Group X: Attending a Fitness Convention
Why Should You Go?
The biggest benefit that fitness conventions offer to all of us in the industry is the opportunity to see new things. Essentially, if approached in the right way, a good fitness convention can be a great wake-up call for what we do every day. We might not be bored with the programming that we offer, think our facilities are tired, or that our technology is outdated — but our members certainly could be. Finding new and exciting programs, technology solutions and equipment to help spice up their experience at the club can help members re-boot their routine and potentially keep them from burning out and moving on.
Getting Support to Attend
Convincing the powers that be that there is value in sending key employees to the convention can often be challenging. Doing some upfront research and preparation as to who is presenting and what areas of innovation you are looking to bring to your club will help them see the benefit of sending a representative of their business. It’s important to consider the cost of bringing one new program quarterly to your club and the logistics of working on that one-off project, whereas, at a convention you can come back with four new programs that you have seen in action, and judge the collective industry enthusiasm behind it. You also can get some pretty nice deals on equipment at these type of conventions and re-educate yourself on industry standards. That said, the best strategy here is to keep the costs low by planning ahead and by being strategic and focused as to what you want to see while there. Those factors in mind, your attendance will be seen as part of your job responsibilities and not just a perk.
Conventions are a great way to share best practices, learn about things to avoid, and hear about the success and failures of various programs. So it’s not just what you see being presented on the floor — it’s whom you see it with and whom you meet with in between. It’s great to even find who else might be offering certain programs because you may want to hear their experience, rather than the presenter, because they may have practical, in-club experience that is relevant to how you operate on a daily basis. The truth is, even though you might view another gym as a competitor, having an open dialogue outside of your own business can be incredibly helpful in saving time and money with experimentation of programs and equipment. Stay tuned for my next blog post which will provide tips on what to avoid at a convention, how to spot a real trend and a round-up of what to expect at some of the most prominent conventions.
Donna Cyrus is the senior vice president of programming for Crunch Fitness.