A Manhattan concept waltzes in Vienna

Fitness conscious Austrians are catching up with the rest of Europe in terms of numbers and, over the last 5 years, the gap is slowly closing


There are about 1000 gyms in Austria, around half of which are in Vienna and lower Austria alone. In 2014 the total revenue of local gyms amounts to approximately Euro 411 million, as evidenced in an analysis carried out by Deloitte.

The number of enrolled members in fitness studios rose to 7,40,000, which is about 8.7% of the country’s population. This means that Austrians still have a “training gap” in comparison with Europe.

According to the chairman of the Association for Leisure and Sports Facilities in the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, in Germany, 9.7% of people regularly frequent a gym, while in Norway it’s an astonishing 15.7%.

However, he states that the Austrians are catching up and, in the last 5 years alone, the number of fitness members grew by nearly 1,00,000. Meanwhile, over the last 2 years, the average monthly membership prices has fallen by 15%.

It is interesting that the fitness growth trend in Austria is also affecting the number of studio locations and this has increased by 6.7%. Currently, there are around 6 gyms per 1,00,000 inhabitants, according to the national average.

Predatory competition has been gradually setting in for some time now, and a very clear trend toward specialisation of programmes is becoming apparent, says Mr. Gerhard Span, an industry spokesman who is also an authorised officer of the Manhattan Fitness facilities.


Job Qualifications

This development is also creating increasing demands on the quality of service of staff at the studios. As a response the industry is now working on expanding the qualified fitness job profile. Without a sharp performance profile, a fitness provider is no longer even considered by customers.

Essentially, studios are nowadays grouping themselves around three clearly defined market positions says Span : “The so called all-in concept, which we at Manhattan Fitness also follow, offers guests large multi-function studios, including everything from fitness training: whether alone, in a group or with a personal trainer, to medical and therapeutic counselling and wellness services.”

These providers are located in the premium segment and strongly emphasize a high consulting quality, which facilitates individual training programmes.


Manhattan Fitness

As a privately-owned Austrian family company, the Manhattan Fitness facilities have been active for over 25 years. In 1989, the first Manhattan Fitness and squash facility opened in Wien-Döbling. The Manhattan concept was successfully re-launched in 2000, on Campus 21 in Brunn am Gebirge.

It all started with the idea of a multi-functional fitness and recreation area based on the American model where, in addition to the physical exercising, the mental aspects were also looked at.

A perfect club for well-being, with large training areas, relaxation areas, sauna and bath landscapes, performance diagnosis, medical care and customer-friendly business hours was thus conceived.

The two sites listed as clubs, Manhattan North (Vienna) and Manhattan South (Brunn am Gebirge), are TUV-tested, high-quality studios and undergo an annual monitoring audit.

On areas with approximately 8,000 square metres each, both Manhattan clubs provide a wide range of fitness, wellness and health offerings, including squash courts (in Manhattan North), which correspond to the official requirements for the implementation of squash tournaments.

They are among the few gyms in Austria that are fully accessible and even offer appropriate training conditions for people in wheelchairs.


Customised Plans 

As the market leader in the Austrian high end fitness market, these facilities pay particular attention to the quality and health aspect of working out. Last, but not least, the company’s privileged position in the fitness market is also because of their mandatory ‘performance diagnostic check-ups’ for members, which ensure controlled training.

Over the last 25 years, over 36,000 diagnostic performance check-ups were carried. This allows for a training programme to be customised, based on personal requirements.

With their diverse, high-quality range of services, the Manhattan Fitness facilities support all members on their way to health, fun and well-being. Fitness is not only seen in terms of performance, but also as a basis for quality of life and balance.

With their expertise in the areas of health, medicine and fitness, Manhattan develops trend-setting concepts. Specially trained staff always advises and supports clients individually and thus sustainably promote a healthy lifestyle.

This concept, unique in Austria, is also supported by around 35 service partners from specialist areas of health and leisure activities: doctors, physiotherapists and psychotherapists, dieticians, masseurs and beauty specialists.

Ms. Tanja Cerny and Mr. Dennis Felsinger, managing partners of this second- generation organisation, have been leading the company since 2014. Although originally planned as multi-functional fitness centre with a focus on squash, this transformation has been primarily a result of a drop in the demand for squash.

Tanja states: “Various modifications were conducted at both facilities to react to this development and adjust the fitness trends to the overall concept and membership structure. Fitness has been steadily developing. But a loyal audience and our long-time employees confirm our philosophy.”


Offers & Services

Among the various services on offer are fitness and group training, movement competence training, functional movement screening, mobilisation and stability training, over 180 guided group training sessions per week (indoor cycling, dance, aqua fitness, yoga, etc.)

The wellness programmes include Finnish sauna, bio-sauna, infra-red and Roman steam bath. The relaxation areas comprise of indoor pool with sun terrace, solaria, cosmetics, hand and foot care

and massage. The health centre offers the services of a medical team, physiotherapists, performance diagnostics and dieticians.



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