San Diego, California, the site of IHRSA’s 37th Annual International Convention & Trade Show, has acquired its share of descriptive monikers over the years. It is, among other things, the “Sun Dog” and “the City in Motion.” Both fit well with what will be taking place March 21-24 at the San Diego Convention Center.
Sunny San Diego will, we’re sure, provide the perfect weather, and IHRSA and the city’s rich fitness community will, we guarantee, provide a wealth of rewarding activities.
An estimated 10,000 industry practitioners and enthusiasts—club owners, operators, developers, fitness professionals, investors, researchers, and media representatives—will converge on this singular event from some 80 countries around the world.
Whether you’re talking about the keynote speakers, the other presenters, or the associate members on the trade show floor—all are there to share insights, ideas, and fresh information about new trends, programs, products, services, club operations, and business models.
The more than 100 club owners, consultants, and other authorities who will be overseeing the educational sessions, assisted by some 350 exhibitors, will stimulate your thinking about how to hone your competitive skills—and advantage—to a razor’s sharpness. They’ll also challenge you to examine your business, your life, and, even, the world in a completely different way.
As always, the convention and trade show offers a unique opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and old friends, and embark on rewarding new relationships, as you toast the industry’s achievements, savor its perpetual vitality, and consider what lies ahead. One of the principal forums for doing so is the 13th Annual BASH for Augie’s Quest, which will take place on Friday, March 23. It may be a fete to raise funds to find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, but it’s also the industry’s most impressive and rewarding party of the year.
Though IHRSA 2018, itself, is the principal attraction, San Diego serves as the perfect setting.
“It’s easy to understand why San Diego is one of our favorite venues for the convention and trade show,” observes Joe Moore, the president and CEO of IHRSA. “It has great weather, the lure of the ocean, a long list of must-see attractions, great food, and a healthy fitness lifestyle.
“That’s why we continue to return to the city, and why so many people from throughout the world are so eager to join us there.”
San Diego is known for its beaches, parks, and balmy climate, and the convention center and adjacent hotels provide breathtaking views of the water. The historic Gaslamp Quarter, a lively downtown neighborhood celebrated for its nightlife, is located just a few blocks away. The city hosts countless clubs, bars, and cocktail lounges, and restaurants with tempting local, national, and international menus. San Diego craft beer is on tap, and wine lovers will definitely want to schedule a visit to the Vin de Syrah Wine Parlor, an underground, fairly-tale-like urban lounge.
Among the area’s many other attractions are museums, art galleries, Balboa Park, the site of the world-renowned San Diego Zoo, and Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres.
The wining, dining, and sightseeing may be spectacular, but the principal reason convention attendees come to San Diego is to learn, and IHRSA is, once again, prepared to deliver in formidable fashion—with fascinating keynote speakers; more than 150 educational sessions; and an always exciting trade show.
Though each of the keynote presenters is, in the truest sense, a thought leader with a unique perspective and singular focus, all endorse and relentlessly promote personal and professional progress.
On Wednesday, March 21, Lisa Bodell, the founder and CEO of futurethink, will jumpstart the first day’s activities with a provocatively titled address, “Kill the Company: End the Status Quo and Start an Innovation Revolution.” futurethink, a unique innovation research and training firm, creates training programs for major companies, including 3M, GE, and Johnson & Johnson. In her speech, Bodell will propose that everyone, potentially, is a change agent, and will describe some simple, yet dynamic exercises to “ignite” innovation. Her appearance is sponsored by MYZONE.
On Thursday, March 22, Leah Busque, who founded TaskRabbit, an on-demand service marketplace that was instrumental in launching the “sharing economy,” will speak on “Making Ideas Happen.” Busque started her career at IBM as a software engineer, working on Domino and Lotus Notes, but, then, in 2008, launched Task Rabbit, pioneering the concept of “service networking.” She raised $50 million in venture capital to grow the company, taking it international, and recently sold it to IKEA.
Her presentation is sponsored by Technogym.
Next, on Friday, March 23, Josh Linkner, an author, serial entrepreneur, investor, and jazz musician, will tackle the topic of “Harnessing Innovation: Turning Raw Ideas into Positive Results.” A talented guitarist, Linker spikes business savvy with the improvisational nature of jazz to offer a fresh take on unleashing creativity. The best businesses, he reports, have developed a systematic process for transforming their team’s imaginative notions into viable products and services—something he discovered while founding and growing firms that sold, collectively, for more than $200 million. His talk is sponsored by Matrix Fitness.
Finally, on Saturday, March 24, Isaac Lidsky, an attorney, author, entrepreneur, consultant, and successful CEO, will deliver the final IHRSA keynote address, “Eyes Wide Open.” Though born with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative disease of the retina that eventually took his sight, Lidsky graduated with degrees in math and computer science from Harvard University at the age of 19, and, subsequently, earned a law degree from Harvard. He cofounded an Internet startup, which sold for $230 million, and, most recently, transformed a money-losing $11-million concrete subcontracting business into a $150-million construction services firm.
Ironically, he explains, his blindness conferred a new “eyes-wide-open” perspective on life that he now shares with others. His appearance is made possible by Daxko.
While the four keynotes serve as the critical corners of the convention’s educational platform, there are also lectures, tutorials, roundtables, orientations, summits, receptions, forums, “Fast Track” continental breakfasts, and IGNITE!, a fast-paced format that gives presenters five minutes to make their case.
The 150-plus sessions encompass virtually every imaginable aspect of club operations, including Leadership; Programming; Exercise Classes; Supplier Seminars; Management and Operations; Membership Sales and Marketing; Customer Service and Retention; Research and Industry Trends; Fitness and Personal Training; Health Promotion and Wellness; and Technology and Social Media.
The titles and contents of individual events bespeak IHRSA’s determination to provide current, accurate, and actionable information that operators—whether novices or veterans—can put to use. You have, for example, topics such as “Building a Million-Dollar Training Business;” “The Technology of Connected Gym Experiences;” “The Importance of Data Collection in Today’s Successful Health Club”—and that’s just a sampling of the offerings on Day One of the convention.
All keynote sessions and select education sessions will be translated into Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. In addition, select keynote and education sessions will be translated into Chinese (Sponsored by ChinaFit) and Japanese.
Valuable information and insights of an entirely different sort are served up, en masse, by the extensive trade show, which will take place on Thursday, March 22, and Friday, March 23.
One of the world’s preeminent showcases for fitness products and services, the 2018 edition will feature the wares of more than 350 of the industry’s most respected and innovative manufacturers and suppliers. The venue not only provides an opportunity to examine and test-drive their latest offerings—many making their grand debut—but also to plumb the expertise of the firms’ representatives: some of the most knowledgeable sources of intel on industry developments, trends, and future prospects.
To access the most-up-to-date list by booth number, visit ihrsa.org/convention (click on Trade Show), consult the onsite Exhibitor Directory, or log on to the IHRSA 2018 App. This app, which can be utilized on your iPad, iPhone, or Android device, also can help you pinpoint and track sessions, speakers, and special programs in real time; navigate the convention center; and contact other attendees. To download it, go to ihrsa.org/convention-app. The IHRSA 2018 App is supported by Daxko and Matrix.
To obtain more information or to register for IHRSA 2018, log on to ihrsa.org/convention. Use the promo code FBC18 at checkout for free trade show only admission, or to save $100 off the full 4-day convention rate. This offer expires on March 16, 2018 and may not be combined with or applied to any other promotions, discounts, or previously purchased registrations.