SNEWS fitness readers agree: Merging Health & Fitness Business with Interbike best option

Integrating the Health & Fitness Business Expo with the Interbike show has good support among SNEWS® readers who responded to a short survey about the show.
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Integrating the Health & Fitness Business Expo with the Interbike show has good support among SNEWS® readers who responded to a short survey about the show.

With a decision on the horizon from Health & Fitness Business Expo management about the show’s future, SNEWS® surveyed its readers about the options discussed by the HFB team on an Oct. 29, 2009, conference call with more than 20 manufacturer representatives.

On the call, the HFB team presented alternatives for the HFB show after discussing the accelerated downturn the last two years in both exhibitors and attendance – a slide that began in 2005, per show management. Click here to see an Oct. 30, 2009, SNEWS story about the conference call presentation, “HFB show team notes future co-location with Interbike top choice.”

Immediately after this year’s HFB show, SNEWS did a broader survey. Although some results are similar to this one, in that earlier survey we also asked about other product categories and alternative show concepts. Click here to read those responses in a Sept. 25, 2009, SNEWS story.

In the current survey, where we focused only on upcoming show decisions, we found the following:

Type of show

A majority of responding SNEWS readers, of whom 60 percent were retailers who have attended the show, chose merging with another show as the top choice when asked to choose between a hotel-based fitness-centric conference/expo and a merger with another show. Two-thirds chose merger, while 25 percent chose a hotel-based show. A meager 8 percent said it didn’t matter since they wouldn’t come.

Merger

When asked to be more specific about the show with which to merge [presenting the two choices mentioned by the HFB management team of Outdoor Retailer (early August in Salt Lake City) and Interbike (late September in Las Vegas) hspace="5" height="295" border="1" align="right" width="300" vspace="5" alt="" src="http://www.snewsnet.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/09_Nov_SNEWS_HFB_MergerChartSM.jpg"], 75 percent chose Interbike, none chose Outdoor Retailer, while 25 percent chose “other.” Of those who chose "other," a few told us what they meant in optional comments: We heard mention of Club Industry, IHRSA, "another commercial fitness show," and a spa/hot tub show.

Wrote one, “Anything that gets us out of the heavy summer travel season.” Another commented that the timing of Interbike wasn’t ideal “but there is a tremendous upside to joining with a show that already has enthusiasm and a dealer base that supports the show.”

Location

If HFB were to merge with a pre-existing show such as Outdoor Retailer or Interbike that is already owned by the same company that owns and operates the HFB show (Nielsen Business Media), there may not be a choice in location. Nevertheless, we presented a list of nine cities that the HFB team said it had investigated or had scored well in past SNEWS surveys. We also included “rotation” and “other.” (More than one choice was allowed.)

Las Vegas won hands-down, with 75 percent saying it was the top choice. Both Chicago and “rotate every 1-2 years” came up second but with only a third of the votes cast. San Diego was a hair behind that with 25 percent of votes. Also gaining a smattering of votes were Phoenix, Nashville and Dallas. Only a couple of respondents offered comments, including one who begged for something in the middle of the country and another who asked for the East coast and, then, rotation.

Write-in responses on another question suggested that although some have strong feelings about moving to Las Vegas, some have potent reactions against Las Vegas: “ We will not attend any show in that city,” wrote one.

Show content

We listed a number of choices of what the top needs of attendees and exhibitors were, from education and seminars, workouts and parties, to networking and equipment previews.

Without question, every last respondent selected “test/preview new equipment” as a must at any show. Nearly all said they wanted to meet with current vendors, and 75 percent said they wanted to find new vendors. (By default, the manufacturer respondents likely substituted the word “customer” for “vendor” since we forgot to note that alternative.)

Also finding strong support was “networking with industry peers,” with 75 percent also choosing that as a top need. Also scoring moderate positive response was equipment training, educational seminars and workshops on fitness trends, and educational seminars on business topics.

Overall entertainment, however, did not score well, including “networking happy hour,” “industry party,” and “entertainment possibilities in the city.” Not one respondent voted for workouts, no matter what time of day.



Other comments


A few took the time to write in other thoughts:

>> “We need the suppliers to come back. August was a waste of my time and money.”

>> “The show is the only opportunity my company gets to visit, meet and network within our industry. We need to keep this show alive!”

>> “Let’s all support the new format and find a way to expand the show into something that appeals to all retailers for fitness/wellness products. We cannot ignore the sporting goods and mass markets any longer!”

SNEWS has been told by show management at HFB/Nielsen Business Media that a decision about the 2010 show and venue is expected in November.

--Therese Iknoian

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