiences and the opportunity to offer rewards based on effort, every time they move.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Will your business last without digital transformation?
During the pandemic, a digital transformation took off faster than anyone could have predicted with meetings in person cancelled and millions working from home.
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.
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: Active IQ
Active IQ is the UK’s leading Ofqual-recognised Awarding Organisation for the Physical Activity sector....
Company profiles
Company profile: Jordan Fitness
Jordan Fitness are a recognised leader in functional fitness, specialising in premium quality yet value ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Uniforms
Service Sport: Uniforms
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
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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