If you want to check out the latest products and services, you can do that at the Club Industry Show, Oct. 9-11 at the Hilton Chicago. Our exhibit hall is a great place to have one-on-one conversations with vendors and service providers. Our exhibit hall isn’t flashy, but then again, flash isn’t what the Club Industry Show is all about.
What it is all about is facilitating your ability to make connections—connections to ideas, knowledge, experts, peers and vendors, all with the goal of helping you build a better business and move your career forward.
Starting in 2014, we at Club Industry began looking at how to serve you better. We consulted with health club CEOs, general managers, directors and personal trainers as well as industry consultants and vendors to find out what they (as surrogates for all of you) need and how we could deliver that at the Club Industry Show.
Those discussions led us to change the focus of the Club Industry Show starting in 2016 (as explained in this blog). We took the event from one that focused on the exhibit hall with education sessions on the side to one that instead focused on the conference and networking events with an exhibit hall on the side. What we heard was that Club Industry’s expertise in covering the news and trends through out digital site and the speakers we brought to our show were our strengths. And you lead with your strengths.
People told us that what they loved about the Club Industry Show was that each year they came, it felt like "coming home." It was an intimate event where people could meet up with old friends and where they could meet new friends from all corners of the industry— commercial clubs, studios, nonprofits, university rec centers, parks and rec facilities, medical wellness facilities and military facilities.
Back then, we determined we would create what we called a university meets “Cheers” experience, a place you could go year after year to participate in the most beneficial education and networking opportunities you could find so you wpuld have the tools and resources you needed to be successful. We focused even more deeply on our conference program, bringing in people from the industry as track chairs to help us put together comprehensive tracks with quality sessions and bring in the best people they knew to speak to topics that they felt were important.
At that same time, we saw the growth of fitness integration with the medical community and the opportunity that it presented to the fitness industry, so we initially added a Wellness track to our education program. This year, we refocused and renamed the one-day track to the Healthcare & Fitness Integration Track and we added a two-day Healthcare & Fitness Integration Summit that takes the event to a new realm. It was developed in large part due to the urging of the Summit's lead sponsor, ABC Financial. The Summit, which was developed in conjunction with an advisory board made up of fitness industry people and physicians, includes the healthcare community with presentations not just by club operators but also by physicians. The presentations share how to take advantage of partnership opportunities between the two industries. And we added a networking event just for this group.
Vendors agreed with the focus on education, and many of them possess expertise that they were keen to share. So as spme sponsors have moved away from large booth spaces, they have moved toward being a part of the education program through their sponsorships—and some through offering non-promotional education sessions.
Networking is one of the main reasons that people attend an in-person event, but we were not fully taking advantage of the in-person experience. So in addition to the Welcome Reception that had occurred since the first Club Industry Show, we added four networking events: a Networking Nightcap, a Community Breakfast, a Trade Show Floor Happy Hour and, last year, a Sisterhood Stride. And this year, Cigna is sponsoring a new health improvement tour. (Find out more about all of these events by going here.) These are prime opportunities to get to know others in the industry who can be resources to you as you can be for them.
Four years after implementing many of these changes, I feel we have delivered on much of our promise to create an intimate and welcoming event that connects and educates today’s leaders with industry experts and to develop tomorrow’s leaders and industry experts. I hope you agree.
If you haven't been to the Club Industry Show in a while, I invite you to come this year. You can still register by going here.
At this year’s Club Community Breakfast and keynote address at 8 a.m. on Oct. 10, we will make an announcement that will help us in our mission to reach more people in the fitness industry with our quality education and networking event. Be there to hear the announcement.