IHRSA European Health Club Report 2013
[...] As a result, many clubs in Spain have lowered their fees “and this is something that will not come back.” For club staff, this has meant a decrease in salaries and, in many cases, a reduction in the number of employees hired at each club. In addition, medium-sized clubs have been closing, while budget clubs have come into favor. A similar spending crunch is affecting the German club market, observes Jasmin Kirstein, manager and owner of My Sportlady Fitness in Munich.
“It’s a challenge when people don’t see the benefit of joining a club and staying on as a member,” she says. “They think they can achieve the same results less expensively by doing other activities on their own. Often, people are so overloaded with work and family that they don’t have time to come to the club and, therefore, don’t see the value in paying for their membership. It is in our hands, as club operators, to keep our members engaged, happy, and motivated, and provide convenient programs.”
In Ireland, club members are keeping a keen eye toward return on investment (ROI), suggests Catherine Carty, IHRSA UNESCO Representative. “Many people’s disposable income has been eradicated as a result of the recession,” she says. “People want to see ROI where they spend, and the health club is no exception. Quality services for quality results are needed. And, as members’ goals differ considerably, consideration needs to be given to programming to meet a range of client goals.” Muench predicts that consumer penetration rates will rise, especially in Eastern Europe, where less than 5% of the population currently patronizes health clubs. In addition, he expects hundreds of European facilities to close or change hands as a result of ongoing economic difficulties, high unemployment rates, and excessive taxation on health club services. On the plus side, he adds, “Most other markets are stable or witnessing moderate growth.”