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is IHRSA’s European Strategic Media Partner


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While clubs should embrace technology, the same technology will create ‘a tsunami of competitors and imitators’ as the start-up revolution grows, says Lindkvist


our lives and society. Can you think of an invisible trend that might be impacting the fitness industry? Absolutely: the fact that our lives have been getting eight minutes longer per day for the past century. The first person who will reach 200 years of age has already been born. This is partly thanks to the health and fitness industry, but it will also present the industry with new opportunities – and challenges.


Q


What do you feel are the key trends affecting the fitness and health industry at the moment? In no particular order, I see the main trends affecting the fitness and health industry as: ageing and age group blurring; the blurring of industry boundaries (ie how do you strictly define a fitness club, a spa, a hotel, a membership club today?); and the start-up revolution. Millions of young people are growing up with no job security and an abundance of cheap technology. There’s a tsunami of competitors, imitators and ‘frenemies’ on the horizon.


Q September 2013 © Cybertrek 2013


You believe it’s the invisible trends that have the greatest impact on


Q


user-friendliness and more power to the individual – all of which means that businesses must simplify their processes. How might that work in the health and fitness industry? Treo – the manufacturer of the Palm Pilot, a predecessor to the iPhone – used to have a ‘three-tap officer’ on its payroll to ensure that no command on the Palm Pilot should take more than three taps. Club operators should assign a service design director who has a similarly simple metric – “no-one should ever wait more than X seconds to be served” – and then continuously go through the experience of the club to improve, shave off time and complexity, and add more enjoyment.


Q


How can club operators put those insights to use?


One word: experimentation. Try, fail, learn, recycle failure, try again. Make the failures cheap. Never use the word ‘success’. Constantly find new metrics to see the weaknesses and failures of your organisation.


You’ve observed an evolution towards transparency, simplicity,


seem to work? Too many clubs have lazy membership schemes where a monthly flat rate is charged, meaning there’s no yield management – for example, the queues at gyms after New Year are horrendous – and no price differential for different experiences. Similarly, there’s little upgrading and/or cross-fertilisation with other lifestyle brands that might interest members – eg if I go to gym X, I might also want to be a member of club Y, exclusive scheme Z, and so on.


Q Q


Can you offer a brief preview of your IHRSA presentation?


I will take attendees on a time-travelling journey from the distant past, to the many contradictions of the present tense – or the ‘tense present’ as it’s sometimes called – to the possibilities of the future and how we can create it.


The full version of this interview can be found in the October issue of Club Business International (CBI).


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 25


Is there anything about the fitness industry that, in your opinion, doesn’t


PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK.COM/ANTONIODIAZ


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