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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

The management challenge

Health clubs must invest in upskilling health club managers if the sector is to gain credibility and build a strong future, says Liz Terry

By Liz Terry, Leisure Media | Published in Health Club Management 2014 issue 1
management is worth investing in. it’s time to upskill instead of simply promoting the most competent gym instructor

There’s never been a better time to be in the health and fitness industry. Every day, new research emerges to prove that exercise can help practically every known health problem, from depression to cancer, as well as being the most effective anti-ageing treatment.

People want to be healthy, they’re learning they need to exercise to achieve this goal, and they want to do it in ways that are convenient, enjoyable and affordable: great news for health clubs with the right business model. We could be at the dawn of a golden age, when operators grow their businesses quicker than ever before and achieve record profits and market penetration – but only if we’re able to crack one yawning weakness.

That weakness is bad management: it’s one of the only things that will stop the industry becoming pivotal to the lives of the majority.

We’ve cracked pretty much all the other challenges: industry suppliers compete to keep a flow of well-designed equipment coming to market, we’re great at building clubs, and gym staff are better trained and qualified with every passing year. But the management challenge is one mountain we haven’t yet climbed.

Time to upskill
People have the cash to be able to afford memberships, yet the market penetration of health clubs stands stubbornly between 12 and 18 per cent (depending on how you work out the numbers) and industry growth has plateaued, simply because of the huge levels of churn – most health clubs leak their members like a sieve.

Any service business that loses customers to this degree has to look to its people for solutions, and it’s time decision-makers in this sector recognised that management is a discipline worth investing in and paying for. It’s time to upskill in this discipline instead of simply promoting the most competent gym instructor.

In the UK, CIMSPA – the Chartered Institute set up to lead the charge towards industry excellence in the field of professional development – has faced a number of challenges since it was launched and has recently undergone a comprehensive, ukactive-led review, unveiling its new business plan and governance structure in November.

Feedback gathered during the review included the need for the Institute to facilitate quality management training; many members and stakeholders also said it should be “a badge of quality”. “We’re aware of the challenges that face managers in the sector, whereby a third of them don’t have the appropriate skills or qualifications for their role,” acknowledged Steve Philpott, CEO of DC Leisure, in response to the review.

The health and fitness sector needs an organisation that can champion management training and qualifications and open a debate about how we can upskill staff; CIMSPA’s restructure has been designed to establish it as the strategic lead in this area.

Good track record
We’ve done this before with REPs, so we know it’s possible. In the case of REPs, the sector was after government recognition and cash in the form of subsidies. The sector was told in no uncertain terms that, unless health club staff were registered and trained, the government simply couldn’t recognise, support or engage with the industry. That was the push we needed as a sector to get on and create REPs – the Register of Exercise Professionals.

But while our fitness instructors are now qualified and registered, we’ve so far failed to create the same training and career development infrastructure around our managers. There’s no degree available in health club management, no proper career path to be followed and – if we’re honest – fairly limited prospects for ambitious people to build big careers.

Yet done well, the job is a sophisticated, demanding and complex one, which requires high levels of knowledge in everything from exercise science to marketing, and from innovation in food and beverage to yield management. It also requires managers who can deliver in both B2B and B2C environments, while also seeking out and developing partnerships for outreach work.

Sector-wide responsibility
The newly revitalised CIMSPA will now set out to support the fitness sector in developing such managers, with solid career pathways that help staff progress from technical roles to management level.

CIMSPA has already received a vote of confidence from the sector, with operators such as DC Leisure investing in the development body since its business plan and governance structure were approved by members.

But the responsibility cannot rest on CIMSPA’s shoulders alone. Here at Health Club Management magazine, we think health club management matters, so we’re committed to raising the profile of this important area by sharing information and inspiration about best practice. In a new series that will run throughout 2014 – developed in conjunction with CIMSPA – we’ll be highlighting areas of interest and sharing knowledge and expertise on health club management.

We believe passionately that it’s time health club management was taken seriously as a discipline in its own right in the wider business community – but if we as a sector don’t invest in it, value it and innovate within it, then the chance of our sector achieving wider respect and recognition is non-existent. It’s time the industry put management training at the heart of the agenda.

Liz Terry has been writing about and analysing the global leisure industries since 1983. She’s managing director of Leisure Media, which includes Health Club Management in its portfolio of leisure-focused magazines.

Email [email protected]
Twitter: @elizterry

Good management is vital to the growth of the fitness industry / all Photo: Shutterstock.com
Good management is vital to the growth of the fitness industry / all Photo: Shutterstock.com
People want to be healthy and are learning that they need to exercise to achieve this goal – great news for health clubs / all Photo: Shutterstock.com
People want to be healthy and are learning that they need to exercise to achieve this goal – great news for health clubs / all Photo: Shutterstock.com
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/HCM2014_1challenge.gif
Health clubs must invest in upskilling their managers if the sector is to gain credibility and build a strong future, says Liz Terry
People
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Featured supplier: Gympass expands in Ireland with flagship operator Gym Plus
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Click on a catalogue to view it online
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Go Do.Fitness: Fitness software
Management software
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Hutchison Technologies: Audio visual
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MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
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SpaBooker: Spa software
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Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
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Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-23 Jan 2020
Harrogate Convention Centre, Harrogate, United Kingdom
Diary dates
28-30 Jan 2020
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
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23-25 Mar 2020
Hilton, Barcelona, Spain
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25-26 Mar 2020
Eastwood Hall, Nottingham, United Kingdom
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19-24 Apr 2020
tbc, Beijing, China
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04 Jun 2020
Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club, Birmingham, United Kingdom
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tbc, Pinggu, China
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Diary dates
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ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
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21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
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30-31 Oct 2020
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features

The management challenge

Health clubs must invest in upskilling health club managers if the sector is to gain credibility and build a strong future, says Liz Terry

By Liz Terry, Leisure Media | Published in Health Club Management 2014 issue 1
management is worth investing in. it’s time to upskill instead of simply promoting the most competent gym instructor

There’s never been a better time to be in the health and fitness industry. Every day, new research emerges to prove that exercise can help practically every known health problem, from depression to cancer, as well as being the most effective anti-ageing treatment.

People want to be healthy, they’re learning they need to exercise to achieve this goal, and they want to do it in ways that are convenient, enjoyable and affordable: great news for health clubs with the right business model. We could be at the dawn of a golden age, when operators grow their businesses quicker than ever before and achieve record profits and market penetration – but only if we’re able to crack one yawning weakness.

That weakness is bad management: it’s one of the only things that will stop the industry becoming pivotal to the lives of the majority.

We’ve cracked pretty much all the other challenges: industry suppliers compete to keep a flow of well-designed equipment coming to market, we’re great at building clubs, and gym staff are better trained and qualified with every passing year. But the management challenge is one mountain we haven’t yet climbed.

Time to upskill
People have the cash to be able to afford memberships, yet the market penetration of health clubs stands stubbornly between 12 and 18 per cent (depending on how you work out the numbers) and industry growth has plateaued, simply because of the huge levels of churn – most health clubs leak their members like a sieve.

Any service business that loses customers to this degree has to look to its people for solutions, and it’s time decision-makers in this sector recognised that management is a discipline worth investing in and paying for. It’s time to upskill in this discipline instead of simply promoting the most competent gym instructor.

In the UK, CIMSPA – the Chartered Institute set up to lead the charge towards industry excellence in the field of professional development – has faced a number of challenges since it was launched and has recently undergone a comprehensive, ukactive-led review, unveiling its new business plan and governance structure in November.

Feedback gathered during the review included the need for the Institute to facilitate quality management training; many members and stakeholders also said it should be “a badge of quality”. “We’re aware of the challenges that face managers in the sector, whereby a third of them don’t have the appropriate skills or qualifications for their role,” acknowledged Steve Philpott, CEO of DC Leisure, in response to the review.

The health and fitness sector needs an organisation that can champion management training and qualifications and open a debate about how we can upskill staff; CIMSPA’s restructure has been designed to establish it as the strategic lead in this area.

Good track record
We’ve done this before with REPs, so we know it’s possible. In the case of REPs, the sector was after government recognition and cash in the form of subsidies. The sector was told in no uncertain terms that, unless health club staff were registered and trained, the government simply couldn’t recognise, support or engage with the industry. That was the push we needed as a sector to get on and create REPs – the Register of Exercise Professionals.

But while our fitness instructors are now qualified and registered, we’ve so far failed to create the same training and career development infrastructure around our managers. There’s no degree available in health club management, no proper career path to be followed and – if we’re honest – fairly limited prospects for ambitious people to build big careers.

Yet done well, the job is a sophisticated, demanding and complex one, which requires high levels of knowledge in everything from exercise science to marketing, and from innovation in food and beverage to yield management. It also requires managers who can deliver in both B2B and B2C environments, while also seeking out and developing partnerships for outreach work.

Sector-wide responsibility
The newly revitalised CIMSPA will now set out to support the fitness sector in developing such managers, with solid career pathways that help staff progress from technical roles to management level.

CIMSPA has already received a vote of confidence from the sector, with operators such as DC Leisure investing in the development body since its business plan and governance structure were approved by members.

But the responsibility cannot rest on CIMSPA’s shoulders alone. Here at Health Club Management magazine, we think health club management matters, so we’re committed to raising the profile of this important area by sharing information and inspiration about best practice. In a new series that will run throughout 2014 – developed in conjunction with CIMSPA – we’ll be highlighting areas of interest and sharing knowledge and expertise on health club management.

We believe passionately that it’s time health club management was taken seriously as a discipline in its own right in the wider business community – but if we as a sector don’t invest in it, value it and innovate within it, then the chance of our sector achieving wider respect and recognition is non-existent. It’s time the industry put management training at the heart of the agenda.

Liz Terry has been writing about and analysing the global leisure industries since 1983. She’s managing director of Leisure Media, which includes Health Club Management in its portfolio of leisure-focused magazines.

Email [email protected]
Twitter: @elizterry

Good management is vital to the growth of the fitness industry / all Photo: Shutterstock.com
Good management is vital to the growth of the fitness industry / all Photo: Shutterstock.com
People want to be healthy and are learning that they need to exercise to achieve this goal – great news for health clubs / all Photo: Shutterstock.com
People want to be healthy and are learning that they need to exercise to achieve this goal – great news for health clubs / all Photo: Shutterstock.com
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/HCM2014_1challenge.gif
Health clubs must invest in upskilling their managers if the sector is to gain credibility and build a strong future, says Liz Terry
Latest News
Ukactive has urged the incoming Conservative government to invest heavily in physical activity – in ...
Latest News
Technogym has launched its Let's Move for a Better World campaign for 2020, aiming to ...
Latest News
Equipment supplier Life Fitness has created on-demand digital programming for its commercial CV equipment. Called ...
Latest News
Mid-market health club operator Total Fitness has acquired Pro-Fit Personal Training. The deal follows a ...
Latest News
PureGym is set to become the second largest fitness operator in Europe, after revealing plans ...
Latest News
The Glass House Retreat, a new eco-friendly health and wellness retreat, has opened in Bulphan, ...
Latest News
A large-scale study on genetics has shown that being more physically active reduces the risk ...
Latest News
The Gym Group has confirmed plans to roll out a new small box format in ...
Latest News
Representatives from the three main political parties have backed the view that physical activity has ...
Latest News
Life Leisure is expanding its facility portfolio with the launch of an independent boutique fitness ...
Latest News
Almost half of children and young people (46.8 per cent) in England are doing the ...
Job search
POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Gympass expands in Ireland with flagship operator Gym Plus
Gympass, a leader in corporate fitness sales, has expanded its network to Ireland following a new partnership with Gym Plus.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: GLL chooses Ethitec’s Tiara9 system for its exercise-based public health referral schemes
The Tiara9 system has been selected by leisure trust, GLL, to support the nationwide rollout of its Healthwise GP referral programme.
Video Gallery
Harlands Group Overview
Harlands Group
An overview of the Harlands Group, the membership management experts. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Xn Leisure Systems Ltd
Xn Leisure is a provider of cutting-edge health and fitness software, offering exceptional service to ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Dyaco UK Ltd
Dyaco UK Limited offers a versatile range of world-class commercial, medical and home fitness equipment ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Fitness software
Go Do.Fitness: Fitness software
Management software
GymSales: Management software
Direct debit solutions
Harlands Group: Direct debit solutions
Audio visual
Hutchison Technologies: Audio visual
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Locking solutions
Ojmar: Locking solutions
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
21-23 Jan 2020
Harrogate Convention Centre, Harrogate, United Kingdom
Diary dates
28-30 Jan 2020
Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
Diary dates
23-25 Mar 2020
Hilton, Barcelona, Spain
Diary dates
25-26 Mar 2020
Eastwood Hall, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
19-24 Apr 2020
tbc, Beijing, China
Diary dates
04 Jun 2020
Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
10-27 Jun 2020
tbc, Pinggu, China
Diary dates
13 Jun 2020
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
17-18 Jun 2020
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
30-31 Oct 2020
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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