The ceilings were higher. The lighting was better. The vibe was cozier.
This year's Health and Fitness Expo, held concurrently with Interbike, moved to the Mandalay Bay from its previous home at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas without many growing pains.
Numbers for this year's shows were only slightly down from last year — a positive considering the venue and format shift, both of which organizers called a welcome change.
Show organizers said that for 2013, there were about 90 exhibitors representing 106 total brands at HFB. Last year there were 91 exhibitors representing 110 brands. This year the show moved from a three-day to a two-day format and was held in a separate ballroom not connected to the Interbike floor.
“We weren’t too far off compared to what we’ve done in previous years, even though the space was smaller,” said Brian McKavic, senior account executive with Emerald Expo, parent company to Interbike and Health and Fitness Business Expo.
The company doesn’t break down Interbike and Health and Fitness Business attendance, but combined the two events drew approximately 25,000 people, versus 25,500 last year.
There were a lot of positives exhibitors saw, including easier loading and unloading, and smoother set-up. Plus the environment was more enjoyable, many agreed.
“Even though it was a ballroom for HFB it seemed bigger in some sense because the ceilings were higher,” McKavic said. The space at the Sands “used to be a parking garage, so the ceilings were only 13 feet. This year the ceilings were 30 feet and there was more lighting. I think — in my experience talking with exhibitors — they had a better overall experience.”
“It’s smaller, but it’s cozy,” said Bill Miller of Vectra.
Some exhibitor and attendee complaints included being secluded from Interbike and not having any food options in the ballroom itself as they had in the basement of the Sands.
While the 2014 event, which will be held Sept. 10-11, 2014, will have the same blueprint, McKavic said there will be more food options for HFB attendees closer to the show floor, including a new food court that was under construction this year.
“We’re working to try to have some things closer to the hall,” McKavic said. But overall, he added this year “was a much better experience than in years past."