Changing rooms
Changing places

The days of sterile, tatty changing cubicles are disappearing as leisure centres battle it out with private health clubs. And with members reportedly spending up to 40 per cent of their time at a facility in the changing rooms, it’s no surprise that one operator is even using top-class changing rooms as a marketing tool to upsell premium memberships. Abigail Harris reports

By Abigail Harris | Published in Health Club Management 2013 issue 1


PREMIUM CHANGING SPACE

Leisure build and design expert Createability recently completed an eight-week redevelopment project at Putney Leisure Centre in south-west London to provide exclusive members-only changing rooms.

To keep up with customer expectations and the threat of increased competition, the centre – which previously only offered village changing for both swimmers and gym members – decided to create facilities on a par with private health clubs, but for use only by members paying all-inclusive rates.

Dave Jolliffe, area manager for DC Leisure – which manages the centre – says: “The competition has increased significantly over the last few years, with the standard of changing facilities increasing all the time. Our NPS survey results, mystery shoppers and customer comments all showed that dated facilities can be a barrier to joining
and a reason for leaving.”

“While the gym and customer service has always been excellent, DC Leisure realised the changing facilities at Putney Leisure Centre required improvement,” adds Ian Cotgrave, managing director at Createability. “Our aim was to create luxury changing rooms to provide all-inclusive members with the sense of comfort in their surroundings that people might not normally expect of a local leisure centre.”

The response has been extremely positive, with new members already appearing to favour all-inclusive membership when they join. “Although it’s too early to say what long-term impact it will have on all-inclusive memberships, the signs look very positive. We’re certainly getting more new joiners taking this option, and have seen higher than normal membership upgrades in the first month too,” says Jolliffe, who will recommend the approach to other Wandsworth borough sites if the membership increases and associated payback continues to meet expectations.

 



The changing rooms before
 


The changing room after. The members-only facilities have been a big hit
 
3D VISUALS

The award-winning Rainbow Leisure Centre in Epsom relied on Safe Space Lockers’ unique 3D design service to create a private health club changing room experience.
The success of Safe Space Lockers’ interior design and 3D rendering service led to the company’s recent launch of a 3D fly-through service – a virtual walk-through of the layout and design.
Dominic Hyett, MD of Safe Space Lockers, explains: “Many clients see the 3D service as an essential tool, enabling them to visualise exactly how their changing rooms will look prior to commitment. The addition of the 3D video fly-through will act as a great marketing tool for operators, allowing them to show prospects what they can expect if they take up membership.”
Rainbow Leisure Centre, managed by Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), chose a combination of walnut veneer lockers and walnut veneer lockers with glass panelled doors. Changing cubicles and benching in walnut veneer were also installed, along with dry vanity, wet vanity, WC and shower cubicles.
GLL was keen that the luxury health club experience continued right through to the detailed features, so card locks were supplied, enabling membership cards to be used to access the club as well as operate the lockers. Non-members are given the option to use
a £1 coin to operate the lockers.
Hyett continues: “Following the centre’s success at the 2011 FIA FLAME Awards, this further investment has definitely shown the local community that they can receive an excellent standard facility at a very reasonable price.”

 



The changing rooms feature walnut veneer lockers with glass panels, and card locks for members
 


The changing rooms feature walnut veneer lockers with glass panels, and card locks for members
 
GOING KEYLESS

Champneys has replaced its key-operated changing room locker locks with KitLock digital cabinet locks in a bid to enhance the spa experience for guests.
Previously guests had to secure their locker key to their wrists using a key chain, but many guests wear a robe to relax in while waiting for treatments – and very often would leave key chains in their robe pockets, with many getting lost.

Using KitLock CL1200, guests select a four-digit code to secure their changing room locker on arrival, enabling them to enjoy the facilities without having to carry a key. This ‘lock and go’ solution not only offers better security, but also removes the cost of replacing lost or broken keys.

“The KitLock solution is more professional, looks good and, from a guest perspective, the lockers are far more secure as keys are not left lying around in robe pockets,” says Alex De Carvalho, MD at Champneys. “It’s a smarter way to control the lockers and, to a certain extent, takes the duty of care away from us, as guests are responsible for using the lockers and selecting their own codes.”

KitLock operates with a single-use code setting. The guest enters a four-digit code, which will lock and open the locker only once, then be erased. The locker stays open until another guest uses a new code. A KitLock CL1200 will perform 50,000 openings on two AAA batteries.

Ridgeway Furniture has also just completed changing facilities for the new £4m spa development at Crow Wood Leisure in Burnley – and this, too, uses a keyless system.

Woodland Spa – built alongside Crow Wood’s health club, soccer centre and equestrian centre – offers 10 treatments rooms, therapy areas and therapeutic pool areas. The lockers – a combination of space-saving Z-style lockers and suit lockers, all in a rich walnut veneer finish – are complemented by cream banquette-style seating and glazed screens, which include impregnated leaf patterns, designed to offer privacy and intimacy.

John Dibble, sales manager at Ridgeway Furniture, says: “It was imperative that a keyless system was introduced so guests don’t have to carry keys from the pools to treatment rooms and relaxation areas. Using the latest technology and the eye-catching design of the Ojmar digital lock, we created changing rooms that not only look stunning but also work from both a member’s and operator’s perspective.”

 



Guests select their four-digit code
PURE CLASS

Fit Interiors was challenged with creating changing rooms to fit in with the chic Parisian architecture of new city-centre Pure Club Med Gym, which limits membership to just 2,000 to offer a high-level space where members can escape city stress.

“We wanted the changing rooms to provide a welcoming feeling – a space where it’s beautiful to spend one’s time,” says Giovanni Amati, export manager for Gruppo P&G’s Fit Interiors, which is distributed in the UK by Gymkit UK. “On average, people spend 30 to 40 per cent of their gym visit in changing rooms, and this experience affects their overall perception of the club’s value.”

The red and purple locker interiors differentiate between male and female changing rooms, with a special white finish used for all the doors. Warm LED lights inside the lockers increase the perception of value and luxury. The LED strip lighting detects movement, to prevent lights remaining on when a door is left open. Some lockers, fitted with digital combination locks, can be rented on an annual basis as a member’s private space.

The rounded lines of the sofas, designed by Club Med’s architects and made by Gruppo P&G, offset the square lines of the lockers.

“The beauty of the setting is based on the Italian design that Gruppo P&G represents,” continues Amati. “In its 35 years, Gruppo P&G has uniquely joined the functionality and heavy duty needed in this industry with a stylistic look more typical of high-class house furniture brands. We constantly update finishes according to new trends emerging from the Milan furniture show.”

 



The luxury lockers at Pure Club Med Gym feature LED lights on the inside
 


The luxury lockers at Pure Club Med Gym feature LED lights on the inside
 
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Health Club Management
2013 issue 1

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Leisure Management - Changing places

Changing rooms

Changing places


The days of sterile, tatty changing cubicles are disappearing as leisure centres battle it out with private health clubs. And with members reportedly spending up to 40 per cent of their time at a facility in the changing rooms, it’s no surprise that one operator is even using top-class changing rooms as a marketing tool to upsell premium memberships. Abigail Harris reports

Abigail Harris

PREMIUM CHANGING SPACE

Leisure build and design expert Createability recently completed an eight-week redevelopment project at Putney Leisure Centre in south-west London to provide exclusive members-only changing rooms.

To keep up with customer expectations and the threat of increased competition, the centre – which previously only offered village changing for both swimmers and gym members – decided to create facilities on a par with private health clubs, but for use only by members paying all-inclusive rates.

Dave Jolliffe, area manager for DC Leisure – which manages the centre – says: “The competition has increased significantly over the last few years, with the standard of changing facilities increasing all the time. Our NPS survey results, mystery shoppers and customer comments all showed that dated facilities can be a barrier to joining
and a reason for leaving.”

“While the gym and customer service has always been excellent, DC Leisure realised the changing facilities at Putney Leisure Centre required improvement,” adds Ian Cotgrave, managing director at Createability. “Our aim was to create luxury changing rooms to provide all-inclusive members with the sense of comfort in their surroundings that people might not normally expect of a local leisure centre.”

The response has been extremely positive, with new members already appearing to favour all-inclusive membership when they join. “Although it’s too early to say what long-term impact it will have on all-inclusive memberships, the signs look very positive. We’re certainly getting more new joiners taking this option, and have seen higher than normal membership upgrades in the first month too,” says Jolliffe, who will recommend the approach to other Wandsworth borough sites if the membership increases and associated payback continues to meet expectations.

 



The changing rooms before
 


The changing room after. The members-only facilities have been a big hit
 
3D VISUALS

The award-winning Rainbow Leisure Centre in Epsom relied on Safe Space Lockers’ unique 3D design service to create a private health club changing room experience.
The success of Safe Space Lockers’ interior design and 3D rendering service led to the company’s recent launch of a 3D fly-through service – a virtual walk-through of the layout and design.
Dominic Hyett, MD of Safe Space Lockers, explains: “Many clients see the 3D service as an essential tool, enabling them to visualise exactly how their changing rooms will look prior to commitment. The addition of the 3D video fly-through will act as a great marketing tool for operators, allowing them to show prospects what they can expect if they take up membership.”
Rainbow Leisure Centre, managed by Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL), chose a combination of walnut veneer lockers and walnut veneer lockers with glass panelled doors. Changing cubicles and benching in walnut veneer were also installed, along with dry vanity, wet vanity, WC and shower cubicles.
GLL was keen that the luxury health club experience continued right through to the detailed features, so card locks were supplied, enabling membership cards to be used to access the club as well as operate the lockers. Non-members are given the option to use
a £1 coin to operate the lockers.
Hyett continues: “Following the centre’s success at the 2011 FIA FLAME Awards, this further investment has definitely shown the local community that they can receive an excellent standard facility at a very reasonable price.”

 



The changing rooms feature walnut veneer lockers with glass panels, and card locks for members
 


The changing rooms feature walnut veneer lockers with glass panels, and card locks for members
 
GOING KEYLESS

Champneys has replaced its key-operated changing room locker locks with KitLock digital cabinet locks in a bid to enhance the spa experience for guests.
Previously guests had to secure their locker key to their wrists using a key chain, but many guests wear a robe to relax in while waiting for treatments – and very often would leave key chains in their robe pockets, with many getting lost.

Using KitLock CL1200, guests select a four-digit code to secure their changing room locker on arrival, enabling them to enjoy the facilities without having to carry a key. This ‘lock and go’ solution not only offers better security, but also removes the cost of replacing lost or broken keys.

“The KitLock solution is more professional, looks good and, from a guest perspective, the lockers are far more secure as keys are not left lying around in robe pockets,” says Alex De Carvalho, MD at Champneys. “It’s a smarter way to control the lockers and, to a certain extent, takes the duty of care away from us, as guests are responsible for using the lockers and selecting their own codes.”

KitLock operates with a single-use code setting. The guest enters a four-digit code, which will lock and open the locker only once, then be erased. The locker stays open until another guest uses a new code. A KitLock CL1200 will perform 50,000 openings on two AAA batteries.

Ridgeway Furniture has also just completed changing facilities for the new £4m spa development at Crow Wood Leisure in Burnley – and this, too, uses a keyless system.

Woodland Spa – built alongside Crow Wood’s health club, soccer centre and equestrian centre – offers 10 treatments rooms, therapy areas and therapeutic pool areas. The lockers – a combination of space-saving Z-style lockers and suit lockers, all in a rich walnut veneer finish – are complemented by cream banquette-style seating and glazed screens, which include impregnated leaf patterns, designed to offer privacy and intimacy.

John Dibble, sales manager at Ridgeway Furniture, says: “It was imperative that a keyless system was introduced so guests don’t have to carry keys from the pools to treatment rooms and relaxation areas. Using the latest technology and the eye-catching design of the Ojmar digital lock, we created changing rooms that not only look stunning but also work from both a member’s and operator’s perspective.”

 



Guests select their four-digit code
PURE CLASS

Fit Interiors was challenged with creating changing rooms to fit in with the chic Parisian architecture of new city-centre Pure Club Med Gym, which limits membership to just 2,000 to offer a high-level space where members can escape city stress.

“We wanted the changing rooms to provide a welcoming feeling – a space where it’s beautiful to spend one’s time,” says Giovanni Amati, export manager for Gruppo P&G’s Fit Interiors, which is distributed in the UK by Gymkit UK. “On average, people spend 30 to 40 per cent of their gym visit in changing rooms, and this experience affects their overall perception of the club’s value.”

The red and purple locker interiors differentiate between male and female changing rooms, with a special white finish used for all the doors. Warm LED lights inside the lockers increase the perception of value and luxury. The LED strip lighting detects movement, to prevent lights remaining on when a door is left open. Some lockers, fitted with digital combination locks, can be rented on an annual basis as a member’s private space.

The rounded lines of the sofas, designed by Club Med’s architects and made by Gruppo P&G, offset the square lines of the lockers.

“The beauty of the setting is based on the Italian design that Gruppo P&G represents,” continues Amati. “In its 35 years, Gruppo P&G has uniquely joined the functionality and heavy duty needed in this industry with a stylistic look more typical of high-class house furniture brands. We constantly update finishes according to new trends emerging from the Milan furniture show.”

 



The luxury lockers at Pure Club Med Gym feature LED lights on the inside
 


The luxury lockers at Pure Club Med Gym feature LED lights on the inside
 

Originally published in Health Club Management 2013 issue 1

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