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Entries in Europe (14)


U.K. Independent Clubs Need Laser Focus to Compete with Low-cost Gyms

The United States and the United Kingdom have a lot in common, from our shared language to our shared love of caffeinated beverages (be they coffee or tea). However, while we have a number of similarities, we also have many differences—especially when it comes to the health and fitness market.

Ask any American health club owner what poses the biggest threat to independent clubs and they will likely tell you the same thing: boutique fitness studios.

But if you ask a U.K. club owner the same question, chances are you’ll get a different answer: low-cost gyms.

The U.K. health club industry earns more revenue than any other country in Europe, according to the 2017 IHRSA Global Report. (Click to enlarge)

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As More Romanians Work Out, One Pioneering Club Chain Leads the Pack

At first glance, the Swedish and Romanian health and fitness landscapes don’t appear to have much in common. Competition is fierce among health clubs in Sweden, and consumers have high expectations as a result. Romanians, however, are in the earlier stages of incorporating fitness—and health clubs—into their lives. 

Despite these disparities, Kent Orrgren—who has managed clubs in both markets—sees more similarities than differences.

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At L’Usine Club, Design and Customer Service Go Hand-in-Hand 

L’Usine Club isn’t your average health club chain.

The company, which has two facilities in Paris, one in Brussels, and one in Geneva, prides itself on providing exceptional and meticulous customer service. Its highly trained staff (outfitted by Armani), premium sound system (installed by Devialet), and sleek facilities (designed by a team of architects) have attracted several global celebrities to stop in for a workout.

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Learn How IHRSA's Global Industry Research Supports Health Clubs and Fuels Industry Growth

Nathalie Smeeman, EuropeActive Executive Director with Joe Moore in Seville, Spain on October 18, 2016.Savvy business owners know they need credible information in order to make wise business decisions. That is why IHRSA has always been dedicated to conducting valuable fitness industry research in order to help health club operators, suppliers, and industry stakeholders better understand health club markets around the globe. 

Below are a few of the research projects IHRSA has initiated or supported this year and next in order to help fuel industry growth.

The European Health and Fitness Market Report

For the second consecutive year, IHRSA will lend its support to the European Health and Fitness Market Report. This in-depth report is published by EuropeActive in cooperation with Deloitte, and will be released in April 2017.

Joe Moore, IHRSA’s president and CEO, stated, “IHRSA has a long history of initiating and supporting industry research. IHRSA is happy to collaborate once again with EuropeActive and Deloitte on this important research.”

The 2017 European Health and Fitness Market Report will include profiles of the largest national markets, in-depth analyses on merger and acquisition activities, European Union policy implications and the global equipment market, and interviews with selected market experts and industry leaders.

Market Report on Spanish Health Clubs

Maria Angeles de Santiago Restoy and Mónica Garrido from MAS present the Market Report on Spanish Health Clubs in Seville.Moore noted that IHRSA also provided funding for the English language translation and design of the Market Report on Spanish Health Clubs, published in September by Management Around Sports (MAS) and sponsored by Precor. MAS's Maria Angeles de Santiago Restoy and Mónica Garrido presented the findings last month at the 16th Annual IHRSA European Congress in Seville.

IHRSA Mexican Health Club Report

Last month, IHRSA announced the completion of the first-ever IHRSA Mexican Health Club Report, sponsored by Movement. The Spanish-language edition of the report was given to attendees of the IHRSA Mecardo Fitness Mexico City Conference and Trade Show in October. The English-language edition of the report will be available in December. IHRSA will also be updating its popular IHRSA Latin American Report in March 2017.

2017 IHRSA Global Report

The IHRSA Mexican Health Club Report, sponsored by Movement.In January 2017, IHRSA will launch its annual global club operator survey for the 2017 IHRSA Global Report. The report, to be published in June 2017, details the market size and scope of the Americas, Europe, Middle East & North Africa, and Asia-Pacific markets, and highlights more than 300 leading club companies from around the world, including financial and membership information. The IHRSA Global Report is the most comprehensive publication on the global fitness business available.

Access additional research on global health club markets, club operational metrics, and consumer trends.


5 Reasons You Can’t Miss the 2016 IHRSA European Congress

It’s hard to quantify the true value of the IHRSA European Congress. The benefits—from networking and education to career inspiration—are immeasurable. The event’s content-rich education agenda and A-list crowd allow for numerous chances to catapult your club to success. 

Yet, while there are many reasons to attend the IHRSA European Congress, there are five you can always count on: 

1. Ample Opportunities to Network with the Right People

With daily networking sessions, receptions, and lunches, you’re guaranteed to build relationships with passionate, like-minded fitness professionals eager to collaborate and expand their professional networks. 

2. Education that Will Strengthen Your Business Acumen

Take your club or company to the next level by attending seminars taught by the industry’s most successful individuals. Topics cover everything from sales and marketing to retention. You will leave the Congress full of ideas you can immediately implement in your club.

3. Gain a Competitive Edge

The European Congress is a perfect opportunity to get up to speed on today’s top fitness market trends and discover how they apply to your club or company. Check out the forward-looking sessions in the full event schedule. 

4. Must-see Keynote Speakers

Speaking of trends, the health club industry continues to be reshaped by innovation and technology. IHRSA has lined up two exceptional keynote speakers to share their expertise on these exciting topics. David Robertson, professor and author of “Brick by Brick: How LEGO Reinvented its Innovation System and Conquered the Toy Industry,” will illustrate how companies can make true innovation happen (Sponsored by Technogym)

Marcos Eguillor, professor at Spain’s IE Business School and managing partner of BinaryKnowledge_, will discuss developing digital trends in the fitness market and how to use them to your club’s advantage (Sponsored by Keiser Corporation)

5. The Chance to Visit One of Europe’s Finest Cities

This year’s Congress will take place in the beautiful, modern Hotel Barceló Sevilla Renacimiento in Seville, Spain. The hotel is minutes from the city’s best restaurants, shops, and historic monuments. The hotel will be the location of all European Congress activities. IHRSA’s discounted room rates (Single €145 per night; Double €165 per night) will be available until Friday, 30 September 2016. 

Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind event, 17-20 October 2016. Register for the European Congress today.


UK Consumer Spending on Club Memberships Soars 

The following is an excerpt from The 2016 IHRSA Global Report: The State of the Health Club Industry.

Consumer spending on club memberships is soaring in the U.K., according to two new studies. Cardlytics, an Atlanta–based firm that monitors consumer spending via credit cards, debit cards, and direct debits, reports that the overall figure jumped 44% over the past year.

The strong growth, Cardlytics suggests, is due, in large part, to the dramatic increase in the number of budget facilities, which consumers can join without signing contracts. 

(Click to enlarge)

Budget Brands Drive Growth in the UK 

The popularity of the budget brands—e.g., Pure Gym, EasyGym, Anytime Fitness, DW Sports, etc.—produced a 66% increase in monthly purchases when May/June 2014 was compared with the same period in 2015. However, mid-market and high-end club players, such as Virgin Active and Holmes Place, also reported spending increases—of 22% and 14%, respectively. 

A new study by the Mintel Group, Ltd., an international, London-based marketing research firm, also acknowledged the boom in the budget sector, suggesting that the recent recession in the U.K. was also a contributing factor. 

“Nearly four-fifths of U.K. adults have set themselves at least one health or fitness goal, yet only 12% currently use a gym,” Mintel reported. “However, the indications for the private health and fitness club sector remain promising, with the continued rise of budget gyms helping to break down the barriers associated with more established clubs—i.e., cost, location, and the commitment of entering long-term contracts.” 

The UK’s Thriving Health Club Market 

In November, The Gym Group, based in London, went public, making the business the only listed club operator in the U.K. Founder and CEO John Treharne rang the bell on the London Stock Exchange as the shares began trading under the ticker GYM. Founded in 2008, The Gym Group now operates 66 clubs, which are open 24/7, and serve some 363,000 members across the U.K. With $136 million in gross proceeds from the offering, the chain plans to open between 15 and 20 locations per year. 

Pure Gym, a six-year-old, budget club company based in the U.K., has acquired 43 more-traditional fitness facilities from a competitor, LA Fitness, in a deal estimated to be worth $125 million. Pure Gym notes that the transaction will increase the availability of affordable fitness centers to people across Great Britain, particularly in London and the South East.“ 

With the addition of (these) sites, Pure Gym will continue to innovate with new facilities, technologies, and services for our existing and prospective members,” said Humphrey Cobbold, the CEO of the chain. Pure Gym currently operates 98 gyms, open 24 hours a day, which serve more than 520,000 members across the country. The company also has announced plans to add approximately 30 new sites to its portfolio this year. 

“This transaction will give users of LA Fitness access to high-quality fitness centers through a network of existing and new gyms,” noted LA Fitness CEO Martin Long. “I’m confident that our facilities and members will benefit from Pure Gym’s investment and attractive proposition.” 

Learn more about the 2016 IHRSA Global Report, including how to download a free preview.


Prime Time Fitness to Open Europe’s Highest Health Club

Prime Time Fitness will reach new heights this summer with the opening of its fifth Frankfurt, Germany club—at 190 meters above the ground, the new facility will be highest fitness center in Europe. 

Frankfurt’s Main Tower will host the 500-square-meter club, which will offer a 270-degree view over the city’s skyline. 

“The process of finding this exclusive location took over one year. Over 2,000 people work in this office building who are in our main target group,” Prime Time Fitness said in a release. “It is a high security location, where visitors and members will have to pass through security similarly to in an airport. Our members will have access through fingerprint control, which we already use in one of our other PTF locations.” 

The facility is expected to open in late summer 2016, with memberships starting at over 100 Euros per month. The atmosphere will be similar to Prime Time Fitness’ Romeo and Juliet location

“Due to [Managing Director] Henrik Gockel’s teaching position at the German University of Fitness, Health and Prevention, the latest research in health and fitness is used to benefit members and their training programs,” the release said. “We use a strength and endurance circuit and utilize permanent heart rate control throughout the entire facility. We will also offer a comprehensive personal training program using top PTs.”


IHRSA Associates in EUROPE

The industry’s growing strength on display at FIBO 2015

It was another successful year for IHRSA associate members at FIBO, Europe’s trade show for health, fitness, and wellness products and services, which was held in April in Cologne, Germany.

An impressive crowd of 138,000 visitors over the four days of the event came to view the wares of 725 exhibitors, who showcased the latest in fitness innovations, and explored the opportunities of emerging industry trends, at the city’s Exhibition Centre. A number of IHRSA associate members were among the companies that were pleased they’d made the trek to Cologne.

“Massive numbers of both national and international customers and prospects frequented our stand, especially on the first two days,” reports Marco Jakobs, the sales director of Johnson Health Tech GmbH.

Chris Clawson, the president of Life Fitness, notes that “FIBO is a show that gives us the opportunity to meet not only with our customers from around the world, but we meet with a lot of our key distributors, as well.”

The results, in terms of attendance, exhibitor reviews, and sales, coming on the heels of the highly successful IHRSA International Convention and Trade Show held the previous month in Los Angeles, paint a positive portrait of the global fitness industry.

“The global fitness industry continues to demonstrate strength across the board,” says Melissa Rodriguez, IHRSA’s senior research manager. “The development of the fitness and health market continues with strong momentum, and the industry is still on the up and up,” adds FIBO show director Ralph Scholz.

According to IHRSA research, nearly 50 million people now train at health and fitness facilities throughout Europe. And, according to an economic trend index tallied at FIBO, Scholz points out that the industry’s prospects remain bright. Nearly 60% of the companies surveyed said that they expect business to continue to “grow” or “grow strongly,” and only 11% foresaw a slight business cool-down.

For those planning their travel itinerary, the IHRSA International Convention and Trade Show will be held March 21–24, 2016, in sunny Orlando, Florida, and FIBO will once again take place in Cologne on April 7–10, 2016.


Muench Visits Qualicert in Switzerland

From left, Paul Eigenmann, founder, Qualicer; Hans Muench, director, IHRSA Europe; and Rahel Manser, managing director, Qualitop.IHRSA Director of Europe Hans Muench recently paid a visit to IHRSA partner Qualicert, in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Qualicert certifies clubs in Switzerland. Insurance companies reimburse customers insured through them when they work out in the participating facilities.

For more, visit the Qualicert website.


This Week in the Fitness Industry: 6-13-14

Here is what we have this week in This Week in the Fitness Industry:

  • Ways to work out at work
  • Fitness First expanding
  • Anytime Fitness at great place to work
  • Lack of exercise in Europe questioned

Read This Week in the Fitness Industry for more.