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POP-UPS


THE POP-UP PROPOSITION T


Kate Cracknell and Magali Robathan report on the emergence of the ‘pop-up’ leisure experience, and what opportunities this trend might present to the fitness industry


he pop-up concept is thriving – a new generation of time-limited operations that use existing or temporary


locations to launch low-risk, often highly creative leisure experiences, from hotels to spas, restaurants to cinemas, parks to shops (see Leisure Management issue 2 2013, p42). As Liz Terry, editor of Leisure


Management, outlined in her editor’s letter in that issue (issue 2 2013, p3):


“Designing, funding, building and running facilities is an expensive undertaking, but because the majority of people’s out- of-home leisure activity has traditionally taken place in and around some kind of facility, operators have always had to bear the costs associated with this.


TESTING THE WATERS Any health clubs operator weighing up the pros and cons of developing a spa offering could, rather than immediately building a costly permanent offering, instead test the waters with a pop-up offering. This could be done either on-site at the club or in a standalone location nearby, taking advantage of the


September 2013 © Cybertrek 2013 “But they’re facing new competition


from operations seeking to profi t by operating equivalent experiences for customers, while bearing none of the costs associated with facility operations – and they’re doing it in innovative ways.” The traditional facility-based model


has already been challenged in the fi tness sector by outdoor boot camps, virtual group exercise classes on the internet, fi tness apps. And now pop-ups are starting to enter this same territory. But rather than seeing this as a threat,


the pop-up concept in fact offers fi tness operators an exciting opportunity – a cost-effective way to expand their reach and test out new markets. Here’s a selection of initiatives that illustrate how to tap into this hot new trend.


lower set-up costs to assess the viability of such an offering in the longer term. Barking Bathhouse is a great example


of this – a pop-up spa which proved so popular that a permanent offering is now being developed. Set up in London in the summer of 2012, it was created by design practice Something & Son and was open for 12 weeks from July


Top: Barking Bathhouse offered a breezy relaxation yard Middle: The ‘gravel pit’ – an urban take on the beach Bottom: Post-treatment, guests could enjoy the organic bar


Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital 59


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