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IHRSA update: IHRSA European Congress

The 17th Annual IHRSA European Congress will take place in London from 23 to 26 October 2017. IHRSA’s Kristen Walsh takes a look at what we can expect from this huge event

By Kristen Walsh, IHRSA | Published in Health Club Management 2017 issue 8
Technology is transforming the fitness industry, introducing risks and rewards for both operators and members Florain Caroux - Europe Director IHRSA

More than 500 attendees are expected at London’s Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel for the 17th Annual IHRSA European Congress. The crowd will consist of club owners and operators, fitness professionals, developers, investors, media, industry suppliers and others.

“The Congress is coming back to London after 13 years,” says Florian Cartoux, IHRSA’s Europe Director. “London boasts some of the most exciting and diverse clubs in the country, and, in terms of revenue, the UK continues to be the biggest fitness industry in Europe. This Congress provides an opportunity to return to the heart of fitness in Europe.”

Jay Ablondi, the association’s executive vice president of global products, reports that participants will be coming from some 30 countries. “While the vast majority of attendees are European, there will also be groups from the US, Latin America and the Middle East. We’ve even heard from IHRSA members in South Africa who plan to be in London.”

What was originally a regional event is, it seems, morphing into a global one. The list of presenters alone attests to that fact, with speakers from the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Belgium and Russia.

Tech talk
This year’s event, themed ‘Technology & Fitness: Staying Ahead in an Evolving Industry’, will include world-class keynote speakers, informative educational sessions, numerous networking opportunities and access to some of the industry’s leading suppliers.

“Technology is transforming the fitness industry globally, and it introduces risks and rewards both for club operators and their members,” points out Cartoux. “The Congress will allow attendees to hear some of the finest European futurists describe how technology is changing our businesses, and obliging us to adapt our club strategies.”

Derek Gallup, the chairperson of IHRSA’s board of directors, and the senior vice president of fitness and retail for New Evolution Ventures (NeV), will extend a ‘Welcome to London!’ during the Congress’ opening session, which features a keynote and award presentation. “I’m thrilled to be attending my first Congress,” he says. “I’m looking forward to meeting European club leaders, learning from inspiring and thought-provoking speakers and visiting London clubs.”

The opening keynote address, ‘Pioneering an Adaptive Digital Strategy’, embraces the Congress’ defining theme. Presenter Ben Hammersley, a futurist and internet technologist, is the author of 64 Things You Need to Know Now for Then, an editor-at-large for WIRED magazine, and, interestingly, the person who coined the term ‘podcast’. He’ll discuss the political, cultural, social and corporate implications of the Internet of Things (IoT), and explain how clubs can create a successful, long-term digital strategy.

Taking care of business
More than 25 industry suppliers, including leading providers of equipment, programmes and services, will comprise the event’s Supplier Showcase. Among the many people sizing up the Showcase will be Gallup. “I’m looking forward to hearing about, and experiencing, what’s happening in fitness in Europe, and sharing ideas with key influencers,” he says.

For many attendees, the Congress, while primarily about education and peer engagement, is also about doing some business. Tuesday’s sessions address this with presentations on ‘changes in trends and expectations for the future'; ‘the future of the discount market: saturation or growth?’; ‘customer relationships: the importance of fairness, emotion and connection’; and ‘commercial innovation and marketing: impacts of digital on business processes’.

Be inspired
Christophe Andanson, president of the French Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (FHRSA), will tackle the topic of ‘trends and insights: the future of fitness’. Jamil Qureshi, founder of JQED Ltd., a London-based change consultancy, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on performance enhancing psychology, will dissect the attributes of ‘the disruptive leader’.

“The biggest change this year is a greater investment in high-level speakers,” says Marc Gagnon, IHRSA’s senior meetings manager. “In the past, we primarily did concurrent sessions of industry presenters. This year, we’re doing all general sessions that will be an equal mix of industry leaders and non-industry experts, plus two opening and closing keynote addresses.”

The keynote address and all sessions will be simultaneously translated into French, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian.

Meet and mingle
The number of designated networking round table discussions has been increased this year, but open slots will be available for attendees to enjoy friendly conversation and attend networking events in the Supplier Showcase.

Cartoux says: “The Congress is the place to network, the place for club owners, managers and staff to hear and learn from some of the most successful decision makers in our industry – individuals who can inspire and teach them how to grow and improve their business.”

European Congress 2017 Guest Speakers

opening  keynote speaker, Ben Hammersley
opening keynote speaker, Ben Hammersley

This year's Congress speakers come from the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Belgium and Russia. They include:

Opening keynote address speaker: Ben Hammersley, Author & Futurist, Hammersley Futures

Jamil Qureshi, Founder, JQED

Rick Caro, President, Management Vision Inc Inc.

Rick Caro, President, Management Vision Inc Inc.

Killian Fisher, Public Policy Advisor, IHRSA

Nikolay Pryanishnikov, CEO, Russian Fitness Group

Maureen Hagan, Vice President, GoodLife Fitness

Herman Konings, Managing Director, Antwerp Agency

Kevin Money, Director, Henley Business School

European Congress 2017
Guest Speakers
European Congress 2017 Guest Speakers

European Congress Access

To register for the 17th Annual IHRSA

European Congress, visit www.ihrsa.org/congress

Prices - For IHRSA members, a full four-day registration is €545 until September 15; €620 until October 13; and €720 after October 13 and onsite. The corresponding figures for non-members are €645; €720 and €820.

Awards - To apply or nominate someone for the European Club Leadership Award, which will be presented during the event, visit www.ihrsa.org/awards
The deadline is 8 September.

About IHRSA

Founded in 1981, IHRSA – the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association – is the only global trade association, representing more than 10,000 health and fitness facilities and suppliers worldwide.

Locate an IHRSA club at www.healthclubs.com

To learn how IHRSA can help your business thrive, visit www.ihrsa.org

http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/HCM2017_8ihrsa.jpg
We take a look at what's in store at the upcoming IHRSA European Congress, to be held in London from 23 to 26 October
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