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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
HCM magazine
HCM People

Alan Leach

Chair of IHRSA and CEO, West Wood Clubs
IHRSA is now on a mission to bring the global industry together
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Which messaging is most effective at inspiring people to get active and why? Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada set out to find out, as Tom Walker reports
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HCM People

Harry Jameson and Oli Patrick

Co-founders, Future Practice
There’s still no ‘stress resilience’ profession. We believe fitness professionals can fill that gap
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The new guideline emphasises the importance of a personalised management plan for areas such as energy management – including the importance of rest and staying within the individual’s energy limits
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Interview
The CEO of Total Fitness has been in-post for just over three years – a true tale of two halves, with dramatic growth in the first half of her tenure, followed by a second half dominated by the pandemic and a CVA. She talks to Kate Cracknell
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Research
A US study investigating consumer attitudes to gyms, health clubs and studios reveals a new focus on wellness, as well as opportunities for operators to grow their businesses
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Promotion
A new app called Trakk, from Pulse Fitness, promises triple benefits to operators, says Chris Johnson
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Sponsored
Technogym’s Biocircuit offers a range of time-controlled and time-free circuits using the Biostrength line, with its Biodrive AI technology, delivering customised workouts
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Sponsored
Life Fitness is introducing a new range of Hammer Strength anaerobic equipment to complement its legendary strength training range
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Debate
Can partnerships and affiliations with less obvious companies, such as fast food brands, help the industry tap into a new demographic, or is the potential for them to compromise our reputation too big a risk to take? asks Abi Harris
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Latest News
Boxx has launched a new generation punch bag and smart punch trackers that work with ...
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The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) and BBC Storyworks have struck up a partnership to create ...
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The global wellness economy will grow by 9.9 per cent annually and reach US$7trn by ...
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FitnessOnDemand’s divisional vice president Uday Anumalachetty discusses what live fitness really means for clubs and their members today
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Featured supplier news: Hammer Strength just got stronger: Introducing the new HD Performance Trainers
Hammer Strength, the number one brand in performance strength training, is adding to its portfolio of industry-leading machines with the launch of its new anaerobic training line, HD Performance Trainers.
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Featured supplier news: First énergie site opens in Barcelona fully equipped by Core Health & Fitness
The first énergie Fitness club in Spain has opened in partnership with Core Health & Fitness in Sant Cugat, Barcelona, as part of a seven-year exclusive supplier agreement.
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: Everyone Active successfully reopens exercise referral scheme thanks to EXi partnership
Local authority leisure provider Everyone Active has reopened its essential exercise referral scheme, by joining forces with EXi, the NHS-approved exercise prescription app and data portal.
Company profiles
Company profile: Safe Space Lockers
We provide a full turn-key solution for clients from design and consultation, through to bespoke ...
Company profiles
Company profile: ServiceSport (UK) Ltd
ServiceSport (UK) Ltd specialises in maintaining, servicing and re-manufacturing all brands of cardiovascular and resistance ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
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: 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
Boxx has launched a new generation punch bag and smart punch trackers that work with ...
Latest News
The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) and BBC Storyworks have struck up a partnership to create ...
Latest News
The global wellness economy will grow by 9.9 per cent annually and reach US$7trn by ...
Latest News
Inclusive Fitness Boston, a health club created specifically for those with disabilities and their families, ...
Latest News
The Women in Fitness Association (WIFA), is partnering with Sport Alliance to undertake a survey ...
Latest News
Location and cost are the top considerations for consumers when it comes to choosing a ...
Latest News
Increases in COVID-19 cases across Europe are forcing governments to introduce restrictions, which is having ...
Latest News
Exercise has been found to increase levels of endocannabinoids – cannabis-like substances produced by the ...
Latest News
People suffering from mild depression should be offered exercise, mindfulness, therapy or meditation before medication, ...
Latest News
Total Fitness plans to launch a new-style health club model, with plans already in the ...
Latest News
Fitness operator Crunch Fitness says it's continued its recovery from lockdowns, with membership levels across ...
Opinion
promotion
FitnessOnDemand’s divisional vice president Uday Anumalachetty discusses what live fitness really means for clubs and their members today
Opinion: Why we need to reimagine what live fitness really means
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Hammer Strength just got stronger: Introducing the new HD Performance Trainers
Hammer Strength, the number one brand in performance strength training, is adding to its portfolio of industry-leading machines with the launch of its new anaerobic training line, HD Performance Trainers.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: First énergie site opens in Barcelona fully equipped by Core Health & Fitness
The first énergie Fitness club in Spain has opened in partnership with Core Health & Fitness in Sant Cugat, Barcelona, as part of a seven-year exclusive supplier agreement.
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: Everyone Active successfully reopens exercise referral scheme thanks to EXi partnership
Local authority leisure provider Everyone Active has reopened its essential exercise referral scheme, by joining forces with EXi, the NHS-approved exercise prescription app and data portal.
Company profiles
Company profile: Safe Space Lockers
We provide a full turn-key solution for clients from design and consultation, through to bespoke ...
Company profiles
Company profile: ServiceSport (UK) Ltd
ServiceSport (UK) Ltd specialises in maintaining, servicing and re-manufacturing all brands of cardiovascular and resistance ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Red Light Therapy
 Red Light Rising: Red Light Therapy
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Fitness equipment
Octane Fitness: Fitness equipment
Exercise equipment
Power Plate: Exercise equipment
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
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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