IHRSA European Congress

Rather belatedly, I wanted to comment on this great event that I intended back in September at the World Forum Convention Center, The Hague, Holland. The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) hosted the event, which attracts health club operators, suppliers and consultants from across Europe.

I was originally going as a speaker, but was ‘bumped off’ at the last minute, but then, Kjell Nordstrom of Funky Business fame, would have been a tough act to follow. He delivered an excellent presentation on companies having to seek out ‘temporary monopolies’. It would have been even better, had he tailored more of the content to the leisure industry. I also enjoyed the presentations from Professor C.B. Bhattacharya from BostonUniversity and Professor Paddy Miller from IESEBusinessSchool, Barcelona.

However, the highlight of the Conference was my visit to the Special Sports health club in Amstelveen (30-minutes from Schiphol airport). When I saw members putting their hand into a 3-d scanner at reception, I knew the club was going to live up to its name. The club had a contemporary feel and was stuffed with intelligent technology – cashless membership cards for the café bar, a membership key for turning on the squash lights etc, etc, etc. Surprisingly, given its look and feel, it had a strong family following and well-being ethos, rather than simply an ‘exercise factory’. It remains one of the best clubs I have seen.

 

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