22 Sep 2021 HCM Handbook
 

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Health Club Management Handbook - Not post-Covid, but post-lockdown

Editor's letter

Not post-Covid, but post-lockdown


It has been an exhausting 18 months and it’s good to be back, but the work doesn’t stop here.

Kath Hudson

A great deal has happened since we published the 2020 Handbook. At the time of going to print last year, Covid was tightening its grip and the sector was closed worldwide. At that point, we could only guess the journey the pandemic was going to take us on. We suspected it was going to be painful and it has been. We have just lived through the plot of a dystopian novel.

Our 2021 Handbook takes stock of this unprecedented period. With the latest research and expert opinion, we look back at the ways Covid has reshaped the health and fitness sector, and also look forward to how operators can embrace the opportunities created in the new landscape. Good luck everyone!

Happily, at the time of going to print with our 2021 Handbook, the situation is looking much brighter. Although it’s far from over - in the UK the infection rate and deaths are still rising daily - the success of the vaccination programmes should hopefully mean lockdowns are consigned to history. With the final restrictions now being lifted, operators can offer their full suite of services and are no longer hindered by the reduced capacities which was making some businesses unviable.

Despite the lockdown scare stories in the mainstream media that people had found alternative ways to exercise and didn’t need their gym memberships anymore, the bounce back has beaten expectations and has been stronger after lockdown 3 than lockdown 1.

According to Anytime Fitness, April was the busiest ever month for membership sales in the UK, despite missing many trading days. The Gym Group’s stock has jumped about 28 per cent this year and Pure Gym’s membership is almost back to pre-pandemic levels.

It has been an exhausting 18 months and it’s good to be back, but the work doesn’t stop here. Covid made existing health inequalities worse and the sector hasn’t done enough to bridge that gap. Now the challenge is to play our part in making more people more healthy and building back fairer.

Photo: R Sampson

Kath Hudson, editor, HCM Handbook
@kath_hudson


Originally published in Health Club Handbook 2021 edition

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