Congratulations! You just registered to go to your first fitness conference… now what?
Typically, these expos are filled with exercise gadgets, nutrition vendors, and everything under the sun that you might need for your studio or business – but don’t be overwhelmed. Before you jet set to your destination, take a look at these five tips to make the most of your next conference.
Divide and conquer
Whether you opened your business with a spouse, a friend, or by yourself, it’s smart to bring someone along for the ride. Even if you choose to take on the expansive expo halls together, you’ll be able to cover more ground and have a second set of eyes and ears to make sure you can take in as much as possible. This could also mean bringing managers or even some of your staff along with you to encourage them to learn more about the ‘business’ side of the industry.
Map it out
Going to a multi-day conference is just like heading to a theme park or music festival – they can come with a certain level of sensory overload. There are guest speakers, vendors, gadgets, snacks, and more. The catch? You only have a few days (with sometimes limited hours) to see it all.
Most conferences will provide a list of vendors and special guests beforehand – try and highlight the main attractions that are most important to you. Once you arrive, you’ll be given a map and an agenda. From there, you can establish a plan of action to maximize your time.
“Net-work, work, work, work, work” -Rihanna
While these expos are a great place to see all the sites and eat all the snacks, they can also be an opportunity for prime networking. Think about it: you’re in a venue with thousands of like-minded people. Whether it’s another studio owner or products that could benefit your facility, this is the place to meet people and have great conversations. To provide the best experience possible, most conferences offer their own app. This will make communication during and after the conference easier.
Pro Tip: Always bring some extra business cards to exchange with people you meet or use for raffles and contests going on over the course of the conference!
There’s an app for that
As mentioned above, most conferences and expos will have an app that you can download before heading in. The apps typically include a list of vendors, a map, the agenda for the event, and some other cool features. For the real tech-savvy, check for badges with barcodes so you can scan in the app and get the contact information of the person you spoke to. This way, if you happen to forget a business card, you can still keep in touch long after the expo is over.
Pro tip: Along with the apps, many expos have social media pages specifically for the event, sharing up-to-date info and pictures. Be sure to note any conference-specific hashtags so event organizers can find (and possibly share!) your pictures, too.
Sample as you scope
It’s all about the swag – be sure to sample whatever freebies are available as you scope out the venue. Vendors love giving samples of their products or little trinkets that help them stand out. From reusable bags and branded rain ponchos to stress balls and containers full of protein powder, they’ll send you home with way more than what you traveled there with. If you love collecting samples, bring an extra bag (or maybe an extra suitcase) to accommodate all of the goodies you’ll collect. You can never have too many pairs of plastic wayfarer sunglasses, right?
Not a fan of claiming some swag for yourself? Use this as an opportunity to brainstorm cool merchandise for your studio. See what people are going crazy for, and consider what you could provide your loyal customers.
Fitness conferences and expos can be daunting. Navigating all of the fluorescent lighting, occasionally scary workout machines and massive crowds of people can be an intimidating experience for a seasoned pro, let alone a newcomer. That being said, conferences are a great opportunity to learn more about the industry and meet some leading influencers – they can also be a lot of fun. So, pack up your most comfortable sneaks and athleisure wear and get conferencing!