I hope that my message finds you and your families in good health.
We perfectly know how worried you are for your business in this hard time, but the situation at international level is improving. Governments in some countries are easing emergency measures and opening Phase 2. There, we will gradually be able to return to our activities, in compliance with appropriate safety and protection protocols. Clubs are open and functioning in several countries, which bodes well for the future.
The unprecedented lockout that we have experienced has caused serious side effects for people’s health: a much more sedentary life, increase in weight, a worsening mental condition. In the mid-term this will bring an increase in diseases like diabetes, hypertension and depression.
Given the situation, the good news for us operators is that fitness and health will be in very strong demand on the part of the public. After the terrible pandemic, health has certainly risen to the top of the list of personal priorities for all of us. People will want to re-start with their social interactions, with movement and exercise in a safe way with professional guidance.
In this scenario, fitness clubs will undoubtedly be among the most important places where people choose to exercise, for a number of specific reasons which must be explained to local authorities:
- Clubs are ready with specific safety and sanitization protocols.
- Some clubs are opening again and start with outdoors activities (such as tennis, etc.).
- Cardio and strength equipment define precise stations and ensure a set social distancing between users.
- Exercise on equipment is an individual activity envisaging no physical contact between people.
- Digital technologies enable clubs to control access to their locations, and manage both reservations and capacity of their different areas.
- Even though fitness classes represent the riskiest areas within the club, digital booking systems make it possible to contain the number of participants inside a given space.
- Digital solutions enable clubs to combine their offering inside the facility with at-home remote services for members. This has been very useful in phase 1 and will still be so in the future.
The emergency that we are experiencing has given a strong acceleration to the digital revolution in all sectors, including ours: In five weeks we have made a 5-year leap in terms of innovation. Over the past few weeks, technologically advanced clubs – in particular those equipped with our MyWellness cloud – have been able to offer their members a range of at-home services.
For this reason, notwithstanding a preoccupation for the economic impact that the Covid emergency is creating in the short-term, I am confident for the mid-long term future of our industry, which will be driven by the growing need for health and prevention. Wellness confirms its value as one of the global mega-trends. Furthermore, for a period of time people will not travel and will not be able to go on vacation and consequently fitness will gain spending share within the leisure market space.
I am glad to confirm that Technogym continues delivering products and services, and our Italian manufacturing plant is up and running. With more strength and energy than before, we will keep on investing in innovation and technology to be your strategic partner in the long term.
Technogym continues to be at your side and, in the short term, to support you in planning your reopening, has set up a free consultancy service to share important information with operators – such as optimal layout of the equipment, safety and sanitization protocols, digital technologies to manage access and reservations and to offer members at-home programs and services.
This is a time when it is important to stick together as an industry, and talk to institutions with one voice so that governments will support us. I am sure that in the future we will be even stronger than before, and as entrepreneurs and managers we will continue to make our dreams come true and be useful in changing the world.
A big hug, waiting for the moment to meet again soon.