Prepping for the 2008 edition of the Health & Fitness Business expo, management decided to take a hard look at the show instead of just rubber stamping the old format, dates and events. This year, there will be new hours, new events, a new layout and location for some events, and a general restructuring.
The eye on change was cast in a response to attendees’ and exhibitors’ comments, said Rich Kelly, marketing director for show owner Nielsen Sports Group, to help everybody get more out of the event, offer varied levels of participation in either the show or education, to tighten up the schedule, and to move it to a time that past surveys have shown was optimal.
"From our research, we hear that the show is vital to the industry, but spending time away from their businesses can be challenging for retailers and manufacturers in both time and expense,” Kelly said. “Our new two-day schedule allows everyone to get the same amount of business done at HFB and get back to work sooner, and still take advantage of the many educational and networking opportunities we will offer and introduce while they are in Denver."
What can you expect?
- Show dates and hours – This year the show is two days instead of spread over three; however, the expo’s hours are nearly the same. The trade show will be open on Thursday, July 17, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will also run a full day on Friday, July 18, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Traditionally, the show has run only six hours on Thursday, a full day on Friday and held onto a four-hour schedule on Saturday -- although by Saturday, it was clear many retailers had left and the show floor became more for exhibitors than attendees. Management said it hopes the schedule will allow everybody to do the business they need without wasting time or money. Show hours will total 16 compared to 18 in the past.
- Education and networking – The late morning start on Thursday had in the past allowed for a keynote address and the SNEWS® Fitness Forum as well as a lunch. This year, the keynote will be dropped completely, while the popular SNEWS® Forum will be moved to Friday morning to a venue on the show floor to allow attendees to more easily move from one to the other. Other demos will also take place in that venue. Stay tuned for details about the fourth SNEWS® Fitness Forum, its topic and participants. As usual, we’ll tap into a pressing topic and be sure to offer great discussion. It is expected to start at 9 a.m., an hour before the show opens.
"Attendees are continually torn between being at a seminar or walking the floor of the expo,” Kelly said. “By holding the educational sessions on the show floor itself, we hope to make it easy for everyone to take advantage of all that HFB has to offer them."
- New event: Morning VIP Tour – On the first morning, July 17, the show will offer what it is calling “VIP Tours” of the show before it officially opens, an idea developed after discussion with the SNEWS® team about ways to grow relationships between retailers and vendors. Select retail buyers and key personnel will be given a pre-designated tour of exhibitors’ booths so they can experience short, special presentations from top management to get a personal look at what’s new. The event promises to be a good exchange and forge personal connections between those that count -- with coffee and a few breakfast munchies offered to participants. Stay tuned for details about how to participate.
- New event: Industry luncheon – In another step toward using the show gathering to foster more intimate industry discussion, the show will launch a first-day Industry Luncheon to be led by SNEWS® editor-in-chief Therese Iknoian, who will discuss the current state of the industry and other trends before expecting to break the group into smaller roundtable discussions of select topics, then coming back together to share information. The event will be offered on a first-come basis yet to be determined. A free box lunch will be provided. Keep reading your SNEWS® and show emails for details about the new event.
- Early morning workout – Launched last year but admittedly less than well-promoted, this year the show will again open the floor on Friday morning for early morning workouts – this year from 7-8 a.m.
- Golf Scramble -- SNEWS®, of course, would like to get the word out that it is now planning its third-annual SNEWS® Golf Scramble. As usual, it will be the afternoon of July 16, the day before the show opens. For details about special appearances, registration and contact, keep an eye on the pages of SNEWS®.
That’s just a quick round-up of a few events. SNEWS® will again host the “Community Hub” center-floor so attendees will have a place to check email, hang out, put up their feet, network, swap news and stories, and drop in for a cup of coffee. More events in the Hub are also planned and will be announced soon.
Registration doesn’t open until mid-March, but news can be found at www.healthandfitnessbiz.com as it is finalized. SNEWS® will run occasional stories updating you with the information you need to plan your travel and schedule.
SNEWS® View: We think the change to two days is a positive one. Compacting show hours while offering more choices for education, tours, networking and a lunch or coffee should be a good way to help folks get their business done, have some fun and then get back to work.