World Leisure Jobs - Ken Campling says Bannatyne is repositioning as a wellness provider – locations with spas are 'much more profitable'...
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05 May 2021

Ken Campling says Bannatyne is repositioning as a wellness provider – locations with spas are 'much more profitable'
BY Tom Walker

On average, spas add 20–25 per cent to the profitability of a Bannatyne club

On average, spas add 20–25 per cent to the profitability of a Bannatyne club
photo: Bannatyne

Health club operator Bannatyne is repositioning itself as a wellness provider, as it looks to bounce back from the effects of the pandemic lockdowns.

Speaking exclusively to HCM, Bannatyne' FD, Ken Campling, says the decision has been partly driven by the fact that clubs with spas are up to 25 per cent more profitable.

In a wide-ranging interview (click here), Campling said: "The main strategy will be positioning ourselves as a wellness provider, which I believe can be a USP for us.

"We have all the elements needed to look after people’s wellness. We have gyms, but we also have physiotherapy on every site, café bar areas for a social element and spas at 48 of our clubs.

"Gyms with a spa are more profitable than gyms without: on average they add 20–25 per cent to the profitability of a location.

"We want to integrate the offering around these and get that holistic message across."

Campling said the repositioning will also require a training push across the workforce.

"We need to train our staff so they know more about each part of the business and we need to be more persuasive with our members," he said.

"We want them to understand it isn’t just about fitness, but about feeling better as a person – physically and mentally – and that taking advantage of more of our complementary services will help them achieve this."

As a result of the strategy, Bannatyne expects to be back making monthly profits by the end of the year.

"I believe we’ll be profitable again, month by month, by the end of 2021," Campling said.

"Early sales have been very encouraging. While I know the trend will drop off slightly, I’m hopeful there could even be a ‘January’ this September, for example, once people are back from their UK staycations – perhaps even foreign holidays – and are thinking: ‘I’ve got to get back to the health club now’."

Like other UK operators, Bannatyne has been hit hard by the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns.

The group is expecting to report pre-tax losses of around £20-£21 for the year ending December 2020 – a huge drop from the pre-tax profit of £12.5m it achieved in 2019.

Campling also revealed that the group lost more than a third (34-35 per cent) of its members – a total of around 70,000 – during the pandemic.

He also revealed the company has permanently closed two clubs – Birmingham Priory and London’s Russell Square – which bringing its estate to 71.

Both sites were coming toward the end of their leases and – in contrast with the new focus on wellness – had no spa.

To read the full interview with Ken Campling, click here for HCM Issue 3, 2021.



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