These four remarkable days might just transform your club … and your life!
“Surround yourself with greatness.”
“Supercharge your growth.”
Ambitious, intelligent, and talented businesspeople instinctively seize on such maxims, and constantly seek out opportunities to pursue the grand goals that they pose.
For those in the health and fitness club industry, there’s no better place to do so than at IHRSA’s annual convention and trade show.
This year’s event, IHRSA’s 38th Annual International Convention & Trade Show, taking place next month, March 13-16, in San Diego, California, is so rich with possibilities that it seemed to demand two—rather than a single—theme.
Therefore: “Surround yourself with greatness,” and “Supercharge your growth.”
A “fitness ecosystem”
The city, the venue, the presenters, the educational sessions, the numerous social events, the endless networking, the trade show treasures, the energetic buying and selling, the doing of deals—everything about IHRSA 2019 is designed to entice, inform, inspire, and improve … the world’s clubs and the people responsible for them.
Some 13,000 industry professionals, followers, and fans—club owners, operators, fitness practitioners, investors, researchers, and members of the media—are expected to converge on San Diego to take part.
The setting seems to have been designed for the occasion.
“This city has it all,” attests Joe Moore, the president and CEO of IHRSA. “Great weather, proximity to the Pacific Ocean, a long list of unforgettable, family-friendly attractions, and a wealth of fine restaurants that will satisfy nearly any palette. … But, most importantly,” Moore is quick to add, “it’s a healthy environment—one that encourages and promotes an active and productive lifestyle.”
It’s not without reason that the region is sometimes referred to as Southern California’s “fitness ecosystem.” It’s the home of the American Council on Exercise (ACE); the IDEA Health & Fitness Association (IDEA); countless IHRSA associate member companies; and a number of international club chains.
“For these and many other reasons, IHRSA returns to San Diego regularly,” explains Moore. “And, as always, thousands of industry leaders from throughout the world are looking forward to joining us there again this year.”
The setting and the city’s tantalizing, visitor-friendly accessories are, themselves, clearly worth a visit, but the focus, for IHRSA 2019 attendees, is the incomparable opportunity the event provides to learn—about the latest and most effective club management practices … and about the newest and most exciting products and services offered by the industry’s suppliers.
In all, the convention will present more than 140 education sessions in a variety of engaging and instructive formats—orientations, keynote addresses, lectures, tutorials, roundtable discussions, summits, forums, and receptions. There also will be “Fast Track” continental breakfasts, and IGNITE! sessions, which, utilizing a fast-paced format, give presenters just five minutes each to expound on their favorite topic.
Brand-new, this year, are Fireside Chats—intimate, interactive, problem-solving sessions during which industry leaders will examine the most pressing issues faced today by club owners and operators. The seating for this event will be limited.
For attendees’ convenience, the offerings have been organized into a series of specific tracks. The categories are Equipment; Facilities; Fitness Programming; Leadership; Legal; Member Retention; Personal Training; Sales and Marketing; Staffing; Strategy and Finance; Supplier Seminars; Technology; and Wellness and Community Programming.
The very first hour of the first day of the convention, on March 13, provides a vivid, if sobering, sense of the magnitude of the educational options. The titles being delved into, during the one hour, will include “The Challenge of Change;” “This is a Service Business—Are You Serving?”; “From Club Door to Gym Floor: Blueprint to Increase Personal Training Revenue;” “The Next Generation Sale Process;” “The 5 Drivers of Competitive Advantage for Health Club Business Models;” and “Chatbots, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality: Essentials for Your Business!”
Also offering assistance is the IHRSA 2019 App, sponsored by Intenza Fitness, which allows users to track sessions, speakers, and special programs in real time; learn about last-minute schedule changes; navigate the convention center, including the trade show floor; and connect and keep in touch with other attendees. The IHRSA App can be downloaded to iPads, iPhones, or Android devices at Google Play or the Apple Store.
The convention makes excellent use of scores of experts and authorities, representing dozens of disciplines, both from within and outside the industry. All share in the meeting’s success, but, each year, the spotlight falls, nearly by definition, on the keynote speakers.
This year, attendees will have the chance to listen to and learn from them, one by one, day after day.
On March 13, Chris Riddell, a futurist, trend-spotter, and digital technology pro, will discuss “Future Customer 2020,” describing what the customer of tomorrow will be like and will expect from fitness-service providers. He’ll also explain, among other things why “good” is no longer “good enough,” and propose that, if companies are to continue to thrive, they’ll need to develop a deeper understanding of their customers, and plan for “the day after tomorrow.” His presentation is sponsored by Myzone.
On March 14, Mel Robbins, a renowned authority on leadership and life change, will tackle the topic of “The 5 Second Rule: Achieve Breakthrough Performance in Your Career & Life.” Robbins is, herself, a case study in personal transformation, having been an award-winning television commentator, best-selling author, public speaker, and, in her capacity as entrepreneur, cofounder of Inspire52, an inspirational news and entertainment website. Her book, The 5 Second Rule, has helped individuals, teams, and businesses around the world change for the better. Robbins’ appearance is sponsored by Technogym.
On March 15, Rohit Bharagava, a leading expert in the areas of marketing, innovation, and trends, will advise his audience on how to be “More Trusted in a Skeptical World.” Bharagava, an author, entrepreneur, brand strategist, and the founder of the Non-Obvious Company—a consultancy that helps organizations identify and capitalize on “non-obvious” opportunities—will share the five secrets of building trust among employees and customers, and describe what it takes to be considered authentic in a doubting society. His address is sponsored by Matrix Fitness.
And, finally, on March 16, the final day of the convention, Denise Lee Yohn, the go-to source that national media regularly turn to for brand-leadership expertise, will speak on “The Fusion Formula: Brand + Culture = Results.” A respected consultant, sought-after speaker, and the author of FUSION, What Great Brands Do, she’s a regular contributor to publications such as Forbes and The Harvard Business Review. “Your brand is not what you say,” she says. “It’s what you do, and how you do it.” And a great brand, she contends, requires a seamless brand/culture synergy. Her speech is sponsored by Gympass.
The “Grand Bazaar”
What the convention achieves in terms of great new ideas and insights, the trade show component of IHRSA 2019 accomplishes—in spades—in terms of great new products and services.
The 525,700-square-foot exhibit hall will be open on March 14, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on March 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., allowing attendees and visitors to study and sample the wares of both the industry’s most venerable suppliers and many of its newest and most original brands. Life Fitness, Precor, Inc., Les Mills—all of the pioneers of health and fitness will be there. And so, too, will first-timers such as Yombu, The Yoak, and Gleantap.
Many will be introducing brand-new offerings for the very first time.
In all, an estimated 400 companies will be demonstrating what they can do—and, more importantly, what they can do for clubs—in 30 different product categories, ranging from aquatic/pool suppliers to youth fitness.
Trade show floor explorers also will be able to take in exciting live demos, and confer at length with the exhibitors’ representatives, themselves invaluable sources of industry info, insights, and wisdom.
To get each demanding day off to a dynamic start, a number of companies—including Balanced Body, JumpSport, Les Mills International, Merrithew, STRONG by Zumba, and WaterRower—will offer early morning workouts.
The vibrant social aspect of IHRSA 2019 barely requires describing since it happens everywhere, virtually all of the time. It happens in conference rooms, before, during, and after sessions; in elevators and hallways; in the convention center’s cafes and restaurants; at team meetings and corporate parties; in hotel rooms and at off-site appointments; during the meet-and-greets with keynote speakers ….
But there are several opportunities that warrant extra attention. Among them, a host of networking events; a number of special receptions; and the 14th Annual BASH for Augie’s Quest.
The grand Opening Reception takes place on March 13, and will be followed, on March 14, by the Canadian VIP Reception, the Scandinavian Networking Reception, and Planet IHRSA: The International Attendee Reception.
The “Space Bash,” the 2019 edition of the BASH, raises funds for Augie’s Quest, which underwrites research to find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. A star-studded celebration, it’s the closest thing the fitness industry has to an inclusive international party, and offers guests a cocktail reception, a silent auction, entertainment, fine dining, and an awards ceremony.
It will be hosted, this year, by Loretta Bates, an international fitness presenter and Zumba education specialist.
The Quest was founded by industry pioneer Augie Nieto, an ALS patient, and his wife, Lynne.
“This city has it all,” noted Moore.
And now that IHRSA’s 38th Annual International Convention & Trade Show is in town—it really does!
Log on to ihrsa.org/convention to learn more and to register.