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Pillar Wellbeing to launch wellness club ecosystem optimising hotel health club occupancy

03 Apr 2023
Pillar Wellbeing, which provides a customised and standalone fitness and wellbeing services to the hospitality sector, will be launching at Accor’s Fairmont and Raffles Hotels in Doha’s Katara Towers in Q2 2023, and at Raffles London at The OWO (Old War Office), Q3 2023.

The London property will be Pillar Wellbeing’s flagship, where the team intends to grow a 250-strong membership base.

The company delivers a B2B2C business model to luxury hotels and resorts – built around the pillars of movement, recovery and nutrition – so they can transform underused gym, spa, food and beverage and social spaces into wellness members' clubs. At Raffles London there will be three types of users: residential tenants or owners, hotel guests and members of the public.

Co-founders Harry Jameson, CEO, and Handley Amos, COO, say they are in talks with five or six other potential partners about rolling out to locations such as Istanbul, Geneva and Tuscany. They aim to expand into at least six sites over the next 18 months.

During his career as a personal trainer in London, Jameson worked out of Harley Street, sublet gym space from luxury hotels, such as the Langham and Rosewood and ran health retreats for the Four Seasons, One and Only and Rocco Forte Hotels. He has built up an elite clientele over the years, including the former prime minister Boris Johnson. This laid the groundwork for what would become Pillar Wellbeing, following a meeting of minds with Amos.

“Around 80 per cent of the gyms in these facilities are filled with marvellous equipment, but are unmanned, so you've got high investment from a Capex perspective and a huge under-investment in services,” Jameson told HCM.

“I joked to Handley when we met – because of his hospitality background– that it was as though these hotels have built the best kitchens in the world, but they haven't employed any chefs,” he said. "Then we started fleshing out what the future of hospitality might look like, and where this intersection of his world of F&B and my world of health, fitness and performance might meet.”

Clients at each site under Pillar Wellbeing’s care will have the support of 12 to 15 specialists, from trainers to physiotherapists, chiropractors and nutritionists.

Jameson will be responsible for training staff, given he runs Future Practice – an academy that trains fitness professionals to be wellbeing consultants – with Oliver Patrick, Pillar Wellbeing’s clinical director.

“All our trainers will be given the Future Practice course in addition to another nine hours of digital training content, which is exclusive to Pillar, plus three weeks of on-site physical, one-to-one training,” said Jameson. “We’re working with trainers who have a minimum of three years in the industry and a degree-level qualification – the one exception to this is if they’ve come from a professional sporting background.

“We're taking the cream of people who are out there and giving them additional training so that they can talk about sleep, stress, digestive health, immunity, cognitive function and fertility.”

The team will use data-driven insights where possible – the Pillar Wellbeing app is designed to read metrics from most wearables – but will also use customer consultations and self-reported data to agree on the best wellbeing strategy for each client across fitness, recovery and nutrition.

“Ninety per cent of all diseases, mental and physical, are lifestyle based and only ten per cent of anything that goes on with any of us is down to our genetics,” said Jameson. “We're in a really powerful position to influence our clients’ future outcomes.”

The restaurant-arm of the business, Pillar Kitchen, will be open to the public and led by executive chef Joey O'Hare. A seasonal, veggie-centric offering, it's been designed to support gut health and immunity.

Restaurant staff at each site will be guided by the Pillar’s food and beverage team on menu creation, branding and service delivery.

Two partnerships are already in place for apparel and equipment with Lululemon and Technogym and the team are actively seeking new partners for expansion across other areas.

In terms of funding, Pillar has leveraged the Enterprise Investment Scheme in the UK and is currently mid-fundraise. Entrepreneur Debbie Wosskow OBE, who founded Love Home Swap – which she sold to Wyndham Destination Networks for US$53m – and recently The Better Gut, is on board as a shareholder and executive chair.

“We are a private member space where people who want to can optimise how well they perform every single day and offset the chances of things going wrong with them,” said Jameson. “We want Pillar to become a one-stop shop where people move and recover properly.”

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