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Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Growth of Budget Gyms

The rise of budget gyms

There has always been diversity of offering in the fitness and gym sector – from ladies only gyms, luxury gyms, 24-hour gyms, to fully serviced health clubs. The big story of the last few years has been the rise of the budget gym and the coinciding demise of the mid-range gym.

2014 has seen established mid-range companies such as LA Fitness run into financial problems leading to significant restructuring of their businesses.  Competition from budget gyms during the ‘age of austerity’ has given consumers an even wider choice of fitness provider, with considerably lower membership charges making savvy consumers question the value of their existing provider, and attracting reluctant gym-goers out of the woodwork.

Budget gym operators have almost sprung up out of nowhere – Xercise4Less, for example, had only nine gyms in 2013 and now have 24 with a further 17 opening soon. Even Sir Stelios is getting in on the act with his Easy brand creating easyGym, no doubt with its signature orange look.

So why are budget gyms so popular?

First there is cost. With membership contracts at around £10 – £20 per month, budget gyms are certainly cheaper than alternative providers such as David Lloyd or Virgin Active which charge much more. Yes, mid-range and high-end gyms usually have better facilities – it’s rare a budget gym has a pool or sauna for example – but not all consumers are happy to pay for ‘free’ facilities which they don’t want to, or don’t have the time to use.

Criticism in the past over long contract periods and dubious cancellation procedures have made consumers reluctant to even consider starting a costly membership in the first place. Many budget gyms offer contracts with no lock in period, and some offer pay-as-you-go membership which can be used at any of their branches, offering a huge degree of flexibility. While some consumers like the idea of being locked-in as a motivation to actually use the gym as often as possible, with changing work-life patterns, there is a need to cater to a growing army of consumers who demand greater flexibility and not being fleeced for payment when life sometimes takes over.

Many wonder how the gyms can offer membership at such low rates. The answer is simple – no frills. At some budget gyms, you pay for the basic membership and then can pay for the extras you want, rather than having them included whether you use them or not. Classes can be included or for an extra charge, and PTs are additional if you prefer something more one-to-one. You will have to bring (or pay for) your own drinks, and possibly for extras such as the use of hairdryers. Don’t expect fancy showers or to have towels provided – you may not even get a towel hook in your shower cubicle, or a lock for your locker! (hint – bring your own)

The model relies on large numbers. Cheap membership rates attract a huge number of cash-strapped consumers keen to save money on gym membership, and while many will attend frequently, some will not. The urge to cancel the membership is not so strong when it’s ‘only’ a few pounds a month. But as even the more expensive, luxurious clubs have not been very helpful when it comes to cancelling your contract, it’s still a lot less painful to be locked-in to £10 a month than £40. For customers who don’t want the fancy extras and just need a clean, no-hassle environment to work out, it’s not hard to see the attraction of budget gyms.

We don’t think that more expensive gyms have had their day – there are plenty of consumers who do want the extras and are willing to pay for more luxurious surroundings – but the growth of the budget gym sector has forced higher-end providers to look at their offering. For example, David Lloyd promote their multi-million pound investments across several of their clubs, having made significant improvements to fitness equipment, lounges, pools, and kids clubs.

We think that there is room for all types of fitness providers which cater for many different types of consumer preferences. Some people are prepared to pay for luxury, some like the friendliness and pay-as-you-go model of the local leisure centre, and others just want to work out with no fuss. Mid-range gyms will suffer, and have suffered as this last year has paid testament, unless they can compete on price, or compete on luxury. With consumers being squeezed financially for the foreseeable future budget gyms will continue to hold their deserved place in the fitness sector.

Leisure and fitness trends 2015 – our predictions

Leisure and fitness trends 2015

Want to know where the hot leisure jobs will be in 2015? What will be the big leisure industry developments? Well, we don’t know exactly either but being at the coalface of leisure recruitment, we have a good idea as to what will be hot and not next year. These are the leisure and fitness trends to watch in 2015…..

Group cycling

We think that group cycling studios will be big with plenty of new players entering the market. With 2014 seeing the Grand Depart of the Tour De France, and the UK getting behind the Commonwealth Games, it’s not hard to see why the country has reignited its passion for cycling, but the question is will this love affair be more of a short lived fad? To some extent it’s going to be about how fitness providers engage with their market and how to create a successful business model. With the move away from gym-like memberships and towards a more pay-as-you-go structure, the ability to keep people interested in the longer term will be key.

Growth of Parkour.

An activity that has historically been confirmed to empty car parks and back streets has now come to the fore with dedicated academies and venues popping up across London, and businesses like Parkour Generations providing a more commercial approach to this exciting style of recreation. If you fancy getting in on this, there are courses springing up to teach you how to lead others in Parkour.

Wearable tech

It’s all about the tech! There’s been an explosion of fitness technology lately with watches and monitors of varying usefulness emerging to give you feedback on your fitness, health and tell you the time! Surely it won’t be long before the health club operators recognise the revenue potential for these devices. If they can get them integrated into their own fitness systems, they’ll have a very powerful tool for retention as well as secondary spend. We’ve already spoken to a couple of operators who are employing specialists dedicated to exploiting these opportunities.

Stronger focus on leisure professionals

Leisure operators are actually starting to provide a better work/life balance for their employees. For many years it’s been the ironic status quo for people working in the health and fitness sector that they were worked so hard that they were actually far from healthy themselves. Many operators, with a history of micromanagement and aggressive targeting have burned people out much quicker than in other sectors.

We’ve recently seen a positive trend in some of these businesses really investing time into their people to make sure they actually enjoy their work. With unemployment figures low, businesses have to make the effort to make themselves attractive to candidates, and by providing them a better work/life balance, they’re really starting to see some positive returns on their investments. Not only is employment longevity improving but the quality of work also seems to be better. We’re pretty sure that the most successful businesses in the sector in 2015 will be those with a strong people focus.

Spa & Beauty

Will 2015 finally be the year that the sector gets its act together and sorts out the accreditation issue? It’s been going on for a while but the industry leaders really seem to have the impetus to get something resolved at the moment and with businesses like HABIA driving the changes it can’t be too far away now and will surely improve the standards across the sector.

So there we have it – five things we will be keeping an eye on in 2015. What are your leisure and fitness trend predictions for next year?

Why use a recruitment agency?

Why use a recruitment agency?

Well, Careerbuilder.com have conducted a survey and found that 41% of companies surveyed have made a bad hire in the last year that cost them at least $25k, with some companies reporting costs of $50k or more!

recruitment agency

From Mindflash.com

We can quite believe it. We have seen the results when companies rush into taking on employees, or don’t do enough research into their new team member. Too many companies don’t even check out references, which is madness.

As Careerbuilder.com found out, bad hires can lead to poor quality work, and an increase in customer complaints, which affects profitability both in the short and long-term. Then there is the work involved in not only terminating the new employee’s contract but then finding yet another member of staff. It can be a never-ending circle of hiring and firing.

While there are brilliant employees out there who will be perfect for you and your company and will find their way to you without you having to do proper interviews, or check references, by making sure you have robust hiring procedures in place, you will reduce un-necessary costs accrued through bad hires.

It’s easy to say you just don’t have the time and need to fill a position quickly. We understand. This is fine if you have $25k to throw away – or £15k in our money – but if you don’t, then speak to us. We don’t quite cost £15k (we wish) and you never know, you may find that by using a recruitment agency like us not only do you reduce your chances of a bad hire, but find you the superstar you have always dreamed of!

Inspiring the next generation in Bristol – jobs in Bristol, Portishead, and Avon

Fitness jobs in Bristol

We are currently seeking enthusiastic and passionate people to run breakfast clubs, lunch clubs, and after school clubs in primary schools in Portishead and Horfield (Bristol).

Site Managers

We are seeking qualified, motivated and trustworthy people to act as site managers, planning the delivery of activity programmes and overseeing activity leaders on a team. We are looking for people who love working with children and are able to deliver regular sporting and healthy lifestyle activities.

Duties include:

  • Looking after the health and safety of your team and the children
  • Managing resources and staff to ensure efficient operations
  • Ensuring your team comply with policies and procedures
  • Seeking new sales opportunities

These are permanent full-time positions paying £17,000 – £22,000 per annum.

To apply for these positions, please email your CV to Martyn@4LeisureRecruitment.co.uk or apply online at 4LeisureRecruitment

Activity Leaders

We are also seeking activity leaders to lead planned sessions. You will be working directly with children, delivering a programme of sport and healthy lifestyle activities. We are looking for anyone who wants to work with children, with a Level 2 qualification, and ideally some experience. This could be someone with a national sports/activity leadership award, or even a nursery nurse qualification. You must be organised and able to lead groups of primary school children, and be able to assist the site manager in developing and planning sessions.

This is a part-time role working in breakfast clubs, lunch clubs, and after-school clubs. The rate is £6.50 – £8.50 per hour.

To apply for one of these positions, please email your CV to Martyn@4LeisureRecruitment.co.uk or apply online at 4LeisureRecruitment

About the client

Fit For Sport are a sport and activity provider for children and young people, who deliver activity programmes in a number of settings including schools and youth clubs. They run kids holiday camps during school holidays. They have over 20 years’ experience in delivering activities, and currently work with over 200 schools nationwide.

Some of Our Clients