23 Sep 2021 World leisure: news, training & property
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Health Club Management
2021 issue 2

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Leisure Management - Marc Diaper

HCM People

Marc Diaper

Before the first lockdown we’d just kicked off an international research project, so we absolutely see Gymbox going global

Marc Diaper says Gymbox will roll its in-room hotel experience out with multiple partners PHOTO: Reuters
Diaper says Gymbox is known for unique experiences
Gymbox is looking to work with businesses that want to create wellness facilities for employees
In addition to its 11 London sites, Gymbox will focus on hotel, corporate, residential and commercial development markets
Gymbox is working on an international research project, and plans to take the brand global

You’ve launched into the hotel and residential markets – what’s the thinking?
The pandemic has enabled us to take a step back and look at our future strategy. We decided that if our customers can’t come to us, then we’ll go to them.

Your first deal is with Netherlands-based hotel operator, citizenM, for the delivery of in-room workouts. Can you tell us more?
Guests at CitizenM’s 21 hotels – located in 14 cities across three continents – will be able to access the service free via their in-room TVs.

The workouts will be filmed specifically for CitizenM and updated on a regular basis.

We’re using our Out The Box digital platform – which we launched in 2020 amid the pandemic lockdowns – to deliver bespoke, pre-recorded classes across five categories: Strength, Sweat, Fight, Holistic and Rhythm.

The demand for fitness on-the-go is ever increasing and this deal means that citizenM guests can get that workout in before going off to explore the city they’re staying in: hotels are in places as diverse as London, Paris, Zurich, New York, Boston and Kuala Lumpur.

Will they need equipment?
No equipment will be required for the workouts and all workouts have been adapted to ensure they can be completed within a hotel room.

CitizenM rooms are already creatively designed with lighting control via in room ipads or the award winning CitizenM app.

The app allows the guests’ hotel stay to be completely contactless, as well as control the in-room experience, with climate control, in-room entertainment and bookings management. The app also includes transport tips and perks, as well as contactless check-in and check-out.

The Gymbox content will be uploaded directly onto the in-room entertainment system and be controlled via the citizenM app.

Will Gymbox offer workouts outside the hotel room?
The hotels don’t have gyms, but if guests wish to use a physical Gymbox club that’s nearby, these will also be available to them for both classes and gym use, under our agreement with citizenM.

How will the relationship with citizenM develop?
The in-room experience is just the start of our partnership, which we expect to evolve over time. Group fitness classes and fitness and lifestyle events are examples of areas we’ll be exploring.

Is Gymbox open to working with other hotel chains?
We feel citizenM is the perfect partner to launch our new offering, as it has a strong brand, great tone of voice and the team offers exceptional service.

We will, however, roll this service out with other partners and have already started receiving enquiries since the launch.

Will citizenM sell Gymbox for people who enjoy the taster?
All CitizenM guests will receive a discount code to be able to access the Out The Box service to continue their workouts once they’ve checked out of the hotel.

Tell us about your home fitness launch
The home fitness market has seen significant growth and there’s an increased demand for top quality kit and home gyms.

People who’ve been deprived of inspiring gym spaces due to the lockdowns want their own, bespoke training spaces, so Gymbox is now offering them the opportunity to get their own Gymbox experience through a new service, called ‘Home Sweat Home’.

Consumers can take their at-home fitness solutions to the next level by owning their own space created by the Gymbox’s project team, in line with our brand values.

While each space will be bespoke to the client’s needs, each will have the feel of a Gymbox space – featuring our trademark combination of design, equipment, lighting and audio solutions.

The response to the launch has been strong, with 100 inquiries on the first day.

We have a reputation for building unique workout experiences, so our view is that if you can’t always come to Gymbox for your physical and mental fitness needs, we’ll bring Gymbox to you.

What other plans do you have?
We feel there are opportunities in the corporate and residential markets too and we’re in conversation with some of London’s largest property developers – those providing fitness facilities as part of residential projects.

We’re also in talks with developers who might not have enough space for a full-service Gymbox, but would like us to act as consultants and take on the design and build of their gym facilities.

We’re looking at a similar model with businesses that have space available for providing workplace wellness facilities.

The plan there is to work in partnership with companies to create more inspiring spaces for employees to work out, with the aim of introducing non-gym users to the Gymbox experience at work.

How do these moves fit tactically within the Gymbox business plan?
We feel the pandemic has enabled us to innovate and there are opportunities for us to expand our services.

The first lockdown enabled us to review our strategy and while we’re confident – through surveys we’ve completed – that the bricks and mortar business will return [Gymbox operates 11 boutique gyms across London], we feel there are huge opportunities in the at-home market, as well as through unique partnerships in the hotel, corporate, residential and commercial development markets.

We’ve seen from both our market and other sectors that consumers are continuously looking for experiences and we feel our brand can deliver this in more than just our bricks and mortar offering.

Is this the start of the globalisation of Gymbox?
Yes, before the first lockdown we’d just kicked off an international research project, so we absolutely see Gymbox going global.

Originally published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 2

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