The énergie Group took the much coveted National Chain title at this year’s Members’ Choice Health Club Awards, with its brand énergie Fitness For Women. It’s the first time since 2011 that the title has been won by a private operator, with Everyone Active dominating the category for the last two years and Nuffield Health winning the inaugural title in 2011.
énergie also took the Best Budget Chain Gold with its Fit4less brand, beating last year’s winners Fitness4less into silver spot. Jan Spaticchia, chair and CEO of énergie, said: “This has been an amazing year for us and we’re proud to have won so many awards – testament to the effort we put in to looking after our customers.
“The Members’ Choice Health Club Awards has become hugely beneficial to énergie and each of the franchisees, as it positions the winners as award-winning clubs or gyms in their communities – all voted for by their members. I’d like to say well done to each club that achieved excellence this year.”
Focus on people
The fourth annual Health Club Awards – this year sponsored by Physical Company, USN UK and Les Mills in partnership with Health Club Management magazine – took place
on the first night of LIW at the National Motorcycle Museum.
The black tie affair was attended by 250 guests and hosted once again by TV presenter Mark Durden-Smith, who kept the audience entertained with his unique brand of humour throughout the evening. Meanwhile Steve Bernstein, director of sales from sponsor USN UK, gave one of the highlights of the night when he stepped on stage to show off his skills as a Frank Sinatra tribute singer.
Durden-Smith spoke about the importance of the awards. “Getting your hands on one of these trophies says an awful lot about your club,” he said. “It sets you apart from the competition and sends out a clear message that you’re passionate about what you do and have your members right at the heart of all your thinking and planning.
“You all have the one secret weapon that’s key to the success of any club, and that’s really good people. It’s people who make the difference, it’s people who really connect with customers, and that’s what we’re here to celebrate tonight.”
Sponsor Physical Company, which was celebrating 25 years in the industry, agreed. John Halls, sales & marketing director at Physical Company, said in his speech: “In 25 years, one thing hasn’t changed: to be at the top of your game in an industry that works with people, you have to put your customers at the forefront of everything you do.”
Word from the winners
Alongside énergie, other big winners on the night included Fitness4less, which took gold for Best Medium Chain among its haul of 17 awards. Director Emma Edwards said: “The most important thing for us is that entering these awards allows us to gain valuable feedback from our members. Although we’re a very small fish in a big pond of gyms, we’ve received some very motivational endorsements from our members, as well as some incredible feedback on where we can do better. Seeing our managers so delighted at the awards ceremony is so worthwhile – it brings our team closer together.”
Trusts and independents
There were some notable successes in the regions for independent clubs, including Westwoods Health Club based in Edinburgh, which won gold for the Best Premium Club in Scotland. General manager James Matthew said: “Westwoods Health Club was delighted to take part for the first time as a genuine, audited means of assessing our club against many others in both Scotland and the UK. I think it’s great that the awards are based solely on members’ feedback and ratings, which provide a clear insight into what we do well and what we can improve upon. It’s fantastic for our staff and our brand to be recognised as Scotland’s Premium Health Club 2014.”
Also picking up gold in its region was first-time entrant i-motion Gym, based in Rotherham. The club beat off strong competition from other budget operators to take the Best Budget Club title for the Yorkshire & Humber region.
Rick Thompson, club manager, said: “While building our brand, we’ve based our core values on delivering outstanding value and encouraging our staff to deliver top rate customer service by developing real relationships with members.
“The fact we’ve won based on their votes proves to us that we’re on a good track, and the award gives us greater exposure in the market. It’s great to say our Rotherham club is the best in its sector for the entire region.”
Meanwhile Avalon Leisure picked up a regional silver, as well as silver at national level for the group. “We’re delighted by the success we’ve achieved in these high profile awards,” said Bob Buckingham, membership manager for Avalon Leisure. “Recognition of our efforts at both a national and regional level is a testimony to the drive and enthusiasm our teams display each day to achieve excellence in all that we do. It’s really gratifying to have such a strong endorsement from our members – our ultimate judges.”
Will you win in 2015?
Awards owner Simon Brown added: “We’re absolutely thrilled with the way this year’s competition has gone: 400 clubs took up the challenge and 35,000 members voted for their club. This competition is about getting out on the shop floor and engaging with customers, and that’s exactly what the shortlisted and winning clubs did very well.”
For a full list of this year’s winners, visit www.healthclubawards.com Entries for the 2015 competition open on 1 November 2014.