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Mark Sesnan GLL: CEO


ince we reopened, customers have returned at encouraging rates, reaching 60 to 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Summer can traditionally be a quieter time for gyms, with many customers on holiday, but due to restrictions this year, family staycationers can use our many facilities across the UK and we’ve seen an uptick in the use of our lidos and open water venues. GLL manages gyms and health clubs under the Better band in citycentre locations all over the UK and trading is recovering well, although the picture in rural locations is more mixed. While our loyal customer base has been itching to get back to the local gyms or swimming pools, some have been more reticent about returning. Our marketing

Our marketing approach has been to encourage and reassure users, especially as GLL has been cited by the Cabinet Office as a COVID-safe exemplar approach has been to encourage and reassure users that taking exercise once again is beneficial to their health and wellbeing, especially as GLL has been cited by the Cabinet Office as a COVID-safe exemplar. We’ve always had a broad demographic of customers and as a charitable social enterprise, are proud to be at the heart of local communities’ health and wellbeing, whether rich or poor. We’ve not seen a significant change in our customer profile, but we’re consciously programming to reflect the characteristic diversity of our local communities. Encouraged by the summer weather, business in outdoor

locations is brisk. But we also have indoor venues such as Newquay Leisure World, a trampoline and playpark and Britannia Leisure Centre in Hackney – a multiactivity centre featuring a kids’ Splashzone – which come into their own when the weather turns.

David Minton The Leisure Database Company: founder

Younger consumers are keen to get back into the gym, with around 90 per cent returning


here’s a mounting body of anecdotal evidence showing the industry is rebounding at different rates in the UK. Figures released from the lowcost brands show the predominantly younger consumers are keen to get back into the gym, with around 90 per cent returning. The midmarket, including hotels, has seen a mixed response, depending on demographics and offerings. Families have been returning, while older members have been more reticent. Across the public sector, an average return rate of around 60 per cent is reflective of the wider audience and reduced capacity. This percentage is very similar to the official figures from the hospitality sector and the Office for National Statistics.

Variations between neighbourhoods and city centres can be stark. During lockdown, the concept of 15 minutes walk radius to home defined our exercise habits. The number of outdoor walks logged on Strava and Apple Health tripled during 2020, home workouts jumped from 8 per cent to 53 per cent, aggregators saw over 400 per cent increase in outdoor classes. With more than three million people taking up gardening many

found caring for the environment an altruistic way to burn calories. Biodata from wearing smart devices fast-tracked the link between healthcare and fitness and now we need to understand the relationship between the exercise dose and improving personal health. All of the above and trends data since 2019 will be published in spring 2022 in the State of the Industry Report by the Leisure Database Company. ©Cybertrek 2021 Issue 8 2021