PHOTO: KRISTIAN FRIRES
How will digital, gyms and live fitness mesh to create a new customer offering in health clubs? Phillip Mills, executive director of Les Mills, shares his views
Issue 3 2021 ©Cybertrek 2021
communities have really shone through and we think this will be a key component in the wider industry’s recovery. Having been locked up and isolated for so long, people can’t wait to get back to the thrill of a buzzing live class and we’ve got members in [socially distanced] queues at the studio door early to secure their space. People are desperate to get back to working out in groups and the past few months have been the best new sales period we’ve ever had.”
Gyms on the rise Many have predicted that this rise of athome digital fitness will cannibalise health club memberships, but the numbers don’t bear this out. Before COVID-19, around 85 per cent of gym members were already doing workouts at home (Qualtrix, 2019), illustrating the importance of delivering all types of fitness experiences if a club is to inspire loyalty.
PHOTO: DAN ROOT PHOTOGRAPHY
mid media scare stories that the COVID-inspired home fitness boom would spell the end of fitness facilities, it’s encouraging that the vast majority of members want to get back to live workouts in their gym. An October 2020 IHRSA report found that 95 per cent of members miss at least one aspect of their club and more than half are dissatisfied with their lockdown fitness routines, while operators in China, Japan, and the UAE reported rapid recoveries when they came out of lockdown. “Since reopening our sites in June and July, we’ve seen a massive rush from members eager to get back into the club and we’re pretty much back to pre-COVID attendance levels,” says Ant Martland, co-founder and marketing director of fast-growing UAE chain, GymNation. “Group fitness and the power of our club