(Plus Chicago, Stockholm and more in October)
North and South – contrasts and different lifestyles, but there are some constants.
MunichSeptember 23-25 I visited the capital of Bavaria, where I spent more of my adult life than any other city. Yes, it was Oktoberfest, and of course I enjoyed a few hours with my daughter Felicia and some of her friends (she was just turning 23 and entering her final semester at the Akademie for Fashion and Design Management).
Not unusual for me to combine some business with pleasure, visiting some clubs such as Leos Sports Club and Hardys, as well as the headquarters of Body Street, a 250 location franchise concept specialising in EMS-Electro Muscle Stimulation. „20 Minutes training is enough“ is their slogan, and in early 2018 they will enter the US market.
Specialty concepts are increasingly on my list – in my role in the Advisory Council of AFS (Association of Fitness Studios), the boutique sector is of particular interest to me. So Pilates Body and MySport Lady received a visit as well.
With a one day interlude in Winterthur I then travelled to Hamburg, visiting Aspria, Holmes Place and two special interest studios that combine EMS with vibration plates, suspension and functional training. A meeting with the former MD of Fitness First, Stefan Tilk, who is now a director of Germany’s largest corporate fitness firm, Hansefit, revealed insights into this burgeoning sector. Networks are continuing to grow in importance, internet middlemen are active and will in future play an important role, just as Expedia, HRS and other portals have changed the travel sector.
Dinner at one of Hamburg’s favourite inside Hamburger joints, the Bird, with Kaifu Lodge Manager Solveig Schlüter was a special treat – great quality and atmosphere, and a valuable exchange of perspectives. Solveig will be attending IHRSA’s European Congress in London, a major event on the fall calendar.
But before that is the Club Industry show in Chicago, a short stop to see my 91 year old mother in Toronto on the way home, and the MBM event in Stockholm, where I will be presenting on the developments in the boutique sector, armed with the just-released annual benchmarking survey done by ClubIntell’s Steve Tharrett, an industry veteran and friend I have had the pleasure of following from his various roles, including IHRSA Board of Director, Vice President of Club Corporation of America and CEO oft he Russian Fitness Group.
High above the clouds over Greenland, I find time to reflect on past and future trips, good friends and the importance of a solid network of contacts and friends. Life is good, especially when you are healthy and love what you do. It does not feel like work, and I am grateful for having lived and worked in seven countries in my life. Yes, you make your own breaks, and there is some luck involved, but the harder you work, the luckier you seem to get.
Until next time,