25 Jun 2021 World leisure: news, training & property
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Health Club Management
2021 issue 4

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Leisure Management - Life Fitness: Full of life


Life Fitness: Full of life

Craig Cocking was appointed Life Fitness UK’s country manager in December, following over 13 years with the business. He reflects on the impact of the past 12 months and shares his views on the future of the industry

Craig Cocking has been with Life Fitness for over 13 years
The Axiom Series selectorised strength range was developed and launched in 2020

The past 12 months have been tough for the industry. How did Life Fitness respond to the challenge?
Like all businesses we had to adapt – and do so fast – to ensure we could continue to help and support our customers. Our teams were quickly mobilised to work remotely and we focused on maintaining our company culture, maximising opportunities to engage with one another and do all we could to keep morale up and wellbeing a priority.

The pandemic brought the business together on a new level. We were able to utilise our global reach to inform each business unit – and the customers within each territory – with insight and best practice, pooling our experience and resources and taking learnings from across the business to best support our customers.

Behind the scenes it was important that things didn’t stop. Our product development team continued to work on innovations and as a result we were able to launch two major product lines in 2020, with the introduction of the new Heat Rowers and Axiom Series selectorised strength range, while also setting ourselves up for some exciting innovations to come in 2021.

What are you most proud of in terms of Life Fitness’s response?
It has to be the team – the commitment and dedication shown by everyone at Life Fitness has been incredible. From the start of the pandemic our strategy has been driven by helping, advising, and supporting our customers, whatever their challenges may be.

While everyone was battling against the same cause, the impact and requirements for support varied; from facility redesign, equipment maintenance and service contracts, to member engagement strategies and staff training. Our approach was to put the customer at the centre and provide solutions, despite the internal challenges we faced with furlough and a reduced team.

You started your new position in December. What excites you about the role?
There’s no doubt that the past year has been one of the toughest. But there are real positives to build on, and I’m excited to be a part of a truly global team and share best practice and learnings from the UK across the business.

The UK remains a key market for Life Fitness, and I’m proud to be leading such a talented and dedicated team; the willingness to go above and beyond has never been more vital. It’s also the strength of these relationships that will drive our business forwards; internally, our culture is one of collaboration, so it’s important we act on this beyond our teams, by listening to our customers and being recognised as a true partner.

What can we expect over the next 12 months?
Our customer-first focus won’t change. While reopening is hugely positive, we know that recovery will take time, and so the approach we’ve adopted throughout the pandemic will continue, and we’ll evolve and adapt our support in-line with our customers’ needs.

We also have an extensive product road map in place, with innovations lined up to share with the industry when the time is right. While this alone is exciting, how we combine this with new experiences for our customers and their members – delivered through digital content and education, is the really energising part – so watch this space for what’s to come!

We’ll also continue to maximise our partnerships, extending our relationships with key partners, including Williams Racing and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), to drive best practice and strengthen our position within our target sectors.

What do you think the future looks like for the fitness industry?
It’s one of positivity and real opportunity. The pandemic has put health and wellbeing at the forefront, and it’s forced individuals, businesses and policymakers to recognise the importance of not just fitness, but also physical and mental health. Something our industry has believed in for a long time.

The communities we serve through our customers are increasingly diverse, and we must work together to learn and understand what experiences we can create to help and inspire people to live healthier lives. It’s important this translates across all markets, beyond the traditional club environment, and our role is to help our customers do this by delivering unique, engaging experiences that encourage people to make fitness a part of their everyday life.

More: lifefitness.com

Originally published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 4

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