Club Insider

Recapping SIBEC 2024

Plus a Bonus: Planning Your Fall FitFest

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Frank GuengerichGuengerich

This year's summer 2024 SIBEC Event was on point! One of the best events of this type I've ever attended and certainly the best attendance from both Suppliers and Buyers. The location was fantastic, the Langham Huntington Resort, in Pasadena, California. Robert Shannon and his team from SIBEC did a great job organizing and coordinating the event. The logistics and scheduling of this sort of event is no small feat, but they did it flawlessly. These are my main takeaways:

Spent valuable time with colleagues.

There are too many to name them all, but some of my good friends and colleagues that I was able to say "Hi" to and spend time with were: Jeff Skeen (ReEnvision), Christina Cabrera (LaQunita Resort and Spa), Lynne Devaney (Health and Fitness Association), Danny Dulkin (Arch Amenities Group), John Ruyak (Corporate Fitness Works), Jeff Jeran (Power Wellness) and Sheldon McBee (Universal Athletic Club), among others.

One of the evening highlights was when we went to the Rose Bowl and had dinner on the field! Some brave attendees attempted field goals and played ball. Fun stuff.

Learning from the best.

The supplier/product lineup was robust, to say the least. Virtually every product I wanted to get an update on or learn more about attended the event. Some of the highlights for me were:

  • TRUE: Ralph Ruggiero - The expanded product list is impressive. They have a very diverse product list that delivers almost every piece of equipment needed. I was very impressed with both the strength and cardio lines.
  • Nustep: Linda Wojciechowicz and Kristi Allen - They continue to innovate and offer very specialized equipment that is unmatched.
  • Theralight: Valerie Krossin - Such an impressive product line that has great science backing the effectiveness of the product.
  • Next Wellness: Mark Thomas and Ed Navan – This recovery company has one of the best product lines to include red light, cyro therapy and a host of other items that are focused on recovery.
  • Rebecca Windsor and Associates: Becky Allsup - This group provides "turn-key" support with FF&E packages. If you need it, they probably have it or can get it.
  • Digilock: Carolee Mckanna - They just came out with a new lock that is simple, inexpensive and easy to use.
  • American Barbell: Hillis Lake and Clay Whittaker - I've had the opportunity to visit their product development warehouse with my REX2 colleague / peer group, and these folks make great stuff!
  • Aldous & Associates: Tyler Rice - Late-stage collections group that does it the right way. Professional, tactful yet thorough.
  • Club Automation/Daxko: Rudy Nieto and Tom Antosik - My favorite software solutions group. Always working to make the product better.

Final Take-Aways.

As health and wellness professionals, it's vital that we stay up-to-date with current equipment, products and trends. The SIBEC event does that very thing, and I've found it to be invaluable. I learned so much in such a short period of time because we had so many 20-minute "face-to-face" meetings set up for us. I met in person with 25 suppliers. And, then, to be able to sit down for breakfast, lunch and dinner with colleagues and discuss their business and mine was so helpful.

Next year's event will be in May in Orlando, Florida, and I highly recommend that you attend. I will be!

BONUS: Planning Your Fall FitFest

As health club operators, we all know the Fall is the most challenging time for driving revenue and new membership sales. For this reason, I have learned that we must create energy and events for our clubs to promote to the public and for our members. For this reason, I've always organized a Fall FitFest. The purpose of this event is to be the center piece of your external marketing campaign and to also drive referrals and retention.

Keys to Success:

  1. 1. Planning - Get at least three months ahead of this event so you have plenty of time to organize and promote it. I suggest you hold it on a Saturday or Sunday for two hours, 9 AM - 11 AM.
  2. 2. Sponsorship and Community Involvement - Local sponsorship can easily be sold to your members who own businesses. One feature sponsor and a handful of event sponsors will cover all your costs and allow you to assess a "facility use fee" to hold the event, thus making the event profitable. Get local high school varsity coaches involved by holding clinics for the kids. These coaches are like rocks starts to young kids. Basketball, soccer, lacrosse, football, baseball, softball, volleyball. For adults, LIIT activities and simple fitness challenges are perfect. If you can afford it, get a celebrity trainer or instructor to come teach a class for adults. Having a vendor area in the middle of the action is important to create energy.
  3. 3. Kids and Adults - Have events and activities for kids and adults. Elementary/middle school age is ideal. Gear all classes, activities and events for beginners / intermediate skill and fitness level. The theme should be simple... "Get Moving."
  4. 4. Membership Campaign - Start a membership promotion 30 days prior to the event to get excitement and interest in the event. The hidden golden nugget of this event is that, if done right, you will drive new membership sales.

Check out the HWLS Ad on Page #13.

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