HCM Issue 11 2021

Page 42

I NTERV I E W

The SATS mission is to play a vital role in public health

We want there to be a club close to where you live, a club close to where you work and one close to where your friends live

Are you concerned by digital competition? Being market leader in the Nordics, people often ask if we fear competition from new concepts, boutique operators, new digital offerings and so on. To be honest, we don’t. It’s not that we’re naïve – we’re aware there are a lot of great new offerings out there that could compete very well with us. It’s simply that we see ourselves as part of a growing market. Penetration is a bit higher in the Nordics, but look across Europe. We’re talking maybe 10–15 per cent population penetration. Our job isn’t to compete with each other, fighting over the same members, but to expand the market together, bringing more people into physical activity. And there are so many opportunities to do this, which is why I see the innovation happening in the industry as a good thing. It’s what will bring more people in. And I think we, as a sector, have a responsibility to do this. 42

Issue 11 2021 ©Cybertrek 2021

It’s why SATS has focused on UN SDG #3, which is all about health and wellbeing. We believe our sector has a vital role to play in improving physical and mental health across society, by increasing activity levels. As an example, SATS had around 40 million member visits a year before COVID, and rising. Those 40 million visits… that’s a whole lot of public health. But there’s still a lot of work to do to ensure governments, other decision-makers and society in general really understand the value of what we do. We can’t sit and complain about this, though. If ours was one of the first industries to be locked down in many countries, it’s because we haven’t yet told our story well enough. We have to take responsibility. Over the past 18 months, we’ve seen more collaboration across the sector and we need to keep this going, working together to get the message out there about the contribution we can make to society.

What do you love about working in fitness? In other industries, you might stand on stage one day and talk about vision to your employees, but the next day it’s back to talking about financials. In our industry, the two are inextricably linked. Of course, as a listed company we have to deliver our financial results, but our vision of making people healthier and happier… If we deliver on that – if we focus on the member experience, on bringing people into activity and on keeping them active – the financial results will come. l

photo: sats

We’re continuing to invest in our product, too, including new class concepts and selective expansion of our offering: a branded clothing line, nutrition, and physical therapy treatments in some of our markets which is picking up pretty well. I think there are several interesting opportunities for further brand expansion, either on our own or in partnership, to offer a more holistic health experience for our members. And of course, short term the focus is on getting our membership back to pre-COVID levels. We went into COVID with around 700,000 members and currently have around 600,000, so although numbers are recovering, we still have a way to go.