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new


opening


The milon concept: A circuit of pre-programmable machines that are safe and easy to use


bucking the trend By creating this new style of offering


within the fitness world, Walsh hopes to buck the 12 per cent penetration rate and also traditional retention rates. “One of our main goals was to


increase the penetration rate – the percentage of consumers including fitness as part of their lifestyle. Current statistics in the fitness industry suggest penetration rates have not moved for some considerable time. We also looked at how we could improve the current fitness offering and buck the trend of poor retention rates within clubs.” Medfi t currently has 100 gym members


and 70 medical clients, with capacity for 800 fi tness and 600 medical. It may sound like a slow start, but this was deliberate. “Our tactic was strategic, with the plan to build slower and aim for higher sales conversions and better retention statistics,” explains Walsh. This they will do, he says, through their own ‘Five Pillars


to Success’ model: “Quality, service, technology, innovation and people.” It seems to be working. Medfi t’s gym


has a tour to sales conversion of 94 per cent. Murphy says: “People can see that we care. We offer hands- on personal care like no other gym – we’re here to help them achieve a lifetime of health. And if we help our members, they will help us.” Holm Hofmann, director for milon,


supplies his equipment to 700 clubs in Europe and is familiar with the medical fi tness concept that’s so successful on the continent. He says it can be lucrative: “This model targets a segment of the population who would never consider joining a health club – for example, people who are getting older or people who don’t think gyms could help with their medical problems. So not only are you opening up a completely new market, but you also have three revenue streams: the rehab clinic, the


milon fi tness training for these rehab clients, and then the public gym.” It is by tapping into these revenue


streams that Walsh and Murphy believe they will buck the sector’s current trends.


the challenge Rather than competing with other gyms,


Walsh believes Medfit’s challenge is much broader. “There aren’t too many similar concepts in Ireland or the UK, so our challenge lies in marketing it and getting prospects to try it out. We’re aiming to challenge conventional wisdom around retention and penetration in the fitness industry, and so far our sales conversions are phenomenal in comparison to other health club models. “We also need to challenge the


fallacies that exist around fitness clubs as perceived by the general public, and we must meet the challenge of the pharmaceutical industry by promoting exercise as medicine.” Just a few challenges then! Yet Walsh and Murphy’s goals are currently “fl uid”:


“We want our model to be evolving; dynamic enough to adapt to any market and rigid enough to deliver consistency and understanding. We will measure our success by the improvements we make to our clients’ lives,” says Walsh. “Our vision is long-term and on a


INFO


Gym membership: 120/month (£103) Contracts: None (one month’s notice) Spinal assessment: 180 (£155) Series of six rehab sessions: 460 (£395)


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


continuum. We want to defi ne our product and market and, once we are confi dent of our model, we will identify new international markets to expand our brand.” It will be exciting to see if this optimistic pair achieve their goals.


healthclub@leisuremedia.com jo talbot


april 2011 © cybertrek 2011


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