The Benefits of Hosting a Community Health Fair
On January 28, 2015, each of VIDA Fitness’ six locations in Washington, D.C. hosted a free health fair open to the public. The health fair featured fitness demonstrations on specific classes, complimentary fitness consultations, health screenings and nutritional counseling.
Here, Tara Sampson, the general manager of VIDA Fitness U Street, lists the benefits of hosting a health fair and provides tips for how other clubs could do so.
CS: Why did VIDA Fitness want to host a health fair? What are the benefits to the club?
TS: This health fair gave us a unique opportunity to partner with local organizations and businesses to expose our members to resources that can compound the benefits of exercise and help develop a more holistic and comprehensive approach to health. This event gave us a tangible reason to reach out to local organizations, an opportunity to show our members how seriously we take their overall health — and as we allowed our members to bring complimentary guests — it drove potential members into our facility.
CS: What are the benefits to the members?
TS: Our members were able to bring their friends to workout, sample products, receive a chair massage or try Pilates for the first time. This event allowed us to thank our members for their commitment to our community and provided a unique experience during their mid-week workout. However, underlying this event is our strong commitment to building a healthy community, and ensuring our members have access to resources that become an important part of their lifestyle, and giving our members tangible evidence of how seriously we take this endeavor.
CS: How did you choose the businesses you partnered with?
TS: We chose our partners for this event based on their alignment in promoting overall health and wellness. We also used this event to highlight many of our services offered to members that they potentially had never had exposure to. Our goal with this event was to continue to develop a community of like-minded and brand aligned organizations, while also showcasing the vast array of programming options our members have access to by being a part of our club.
CS: How did you market the event prior?
TS: We relied heavily on social media. We also issued a press release that was picked up and carried in several local blogs. Many blogs highlighted this event as a great way to spend a healthy night out in D.C., without spending money (which is almost impossible in this city). I love that this event further solidified VIDA’s image as an innovative company, committed to the community of D.C. and building healthy lifestyles for our members and beyond.
CS: What are some tips for hosting a health fair?
TS: Start early. January is a busy month for most businesses, and our partners needed plenty of lead time to get involved.
Be transparent with the vision of the event. Make sure you carefully select partners to support your goals and message, and make sure they have clear expectations of what makes for a successful table/demo, etc.
People love samples and experiences, so encourage your vendors to bring items to share or have creative ways of getting members involved with their product or service.
CS: What are challenges of hosting a health fair, and how can you overcome them?
TS: The initial challenges are like that of planning any event, you need to have team buy-in, time to plan, tools to communicate the value/importance of the event to members and partners and the resources to execute successfully. Almost all of these challenges can be overcome with enough time to plan, and with the right, enthusiastic leader driving the vision forward.
Some more subtle challenges can be overcoming the perception that fitness and health care are separate entities, and ensuring that the partners understand and believe in the powerful overlap and opportunities by banding together to proactively and preventatively manage health.
By Rachel Zabonick