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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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Industry insights

November 2013 saw SIBEC deliver its most successful event in its 17-year history, selling out well ahead of schedule and hosting a record number of operators and suppliers. Katie Lewis reports

By Katie Lewis | Published in Health Club Management 2014 issue 1

Taking place at the Don Carlos Leisure Resort and Spa in Marbella, Spain, SIBEC Europe kicked off with a panel debate featuring four of the industry’s most influential operators and chaired by David Stalker, CEO of ukactive and board member of EHFA and CIMSPA. We round up some of the discussions.

Meet the Panel
Franck Gueguen: President, International Fitness Holdings (Club Med Gym & Silhouette)

Kevin Yates: Head of fitness, marketing & communications, Leisure Connection / 1Life

Natalie Cornish (née Mumford): Fitness & wellbeing director, Nuffield Health

Tim Foster: Central operations director, Virgin Active

Q Are we promoting the right messages to encourage more people to be physically active?

Frank Gueguen
In France and Switzerland, around 20–25 per cent of people join facilities to lose weight; 75 per cent join to improve their general health. We’re trying to appeal to a very broad range of motivations and needs. As a result, we’re not focused on the short-term goal – selling the weight-loss dream – but instead focus our marketing on the benefits of physical and mental wellbeing. I believe this is the right approach.

Kevin Yates
At the start of the New Year, there will be the usual bun fight for new members. Many chains will attempt to attract people with incredible money-saving promotions. This puts pressure on others to do the same and it’s not the right approach for long-term sustainability.

When Dove launched its campaign using real women to promote its product range, its market share grew from 1 per cent to 6 per cent. I’d like to see the fitness sector become more professional in its marketing, thinking more long-term than quick fix.

I’d also like to see operators working collaboratively with ukactive to fund a central marketing campaign to promote the benefits of physical activity. Increasing general awareness will benefit operators.


Natalie Cornish
I agree with Kevin. The majority of people still make a choice about where to work out based on location and ease of access, so pooling resources to fund a central campaign makes perfect sense.

At Nuffield, the big challenge we face is whether to run campaigns based on our core values of wellness and health or simply jump on the bandwagon and run price-led marketing campaigns.


Tim Foster
New member motivations to join haven’t changed much over the years: most still join to lose weight, get fit, tone up and generally improve their health. We’ll tap into these motivations while playing to our strengths – we call it ‘20 per cent more for 20 per cent less’, by which we mean offering exceptional value for money.

Q Functional training – the future or just a fad?

Kevin Yates
Facilities we build today will be serving communities for generations to come. Instead of churning out the same old formula such as traditional sports halls, we need to consider what will motivate the next generation to be more physically active than us. Alliance Leisure is doing some good work in this area, designing skate parks, high ropes courses and climbing facilities that appeal to the motivations of the younger generations.

The introduction of CrossFit and concepts like HIIT all help to offer a more diverse range of activities. They won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s important that we continue to question the traditional offering.

Tim Foster
Currently, functional training and extreme conditioning are receiving perhaps a disproportionate amount of media attention. The reality is that brands like CrossFit and concepts like HIIT are still quite niche. We need to keep this in perspective, and be wary not to disproportionately change our fundamental product in response. We need to continue to offer a core product that has broad segmental appeal and that, although providing for these trends, still keeps the overall provision well balanced.


Natalie Cornish
We need to be careful not to jump on the ‘next big thing’. There’s also a danger that the sedentary population jumps head-first into ‘quick win’ intensive programmes such as INSANITY and CrossFit, risking injury and exposing themselves to a negative experience of physical activity, which could have long-term implications.


Nicholas Hymas, Fitness First Dubai (input from the floor)
I agree that functional training is not for everyone, but in Dubai we’re proving that it can be hugely successful if implemented and managed correctly.

The key to success is education. Instructing somebody in how to perform functional movements safely and effectively undoubtedly requires more time investment and more instructor skill than instructing somebody in how to use a fixed weight or cardio machine. However, once the education of instructors is recognised as a core need, and given the necessary time and investment, the functional training concept can work. We’re proving this.


Rory McGown, GYMetrix (input from the floor)
Our research shows that in many gyms, functional training spaces are under-used, with more people still using fixed weight and cardio equipment. It’s a training issue – operators need to invest in instructor education to maximise usage of these spaces.

Q What do you consider to be the biggest opportunity for our sector going forward?

Frank Gueguen
Working more closely with doctors and government so that fitness appears on their agenda. This will help the sector reach a much wider audience. The sector also has an opportunity to promote the wider benefits of exercise beyond the physical. This will also help engage a bigger audience.

Natalie Cornish
Development of products that enable our brands to engage with and influence behaviours of individuals who may never visit our clubs. This is now possible through the use of activity tracking systems and online communities.


Tim Foster
To create genuine belief that exercise is medicine. In order to deliver this, the sector needs credible, academically sound, evidence-based research to convince private investors, commercial partners and in particular the government that it can make a valuable contribution to the wider health agenda. The work of ukactive’s Research Institute will hopefully be transformational in this respect.


Kevin Yates
Upskilling our workforce. To be taken seriously by government, community partners and the medical profession, we need to be confident we’re delivering a professional service. ukactive is placing us at the table with the right people, but we need to be confident that we have the skills to deliver.

Over the last few years, our company has worked with Lifetime to access significant sums of government funding to train our staff, but it’s not enough. In addition to training front of house staff, pool lifeguards and gym instructors, we also need to invest in our management teams. Working with organisations like CIMSPA, we need to create and deliver management qualifications that provide our managers with the skills they will need to take this sector forward.

The panel debate was chaired by ukactive’s David Stalker (second from right)
The panel debate was chaired by ukactive’s David Stalker (second from right)
Together, the medical and fitness worlds have a huge opportunity to foster the genuine belief that exercise is medicine / www.shutterstock.com/ William Perugini
Together, the medical and fitness worlds have a huge opportunity to foster the genuine belief that exercise is medicine / www.shutterstock.com/ William Perugini
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/HCM2014_1sibec.gif
Katie Lewis reports on discussions at November's SIBEC Europe event, from functional training to price-cutting, and from centralised ad campaigns to 'exercise is medicine'
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features

Industry insights

November 2013 saw SIBEC deliver its most successful event in its 17-year history, selling out well ahead of schedule and hosting a record number of operators and suppliers. Katie Lewis reports

By Katie Lewis | Published in Health Club Management 2014 issue 1

Taking place at the Don Carlos Leisure Resort and Spa in Marbella, Spain, SIBEC Europe kicked off with a panel debate featuring four of the industry’s most influential operators and chaired by David Stalker, CEO of ukactive and board member of EHFA and CIMSPA. We round up some of the discussions.

Meet the Panel
Franck Gueguen: President, International Fitness Holdings (Club Med Gym & Silhouette)

Kevin Yates: Head of fitness, marketing & communications, Leisure Connection / 1Life

Natalie Cornish (née Mumford): Fitness & wellbeing director, Nuffield Health

Tim Foster: Central operations director, Virgin Active

Q Are we promoting the right messages to encourage more people to be physically active?

Frank Gueguen
In France and Switzerland, around 20–25 per cent of people join facilities to lose weight; 75 per cent join to improve their general health. We’re trying to appeal to a very broad range of motivations and needs. As a result, we’re not focused on the short-term goal – selling the weight-loss dream – but instead focus our marketing on the benefits of physical and mental wellbeing. I believe this is the right approach.

Kevin Yates
At the start of the New Year, there will be the usual bun fight for new members. Many chains will attempt to attract people with incredible money-saving promotions. This puts pressure on others to do the same and it’s not the right approach for long-term sustainability.

When Dove launched its campaign using real women to promote its product range, its market share grew from 1 per cent to 6 per cent. I’d like to see the fitness sector become more professional in its marketing, thinking more long-term than quick fix.

I’d also like to see operators working collaboratively with ukactive to fund a central marketing campaign to promote the benefits of physical activity. Increasing general awareness will benefit operators.


Natalie Cornish
I agree with Kevin. The majority of people still make a choice about where to work out based on location and ease of access, so pooling resources to fund a central campaign makes perfect sense.

At Nuffield, the big challenge we face is whether to run campaigns based on our core values of wellness and health or simply jump on the bandwagon and run price-led marketing campaigns.


Tim Foster
New member motivations to join haven’t changed much over the years: most still join to lose weight, get fit, tone up and generally improve their health. We’ll tap into these motivations while playing to our strengths – we call it ‘20 per cent more for 20 per cent less’, by which we mean offering exceptional value for money.

Q Functional training – the future or just a fad?

Kevin Yates
Facilities we build today will be serving communities for generations to come. Instead of churning out the same old formula such as traditional sports halls, we need to consider what will motivate the next generation to be more physically active than us. Alliance Leisure is doing some good work in this area, designing skate parks, high ropes courses and climbing facilities that appeal to the motivations of the younger generations.

The introduction of CrossFit and concepts like HIIT all help to offer a more diverse range of activities. They won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s important that we continue to question the traditional offering.

Tim Foster
Currently, functional training and extreme conditioning are receiving perhaps a disproportionate amount of media attention. The reality is that brands like CrossFit and concepts like HIIT are still quite niche. We need to keep this in perspective, and be wary not to disproportionately change our fundamental product in response. We need to continue to offer a core product that has broad segmental appeal and that, although providing for these trends, still keeps the overall provision well balanced.


Natalie Cornish
We need to be careful not to jump on the ‘next big thing’. There’s also a danger that the sedentary population jumps head-first into ‘quick win’ intensive programmes such as INSANITY and CrossFit, risking injury and exposing themselves to a negative experience of physical activity, which could have long-term implications.


Nicholas Hymas, Fitness First Dubai (input from the floor)
I agree that functional training is not for everyone, but in Dubai we’re proving that it can be hugely successful if implemented and managed correctly.

The key to success is education. Instructing somebody in how to perform functional movements safely and effectively undoubtedly requires more time investment and more instructor skill than instructing somebody in how to use a fixed weight or cardio machine. However, once the education of instructors is recognised as a core need, and given the necessary time and investment, the functional training concept can work. We’re proving this.


Rory McGown, GYMetrix (input from the floor)
Our research shows that in many gyms, functional training spaces are under-used, with more people still using fixed weight and cardio equipment. It’s a training issue – operators need to invest in instructor education to maximise usage of these spaces.

Q What do you consider to be the biggest opportunity for our sector going forward?

Frank Gueguen
Working more closely with doctors and government so that fitness appears on their agenda. This will help the sector reach a much wider audience. The sector also has an opportunity to promote the wider benefits of exercise beyond the physical. This will also help engage a bigger audience.

Natalie Cornish
Development of products that enable our brands to engage with and influence behaviours of individuals who may never visit our clubs. This is now possible through the use of activity tracking systems and online communities.


Tim Foster
To create genuine belief that exercise is medicine. In order to deliver this, the sector needs credible, academically sound, evidence-based research to convince private investors, commercial partners and in particular the government that it can make a valuable contribution to the wider health agenda. The work of ukactive’s Research Institute will hopefully be transformational in this respect.


Kevin Yates
Upskilling our workforce. To be taken seriously by government, community partners and the medical profession, we need to be confident we’re delivering a professional service. ukactive is placing us at the table with the right people, but we need to be confident that we have the skills to deliver.

Over the last few years, our company has worked with Lifetime to access significant sums of government funding to train our staff, but it’s not enough. In addition to training front of house staff, pool lifeguards and gym instructors, we also need to invest in our management teams. Working with organisations like CIMSPA, we need to create and deliver management qualifications that provide our managers with the skills they will need to take this sector forward.

The panel debate was chaired by ukactive’s David Stalker (second from right)
The panel debate was chaired by ukactive’s David Stalker (second from right)
Together, the medical and fitness worlds have a huge opportunity to foster the genuine belief that exercise is medicine / www.shutterstock.com/ William Perugini
Together, the medical and fitness worlds have a huge opportunity to foster the genuine belief that exercise is medicine / www.shutterstock.com/ William Perugini
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/HCM2014_1sibec.gif
Katie Lewis reports on discussions at November's SIBEC Europe event, from functional training to price-cutting, and from centralised ad campaigns to 'exercise is medicine'
Latest News
ukactive has launched two major new reports as part of its Business Intelligence service. The ...
Latest News
The annual Sweat event kicks off in London today (20 February), offering the UK's fitness ...
Latest News
Boutique boxing gym brand BXR London has revealed plans to open its second site at ...
Latest News
Rising workplace stress among employees has led companies to increase their investment in incentives as ...
Latest News
David Lloyd Leisure is facing prosecution by Leeds Council over alleged health and safety breaches, ...
Latest News
Taking part in regular aerobic exercise could decrease the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease in ...
Latest News
A self-help studio marketing itself as a "first-of-its-kind self-development wellness space" will open in the ...
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A report outlining membership habits and retention in the fitness sector will be released at ...
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POST YOUR JOB
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Iyashi Dôme: the original Japanese sauna
In 2004, Shogoro Uemura, CEO of Iyashi Dôme, was inspired by his father’s work to create a new treatment protocol based on the Japanese tradition of sand bathing.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Training provider explains how a partnership with Fisikal transformed their business
Drummond Health & Fitness Education Academy has been providing quality health and fitness training and education for more than 35 years.
Video Gallery
How to use the MZ-Bodyscan
MyZone
The Best Product for the Best Clubs Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: Jordan Fitness
Jordan Fitness have been at the forefront of premium gym design, with a strong reputation ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Pavigym
PAVIGYM is the premier innovator of flooring and interactive solutions for the global fitness industry....
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Professional services
Deloitte UK: Professional services
Locking solutions
Monster Padlocks: Locking solutions
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Management software
Fisikal: Management software
Fitness equipment
Stages Cycling: Fitness equipment
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Property & Tenders
Derby City Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
06-07 Mar 2020
Palazzo del Ghiaccio, Milan, Italy
Diary dates
23-25 Mar 2020
Hilton, Barcelona, Spain
Diary dates
25 Mar 2020
Executive Boardroom, Middlesex University, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
25-26 Mar 2020
Eastwood Hall, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
26-29 Mar 2020
The Winter Gardens Blackpool, Blackpool , United Kingdom
Diary dates
27-29 Mar 2020
TeatroGoya Multiespacio, Madrid, Spain
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
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
17-23 Oct 2020
Pinggu, Beijing, China
Diary dates
30-31 Oct 2020
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
27-28 Nov 2020
Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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