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interview


someone independently running a similar-sized spa. “The sports club business is really the


only operating business that Millennium Partners has – hotels, for example, are all done under management agreements – and there are more people by a factor of probably 10 or 15 working for MPSCM than for the whole of Millennium. It represents a little over $100m in annual revenue, which is small in the overall scheme of things, but it adds a lot of value to the other projects and is an important piece of the overall development puzzle. “Saying that, the important thing that


differentiates us from a lot of other real estate companies is the expectation that a business has to stand on its own. If there were no Millennium Partners, MPSCM would still be a good business generating quite reasonable returns. It’s not there as a loss leader.”


expansion plans Having led the MPSCM business for the last few years, Curtis has now made a sideways move into the parent company.


“In January, we made a significant organisational change. Smaiyra Million has moved up from COO to take over my role as CEO of MPSCM, and I’ve moved over to Millennium Partners to focus 100 per cent of my time on mergers and acquisitions to develop our club business. “What we’re looking to do now is


expand our footprint in the markets we’re already in – major international gateway cities such as Boston, New York, Washington DC, Miami, San Francisco. We want to move out from the city centres to the next ring of residential areas and do some smaller format clubs there. Six to eight locations per city could create a very powerful network, in conjunction with the existing property that’s been in operation for a number of years. “We would also consider going


into new markets, but most likely that would involve either a large- scale project similar to those done previously, including a sports club – in fact, there’s a project like that on the drawing board now, although I’d rather not give details yet – or via acquisition. Buying a local or regional chain of clubs would give us suffi cient critical mass, but to go and just do one club in a new marketplace is a very ineffi cient way to operate. If we were to go into a new


30 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


Luxury: The Sports Club LA in Miami (above) and in Washington DC (below left). All clubs are high-end with pools, spas and well equipped gyms


market, we would want to have an immediate large presence there.”


best foot forward As if all this weren’t enough to keep him busy, Curtis is also currently chair of global trade association IHRSA, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary; he’s been involved with the organisation since its inception. “The single biggest thing we’re working


on right now is our revenue model. The association, and the industry, are very different from how they were 30 years ago, and particularly in tough economic times you fi nd out how sensitive a revenue model is. There’s a saying ‘when suppliers get a cold, an association gets pneumonia’, because our largest single source of revenue currently comes from our convention and trade show. “We’ve got through a really diffi cult


period, with some very hard decisions made on staffi ng and so on, and now we have to look at how to make it less painful for ourselves were we to be faced with similar market conditions again. Do we have the right value propositions for our members? The membership base is so much more heterogeneous today than it ever was


april 2011 © cybertrek 2011


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