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interview
Packing a punch Refurbishments
have included boxing rings where
appropriate, with much of the
demand coming from women
how we can be talking about health and
fi tness, working with local authorities
on meeting their goals for health and
exercise in their local community, and yet
when you go to the vending machine it’s
full of Mars Bars and full-fat milk. Why
can’t we think about vending in a different
way? Could we be talking about hydration,
for example? Should we be offering
energy drinks and healthy food?
“So it’s asking questions of each other
and ourselves, point number one. Point
number two, it’s looking at what else is
happening out there. For example, I’ve
just come back from a two-week holiday
in the States, and much to my wife and
kids’ disgust, every other day I was
disappearing off to look at the local gyms.
But not just the gyms; at the way they
sell health food generally there, which is
completely different from the way we do
it here. So it’s continuing to ask questions. and relations. The phone will be a vital the membership base, offering the right
That’s where the innovation comes from. tool in your life. Needs and wants are key. experience to members, working in
“There’s always something more “I don’t think our industry is any close alignment with our local authority
that can be done to better drive the different. People aren’t coming to the partners on common objectives and goals.
experience for customers, to get more gym and spending £30, £40, £50 a “Also it’s continuing to work on
members in the front door, to stop month on membership for any other reducing our carbon footprint by
people leaving. I’m never going to sit back reason than that they have a specifi c becoming more energy-effi cient. We’ve
and say: ‘We’re content with that’. The need or want or desire – a goal in their introduced a whole programme of
biggest challenge is keeping the offering to life that they’re working towards – and regional energy champions across the
our members refreshed and not resting we need to make sure we continually business and, in some sites, we’re more
on our laurels for one minute.” tap into that. It could be to get fi t for than 20 per cent down year on year.
Looking at the broader industry, can a marathon, it could be to recuperate “Longer-term, there will be
this sort of innovation in the member from an operation, it could be to look opportunities for further growth. I’ve no
experience take us beyond the 12 per good in a wedding dress. doubt there’ll be further consolidation
cent penetration level? “Again, my answer “I fundamentally believe that people in the market and we’d like to look at
is based on 70 days in the job, but yes use our facilities for a reason, and to our opportunities within that. But I think
– I think it’s about continually making drive that 12 per cent fi gure up, we have right now, with the economic slowdown,
yourself relevant to the customer. In any to work hard to understand what those it’s a diffi cult call to know exactly where
market, you have to look at why you’re needs and wants and true motivations everything will be in 10, 15, 20 years. One
asking people to part with their money – are, and make sure that what we’re thing is for sure though: we’ll still be
what are their needs and wants in doing offering, and how we’re talking to them here. Our longest-running local authority
it. If I were to ask you now to sign up for about that offering, is relevant.” contract doesn’t expire until 2031, so
a two-year mobile phone contract that we’re in this for the long haul.
was going to cost you £30 a month, with forwards, not back “I look forward to Leisure Connection
so many minutes and so many texts, the Going forward, then, what are his plans being always at the forefront of driving
real reason you’d go for that wouldn’t for Leisure Connection? things for the industry, and driving things
be about the phone or the texts or the “Short-term it’s to continue to do for the communities it works in. We
minutes. It’d be because you wanted to what we’re doing: driving the business need to be at the leading edge of taking
be able to communicate with your friends forward by growing revenues, growing the market and our business forward.
“I think that, in life, you either move
forward or you move backwards. You
never stand still, so by defi nition if
“IN LIFE, YOU EITHER MOVE FORWARD OR
we’re not moving forwards then we
must be moving backwards, and that
BACKWARDS. WE WILL ALWAYS BE AT THE
would be a bad place to be.”
FOREFRONT OF TAKING THINGS FORWARD”
kate cracknell
healthclub@leisuremedia.com
32 Read Health Club Management online june 2009 © cybertrek 2009
healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital
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