HCM Issue 8 2021

Page 37

photo: DLL

Battlebox – a multifunctional workout – is one of DLL’s signature offerings

only thing that matters is being able to service the members. We’re currently spending circa £800,000 a month on incremental COVID-19 measures to ensure people feel comfortable, and that expectations of new members aren’t just met, but exceeded. We have lots of new things going on in the clubs, too, giving reasons to attend regularly. We’ve launched Summer at the Club, for example, creating a holiday vibe around the outdoor pool with gin and tonic tastings, barbecues, DJ sets, inflatables at certain times of the day so parents get a break while the kids are entertained… We’re offering this in the UK and internationally now, and it’s another thing I can see continuing beyond bounceback. Other initiatives include using wearable heart rate technology MyZone to create competitions and challenges. Creating in-person run clubs and weekly quiz nights. We’re running our Team PB initiative in clubs where we feel it would help – a six-week programme designed to motivate, encourage and support people in realising their health goals in the age of COVID-19. And it’s all going incredibly well. However, while I could sit here and talk to you about some of the things we’re doing that might be having a positive impact on our margins, the honest truth is I don’t think we’ll ever be able to look back and say: ‘It’s because we’ve executed our bounceback plan to perfection’ or ‘It’s because we introduced such-and-such an initiative’.

Coming out of this latest lockdown, we’re simply seeing a desire among the consumer base to re-engage. Actually, it’s more important now that we’re making sure we have enough classes on, enough available tennis courts. That all the gym kit is absolutely as it should be. That we understand and are responding to the shifts in peak periods and demand curve throughout the day. Do we have enough crèche places? Enough spaces on our kids’ programmes? It’s as much about capacity management and programming in the club as it is about creating innovative ways to engage customers to come and use us.

You’ve created a range of signature classes It always surprised me, coming into this sector, that you could experience the same group exercise class whether you’re in a DLL club or any other gym or leisure centre. Particularly coming from the visitor attraction industry – my many years at Merlin Entertainments – I found that very strange. We, therefore, made the decision some time ago that we wanted to own our own content and currently have six signature classes: Battlebox, which is multi-functional fitness outdoors; Cyclone and Rhythm, our two group cycling concepts; HIIT GX class Ignite; a holistic class called Spirit; and then Blaze, which is effectively our version of a boutique bootcamp, which we now have in 65 clubs plus a standalone Blaze studio in Birmingham. ©Cybertrek 2021 Issue 8 2021