HF Biz Expo surveys show-goers to decide future direction

After tabulating results of an independent survey of last summer's Health & Fitness Business Expo & Conference attendees and exhibitors, show owner VNU has decided to keep the 2004 show in Denver, despite a two-year renovation and construction of the convention center, rather than make a temporary move to Salt Lake City, Utah, considered less desirable by respondents.
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After tabulating results of an independent survey of last summer's Health & Fitness Business Expo & Conference attendees and exhibitors, show owner VNU has decided to keep the 2004 show in Denver, despite a two-year renovation and construction of the convention center, rather than make a temporary move to Salt Lake City, Utah, considered less desirable by respondents.

In the survey, 82 percent of respondents said they would attend or exhibit in Salt Lake City for 2004 and 2005, even though it wasn't considered most desirable. Commented one respondent: "I don't like SLC but would attend regardless of the location." Several respondents said Las Vegas, Nev., would be a better location overall to keep costs down.

"Each year, after the event, we have a third-party research firm conduct attendee and exhibitor surveys," said Lance Camisasca, show director. "These surveys are conducted for various reasons each year. For example, some questions will probe attendees and exhibitors about the show's performance, whether it was purposeful or the like. We also need to know each year whether the show's timing and location are up to the segment's needs. We need to know if North America's best specialty, multi-sport and mass-merchant retail buyers and affiliates are happy with an event in early August and whether or not Denver is satisfying everyone's needs."

In other reported findings:

  • Slightly more than a third (35 percent) of retailer attendees said the conferences are important (31 percent) or that they wouldn't come without them (4 percent). While this isn't a large number, management said, it does show the importance of the conferences themselves but they are not the main draw for the show. Said one: "We come for product review and planning only."
  • 95 percent of respondents were either very satisfied (54 percent) or somewhat satisfied (41 percent) with their 2002 show experience, up six points from last year's survey. There was almost no difference in answers between the attendees and exhibitors. Commented one: "Need more booths and exhibitors."
  • 87 percent of retailers said their business needs were completely satisfied (30 percent) or mostly satisfied (57 percent) by the 2002 show. When the retailers were prompted at the end of the survey for any additional comments about satisfaction, no single gripe surfaced to show why they wouldn't be completely satisfied.
  • 96 percent of exhibitors were either very satisfied (50 percent) or somewhat satisfied (46 percent) with the quality of retail buyers they met. While the exhibitors were overwhelmingly satisfied with the quality of retail buyers they met at the show, they weren't quite as satisfied with the quantity. Slightly more than three-quarters (78 percent) of exhibitors said they were very satisfied (21 percent) or somewhat satisfied (57 percent) with the quantity of buyers.

The Health & Fitness Business 2002 Retailer Attendee and Exhibitor surveys were conducted on behalf of VNU Expositions Inc. by International Cycle Works Inc. The survey, conducted via the Internet, sent email invitations to respond to 414 usable email addresses (297 retailers and 117 exhibitors) from Nov. 8-14. A reminder email was sent on Nov. 20 to those who had not responded. Additional surveys were faxed to those attendees and exhibitors with no e-mail addresses. 122 valid responses (94 retailers and 28 exhibitors) were received by Dec. 9, therefore having an overall margin of error of +/- 7.9 percent.

Click here to view complete survey details and results.

For more information about the 2003 show, Aug. 7-9, go to www.healthandfitnessbiz.com.

SNEWS View: We too think the Denver location is a great one for summer and central enough for attendees nationally to get to reasonably well, although it is certainly pricier than, say, Las Vegas. Having attended shows in Salt Lake City (in fact, VNU's Outdoor Retailer show twice a year), we really don't think the Health & Fitness crowd would like it there. Not enough "fun" to be had, too strict with alcohol and beer-drinking policies (and we fitness folk do like to party a bit too), and the town basically rolls up the sidewalks in the evenings. Really, Denver is better. Now, about the show itself: We have always said and we will continue to say that it is a super little show, emphasis both on "super" and "little." Super because it is fitness-centric and allows specialty dealers to focus on their needs alone rather than dive past sandals, pool toys or other unneeded stuff. Little? Yup, it does need to grow to keep attracting the retailers back AND to attract new ones. We know our share of retailers who don't attend, choosing to head to IHRSA's international show in the early spring instead. Why? Partly because of its size and therefore selection, but also because many retailers often also deal in light commercial and commercial equipment and they find they can better do all their business there. Perhaps the message here is for Denver show management to send a message to exhibitors asking them to bring in a couple of pieces of commercial equipment, then make sure attendees and potential attendees know it will be there. We would hate to see this show bite the dust, so whatever it can take to grow it will help the fitness industry have an annual meeting spot that's not only about business, but also about education and networking.

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