Odyssey Health Club

Award winning 'Odyssey Health Club and Spa' and the entrepreneur behind its success


The gym & health club industry is an uncertain market where many previously successful businesses are feeling challenged, Odyssey Health Club in Knebworth is not only thriving but picking up awards. Who is behind the success story?

Clarity of purpose

Stephen Aucott had a clear vision from the beginning that focused on providing a first-class service and offering to members and clients of all ages and walks of life. The success of that vision is reflected in the feedback from members and the recognition by Lux Life Magazine as the Best Independent Spa & Health Club in Hertfordshire. The award honours those who work tirelessly to provide the best guest services, amongst fierce competition. In November, there was another award, this time from GHP Fitness and Nutrition Awards for the best Private Spa and Health Club in Hertfordshire.

Stephen said:

"We are absolutely thrilled with these awards and are a huge achievement for the whole Odyssey team. We have always set our standards high and continuously work hard to provide firstclass
service to all our members and clients. We worked hard to look at all areas of the member experience, from the interaction from personal trainers, to providing a helpful app and a crèche. They all go to helping our members get the most from their time with us and is very much a team effort to ensure that our standards are always high."

Entrepreneurial approach

Beyond the vision for how to stand out in a crowded marketplace, Stephen also had a clear plan for how to structure and grow the ambitious business. This is where Goodman Jones came in.

Stephen explains:

"I had been having conversations with many bankers about the project when Goodman Jones was recommended to me. The bankers in question spoke highly about the firm’s ability to support, structure and position independent business like mine for growth. When I met the GJ team it became clear that there were many elements they could bring to help the business. They have an understanding and experience within the leisure sector and are also well known for their property development expertise. That was key for me, as part of the plan involved selling land for development."

Management buy out

"It was very important to me that after the sale of the land, I would be in a position of being able to direct the Health Club and Spa moving forward with technology and trends. We were able to work out a structure that would not only give me the level of ownership and control I was after, but also worked tax efficiently for the business and personally. By the time the deal completed, we also had a very clear step by step plan for the next steps. The GJ team brought expertise to the whole deal process, not just the figures and tax."

Esther Wood, head of Goodman Jones’ Leisure
& Hospitality Group said:

"It’s a real treat to work with Stephen, and not just because of the beautiful facilities at the Spa! Joking apart, it is unusual to work with an entrepreneur who can build an award-winning business in a highly competitive marketplace, but who also brings such commercial sense and financial acumen."

The last word goes to Stephen:

"Goodman Jones have been better than we could have hoped for as we complete our MBO of the club. We always look for partners who share our vision and understanding of the product - Goodman Jones have excelled througout and we look forward to working more closely going forward."


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