by Hans Muench
At the Sports Unlimited event in Valencia, Spain March 5-7th, over one hundred club leaders met suppliers in a B2B format similar to SIBEC and Meet the Top, but with education and a modest trade show added. IHRSA Partner MAS (More Around Sport) has been an active and respected resource for the market for 20 years, and was involved in the event´s organisation and promotion.
With the increase in VAT (value added tax) in mid-2012 clubs are feeling more pain than the ongoing high unemployment (25% total, 50% among young people) and real estate / banking crisis. The three club Club Atalanta chain in Valencia has seen a 10% drop in revenues as a result (along with the entry of sever allow cost gyms), but is weathering the storm by controlling costs and trying harder to stay close to their customers.
A visit to the Pavigym headquarters and factory near Alicante provided a behind the scenes glimpse of this family business that provides fun functional training solutions through innovative flooring, wall and lighting concepts. Founded 50 years ago by the father of MD Marcos Requena, it was originally a shoe sole manufacturer that also produces mats for cows and has evolved and specialised in the fitness / leisure field.
At IHRSA´s 32nd Annual International Conventionand Trade Show in Las Vegas, Pavigym introduced its 3.0 solution, featuring Ipad control of lights and music in the small group exercise regimen. An app will be released soon that contains a calculator that demonstrates how flooring can make a club money.
Pavigym is, like Ojmar (producer of standard and electronic locks) in the Basque region, a good example of how Spain is finding ways to overcome the ongoing crisis in this country
These export-oriented Spanish companies have multi-lingual staff, use modern technology that help clubs differentiate, create supplementary spending and deliver solutions.
Other examples of leading companies:
Inge Sport – one of several “municipalos” that are public-private partnerships. Funded by private equity, Inge Sport has grown to 13 facilities. At 130,000 members and 53 Million Euros in revenue, they have already entered the Portugese market and are also expanding into Mexico and South America with their GoFitbrand.
AEFA, the distributor of Les Mills in Spain, has 650 clients and over 4,000 instructors teaching the 10 programs offered.
Technosport is the distributor of Keiser and other brands, and has created online streaming of indoor cycling courses (keisertv.es).
Anytime Fitness has opened its first company-owned club in a suburb of Barcelona, with more planned in 2013. Spain boasts outstanding clubs, including Virgin Active, Reebok in Madrid, which will be featured on the club tours at IHRSA´s European Congress from October 17-20th, 2013.
Hans Muench is Directorof Europe for IHRSA, International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association. Born in Canada and now based in Munich, Germany, he can be reached at email@example.com
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