SNEWS noticed right away that this year's Health and Fitness Business Expo had a fresh vibe. It felt better attended, it felt like there were a few more exhibitors and it felt more connected with Interbike.
That’s no coincidence. Though Nielsen Expositions hasn’t broken out HFB-specific numbers, the numbers across the board for Interbike and HFB are up. The crew worked hard to make sure HFB was well attended and opened up sections of the basement to make sure the HFB, the café and the downstairs Interbike attendees were more connected.
“Our attendance and traffic flow downstairs was greater than it had been in the past due to some of the efforts we put forth with in regards to putting registration down there,” said Justin Gottlieb, communications director for the show.
Numbers aren’t the only thing
Pat Hus, managing director for Interbike, said the numbers are up, but that’s not what he and his crew use to measure the success of the show.
“The way we measure the show to find if we hit the mark or not is the feedback from exhibitors and attendees,” Hus said. The feedback received “was a universal thumbs up. There was energy, there was excitement, people were engaged and people were doing business. All those things vital to exhibitors and attendees were taking place.”
Brian McHavic, senior account director for Nielsen, agreed.
“Our big thing every year is to make sure we bring the right buyers to the show and they’re seeing the people they need to see and talking with them,” McHavic said. “[Attendees] said 98 percent of their appointments were met and these appointments are the most important things to them.”
Still, people want to know those numbers so here they are: Approximately 25,500 people attended the show, up 10 percent from the 23,270 who attended in 2011. The store count was up five percent from 3,975 in 2011 to 4,150 this year. Attendance from buyers increased six percent, but Nielsen did not say the specific numbers.
Mark Burns of Power Systems said he felt the show was bigger this year.
“There are a lot of people here, a lot more vendors,” Burns said. This was good news for Pierre Dufresne of new exhibitor 3G Cardio.
“The show has been excellent for us,” he told SNEWS on the second day of the show, mostly because the high number of exhibitors has allowed the Arizona-based company (started by retailer AtHome Fitness) to get feedback from the industry on their new products.
Ron Johnson of Rumble Roller said he had a better show than 2011, but he wasn’t sure if it was because it was better attended or if it was because he had a better booth location.
“We are seeing a lot of the same customers as last year,” Johnson said, “but it’s still been a good show.”
Johnson also said the three-day format is too long for the number of attendees. He noted he was happy the 2013 HFB show would be a two-day format.
Plans for next year
There are a number of things to look forward to about HFB and Interbike next year, one of which is the new location at the Mandalay Bay. Nielsen has been negotiating with Mandalay Bay for the past two years to move the show to that location.
The bottom line, Hus said, was Nielsen needed to move Interbike, which has outgrown the Sands. Since the two are a package deal, HFB is going with it.
“HFB is an important part of the overall combined show effort but Interbike is the mothership,” Hus explained. Mandalay Bay had been courting the company’s business so Hus said they took them up on the offer for various reasons. “It’s a great facility and the people there get it. Their customer service is above and beyond.”
Plus, Mandalay Bay has a huge parking lot for demonstrations and easier loading and unloading access for exhibitors.
HFB, which will be moved to a two-day format held on Wednesday and Thursday, will have its own ballroom but the event organizers said they would continue efforts to move traffic to the ballroom, including hosting the ever-popular educational seminars and putting registration near HFB.
“We think will make it feel a little bit more intimate and more like its own show like it used to,” Hus said.
Another added bonus is that it’s closer to the airport, leading to smaller cab fares, and its closer to non-casino hotels like the Fairfield Inn and Residence Inn so costs might be defrayed for some attendees.
Stay tuned to Interbike’s website on more information as it becomes available. Registration should open in April, the crew said.
“Attendee experience is our priority we think we can deliver a better attendee experience at Mandalay Bay,” Hus said.