Colin Waggett, CEO of Third Space

Third Space

Setting the tone with its first luxury fitness club in 2001, Third Space has become more than just a gym to its growing member base, expanding its high-end experience to nine locations around London.

But, as CEO Colin Waggett points out, a better-educated, diversely motivated and community-seeking consumer is tipping the market in their favour. With four new openings on the books as well as investment in Pilates, in-house health screening and recovery, Waggett is taking a balanced approach to scaling up.

How are you aligning with a more holistic-minded consumer?

Colin Waggett: At Third Space, a whole-body approach to well-being is all part of daily operations.

Our clubs offer a comprehensive range of fitness, recovery and relaxation. Alongside providing extensive strength, HIIT and cardio options, mind-body is our biggest category within group exercise, where we offer Vinyasa, Yin, Hatha and Rocket yoga, mat and reformer Pilates, barre, soundbaths and meditation workshops.

Our clubs typically have sauna and steam rooms, with certain clubs also featuring cryotherapy, cryo spas or plunge pools. We also offer stretch areas with Hyperice percussive therapy tools, compression leg sleeves and vibrating foam rollers.

Extending accessibility, our app hosts a wide range of yoga flows and guided meditation for our members to use in the club or at home.

How are you approaching member acquisition and retention in ’24?

CW: Far and away, the biggest source of new members is referrals, and interestingly, ex-members are a big proportion of new members. We don’t require members to commit to minimum terms, so some members will come and go over several years depending on what is going on in their life and where they are living and working.

At the heart of engagement is providing an excellent all-around experience. We aspire to evoke the reaction: “I love this place.”  That requires a lot of moving parts to work in harmony.

How are you approaching expansion?

CW: We are organically growing in London – we currently have nine clubs and plan to increase our footprint by six to eight sites over the next two years.

The balance is always quality of space and quality of catchment. There are plenty of parts of London that have an abundance of potential Third Space members, but it does take time to find and negotiate great space. With the environment we engineer so important, we have done all of our growth directly rather than working with partners.

What can we expect in the next six months?

CW: In 2024, we will open clubs in Battersea, Clapham, Wood Wharf and Richmond – all great London neighbourhoods.

On the programme side, we will extend our reformer Pilates offering to more clubs, launch a BJJ school, and look at launching a more comprehensive wellness offering to complement what we already have, including health screening and blood work.

None of this is done lightly. We are very driven to develop our product and service offering right across the club collection, all while simultaneously extending our reach.

What consumer trends are you most excited about in 2024 & beyond?

CW: The positive trends for our business are just intensifying. More and more people, across a wider age range, are prioritising health and fitness.

I love the fact that mental health and happiness are now formally recognised as the number-one reason that people join a club, overtaking the long-term top goal of losing weight. There is a simple truth that exercise of any kind, for any duration, is very likely to make you feel better about yourself and the world around you. Conversely, losing weight takes longer and, as a goal in itself, often leads to disappointment.

The education levels of our members about different training modalities and techniques grow all of the time as well, which leads to people getting more and more value from their membership. Their advocacy for strength training and anything and everything holistic gives great opportunities for amazing coach-led 1:1 and class experiences.

Both interest and literacy make for an inclusive club environment, and we believe the market has moved towards us. It is very exciting.

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