02 Dec 2021 HCM Handbook
 

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Health Club Management Handbook - Editor’s welcome

Editor's letter

Editor’s welcome
Helen Patenall, Leisure Media
Helen Patenall, editor

The gym member penetration rate across the UK is sitting tight at 14.9 per cent, so let’s take on the challenge of broadening consumer adoption to hit the 20 per cent mark. One quick fix – making the most of the grey pound.

This growing baby boomer cohort really value their health, now that they’re getting older. Armed with the time and finances to join the gym, combined with customer loyalty to fitness brands prioritising their distinct needs, the potential rewards here could be substantial.

A whopping 70 per cent of the nation’s wealth is held by the over-50s, yet they account for just 20 per cent of public leisure facility memberships – and usage rates for the over-65s account for only 9 per cent of visits. So there’s clear avenues of opportunity for operators to tap more into this growing sector.

Owing to real-time information on millions of older consumer lifestyles and activity habits, the industry is also already prepped to appreciate participation outcomes and social impacts, enabling operators to attract and retain the potential rewards of this ageing population.

Targeted customisation like short 5, 10 and 20-minute workouts, live classes featuring similarly-aged instructors modelling exercises for the older market, meditation pods and breathing chairs being installed for relaxation, friendship tables being set up in dementia-friendly cafés, and education programmes being offered on health, nutrition and self would provide a one-stop shop, encouraging the over-50s to stay active, find new friendship groups and really maintain their health and wellbeing.

Although many providers are on the bandwagon, rolling out accessible and inclusive facilities, activities and pricing strategies, a cumulative nationwide roll out would have a dramatic impact.ukactive and Sport England are on the ball, calling on leisure facilities to be replaced with community-focused wellness hubs.

By combining strategies and working as a team, we’ll have real impact, make a real difference and reap the renumeration.


Originally published in HCM Handbook 2019 edition

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