As the door closes on 2017, another one opens on 2018. A fresh new year can bring new challenges, and also new opportunities.
We spoke to 4 Leisure Recruitment MD Jean Wing Hing to see what he thinks is going to be the big news in the UK leisure industry in 2018.
What do you think is going to be the damp squib of 2018?
Jean: We are starting to get wind of more and more trampoline parks shutting down. Word on the street is that prices can’t get any more competitive and there’s not enough room for everyone. As operators struggle to diversify their offering, we’re predicting much flatter growth for this sector in the coming months.
What developments in the gym sector?
Jean: The health and fitness industry has seen an explosion of so-called boutique health clubs over the last couple of years. These are typically smaller clubs with quite distinct identities that cater for the discerning gym goer who shies away from the big commercial gyms chains. They were seen as quirky, trendy retreats that only those in the know were members of. But the boutique chains have aggressively been rolling out sites and, together with them being ideally sized for franchisees to pick up, the boutique market has become somewhat mainstream, dare we say.
So what’s next? Specialist seems to be the new boutique. Not only does a gym brand have to be cool, individual and all of the above, but it now has to deliver a specialized service. They provide products that are slick and well-packaged yet still appeal to the masses. Have a look at 9Round and Barry’s Bootcamp as great examples of brands doing things in a new way.
What’s happening in the world of wearable tech, a topic we’ve been talking about for years?
Jean: One of the biggest trends we’re seeing at the moment is gym companies really embracing the tech available on the market and looking to integrate with personal devices. Soon it’s not unfeasible that we will we all be connected to our personal trainers 24/7. Whether that happens in 2018 is unlikely, but it’s coming.
What about the spa sector?
Jean: There have been many developments in the spa sector this last couple of years and I think that mindfulness will be the hot topic in 2018. With the trends moving from beauty treatments to wellness treatments recently, the next step is offer treatments which are more holistic and incorporate mental health as well as physical health and wellness. Industry leaders are already starting to develop an offering which is more in the mindfulness sphere than ever before.
Thanks, Jean. We will look out for these in the leisure industry in 2018.