Oxygen Blog

MFORUM Conference in Kazakhstan and Russia

 

Ray Algar below a large presentation slide in Russian that tranlslates as a period of scarcity, a period of abundance, a period of context

Ray Algar discussing the fitness industry eco-system during MFORUM Moscow 2017

Last week I took part in the MFORUM event in Kazakhstan and Russia. This was the third year the event has been held in Russia and the first time in Kazakhstan. The one-day event involves four international speakers who each deliver a 90-minute talk. My talk was titled: ‘The emergence of boutique fitness. How do these new specialist brands compete and how should your business respond?’ Ninety minutes is a long time for an audience to listen whilst my talk is being simultaneously translated so I decided to chunk in into three distinct parts. So part one discussed changes in the global fitness marketplace, next we investigated the business of boutique fitness and how they compete, while the final part discussed the implications for the fitness industry in Russia and Kazakhstan.

Ray Algar discusses a presentation slide showing hundreds of fitness studios in New York

Ray Algar discussing the ClassPass business model and future impact for the Russian industry.

Ninety minutes is a long time for an audience to listen whilst my talk is being simultaneously translated so I decided to chunk in into three distinct parts. So part one discussed changes in the global fitness marketplace, next we invested the business of boutique fitness and how they compete, while the final part discussed the implications for the fitness industry in Russia and Kazakhstan.

The four speakers from MFORUM event in Moscow 2017 - Colin Milner, Trevor Brennan, Ray Algar and Cedric Betis

From the left: Colin Milner, Trevor Brennan, Ray Algar and Cedric Betis

I learnt much from the other three speakers who had travelled from Canada, Dubai and Poland. Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council of Active Ageing was discussing how the fitness industry should be preparing for an ageing population. This is the subject of my forthcoming report so a highly relevant talk for me. Cedric Betis the Managing Director of Talise Group/Jumeirah Group was discussing how seven-star service standards from the hotel industry could be applied to elevate the fitness experience. Trevor Brennan the Chief Executive Officer at Jatomi Fitness Group was discussing how club brands that are positioned in the mid-market can upgrade the current experience to ensure they remain an attractive option for consumers. I really liked Trevor’s direct and forthright message arguing that what operators were currently providing now was probably not good enough making a plea to the audience of owners and managers to improve and upgrade the experience.

Personally, I found this visit to Kazakhstan and Russia very rewarding as it reinforced an idea of focusing my efforts more on helping fitness operators in emerging markets.