Rey Bolivar, CEO Of Anytime Fitness, On Expanding The Business In The Coronavirus Era
The Covid-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on the economy with many businesses, big and small, closing or struggling to stay afloat. So it was nice to hear that Anytime Fitness plans to double its gyms to more than 500 across Asia in the next three years. This announcement was made following the acquisition of Anytime Fitness by Inspire Brands Asia, a consortium made up of its lead investor Exacta Capital Partners and co-investor Aura Group, which includes the master franchisee license in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Macau.
"The purpose of Anytime Fitness has always been to help people overcome the barriers to a healthier life," says Rey Bolivar, CEO of Anytime Fitness. "This has had several iterations globally and in various countries—but at our core, we are about ensuring that we are able to provide a safe and welcoming environment to everyone."
With a weakening global economy and the challenges of a pandemic, why do you think it’s feasible for Anytime Fitness to embark on doubling the number of gyms in the next three years?
The Covid-19 pandemic has further strengthened our resolve to ensure that people have a safe and welcoming access to fitness, which is a key factor in ensuring a strong immune system. The reception of current members and new members alike during our enforced closures and as we reopened our gyms validates that we are providing a necessary service. We're humbled that we are seen not only as a place to be fit, but also as a community where members, staff, and franchisees achieve goals, and support each other.
We are confident with our growth projections not only because of the reception of members to our reopening, but also due to the strength of our team and our managed services group.
How is a major chain gym like Anytime Fitness adapting to the post-Covid reality?
Prior to reopening, gyms prepare with enhanced sanitation and disinfection measures, health checks and declaration for staff, and equipping their locations with cleaning supplies, signages, and masks or other protective equipment. Social distancing will also be enforced in all areas, from moving equipment or alternating their use to placing floor markers to distance staff and members.
As gyms reopen, and depending on local regulations, we have temperature checks, sanitising at the entrance and in all areas, health declaration and contact tracing, as well as cleaning materials for both staff and members to use. We're seeing this to be part of protocol in the near future, and will be adapting SOPs to modified versions as part of the new normal for our gyms.
The Covid-19 pandemic has further strengthened our resolve to ensure that people have a safe and welcoming access to fitness, which is a key factor in ensuring a strong immune system
What are some of the challenges that you foresee and how are you prepared to overcome them?
Our biggest challenge is communicating the value of fitness to those who have never set foot in the gym. Many people still view gyms as an intimidating place, and it is our job at Anytime Fitness to ensure that these barriers are broken down, and that our members feel safe and welcome in our gyms.
Anytime Fitness has always stood for providing members with a safe and welcoming environment to work out in. We are confident that every company in every industry right now is working toward this shared goal. What makes us stand out is our welcome – not just at the gym – but beyond it. We have our staff reaching out to members on all platforms, providing support even when gyms were closed. We have members using the Anytime Fitness App to have the same Anytime Fitness experience wherever they may be.
This combination of technology and the human connection ensures that everyone in the ecosystem – from franchisees and staff to members – are able to overcome difficult times.
See also: 5 Fitness Apps To Help You Stay Active And Healthy At Home
How will you stand out in the competitive health and fitness scene?
Our speed of growth is attributable to our speed in adapting. Where before we were just about providing convenience to the communities we are located in, we expanded into providing coaching through training and our Anytime Fitness App. All of this is underpinned by the level of care our franchisees have in addressing members’ needs before they are even aware of it.
The launch of the Anytime Fitness app well before the pandemic is proof that we are, and will stay, ahead of the curve to ensure that our members have the best possible Anytime Fitness experience, whether they are in and out of the gym.
The combination of technology and the human connection ensures that everyone in the ecosystem – from franchisees and staff to members – are able to overcome difficult times.
How do you think Malaysia will rebound from the lockdown?
Every country or region we are in have the potential to double, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and even Hong Kong and Macau. These areas have strong potential for growth, along with available real estate to support gyms in local communities. If our experience in our other markets that reopened is any indication, we are confident that Anytime Fitness will see Malaysians back in the gyms in no time.
How many more gyms are you looking to open in Malaysia alone?
We are currently looking to double the number of our 27 active gym outlets.
What kind of experience can a fitness enthusiast expect when working out in Anytime Fitness?
At Anytime Fitness, a fitness enthusiast will have all the necessary tools to achieve what he or she needs without the distractions. It is a straight-forward gym that allows you to build your own fitness journey without being hounded with gym talk. Unlike other gyms, we also provide a different atmosphere and workout environment while still acknowledging the different needs of our members.
See also: How Mark Choo Is Shaping A Close-Knit Fitness Community With Tribe
- Images Courtesy of Anytime Fitness