19 Sep 2018 Spa Business Handbook
 

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Spa Business Handbook - Nerio Alessandri

Movers & Shakers

Nerio Alessandri


Key figures from the global spa industry and beyond give their thoughts on spa trends, opportunities and threats and tell us about their backgrounds

Katie Barnes, Spa Business
Nerio Alessandri Founder and President TECHNOGYM
Former US president Bill Clinton attended the opening of Technogym’s new Wellness Village, which includes a large research and innovation centre
The Wellness Village has been designed to offer an ultra-healthy work environment, as well as host customers, partners and stakeholders

Italian Nerio Alessandri was just 22-years-old when he founded Technogym in 1983. Today it is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of equipment for wellness, fitness and rehabilitation – kitting out 65,000 commercial businesses and 100,000 homes. And for the last five years, it’s been the official supplier of the Olympic Games. Many spa operators will know Technogym for Kinesis, the sleek-designed cable system it launched in 2005. However, driven by Alessandri’s ambition, the company has always had a focus on wellbeing – something which is now, more than ever, key in the global spa industry. In 2003, Technogym launched the Wellness Foundation, a non-profit entity to support scientific research into health and promote a wellness lifestyle. More recently, in September 2012, it unveiled the Technogym Wellness Village – it’s new 60,000sq m (645,835sq ft) headquarters in Italy which has been billed as the ‘healthiest office on earth’, and includes an on-site medical centre and spa.

What was the reason for launching the Technogym Wellness Village?
There were two main reasons. Firstly, over the last 28 years, the company has grown very fast – by 2011 we had spread over 14 different locations in Italy. In creating the village, we’ve consolidated all our operations, productions, warehousing, logistics and management, allowing us to be quicker, more efficient and cut costs, meaning more innovative products at more competitive prices. We’ve been able to add a research and innovation centre – the R&D team is 200-strong – a Wellness University for training and product showrooms.

Secondly, we wanted to create a place that would inspire the industry about wellness. Wellness is not a concrete product. It’s an experience, and in order to understand it, you need to live it. Wellness is made of design, technology, content, social relations, people. We wanted to create a destination where our customers, our partners and all the industry stakeholders could come and understand our vision by experiencing it for themselves.

What’s your favourite part?
The Wellness Centre [gym] – an entire 5,000sq m (53,820sq ft) dedicated to physical activity, including the complete Technogym product range. It’s open (and free) to Technogym staff and partners such as field operators, customers and our Wellness University students. It’s also key to the Technogym corporate wellness programme for our employees as we strongly believe that creativity and intellect go hand-in-hand with a healthy and efficient body.

What innovations are you working on?
We’re working on the Technogym Ecosystem, the first cloud-based platform in the field where anyone can access their own training programmes and content on all Technogym equipment, anywhere in the world using any personal device – the Technogym Mywellness key, a smartphone, a tablet, a smart TV or a PC. This platform allows people to enjoy physical exercise while staying connected whether they’re in the gym, at work, on the move or on holiday.

What are your longer-term ambitions?
Wellness is the lifestyle promoted by Technogym, aimed at improving people’s quality of life by championing the benefits of regular physical activity, correct nutrition and a positive mental attitude. I strongly believe that wellness represents a great social opportunity – for governments to reduce health service costs, for companies to stimulate their staff to be more creative and productive and for all citizens to improve their health and daily lifestyle. In the future, we wish to become consultants of people, governments, institutions and companies in providing total wellness solutions and advice.

What will be the biggest health and fitness trends in 2013?
There’s an ever-increasing understanding about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and regular physical activity. People will be training at home, in the office, outdoors and on holiday. The gym will become a sort of hub where people can go to get qualified fitness consultations on their workouts and to be guided on their physical activity and training inside and outside the gym. In this landscape, technology will begin to play an increasingly strategic role and this is why we developed the Technogym Ecosystem.

Is your life on track?
I feel very lucky because I have made my hobby become my job… it’s like always being on holiday.

How would you, and your critics, describe you?
I’m very similar to athletes, once I reach an objective I already think about reaching the next one. My critics would say I’m too meticulous, but I believe that true masterpieces are made of small details.

What is your impression of the spa industry?
I believe the benefits of spa treatments are clear. Relaxation is an important component of a healthy lifestyle, ideally with the combination of a balanced diet and regular physical activity to achieve further benefits.

What can the spa industry learn from the health and fitness sector?
Prevention is a key topic for spa and the for wellness/fitness industries. For a long time, Technogym has been advocating physical activity and the wellness lifestyle as illness prevention and as medicine for the population’s health. Prevention represents not only a business opportunity but mostly a social mission to which we all should commit to improve people’s quality of life and health.

Is it possible to mix pampering and wellness?
Yes, in fact, I think taking time out for yourself is a part of wellness. However, to get maximum results it’s important to have a mix of physical activity and spa treatments to bring total wellness of mind, body and spirit. This is also of benefit to the business; to attract people going to the gym at the spa and vice-versa.

And what’s your favourite type of spa treatment?
I really enjoy a good back massage after a functional training session.


Originally published in Spa Business Handbook 2013 issue 1

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